Some notes from a day in South Bend where there was actually thunder and lightning (although the football team practiced inside), which is usually a good sign that spring is indeed coming.
- Notre Dame whipped out some green jerseys at practice today. No, the Irish aren't going to them for permanent home attire, but rather to denote injured players. Wide receiver Kris Patterson and defensive end John Ryan both sported the kelly green look.
- Baseball players invaded football practice. Well, three of them at least. Quarterback Evan Sharpley, punter Eric Maust and wide receiver Golden Tate all took part in their first practice of the spring. They'll be around Wednesday, too.
- The players seemed fairly upbeat during the stretching portion of practice, potentially a sign they are comfortable in spring ball. Overheard on the defensive side of the ball: "Leo, you in the room?" We're guessing they weren't referring to departed cornerback Leo Ferrine.
- Will Yeatman maintained his fixture like role at practice despite being suspended indefinitely from the team. The lacrosse star/football tight end looks noticeably bigger than a few months ago. Of all the players, though, he should be the least surprising as he hasn't had much else football or lacrosse related to do other than lift.
- Kallen Wade wasn't at practice today but rather in Cincinnati to be with his family after the death of his mother over the weekend because of cancer. Offensive guard Chris Stewart accompanied Wade to Cincinnati and was not at practice, either. Wade is scheduled to fly back to South Bend tomorrow night and will head back to Cincinnati on Thursday with Notre Dame football coach Charlie Weis. Weis will return to South Bend on Friday for the weekend coaches clinic. Defensive line coach Jappy Oliver and, potentially, others, will head to Cincinnati on Saturday for the funeral. Our condolences to the Wade family.
- Weis is also scheduled to head to Virginia Tech tomorrow for a meeting with Virginia Tech coach and special teams guru Frank Beamer.
- Speaking of special teams, punters worked on a drill with bad snaps. Essentially, special teams coach Brian Polian would roll the ball to the punter, who would then have to pick it up and get it off quickly.
- Tight end Mike Ragone got some love from tight ends coach Bernie Parmalee. During an agility drill, Ragone destroyed some of the bags on the ground, which led Parmalee to say "That's the way to tear up a bag." Ragone is starting to fill out into his tight end role, but still looks more like a hybrid wide receiver/tight end.
- Struggling with the agility bags was offensive tackle Paul Duncan. He slipped and fell trying to get over one.
- Tight ends worked with the quarterbacks on releasing from the line of scrimmage and catching quick flare passes.
- As far as receivers go, Richard Jackson took very sharp stutter steps going around cones during a quick-cutting drill. It looked like he had to put more effort into making the cuts. Most receivers seemed to be choppy with it with the exception of George West, who had the most fluid motions by far. Barry Gallup Jr. also looked fluid going through the cutting and quick-step portion of the drill. As the media was being asked to leave, the wide receivers switched to working on a drill to keep feet in bounds on sideline catches. No one, from the ones we noticed, had much of an issue there but David Grimes was quite good at it. Then again, that should come as no surprise as he's done it in games throughout his career.
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-By Michael Rothstein of The Journal Gazette