Notre Dame spring football preview: news, notes and quotes



Spring football begins at Notre Dame this morning, and Fighting Irish coach Brian Kelly gave these news items and snippets to the media:

— Six players have been approved for fifth years of play in 2012 by the Faculty Board on Athletics—John Goodman, Braxston Cave, Mike Golic Jr., Jamoris Slaughter, Kapron Lewis-Moore and Dan McCarthy. Slaughter’s return helps a secondary that loses some key contributors, likewise with Braxston Cave on the offensive line. Both position groups will be turning over about half the starting positions or more. Lewis-Moore adds depth to the defensive end position, which figures again to be a team strength.

— “It starts and ends with the quarterback position. It’s important they are all going to get an equal opportunity to compete for the position, so they all have to start with a very similar knowledge base. So we’ve kind of taken a step back. If we started on page 50 of the playbook Tommy (Rees) would be ahead of everybody. We want the ball to come out of the quarterback’s hands in a timely fashion and for good decisions to be made. We threw way too many interceptions last year and it certainly affected our win-loss record,” Kelly said.

In other words, even though we know Kelly favors Rees as much as possible, and usually gives him every possible opportunity, it looks like he may have lost the starting gig. Kelly is admitting that Rees threw too many picks last year to stave off competition from #1 QB recruit Gunner Kiel and Andrew Hendrix. The latter will get his shot, but don’t be surprised if they put the ball in the hands of the fresh phenom.

— Sophomore-to-be Troy Niklas moves from outside linebacker to tight end.

— Sophomore-to-be receiver DaVaris Daniels produced the best testing numbers of all the Irish skill position players.

— Look for Theo Riddick and John Goodman to start as the punt returners.

The 2012 football season will mark Notre Dame’s official celebration of 125 years on the gridiron—dating back to Notre Dame’s first game in 1887. A logo has been released and details on additional events are expected the week of the Blue-Gold game. A separate Web site is in the works that will offer a variety of NDFB125 material.

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports, an official Google News site that generates millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports

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