CULVER, Indiana — The Notre Dame football team opened preparations for its 130th campaign on Friday afternoon at Culver Academies. It was the first of 21 practices entering game week for the lid-lifter against Michigan on Sept. 1.
The team and coaches all made the trek south down U.S. 31 on Thursday evening, with the players arriving around 9 p.m. The team moved into the barracks, got together for a meeting in the locker room and grabbed a late snack before curfew.
The first practice of the season was in shorts and helmets as part of the NCAA-mandated four acclimatization days prior to teams being allowed to wear pads. In addition, the NCAA has eliminated two-a-day practices and mandated one day off per week during preseason camp.
The team fought through a sweltering afternoon that saw the heat index approach 90 degrees. Fighting Irish Media has the highlights of day one, including a mic’d segment with Irish head coach Brian Kelly, who also chatted one-on-one with Jack Nolan following practice. Quarterback Brandon Wimbush, center Sam Mustipher, guard Alex Bars, tight end Nic Weishar, linebacker Te’von Coney, linebacker Drue Tranquill and defensive lineman Jerry Tillery also met with the media on hand.
- Notre Dame usher Eudell Spohn is entering his 47th football season with the Irish. Spohn plans to make a clean half-century working with Notre Dame football.
- A contingent of 50 members of the media were on-hand to watch practice.
- Practice number two is set for Saturday, Aug. 4. Stay tuned to UND.com, as Fighting Irish Media will have exclusive coverage of the session.
Located 45 minutes south of the University of Notre Dame, Culver Academies features a 1,700-acre campus nestled on the north shore of Lake Maxinkuckee. Athletic facilities include a new athletic turf field, sod practice field, indoor/outdoor tennis complex, hockey rink with two sheets of ice, rowing facility with rowing tanks, team weight room, general fitness center, swimming pool, wrestling room, indoor track, racquetball courts, and five basketball/multipurpose courts.
Culver graduates have played/are playing for the Fighting Irish in fencing, football, hockey, men’s lacrosse, rowing, and softball. Others have played/are playing in the NHL, NFL, and Major League Lacrosse, and have represented the United States in the Winter and Summer Olympics.
Notre Dame’s Knute Rockne and Culver’s Bob Peck played for the Massilion Tigers in 1917. Rockne gave the dedication speech for the Culver Recreation Building in 1924. He also gave a pep talk to Peck’s team prior to the Eagles’ game against St. John’s Military Academy, which was played at Soldier Field on Nov. 8, 1930. Rockne (ND) and Peck (Pitt) are in the College Football Hall of Fame.
“I believe that the great value of athletics lies in keeping the student body physically fit. I know of no place, with the possible exception of the United States Military Academy, where the athletic program is handled as well or where they get the results that they do at Culver.” – Knute Rockne, University of Notre Dame Football Coach, at the dedication of the Culver Recreation Building April 21, 1924