Notre Dame Football tackles another practice in the opening of spring ball

SOUTH BEND, Ind – The Notre Dame Blue-Gold game is just three weeks away.

Players from the defensive side of the ball spoke after Wednesday's practice, including second year defensive coordinator Al Golden.

Midway through the spring schedule, Golden is pleased with how his guys are taking initiative and being invested early on. 

“In general, it's just been the approach, the energy to come into the meeting room at, you know, 705 and to present something and see those eyes, see everybody, you know, on the edge of their seat, see their eyes locked in and tracking you and trying to get better man, that fires you up as a coach,” Golden added.

The second-year defensive coordinator, has a veteran group of linebackers returning to the program with guys like Jack Kiser, JD Bertrand, and Marist Liufau.

“They give young ideas and they share with you where their eyes are and what they see on certain plays and sometimes you adapt how you coach things or how you teach things or even how you change calls, based on their strengths and so, from that standpoint, their feedback is always welcome,” Golden mentioned.

“You know the ins and outs of defense and you're able to play fast and each install of the playbook isn't new to you. So that helps a lot,” said Liufau.

With the experienced corps, comes more learning opportunities for guys like Prince Kollie, who could see an increased role this season.

“Now I'm expected to know a little more, do a little more, you know, things like that,” Kollie added.

Then you’ve got players entering their second year in the blue and gold.

“When the older linebackers are, you know, you're having that talk in the film room, you start to learn the why behind the defenses, which helps you understand it and help you play more free out there,” said sophomore linebacker Nolan Ziegler.

“They're constantly getting given feedback to the younger guys, even when, when, you know, me, Max and Mike aren't around. They're given feedback and so they're always getting coaching from the older guys, which helps a lot,” Golden added. 

Golden also raved about the defensive line, just as Marcus Freeman did at the start of spring practice. 

There’s a lot of hype surrounding the defensive line position and it’ll be interesting to see how disruptive they can be once the season starts, but first, the Blue-Gold game on April 22nd at 2 p.m. EST.

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