One of the key aspects of the Notre Dame football team's trip to Culver Academies this week for the first five days of camp is for team bonding--not only between the players but also with the coaches.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Irish are adjusting to a new leader in Brian Van Gorder. He takes the reigns as the team's defensive coordinator with Bob Diaco now the head coach at Connecticut.
"Oh man... Coach Van Gorder--he's very intense," defensive lineman Sheldon Day says with a big smile and laugh. "He's always on you. He's going to make sure he's going to get the best out of you so it's been crazy just to be around him because one moment he's saying something and then boom he's just fired up about something. It's been great seeing his passion for the game and his knowledge of the game."
Van Gorder has a ton of experience at both the NFL and college level and his system is different than the one Diaco used.
"I think guys are picking it up really well," safety Austin Collinsworth explains. "They're taking the time, spending time in the weight room, really studying the game and really picking it up and playing good football right now."
"I think we've made a lot of great progress," linebacker Joe Schmidt adds. "We still have a lot of work to do, still have a lot of learning to do but we are excited about where we are right now."
Notre Dame will practice down at Culver on Thursday and Friday. Their first practice back at Notre Dame is Saturday.