Blue and Gold Illustrated

June-July 2019

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

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Page 22 of 55 JUNE/JULY 2019 23 what he does really well. "Maybe there's another layer in there where he can become a really good first- and second-down player for us, too." In Coney and Tranquill, who com- bined for 410 tackles (40.5 for lost yardage) during Notre Dame's 22-4 run the past two years, the younger players found linebacker archetypes to emulate with their consistent ap- proach. "It's their physicality and the way they play football," Simon said. "They're hard on the ball. Every play they try to make as many plays as possible. It's the way they communi- cate as well. They're very talkative. "Drue was very mechanical in his operation and that's something I've been trying to mimic and play through." Lea said August will continue the strategic movements of parts and pieces to figure out a best combina- tion. "The picture is clearing up, but it's still really early," Lea said at the end of spring. "Hopefully by the time we line up at Louisville we have a unit that we think can win at a high level for us. "We're going to be creative and strategic. It doesn't have to be split. If someone takes it and runs with it, then we have to put the best guy out there. In an 80-play game if some- body is playing 60 and someone 20, that's great. If more even, that's fine too." "There's enough athleticism there," head coach Brian Kelly added. "It'll be our job and Clark's job to put them in a position to succeed as well, because they're not as experienced at that position as we've had in the past. If that means doing some [dif- ferent] things, that's our job. "We're seeing progress and we have to be smart in taking advantage of their skill set." ✦ Sophomore linebacker Shayne Simon was moved inside this spring because of the size and physicality he brings to the defense. In the Blue-Gold Game, he recorded six solo tackles (two for lost yardage). PHOTO BY BILL PANZICA

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