News and notes about Notre Dame football as the Irish are now one week away from their start to the 2021 football season.
SECONDARY WILL HAVE A NEW LOOK
Notre Dame defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman will play a more aggressive, free-flowing style of defense this year. That means the cornerbacks are going to be in more man-to-man coverage.
Cornerback is an area of concern. The Irish will know more on Sept. 5 about where it stands at that position when it plays Florida State.
Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said he feels good about the corners.
Some players in the mix at cornerback include Cam Hart, Clarence Lewis, a starter last year, and TaRiq Bracy.
“I think they've done well, “ Kelly said of his cornerbacks. “There’s a lot of work out there for them on a day-to-day basis in practice. They're not just rerouting receivers from seven yards and playing Cover 2, so there's a lot going on there, but I think they've handled it really well. I think we've also built some depth there too.”
Lewis and Hart are their top returnees at the position. Both have improved.
“I think Clarence (Lewis) it's been physical,” Kelly said. “We thought he was a step behind in terms of what he needed to do in terms of the weight room, and he did that. I think there's still more there in terms of just the nuances of the game. Cam's really strong, physically. One of the strongest defensive backs we have. It was, for him, playing with a confidence and calmness. He was a reacher and maybe a little tugger and grabber at times when he didn't need to be. I think just being more comfortable playing the position. Whereas Clarence had been a corner. He needed to work on the physical. I think Cam was much more the technical.”
KYREN WILLIAMS BRINGS ENERGY
Notre Dame running back Kyren Williams won’t be a buttoned-down, business as usual captain. Williams and Kyle Hamilton are the only juniors among the seven captains.
Avery Davis, Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa, Jarrett Patterson, Kurt Hinish and Drew White are the other five.
Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said Williams doesn’t relax much.
“He’s wired that way,“ Kelly said of Williams’ hyper personality. "We test our kids and their central nervous system, on a day-to-day basis and his fitness level was off the charts. He’s high energy. With that high energy, it has to be pointed in the right direction. He's still young and there'll be times that that youthful energy needs to be redirected, but as a whole, it's extremely beneficial for that offense because you got a quarterback that is not necessarily the rah-rah kind of guy. He's business-detailed and respected. You got (Michael) Mayer, who is a similar kind of personality, so you kind of need that, and by virtue of that, that's why Williams’ is a captain, too.”
ATTENDANCE POLICY FOR 2021
Notre Dame is asking its fans to be vaccinated for Covid-19 before coming to games but it won’t require fans to provide a vaccination card or proof of a negative test. Masks are optional when in the concourse or in the stands.
"We look forward to welcoming fans back to campus in a safe way to participate in one of the top traditions in sport – attending a game inside Notre Dame Stadium.” Director of Athletics Jack Swarbrick said in a release. “With Notre Dame’s vaccination rates as high as they are, our campus is one of the most protected places in our country – we ask that our fans help us keep our community safe by being fully vaccinated prior to coming to Notre Dame Stadium and our area.”
Other new game day protocols include cashless pay for concessions and the return of tailgating.
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