“Strength” and “Physicality” were the mottos of the offense during Monday’s practice. Head coach Kirby Smart vocalized the importance of strength and physicality as soon as the media got out there, and when the team broke up into positions, the assistance vocalized adamantly how important those two attributes are. The offense executed various drills and here are my takeaways from the Bulldogs’ Monday practice.
Jake Fromm took the snaps with the first team and that was really no surprise. Brice Ramsey took the snaps with the twos. Both quarterbacks ran the “on air” drills to perfection and both looked accurate. Fromm and Ramsey stayed to work with the wide outs while the other two quarterbacks, Sam Vaughn and John Seter were sent to work with the scout teams.
Fromm looked confident and excited, but he always does when the media is out there. Ramsey seemed a little more comfortable with his throws, but it’s hard to tell without a defense coming at you. Offensive coordinator, Jim Chaney worked closely with the quarterbacks and told them over and over, “clean football and execute the plan.” Jay Johnson stood on the sideline and watched the two gunslingers, but Chaney dealt with them while the media was out there.
I got to watch this group the most during the seven minute media period, and they continue to impress me. After a great start, Javon Wims continued to receive praise from coach James Coley. The unit ran through a drill where the players pushed down assistants hands to cause the defender to become off balanced. Notre Dame has some big defensive backs, and physicality was the focal point during this drill for Coley. He told Wims, “Make your hands count Javon! The stronger you are with your hands the more off balance the defender will be.”
Coley pushed the team to use their strength to “off balance” the defenders and made them do quite a few drills. Out of all the units, the wide outs did the most drills. Coley had them work on pushing defenders out of the way, then tip toe drills, then catch over a defender and finally a route drill. The wide receiver coach had his unit work on every aspect and complimented Wims, Mecole Hardman, and Ahkil Crumpton on their routes. Coley said, “That’s what you gotta do in all those routes Crump,” as he praised Crumpton on his route running ability. Then Coley complimented Hardman on his catches and said, “That might be the catch you need, the catch you need in South Bend!”
By the end of the media period, all you heard was Coley yelling, getting the teams morale up and ready to play. Hearing him talk the players up is motivational and almost gives you chills.
I briefly watched the running backs and they primarily focused on a drill which made them run through tackles. The backs went as followed, Nick Chubb, Sony Michel, D’Andre Swift, and Elijah Holyfield. Brian Herrian was in the mix but took turns with Holyfield.
Chubb and Michel both looked ready to play and focused. They helped Swift through the drill and motivated him to push through, to his full limits.
The offensive line practiced drills with the blocking dummies while the media was out there, and the first team seemed to remain the same. I saw Dyshon Sims take some first team reps along with Solomon Kindley, so it seems the staff is pushing to get Kindley back in the first spot.
Freshman Isaiah Wilson seemed to be with the third team while we were out there, especially if Sims took the rep at the second team. Although, this could be a new rotation that Sam Pittman and Smart are trying. I believe the young guy along with Justin Shaffer both took reps with the twos, but each took reps with the threes too. But the rotations change every so slightly and it shows the media another look. Pittman seemed pleased with the group and didn’t have any negative comments to make that I heard.
Bits and Pieces:
Monday proved to be all about strength and physicality. Coley pushed for both with his wide outs and each position coach mentioned it at least once. The team seems to be motivated and excited to play in South Bend on Saturday. On another note, the Carolina Panthers had a scout out there, and he focused on the wide outs while the media watched. Georgia continued to attack the day, and overcome any adversity thrown its way, after seeing Eason go down on Saturday, it was good to see the team stay together and look sharp.
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