Blue and Gold Illustrated

Sept. 12, 2016

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

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20 SEPT. 12, 2016 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED "Greatness lies on the edge of discom- fort … A place that welcomes risk takers and those who don't fear the outcome." Nearly 230 pounds, the robust Tranquill could have a role similar to All-American linebacker Jay- lon Smith last year in the way he is moved around on the defense in various packages. At times in spring ball, Tranquill could be identified as a Mike linebacker, a rush end at the "Joker" position and a nickel back. He can be in coverage one play, a run plugger on the next, and an edge rusher on the third. His most work is needed at playing off the hash marks. "He's a great box safety," Kelly said. "He's great close to the line of scrimmage. He's a very good tackler. The areas of development are in our speed package, working line games, working his pass rush technique. "He's a very focused and studious kid … we're putting him in a role that allows him to do a lot of things for us." He also will be entrusted to handle many calls in third-year defensive co- ordinator Brian VanGorder's scheme. "There are definitely calls back there, especially as a strong safety, where you've got three or four checks that can happen in a play and those need a lot more reps," Tranquill said. More than ever, Tranquill has had to become the "safety net" on the back end of the defense, especially after senior free safety Max Redfield, whose 144 career tackles had been the most among returning players, was dismissed from the team after an Aug. 19 arrest. VanGorder will be heavily count- ing on an influx of seven freshmen, especially free safety Devin Studstill, to compensate for the loss of Red- field. Furthermore, sophomore cor- nerbacks Shaun Crawford (medically redshirted last year), Nick Coleman and Ashton White also have made Tranquill a part-time coach in the de- fensive backfield, a conduit on the field for VanGorder. "You learn a lot from coaching guys. When I'm investing time in those guys, and I'm walking them through and I have to coach them through, there is a deeper level of understanding that is necessary in order to do that," Tranquill said. "I'm always learning just being around those guys." The outside meeting time this sum- mer with youngsters was easily a re- cord during Tranquill's time at Notre Dame. "We just had a lot of guys that were hungry and coming to us older guys, and saying 'Meet with us, meet with us,'" Tranquill said. "It was cool to see that." What that will mean in 2016 is still to be determined on the actual field of play. "Everyone starts fast, but those who endure are great," Tranquill said. Sounds like another message from his Twitter account. ✦ Football is balanced with strong faith and academic excellence in Tranquill's life. PHOTO BY JOE RAYMOND

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