Friday Practice Notebook
Mike Monaco | Friday, April 4, 2014
Sophomore cornerback Rashad Kinlaw has been dismissed from the football program, Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly said Friday morning.
Read the full Kinlaw story here.
Players ‘on the cusp’ of returning
Kelly said one focus recently in spring practice has been re-incorporating some of the injured players nearing returns. Senior offensive lineman Nick Martin didn’t have pads on, but he wore his helmet and ran through tempo drills as the first-team center at the beginning of practice. Martin tore his left MCL on Nov. 23 against BYU.
Senior defensive lineman Tony Springmann jogged and warmed up with the team at the start of the morning session. Springmann and Ben Councell both had blue sleeves/braces on their left knees.
Sophomore cornerback Devin Butler (offseason shoulder surgery) wore a helmet (no pads) and sweatpants and participated in practice, though there still hasn’t been any contact for Butler.
“Trying to get them re-integrated into the units I think is important as we finish up spring practice,” Kelly said. “We want our guys to leave feeling as though they’re close to getting back with football-related activities, whether it be Devin Butler or Tony Springmann or Nick Martin.
“These guys are on the cusp of getting closer so we’re trying to re-integrate those guys into work.”
Focusing on the red zone
Kelly said Notre Dame spent much of Friday’s practice — the 11th of 15 spring sessions — on red-zone work, both offensively and defensively. Kelly said the Irish will spend more time on red-zone work Saturday.
Notre Dame ranked 100th in the nation in red-zone touchdown rate at 53 percent, per CFBstats.com.
“Certainly for our quarterbacks, being able to take care of the football in that area is absolutely crucial,” Kelly said.
Defensively, the Irish finished 45th in the nation in overall opponent red-zone scoring rate, with opponents scoring 81 percent of the time inside the 20-yard line.
“I think we saw last year at times how that was not an effective area for us sometimes, so we spent a lot of time doing some things defensively down there that require a lot of repetition,” Kelly said.
Notre Dame holds its 12th spring practice tomorrow. The Blue-Gold Spring Game is set for April 12.