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Practice Notes 9/15: The Defense Prepares for an Unknown Test

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Today's Notes feature Coaches Johnson and Roof, KeShun Freeman, Jamal Golden, and Adam Gotsis

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Coach Johnson

  • Johnson reinforced the idea that the offense was explosive, saying we were one of the leaders in plays of 20 yards or more last year, adding: "You don't have to throw it to get big plays"
  • Johnson doesn't expect Notre Dame to change the offense for new QB DeShone Kizer, saying that at most they may cut back a little bit to make him more comfortable. He added that Kizer will have plenty of weapons at his disposal, so they won't need to change much.
  • Johnson is comfortable with Team leadership heading into a hostile environment
  • Johnson said that the sack Justin Thomas took in the Alcorn State was Thomas's fault, but Johnson took the blame for the Tulane sack, saying it was a bad play call.
  • Johnson said he would Welcome Errin Joe back if he wanted to apply for a medical hardship waiver due to missing chunks of prior years with injury.

KeShun Freeman

  • Freeman said that preparations haven't been too different this week, just saying that the team needs to continue to get better and work hard.
  • Freeman said that the injury to Malik Zaire was unfortunate, but said that Kizer was a great athlete.
  • Freeman thought that the pass rush was better for the DL as a unit against Tulane, and felt they played off each other well.
  • Freeman felt that team needs to stay out of all the hype surrounding the game and focus on the task at hand this week.

Jamal Golden

  • Golden said that he, Gotsis, Milton, and DJ White have been helping to prepare the young players for their first road game and for the hostile environment they will face in South Bend. He compared Notre Dame to places like Clemson and Virginia Tech. He said his advice to the young guys was to bring their own energy, because the Georgia Tech home crowd won't be there to pump them up.
  • Golden said there isn't any difference in preparing for a road game vs. a home game in practice.
  • Golden claimed that it doesn't matter who starts at QB for Notre Dame, saying "They're going to have a good guy there." He also cited the fact that Kizer was able to throw the game winning TD against UVA, so they know he will be good.
  • I asked Golden if the ND offense compares well to any other teams the Jackets have faced recently, but he said that all teams run some of the same things, and will always try to find something that the Defense struggled to stop the week prior. He said "If you have trouble with something the week before, why
    (would the opposing team) not go back to it?"

Adam Gotsis

  • Gotsis agreed that the Notre Dame offensive line will be a huge test, saying they play well as a unit and are great individual players as well.
  • Gotsis joked that he had seen about half the movie Rudy but that he "fell asleep during it"
  • He downplayed the hype surrounding the game, saying that they are "just going up there to play football"
  • He did, however, say this was an opportunity "to put ourselves on the map"

Ted Roof

  • Ted Roof said that his last time coaching in South Bend was "A good experience except for the game"
  • Roof praised Notre Dame OT Ronnie Stanley, describing him as a big guy, but also a big guy that can really move.
  • Roof said the pass rush has improved. He said that the team didn't get as many sacks as they wanted, but said that they were still able to affect the QB in the first couple of games.
  • When Notre Dame WR Will Fuller brought up, Roof simply whistled, noting that Fuller was averaging 22 yards a catch, but also said that the other receivers on the team were good as well.