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Notre Dame runs through live scrimmage Saturday

| Monday, April 13, 2015

Referees, big hits, long runs and quarterbacks in jerseys that weren’t red — Notre Dame’s practice Saturday certainly wasn’t a game, but it was about as close as the Irish will come this spring until next Saturday’s Blue-Gold Game.

With both quarterbacks — graduate student Everett Golson and junior Malik Zaire — live and the team competing in an 11-on-11 scrimmage for the last half-hour, head coach Brian Kelly said Notre Dame was able to run nearly 60 plays during the two hours outdoors at LaBar Practice Complex.

Irish graduate student quarterback Everett Golson prepares to hand the ball off to junior running back Tarean Folston during Saturday's practice at Labar Practice Complex.Caitlyn Jordan | The Observer
Irish graduate student quarterback Everett Golson prepares to hand the ball off to junior running back Tarean Folston during Saturday’s practice at Labar Practice Complex.

Zaire played with the first team and behind an offense line made up of, left to right, senior Ronnie Stanley, sophomore Alex Bars, graduate student Nick Martin, junior Steve Elmer and junior Mike McGlinchey.

Golson took snaps with the second team, protected by a line of, left to right, junior Hunter Bivin, sophomores Quenton Nelson and Sam Mustipher and juniors John Montelus and Colin McGovern.

Kelly spent much of the practice with the offense and quarterbacks specifically and said there was still room for improvement, including areas that haunted the Irish in 2014.

“What we didn’t like today is that we had two turnovers, and neither one of them can turn the ball over, and we had two turnovers in scoring position,” Kelly said. “But they’re building on what we see as the area’s that we’ve asked them to work on.”

Prosise in the backfield

Junior C.J. Prosise completed drills with the receivers, running backs and punt return units and flashed signs of his cross-training with the running backs this spring during the scrimmage, such as a 70-yard touchdown run in which he easily sprinted past the first-team defense.

The usual Irish running back tandem of juniors Tarean Folston and Greg Bryant earned something of a warning from Kelly following the show by Prosise.

“If you watch C.J. Prosise, if I was those two guys, I’d feel like they better be careful because he’s got elite speed at the second level, and we had [junior safety] Max Redfield chasing him today and couldn’t catch him,” Kelly said. “I think C.J. puts some pressure on both those guys, and I just want to create some more competition.”

Linebacker competition

In the overloaded linebackers corps, sophomore Nyles Morgan took reps at the “Mike” slot with the first-team unit, where he was joined by juniors Jaylon Smith and James Onwualu.

Graduate student Jarrett Grace manned the middle with the second team alongside freshman early enrollee Te’von Coney and sophomore Greer Martini, and Coney subbed in for Smith on the first team in the latter portion of the scrimmage.

That unit will become a little more crowded this week with the addition of graduate student Joe Schmidt, who was cleared for practice last Saturday, Kelly said.

“He’s cleared to be involved in all movement drills, seven-on-seven, non-contact drills — moving pretty good, so he’ll get his opportunity Monday and Wednesday to be involved in all those drills with non-contact,” he said.

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Current Assistant Managing Editor, former Sports Editor of The Observer | Follow Mary on Twitter: @maryegreen15

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