Blue and Gold Illustrated

June-July 2019

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 15 of 55

16 JUNE/JULY 2019 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED where he can use his instincts and tackling ability to thrive. If Griffith stays at the field corner spot, he'll be in competition with class- mate TaRiq Bracy. The two couldn't be more different. Bracy brings outstand- ing speed and coverage skills to the game, but the 5-10, 172-pound corner- back lacks the physicality at times to thrive in the run game. If both can improve the areas where they are deficient, they could become a rotation at the field spot, with Griffith getting utilized in situations where his skill set is most needed and Bracy being used when a cover player is required. Both also should be spe- cial teams contributors this season. Sophomore safeties Derrik Allen and D.J. Brown spent time working with the first team during the spring while starter Alohi Gilman was lim- ited with an adductor strain. Allen brings excellent length to the position. He showed growth, but was often just a step late to react, which kept him from making as many plays as he's capable of achieving. When he thought less and just played, he was productive. If that experience carries over into the fall, he could find himself on special teams and pushing for the third safety role. Brown was steady during the spring, but right now he lacks the range and speed to thrive. He is a willing tackler and a smart player, which could earn him a special teams role in 2019. LINEBACKERS MAKING A PUSH Perhaps the biggest question mark on the roster is the linebacker posi- tion, which has to replace productive veterans Drue Tranquill and Te'von Coney. Notre Dame's sophomore class was hailed as one of the nation's top linebacker hauls when it signed, with Jack Lamb, Shayne Simon and Bo Bauer all ranked by Rivals as top 200 players. Lamb had a breakout of sorts dur- ing the spring, demonstrating le- gitimate impact talent. At 6-4 and 227 pounds, he has top-level length and range. However, the speed and quickness he brings to the game are what truly make him a potential dif- ference maker. When he was sound with his as- signments and played confidently, Lamb was the best linebacker on the roster and its top playmaker. The is- sue for him is he has yet to play a single college snap, so he lacks ex- perience. He has also struggled with injuries so far. Executing with con- sistency and staying healthy will de- termine whether he can emerge as a starter inside in the fall. Simon is another long and ath- letic figure, but he grappled to find a home during the spring. He played rover, Buck and Mike linebacker dur- ing those 15 practice sessions. He was hesitant to let loose at each position, but he did end on a positive note by playing well during the Blue-Gold Game April 13. Simon has to become more asser- tive and start using his top-shelf ath- letic skills to make more plays. If he can do that he'll have an opportunity to force himself into at least a rotation role as a sophomore. Mike linebacker Bo Bauer did not make much of an impression during the spring, but like Simon he ended on a high note. He is a physical box defender who could eventually be- come a force against the run, but he must become more assignment sound and play under control. Sophomore Paul Moala moved Sophomore defensive tackle Jayson Ademilola will be counted on to provide impact play in the middle of Notre Dame's defense this fall. PHOTO BY BILL PANZICA

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Blue and Gold Illustrated - June-July 2019