Cornerback was a major question mark coming into the spring, and no matter what happens in those 14 practices plus the Blue-Gold Game, it will likely remain a question mark into the fall. At the end of the day we need to see this unit perform on Saturdays in the fall.
That doesn't mean, however, that there aren't things we can learn about this group, and it doesn't mean we can't find some hope from the emergence of certain players. One player who could very well hold the key to the cornerback position becoming a strength is veteran corner TaRiq Bracy.
Bracy has shown flashes of being a big-time cover player during his career, which included leading the Irish offense in pass break ups in 2019. Consistency and confidence, however, have not been strengths of the California native. Those struggles took over in 2020, and by the end of the season Bracy found himself on the bench.
If the cornerback position was going to bounce back after a down 2020 season it needed Bracy to get back on track. That is what made defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman's comments following a recent practice so important.
"He's had an excellent spring," Freeman said of the veteran corner. "Through 11 practices he's been really consistent and one of our most consistent defensive backs that we've had on the field."
Hearing the word consistency used to describe Bracy is a great sign, and a glimmer of hope that he has moved past his 2020 struggles. Freeman and cornerbacks coach Mike Mickens were tasked with helping Bracy restore his confidence, and it would seem thus far they have done just that.
"I don't know what he was like before I got here," Freeman explained. "As I told him the first day I got here, I make my opinion of you from the first day I met you. He's in here watching extra film, he’s consistently meeting with Coach Mickens and the corners, just trying to get better at his craft."
Bracy was always an athletic player, but he was also raw from a technical standpoint, and that got him in trouble at times. According to Freeman that has been a focal point of Bracy's offseason.
"He's doing the little things off the field that it takes to be a successful player," continued Freeman. "You're seeing the results of his sacrifice and his attention to details on the field. He's having a heck of a spring and he's done a great job in 11 practices."
Notre Dame Spring Practice Highlights - Practice 1
Notre Dame Spring Practice Highlights - Practice 2
Notre Dame Spring Practice Highlights - Practice 3
Notre Dame Spring Practice Highlights - Practice 4
Notre Dame Spring Practice Highlights - Practice 5
Notre Dame Spring Practice Highlights - Practice 6
Notre Dame Spring Practice Highlights - Practice 7
Notre Dame Spring Practice Highlights - Practice 8
Notre Dame Spring Practice Highlights - Practice 9
Notre Dame Spring Practice Highlights - Practice 10
Notre Dame Spring Practice Highlights - Practice 11
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