Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said at the start of spring practice on Friday that the four-week session would not be about the new coaching staff and players getting to know each other.
Instead, Kelly talked about how the team had to get to work right away to turn around a 15-21 record during the last three seasons.
Kelly talked about two players – linebacker Manti Te'o and receiver Michael Floyd – who will be important to the Irish improving when the spring started.
Kelly said Te'o, who was fourth on the team in tackles last season with 63, needs to be a better football player, but the coach also talked about how much he enjoyed being around the native of Hawaii.
"He's a college football player," Kelly said. "He's got that excitement, that passion. Those are the guys I want to be around. I want to be around guys who love the game, love being around it. He brings that energy on a day-to-day basis.
"He's got to get much better as a football player. He wasn't very good, and he understands that. He's been committed to learning. Remember, he hasn't been here a year. He's a freshman. I just love the energy that he brings, and the passion that he wants to be a great player."
Floyd was second on the team last year in receiving yards (795) and touchdowns (9) despite missing five games with a shoulder injury.
Kelly said Floyd still has work to do.
"The volume that we're going to throw at him is going to be new," Kelly said. "He's lost a lot of weight. He's down into the 216-217 (pound) range from 233 when we got here. He just would not have been able to stay on the field with the pace of play. He's made a great commitment, but he's got to show that he's got that volume."
Kelly said he isn't worried about two of the team's stars taking offense to be told they need to get better after strong seasons.
"We are 15-21 the last three years. They know. There are no bruised egos. Everybody knows where this thing is at," Kelly said.