Notre Dame football: A few surprises scattered in Irish practice
The musical backdrop during stretching and early drills took a hairpin turn, from a string of country and western standards to one of Eminem's hip-hop anthems.
Later, there was walk-on linebacker Connor Little creaming freshman QB prodigy Gunner Kiel in the backfield, defensive end Kapron Lewis-Moore picking off a pass from ascending starting QB candidate Everett Golson, and defensive coordinator Bob Diaco donning headwear that could probably best be summed up as a mini-sombrero.
But the absolutes and strong trends already outweigh the lingering mysteries, with the season opener still more than three weeks away. With the help of a full-practice media window on Wednesday, here is what's we've learned less than a week after training camp kicked off:
1. The Notre Dame media guide is already obsolete.
Never mind the late uniform number changes, the Irish encountered a couple of more roster deletions Wednesday.
The most significant of them is backup left tackle Jordan Prestwood heading back to Plant City, Fla., for what are being called "personal reasons."
"I'm not able to get into the specifics of that because of privacy laws," Irish head coach Brian Kelly said of the 6-foot-5, 295-pound sophomore and Florida State transfer.
Junior running back Cam Roberson, who suffered a serious knee injury two springs ago, is headed to medical hardship. He redshirted as a freshman, missed all last season because of the injury and hobbled valiantly through this past spring's practices.
He can remain on scholarship through graduation, and won't count against ND's limit of 85. Nor will previously announced medical hardship, offensive lineman Brad Carrico.
That opens two more spots in ND's building recruiting class -- Irish Mob 13, as they have anointed themselves. But don't recalculate Prestwood's scholarship just yet. The door isn't necessarily closed for good.
"We really haven't reached that level of conversation," Kelly remarked.
Freshman safety Elijah Shumate, meanwhile, has joined the thin cornerback corps and looked impressive Wednesday for a newcomer.
"I think he's got a lot of athletic ability, and physically he's very, very mature," Kelly said of the 6-0, 190-pounder out of New Jersey prep power Don Bosco Prep. "He's physically able to compete right now. We want to make it easier for him.
"He's got some really got some good football instincts. It's easier to get (him) on the field at that position than trying to break through (at safety)."
Two injuries sustained during Wednesday's practice could alter the roster as well, but there's no confirmation yet as to the severity of either.
Junior Danny Spond, battling sophomore Ben Councell for the starting drop linebacker spot, suffered a concussion. The concern is that Spond had a concussion history in high school.
Then, very late in practice, just after the Irish moved from their FieldTurf fields to natural grass, tight end Alex Welch went down with a right knee injury and had to be carted off the field.
2. Tommy Rees is impacting the starting quarterback race -- just not the way you might think.