Emptying the Notre Dame spring scrimmage notebook

Emptying the Notre Dame spring scrimmage notebook
April 13, 2013, 4:15 pm
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- A week before Notre Dame takes the field on NBC Sports Network for its annual spring game, the Irish scrimmaged indoors at the Loftus Center. A few observations and reactions from the viewing:

-- Wide receiver C.J. Prosise, who will be counted on as a slot receiver this season, had an up-and-down day. He dropped a pair of passes while open, but also beat safety Matthias Farley for a long touchdown when Everett Golson found him across his body while rolling out to the far sideline. Prosise put in some work as an outside receiver, though -- a position the converted safety is even less familiar with than the slot -- and coach Brian Kelly chalked up the drops to inexperience.

"I don't think he needs glasses," Kelly deadpanned. "I think he'll be able to catch the ball."

-- While Dan Fox wasn't in pads, as has been the case all spring, he lined up alongside Carlo Calabrese in an early drill to form Notre Dame's inside linebacker tandem in its 3-4 defense. For contact drills, Calabrese shifted to will and Jarrett Grace played mike with the first-team defense, although Kelly suggested not reading much into that.

"We've got what we consider two veterans in Fox and Calabrese, and Jarrett Grace. We've got three really good players that have proven themselves last year, and Jarrett Grace has proven himself to us this year," Kelly said. "… I would not put one guy and say he's your starter. I'd say we've got a group of guys that are going to be able to help us."

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-- Josh Atkinson took most of the reps alongside KeiVarae Russell at cornerback with the first-team defense, while Lo Wood was out of commission for most of the day. Atkinson was beat a few times by DaVaris Daniels -- who made a couple of fantastic catches -- but did a nice job to break up a red zone pass intended for wide receiver Chris Brown.

Kelly didn't provide a direct reason for Wood's absence, only saying he's being overly cautious with some players given Notre Dame's season opener is still over four months away. Wood is coming off a torn Achilles' tendon suffered last August, which cost him the 2012 season.

"There's really no depth chart in the spring, some guys are sore, we may back off their work," Kelly said. "… If the guy's got a cast on, or on crutches, they're hurt. Everybody else, there's no game and we're going to be cautious relative to injuries."

-- Corey Robinson made the play of the day, beating Atkinson and making an excellent one-handed catch on a deep fade route. He was a bit banged up on the play and didn't return to action, although whatever the issue was didn't appear to be serious.

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-- Nick Martin continued to get the majority of the first-team reps at center, and it looks fairly apparent that he'll enter preseason camp as Notre Dame's top choice to replace three-year starter Braxston Cave.

"What we've seen is a steady player, who's really a guy that doesn't get too high or too low," Kelly said. "He's got a great temperament, he can handle a lot of things that are being thrown at him. Just really like the way his maturity has shown himself. For a young guy who hasn't played, he's shown to be a very mature kid.

"He's got some work to do, obviously, relative to consistency in snapping, protections, but he's been a very solid guy for us the first time we put him in there."

-- Second-year offensive coordinator Chuck Martin handled all the play-calling duties on Saturday, and Kelly expects that'll remain the case in the spring game and going forward into the 2013 season.

"The head coach, I've always felt, is responsible for the football. Those decisions will still be mine," Kelly explained. "Relative to play-calling, Chuck knows what I'm looking for. I have great confidence in his ability to play-call and my expectations are that's the way it will go in the fall. He had a lot of impact on our offense last year as well. I have the utmost confidence that we'll continue to grow offensively because we've got a similar philosophy."