The last few months of Mondays have been a struggle to find blog-worthy items to write about. That certainly isn’t the case anymore, with camp opening up and the Irish ready and working towards Purdue (27 days).
For your best piece of footage, head over to UND.com for some excellent practice video from the opening work out.
A few impressions:
It’s pretty easy to tell that the guys are absolutely jazzed to be practicing. That goes for both the coaching staff and the players, as the energy level and pace are just as electric as they were during spring drills, the benefit of a new coaching staff and a season anew.
If you’re not a Bob Diaco fan yet, after seeing it first hand and then watching him run the defensive drills in practice, expect to see an intensity out of this defensive staff that just didn’t exist in the defense run by Jon Tenuta. You can’t help but think that intensity and energy will help a unit in need of a fresh start.
Preseason All-American Michael Floyd raised a few eyebrows when he reported to camp at 6-foot-3 and 227 pounds, a lot of weight to be carrying in an offense that’ll be as quick-paced as Kelly offenses of the past.
Of course, that didn’t stop him from talking about triple cheeseburgers.
Like I do every time I’m home, Floyd spent some of his time at The Nook, a burger joint just past the left field fence of Cretin-Derham Hall’s baseball field and the home of St. Paul’s best burgers.
The Nook has burgers named after some past Cretin greats like Paul Molitor, Joe Mauer, Matt Birk and Jack Hannahan, and if Floyd has anything to say about it, he’ll be the next to get on the menu.
“When I go back the next time, the owner and I will talk about some kind of funny name for a burger for me,” Floyd said after practice. “I want a triple burger, something sloppy like that.”
All reports are that the weight Floyd’s carrying is good weight, making him an absolute beast out in space, and poised for a junior campaign that’s highly anticipated.
As for the burgers, The Nook usually waits to name a burger after someone who’s made it to the professional ranks, so Irish fans should be hoping it’s still two years until Michael gets his burger.
Theo Riddick took first-team reps with the wide receivers along side Floyd and freshman TJ Jones, but the move may be short lived, as senior Duval Kamara missed practice because of some outstanding paper work that needed to be returned.
“It’s a little bit of everything,” Kelly said of Kamara’s missing paperwork. “He seemed to think he had it all figured out and he didn’t have it all figured out.”
Sounds like someone might be starting fall camp in the doghouse, although there will be plenty of time -- and opportunity -- available for Duval to make up for it.
If you’re looking for an interesting training camp battle, look no further than the ball. Senior Dan Wenger must’ve missed the memo that had many people writing him off for Braxston Cave, and he opened camp as the starting center, with Cave nipping at his heels.
Kelly had great things to say about South Bend native Daniel Smith, citing the over-sized newcomer as a pleasant surprise.
“He’s a lot more fluid that I thought he would be,” Kelly said. “We were worried he might grow into a defensive end, but he looked a lot more comfortable.”
Kelly also cited freshmen Austin Collinsworth and Bennett Jackson as two guys that will get an advanced look early in camp. Many pegged Collinsworth as one of the freshman that may switch from offense to defense, but from the reports I’ve been hearing, he’s got a ton of upside at wide receiver.