Brandon Wimbush has done nothing to question the confidence of his teammates and coaches through five spring practices.
Offensive coordinator Chip Long spoke to the media Friday, one day before the team’s first scrimmage of spring practice. The first-year OC said the live, full-team workout would test the players.
“They had a big, physical practice (Friday),” Long said. “It’s easy to go when they’re fresh, so now they’re a little sore so let’s see what kind of group we have tomorrow.”
Wimbush appeared to pass the test, making several impressive throws in tight coverage. For a full breakdown of the scrimmage, read Blue & Gold Illustrated’s breakdown.
While Wimbush saw most of his time with the third stringers last year — and briefly on the scout team — he’s not unfamiliar with Notre Dame’s top offensive weapons.
He’s classmates with top returning wideout Equanimeous St. Brown. The juniors worked together with the second string during the 2015 season when Wimbush was elevated to the No. 2 spot after starter Malik Zaire was injured.
St. Brown thrived in his first season as a starter, catching 58 passes for 961 yards and nine touchdowns with DeShone Kizer at the helm.
How is the transition going from Kizer to Wimbush a third of the way through spring practice?
“We have good chemistry, and he’s not a new quarterback for me,” St. Brown said of Wimbush. “He’s definitely not as big as DeShone, but he’s much faster than him. He’s still young so he has a lot to learn, but he’s definitely growing at a fast pace.”
When Wimbush met with the media Friday afternoon, he was asked what area of his game needs the most improvement. The quarterback did not want to pinpoint one specific thing, but settled on his pocket presence as the piece that needs the most work.
Luckily for Long and the Irish, Wimbush is ready to work.
“He’s a willing learner,” Long said. “He’s very coachable. He does a great job of applying what we go over in the meeting room. Cleaning up his mistakes from the first day and uses his athleticism to help him out. He’s done a good job with his leadership trying to take control.
“He can’t get enough reps, he can’t get enough guys flashing in front of his face. That’s why we’re out there working. That whole group is doing a tremendous job.”
Fifth-year senior tight end Durham Smythe was asked to compare Wimbush and Kizer. Smythe said they’re very different people, but that Wimbush has stepped in and handled the first-team duties well.
“Brandon’s been great so far,” Smythe said. “He’s brought a lot of energy to the offense in the first couple days. Obviously the things he’s done physically on the field are pretty impressive too.”
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