Notre Dame

Notre Dame still figuring out a plan for Brandon Wimbush

Notre Dame still figuring out a plan for Brandon Wimbush

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Brandon Wimbush didn’t take a snap in the first half of Notre Dame’s Blue and Gold Game on Saturday, a stark reminder that the talented rising sophomore is well behind DeShone Kizer and Malik Zaire on the Irish depth chart. 

Wimbush has a breathtakingly-strong arm and formidable speed, but what he doesn’t have is experience. Kizer started 11 games last year, while Zaire has three career starts. All Wimbush has is second-team reps in practice and a handful of garbage-time snaps last year. 

At the start of spring practice, coach Brian Kelly walked back an earlier comment about planning to redshirt Wimbush in 2016 by saying the Teaneck, N.J. native would get a shot at competing with Kizer and Zaire. But Wimbush had to work with mostly third-team reps in March and April as Kizer and Zaire earned equal first- and second-team reps. 

The problem, of course, with giving Wimbush that opportunity is that it would take away from the reps Kizer and Zaire require in the neck-and-neck competition to start Sept. 4 against Texas. Both Kizer and Zaire need those reps to improve, and coaches need both players to take those first/second-team reps to properly evaluate them. 

“Somebody would have to give up reps, and I'm not prepared to do that right now,” Kelly said. “I’m not prepared to give up reps on Kizer or Zaire to fit Brandon in. And so I would have to make that decision on my own to give up reps on those two guys to give more to Brandon to actually give him a fair chance.”

Offensive coordinator/quarterbacks Mike Sanford was quick to point out that Notre Dame’s No. 3 quarterback during 2015’s spring practice wound up not only starting, but excelling last fall. Wimbush said last month he’s kept Kizer’s trajectory in mind, and knows that his lack of reps doesn’t mean he’s guaranteed to be tethered to the sidelines this season. 

“He’s going to be behind, mentally, two guys that have not only been in a competitive situation but have actually played as the starter, prepared as the starter,” Sanford said. “So he’s got a ways to go there but he’s a quick study, I’ll say that. It means a lot to him. He’s very thoughtful in terms of the way he tries to internalize the information. I like his intellect a lot.”

Kelly said Wimbush’s tertiary status isn’t due to poor performance or anything he did wrong.  Wimbush’s practice showings, offensive knowledge and supreme talent aren’t in question. It’s just a matter of the seventh-year Irish coach figuring out how to work Wimbush in while making high-stakes evaluations of Kizer and Zaire. 

“This is on me more than anything else,” Kelly said. “Brandon's doing everything that he's been asked to do. He just doesn't get enough work. And when he gets in there, he shows — you can see it from the physical talents what they are. (He) just doesn't get enough work.

“So I have to make that decision as the head coach at Notre Dame: Do I get him the opportunity to compete for the starting job, because he's really not getting that chance.”

Notre Dame - Navy football game scheduled in Dublin moved back to U.S.

Notre Dame - Navy football game scheduled in Dublin moved back to U.S.

The Navy-Notre Dame football game that was set to be played in Ireland has been relocated to the United States, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Notre Dame announced on Tuesday that the game which was originally going to take place in Dublin on Aug. 29 will “likely” be played over Labor Day weekend, either on Saturday or Sunday.

The teams plan on playing at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, which will be a first in the 94-year rivalry history. Every previous matchup hosted by Navy has been played at a neutral site.

“We are obviously disappointed not to be traveling to Ireland this August,” said Naval Academy Director of Athletics Chet Gladchuk. “But, as expected, our priority must be ensuring the health and safety of all involved.

“I am expecting that we will still be able to play Notre Dame as our season opener, but there is still much to be determined by health officials and those that govern college football at large.”

Jack Swarbrick, Vice President of Notre Dame, and James E. Rorh, Director of Athletics at Notre made a joint statement as well.

“Our student-athletes have had great experiences competing in Ireland and are very disappointed not to be returning to Dublin in 2020,” they said. “The change of venue has been a very difficult decision for our colleagues at the Naval Academy, but we are in full support of their choice. We are also grateful for everything our partners in Ireland have done to make this a smooth transition. We look forward to going back to Ireland for a game in the not too distant future.”

RELATED: Notre Dame will allow students back on campus this fall

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Notre Dame will allow students back on campus for 2020 fall semester

Notre Dame will allow students back on campus for 2020 fall semester

Notre Dame University announced on Monday that it will welcome students back on campus on August 10. That’s two weeks earlier than the fall semester was initially scheduled to begin. In addition, Notre Dame will forgo a fall break in October, and will instead end the semester before Thanksgiving.

In the announcement Notre Dame said they consulted with experts for months to develop their plan to welcome students back onto campus.

The plan to return includes comprehensive COVID-19 testing for students, faculty and staff. It also includes contact tracing, quarantine and isolation protocols, social distancing and mask requirements, and enhanced cleaning of all campus spaces.

“By far the most complex challenge before us is the return of our students to campus for the resumption of classes in the fall semester,” Notre Dame’s president Rev. John I. Jenkins wrote in a letter to students. “Bringing our students back is in effect assembling a small city of people from many parts of the nation and the world, who may bring with them pathogens to which they have been exposed. We recognize the challenge, but we believe it is one we can meet.”

Father Jenkins also wrote that the university is currently developing a plan to reopen research labs, studios and libraries in coming weeks.

In case of an outbreak, or if the university is unable to provide adequate testing, Notre Dame faculty have been asked to prepare both in-person and remote curricula for their classes. The remote curricula would also help any student keep up with classwork if they need to be quarantined.

The university is also developing criteria to determine whether or not to offer study abroad programs in the fall. That decision will be announced in June.

Notre Dame sent home all students in mid-March to complete their spring semesters remotely. They also canceled all summer classes, except for a small number of students who needed to complete summer work to prepare for the fall semester.