Aug. 7, 2014
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."
Part of what properly prepared Notre Dame tight ends for success is the guidance of tight ends coach Scott Booker and the offensive system put in place by head coach Brian Kelly.
"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.