Friday, March 30, 2012
A few notes heading into the weekend
By Matt Fortuna
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- A rainy Friday forced Notre Dame indoors for spring practice No. 6, which shed no new light on the four-man quarterback competition.
Not that the Irish are expecting any definitive answers in the next three weeks, anyway.
The signal callers went against a three-man rush Friday, coach Brian Kelly said, making sure they could keep plays alive against eight-man coverages and secure the ball.
"Each day we're staging different tests for the quarterbacks," Kelly said. "That's why this is gonna be a long process. We're not gonna have this thing accomplished because we have not even got to the checks in our offense yet. There are no checks in yet. It's call it and play.
"So as you know last year we ran so many checks that we checked ourselves out of plays. So just to give you a perspective of how far we are from even being able to say the quarterback is ready, we're not even there in terms of our system."
Kelly said the starter will be whoever takes care of the football, and he thinks the quarterbacks have done a better job of understanding that "zero" is an OK play.
"We've gone back and taught fundamentals so nobody started ahead of the other quarterback," Kelly said. "So now we're seeing progression from each one of them in picking up the things that we want."
Some other notes from Friday ...
Prince Shembo's left foot was immobilized because of turf toe, and he is expected to miss two to three days. Ishaq Williams took reps with the first-team defense during practice, the first half-hour of which was open to the media.
Robby Toma took reps at running back, but Kelly said that was more a function of the Irish's slot receiver position meshing with running back: "It's matching personnel. So it's not necessarily that Robby runs the inside zone extremely well, it's matching personnel so we can move guys to different positions on the field. So again it's just multiple formations that allow us to move the defense and it might be just to move the defense in a position where it opens up for Tyler Eifert or it opens up something else, so it's not something we would evaluate as he's in the mix to be one of the running backs, but because we've tagged the position as a slot receiver position, when the play-call comes in and he's in the game, sometimes he'll find himself in that position."
Kelly said the Irish are putting pieces together for their return teams, but no catching has been done yet.