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Notre Dame Practice Report: Dec. 18

A mere snapshot of today’s practice with just 15 minutes available to the media.

No changes to the starting lineup since the USC game: Defensive ends Julian Okwara and Khalid Kareem, tackles Jerry Tillery and Jonathan Bonner, linebackers Te’von  Coney and Drue Tranquill, Rover Asmar Bilal, cornerbacks Julian Love and Troy Pride Jr., and safeties Alohi Gilman and Jalen Elliott.

The No. 2 defense: Ade  Ogundeji and Daelin Hayes at end, Kurt Hinish and Jayson Ademilola at tackle, linebackers Jonathan Jones and Jordan Genmark Heath, Rover Shayne Simon, cornerbacks Donte Vaughn and TaRiq Bracy, and safeties Nicco Fertitta and Devin Studstill.

It was the first sighting by the media in practice of Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa since he suffered a broken right foot (fifth metatarsal) in the Michigan game. Wearing braces on both lower legs, Tagovailoa-Amosa hit the one-man Lev Sled with authority and then engaged in taking on a double team with graduate assistant Larry Black Jr. overlooking the process.

Tagovailoa-Amosa looked explosive and uninhibited in both drills. Defensive line coach Mike Elston reminded him to keep his head/face up when engaging in contact with the one-man sled.

As the observation period came to an end and the defense took the field in some 11-on-11 work, the starting unit that came out to run the skeleton defense remained intact for the live contact.

Two injured defensive players were off to the side as a handful of injured players pedaled bikes and slammed the medicine ball – senior defensive back Shaun Crawford and freshman nose tackle Ja’Mion Franklin.

Notre Dame opened its practice for the mandatory 15-minute Cotton Bowl allotment Tuesday. With preparations for Clemson begun in earnest, several non-varsity Irish players donned familiar Tigers jersey numbers, including #75 (left tackle Mitch Hyatt), #5 (Tee Higgins), #13 (Hunter Renfro), #9 (Travis Etienne), #8 (Justin Ross), and #1 (Trayvon Mullen), #11 (Isaiah Simmons), and #99 (Clelin Ferrell).

(I believe walk-on cornerback Temitope Agoro, who starts on both punt and kickoff coverage for the Irish, was doubling as the Trayvon Mullen with Braden Lenzy as Renfro and Micah Jones as Higgins.)

As they were 50 yards away at minimum, the rest would be guesses.

Sidelined today and working on the bikes were Alex Bars, Ja’mion Franklin, and Shaun Crawford, plus freshman tight end George Takacs, freshman wide receiver Joe Wilkins, freshman Jack Lamb, and walk-on Christopher Schilling.

Of note, the only two-deep member joining the injured group: backup guard Dillan Gibbons. Gibbons played in all twelve games as a member of the field goal/PAT unit. (Gibbons was actively participating in conditioning drills throughout our 15 minutes.)

Notre Dame did not show a three-deep today with many scholarship players relegated to the show team/Clemson duties.

First Unit: No changes to the starting lineup you’ve seen since with the exception of tight end (Nic Weishar). As is his custom, senior Alize Mack watched the opening “tempo” drill from the back of the end zone, clapping for his teammates. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve seen Mack go through tempo over his four years of watching practice.

Second Unit: Brandon Wimbush (QB), Tony Jones and Jafar Armstrong (2-RB Set with Armstrong often split out), Michael Young, Kevin Austin and freshman Lawrence Keys.

The offensive line was a man down without Gibbons and thus showed two #75s along the five-man front. One was Josh Lugg, presumably at left guard with Jarrett Patterson to his left. The other is unknown at right tackle though John Dirksen was unaccounted for by the media and it was thus likely him.

Colin Grunhard was the second team center with part-time starting right guard Trevor Ruhland next door. Freshman OL Cole Mabry appeared to be wearing No. 50 and working opposite Mike Elston’s defensive tackles in drills. (Clemson center Justin Falcinelli wears #50.)

No varsity offensive player was unaccounted for to my knowledge.

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