CULVER, Ind. - The final full day at Culver Academies was a versatile and productive one for the Notre Dame football team. Thursday saw the team's fourth practice of the fall and its last before NCAA bylaws allow teams to don full pads.
The team held a spirited two-hour practice in the morning on both Culver's Oliver Field and the adjacent practice field. After lunch, the team split up, many enjoying the Culver Challenge Course while others took up archery, fishing and horseback riding. The Irish spent the afternoon in the weight room with director of football strength and conditioning Paul Longo and his staff. After a salmon dinner, the team enjoyed either some down time or a showing of "Bad Words" in Culver's Eileen Dicke Theatre.
The team will hold its first padded practice of camp on Friday morning at Culver before returning to South Bend for the remainder of fall camp building up to the August 30th opener against defending Conference USA champion Rice.
MEANS TO AN END: Elite high school football players dream of making the NFL and, if your position is tight end, Notre Dame should be high on your list. Each of the last five starting tight ends for the Irish have been taken in the NFL Draft's second round or higher.
"Everyone knows about them," said Ben Koyack who aims to continue this trend. "I still talk to Troy (Niklas) a lot. All of those guys support each other. We all came from Notre Dame and it's something we're all proud of."
"You've got to be able to do everything," Koyack said of what it takes to be a successful Notre Dame tight end. "When you line up 70 plays, you've got to be able to block. You've got to be able to catch. You can't get away with just being able to do one of those or you're going to be exposed. You've got to come to work every single day to be a better player."
STRONG AND TRUE UPDATE: Jess Atkinson of 3 Penny Films is once again documenting Notre Dame's preseason camp for a Strong and True program that will air on the NBC Sports Network at 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 25. On Thursday, Atkinson shot Notre Dame's stable of running backs in Culver's remarkable, $19-million Vaughn Equestrian Center. Senior Cam McDaniel, sophomore Greg Bryant and sophomore Tarean Folston all took their respective turns riding one of the stable's 90 horses.
Just take it Day by day~— Jaylon Smith (@JaeeSmiff9ENT) August 8, 2014
Thanks to first rounder Zack Martin of ND, perhaps? RT @Alex_Flanagan: Heard from many inside organization that Oline is dallas' strength.— Notre Dame Football (@NDFootball) August 8, 2014
Brian Kelly (@CoachBrianKelly) August 8, 2014
Notre Dame's 21 wins the past two years is the most in back-to-back season since '92-93, when Lou Holtz's team went 21-2-1. #23DaysToGameDay— College GameDay (@CollegeGameDay) August 7, 2014
Can't go wrong with a make your own fajita lunch after a hard practice! pic.twitter.com/nXVO1OqOGH— Notre Dame Football (@NDFootball) August 7, 2014
Our last five starting TEs have been at least second round NFL picks. Hear about the next ones later today ... https://t.co/2vLHUJIJOq— Notre Dame Football (@NDFootball) August 7, 2014