Notre Dame Spring College Football Practice Update
College football players started reporting for spring practices over the past few weeks, meaning it’s time to take a look at the programs and see what we can expect in the fall. Let’s start by taking a look at the teams in the Notre Dame and then be sure to take a look at our 2010 NCAA football preview. See something you like or dislike in the Notre Dame spring update? Be sure to discuss it on one of the many great Notre Dame forums listed in our NCAA message board directory.
No team in the country went through the tragedy that the Irish did this spring. Top O-Line recruit Matt James, who was expected to compete for playing time as a true freshman this fall, fell to his death in Panama City on Spring Break. Losing James was a blow both on and off the field as many of the current Irish players knew James well from their high school days in Cincinnati. RIP Matt James.
Notre Dame’s quarterback situation was held together with glue and string this spring as projected starter Dayne Crist was held out of contact as he recovered from a torn ACL. However, he appears set to start under center in Kelly’s up-tempo system. However, the backup position might have found a solution beyond the three incoming freshman that new Head Coach Brian Kelly is bringing in this fall: Nate Montana, son of Irish legend Joe, threw for 223 yards and three touchdowns in the Spring Game and is widely considered to have improved by leaps and bounds to be a legitimate option as Crist’s backup in 2010.
One of Kelly’s biggest moves was overhauling the Irish defense and installing a 3-4 set. Perhaps the personnel was already in place to properly transition to the system but Kelly singled out LBs Manti Te’o and Darius Fleming as two players whose skill sets fit better in the new system. Along with these two, Kelly was pleased with the play of the D-Line. However, the Irish are still a long way from being considered strong on defense.
Kelly’s top concern exiting camp had to be his offensive line. After losing three starters from a strong unit in Charlie Weis’ last season, Kelly was a mad scientist, mixing and matching players. Things got even worse with the loss of James, who was widely expected to contribute from Day One. How bad is the situation? Kelly didn’t even release a depth chart, presumably because he’s as clueless as to who his starting five will be in the fall as the general public.
By Matt Baxendell
CollegeSports-fans.com Staff Writer