Blue and Gold Illustrated

Preseason 2016

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

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Page 52 of 99 PRESEASON 2016 53 home versus Georgia Tech and UMass in the next two. It was in the fifth game, where he drilled a 46-yard field goal in a monsoon at Clemson, that his outlook changed, and there is no comparison now to then in terms of confidence level. "Last year, I was struggling a little," said Yoon, who obses- sively analyzes tape of his form. "I looked at myself and said, 'Wow, this isn't the same me as I am now.' I had all the routine and abilities, but it's a different impact going from 100 people to 80,000. After figuring that out … knowing where I'm at, I've performed in front of 80,000 and I know what I can do. "A big thing is working on each little aspect of kicking: Hit the ball properly, finishing straight through all the way to the field goal post. My body align- ment is sometimes off, my rhythm is off. I work on each little detail. I've overcome all the hurdles." Although the chemistry with snapper Scott Daly and holder/ quarterback DeShone Kizer jelled last season, he switched holders this spring, giving him more time to work with junior Montgomery VanGorder. The mishaps last spring ("didn't plant properly") and the first couple of weeks this August Yoon put on himself. "I don't even think about that," Yoon said of changing holders. "It's a matter of trust. If I can trust whoever is hold- ing for me, that's all it takes. Now that I know what they're capable of doing after seeing them do mental reps over and over again, and talking to them, I trust them, they trust me, and that's all that matters. While tight ends coach Scott Booker is also the special teams coordinator and former Marshall kicker Marty Biagi (2004-07) was added to Notre Dame's support staff this summer (Bi- agi was the special teams coordinator at Southern University in 2014 when it ranked No. 1 in all of college football in special teams scoring with seven touchdowns) and Yoon's father, Jiseop, taught him about kicking, Yoon says it's Kelly he will turn to when it comes to the mental side of the game and pushing the right buttons. "He makes sure I am pushed to that limit and makes sure I can be ready for that stage," Yoon said. Ultimately, it still come back to Yoon's mental framework. "If I'm confident, I'll hit it," he sum- marized. "If I'm not confident, then I won't hit it." SPECIAL DELIVERIES The 2015 season was filled with rookie surprises on special teams. In addition to Yoon earning Freshman All-America honors at kicker, fresh- man C.J. Sanders added kick to the return game, scoring on a punt return versus UMass and tallying an- other touchdown on a kickoff return at Stanford, becoming the first Irish player to record that double since Vontez Duff in 2002. DeShone Kizer 's first pass at Notre Dame resulted in a touchdown off a fake field goal at Virginia that aided the 34-27 win, and another freshman, re- ceiver Equanimeous St. Brown, blocked a punt against USC that Amir Carlisle recovered for a touchdown in the 41-31 victory versus USC. "Special teams require finding the right personalities on that team, and that's always about making sure you've got the right personnel," Kelly said. "Evaluation, evaluation, evalu- ation … getting the right people on those teams is crucial." One other first-year performer on special teams who began to flourish was junior punter Tyler Newsome. Redshirted as a freshman in 2014, Newsome's 44.5 yards per punt last year would stand as the current school career record, and only 22 of his 55 at- tempts were returned. Twenty-one of his punts traveled more than 50 yards, 21 were placed inside the 20 and he was a standout in the spring Blue-Gold Game with his prodigious punts. There were some shanks, most no- tably a 14-yarder at Clemson (where he also had four punts downed inside the 20) that set up a touchdown, but he believes those will be fewer in 2016. "I feel more confident for sure," the 21-year-old Newsome said. "I feel like I'm striking the ball better … there's not as many mishits right now, so I feel more comfortable back there with [long snapper Scott Daly]. It's very smooth." In 10 of the Irish's 13 games, he hit a 50-yarder. "I know fourth down is technically an offensive play, but I look at it as the first play of the defense," New- some said. "If we put the ball on the five-yard-line, the defense is going out there confident, knowing they're about to stop those guys and hit 'em right in the mouth." Also the kickoff specialist, Newsome recorded four tackles in that area of the game. "I'm a football player first before I'm a specialist," Newsome said. "You have to have that mindset because at the end of the day, you've got to be able to tackle the ball carrier." ✦ Junior Tyler Newsome averaged 44.5 yards on 55 punts last year and also served as the kick- off specialist, posting 21 touchbacks on 84 attempts. PHOTO BY JOE RAYMOND Special Teams Depth Chart KICKER No. Player Ht. Wt. Cl./Elig. 19 Justin Yoon 5-10 190 So/3 Walk-ons: Senior John Chereson (43) and junior Sam Kohler (29) PUNTER No. Player Ht. Wt. Cl./Elig. 85 Tyler Newsome 6-2½ 210 Jr./3 Walk-on: Sophomore Jeff Riney (42) LONG SNAPPER No. Player Ht. Wt. Cl./Elig. 61 Scott Daly 6-1½ 250 5th/1 54 John Shannon 6-2 220 Fr./4 "KNOWING WHERE I'M AT, I'VE PERFORMED IN FRONT OF 80,000 AND I KNOW WHAT I CAN DO." YOON

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