FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Notre Dame got its cleats into Florida soil for the first time Thursday afternoon on a hot and sunny grass field at Nova Southeastern University, a Miami Dolphins' practice facility in Davie, Fla.
Irish sophomore quarterback Everett Golson takes off during Notre Dame's first BCS practice in Davie, Fla.
The Irish offense and defense spread out on separate fields inside the facility. The defense ran through one-on-one drills for a majority of the opening viewing period, but did run their first team long enough to see true freshman Gunner Kiel playing the role of Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron. Kiel even switched his usual No. 1 jersey to No. 10 to complete the look.
Notre Dame's first- and second-team offenses ran through a high tempo drill against the scout team defense. Head coach Brian Kelly rotated through several different line-ups and looks at a fast and efficient clip. Golson ran the ball a couple of times in read option and designed run looks and also handed off to both senior running backs, Theo Riddick and Cierre Wood.
Each quarterback took passing reps, and Golson wasn't particularly pleased with his performance over the course of 30 seconds. He misfired three consecutive throws, one behind a receiver, one low and another five yards too long. Smacking his helmet in frustration, he regrouped and was more accurate in his second opportunity.
Sophomore DaVaris Daniels didn't seem hampered by the collarbone he broke against Boston College nearly two months ago. He was in good enough shape to receive an earful from offensive coordinator Chuck Martin after waiting a yard too long to get into a break on a 15-yard pass route.
"You've gotta run the route at the right depth or we have no chance," Martin hollered.
Martin should have barked the same advice to the BCS National Championship staffers in charge of bussing media members to the practice site. The bus arrived several minutes late, cutting into our 15-minute viewing window.
Tommy Rees ran the second group with sophomore George Atkinson III in the backfield. Davonte' Neal and John Goodman were among the wide receivers taking reps with Rees. Mike Golic Jr. lined up as the second center flanked by Bruce Heggie and Conor Hanratty at the guard positions and Nick Martin and Christian Lombard as the tackles.
The sidelines were crowded with cameras and reporters for the brief session. Plenty of national media were there to take in the practice including ABC commentator Brent Musburger, who will be the play-by-play announced for Monday's game. The area around the field where defensive players were off-limits, making viewing nearly impossible. The team waited until reporters left to begin working on special teams.