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Opening practice ushers in change

Mar 27, 2010, 11:27 AM EDT

After reading various reports on the first day of practice, one thing is very clear: there is a new sheriff in town.

Across the board, reporters are working hard to come up with a new word for face-paced. Even players were shocked.

“It was overwhelming, well, different,” Michael Floyd said after practice, catching himself with his word choices. “I didn’t expect as much. I underestimated it.”

As much as the frenetic pacing of practice was the story of the first day of the Kelly regime, for the Irish to succeed, the real story will be Dayne Crist’s ascension to the starting quarterback position. Five months after surgery to repair a torn ACL, Crist was moving at full speed with the offense, taking snaps from the shotgun and running option plays with tailback Armando Allen.

“I haven’t been able to do it for a while,” Crist said. “So it actually felt good.”

The Irish offense will only go as far as Crist can take it, and if there’s anything we learned from the 45-minute window the media was allotted at practice, its that they’ll try and get there in a hurry.

Notes from Opening Day:

* While Kelly made it known there would be no official depth chart, here’s who lined up as the starting offense. Crist at QB, Allen at RB, Floyd, John Goodman, and Duval Kamara at WR, Kyle Rudolph at TE, Dan Wenger at center, Chris Stewart and Trevor Robinson at guards, and Matt Romine and Taylor Dever at tackle.

Meanwhile, on the defensive side of the ball, the starting defense was Kapron Lewis-Moore and Ethan Johnson (now wearing number 90) at defensive end, Ian Williams at DT, Darius Fleming and Brian Smith at outside linebacker, Manti Te’o and David Posluszny at inside backer, Gary Gray and Darrin Walls at corner and Harrison Smith and Jamoris Slaughter as the starting safeties.

* Pete Sampson over at did a cool breakdown of the roster, comparing player’s weights from this year to last year. Here are the guys that had more than a 10-pound difference:

Carlo Calabrese +10 (245)
Mike Golic, Jr. -10 (283)
Robert Hughes +11 (245)
Jamoris Slaughter +10 (195)
Chris Stewart +14 (344)
Chris Watt +18 (313)

I think that bodes really well for guys like Calabrese and Slaughter. I expect Slaughter to be a playmaker in the secondary this season. Also, a pretty miraculous year in the weight room for Chris Watt, gaining 18 pounds. Robert Hughes was listed as a RB/FB on the new roster, possibly explaining the gain in weight. 

* Brian Hamilton of the Chicago Tribune noted on his Twitter page: “Whatever Kelly & Notre Dame get from RB Cierre Wood, it’ll have to be gotten with a big cast on Wood’s right hand.”

An interesting note because Kelly didn’t mention Cierre in any of his comments regarding injuries.

* Blue-chip recruit Jordan Prestwood, a 6-foot-6, 270-pound offensive tackle from Plant City, Florida, was in attendance, watching practice. He’d be a great get for the Irish, and has offers from Alabama, Florida, and USC.


  1. robertg - Mar 28, 2010 at 12:31 AM

    1. the sources that you cite for your data are the same vicious con artist who have orchestrated vicious fire the coach campaigns at notre dame since the end of the holtz era.
    2. they have banked their economic futures on kelly, but they will turn on kelly viciously as soon as the losses start coming in.
    3. fortunately, all of these very rotten apples will be drive very far away from notre dame before the 2011 season begins.
    4. in the meantime, we have every confidence that notre dame’s fine student athletes will hold the fort at notre dame.
    GO IRISH!!!

  2. ourlady$ - Mar 28, 2010 at 7:35 PM

    Were not in Kansas anymore Toto. This is a dawn of a new era. Strike, no time for celebration, back to huddle, strike again, fast pace. It will all be instincts in a few months.

  3. Shazamrock - Mar 29, 2010 at 8:42 AM

    1a) Sports Illistrated and the Chicago Tribune are well established and proven publications with a history of fair and honest reporting by well educated professionals who take their jobs seriously. To refer to them as “vicious con artist’s” is your own personal perspective, which, in and of it’s self, has numerous “vicious overtones’and premeditated bias.
    2a) ND and ND football is exspected to win. Loosing creates turmoil and dissatisfaction. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to correlate the two.
    3a) At ND, WE exspect nothing less than excellence from our coaches and student athletes. “Holding the Fort” went out with Coach Weis and his crew. You might be holding something, but coach Kelly and his team are driven on a mission to acheive the ultimate success.
    4a)Many of us here consider YOU a rotten apple. But to say so would bring threats of law suits based on slander. But the truth is not slanderous. Such as “Hypocrite” which is much more applicable here, when referring to your weekly outbursts.

  4. irishfan1123 - Mar 29, 2010 at 7:55 PM

    Wow, +14 for Stewart, aka, Mr. Plow. Hopefully that isn’t extra cargo or luggage, and instead it’s an upgraded motor. I guess we know which side we’ll be running the ball.
    I know it’s very early to start talking about this, but assuming Stewart remains healthy throughout the year, and he puts in a solid performance (as good or better as last year’s), how high can he go in the draft?

  5. Shazamrock - Mar 30, 2010 at 7:12 AM

    Maybe Kelly should move him to Nose Tackle on the defensive side.
    Heaven knows we could sure use a “run stopper” in the middle.
    At 344lbs he would surely be a road block up inside!

  6. Irish 527 - Mar 30, 2010 at 1:18 PM

    Robertg, here we go again. Your tone is so unwanted. I along with others wish you would go away and take your knucklehead comments with you too. PLEASE!
    I’m very excited about the upcoming season and hope that Coach has them play as a team. It certainly sounds like he’s shown them that they’re not going to get away with lackadasical effort any longer. Thanks Coach Kelly

  7. jpa - Mar 30, 2010 at 4:21 PM

    I read somewhere that Stewart put weight on while reducing his body fat. More muscle to carry less fat could do well for Mr. Plow.

  8. irishfan1123 - Mar 30, 2010 at 7:49 PM

    shazamrock, I believe the Stewart to nose tackle was tried his freshman year when he was “one burger shy of 400 lbs.” I don’t think it turned out so well, that was during the 2007 disaster. He didn’t see the field and I think went back to Texas to evaluate if he wanted to be at ND. Luckily he stuck around, but I’m guessing he wouldn’t want to go back to trying to play nose tackle, may bring up some bad memories.

  9. IrishJay513 - Mar 31, 2010 at 4:07 AM

    Interesting to see Posluszny on the first unit, although I think there will be some moving and shaking with 1st and 2nd units. If you saw Kelly’s presser, he was adamant about that. Pos must have made an impression in off season workouts.
    Robertg….go away already!! Your negativity on every site you post on is down right annoying. All of your banter of illegalities on the weis firing, and how they’ll be back? You are absolutely, certifiably off your rocker.
    Thanks to all the other guys who input things that provoke thoughts. Go Irish. Cant wait for the spring game.

  10. terry - Mar 31, 2010 at 8:59 AM

    As the 4th quarter wears on and the sun sets in the west (per usual) on Saturday November 27, the pace being set at practice this afternoon and all the others will pay off for the Irish. The trojans will lose a step and the celebrities on the usc sideline will watch silently as usc falls. Hopefully it will be rainy and muddy.

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