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Kelly to find starting QB quickly

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly's message on the eve of the football team's first practice was similar to the one he delivered going into spring practice.

As Kelly gets ready for his second season at Notre Dame, the coach stressed how important familiarity between the coaching staff and players is going into this year.

"We know our football team so much better," Kelly said during a news conference Friday. "Year 2 is a year where you are not as concerned about what your personnel is going to do. You know your players. You know what to expect. They know what to expect."

The knowledge base Kelly enters this season with will help in naming a starting quarterback quickly.

Kelly, whose team starts practice Saturday, will use the first 19 practices to chose between four quarterback candidates – Dayne Crist, Tommy Rees, Andrew Hendrix and Everett Golson.

The coach plans to publicly announce a starter after those practices, and the Irish will use the last 10 practices to prepare for South Florida, who travels to South Bend for the season opener on Sept. 3.

"We don't have to be stealth-like to gain a tactical advantage," Kelly said.

"If we find out that there's a quarterback that can add something to the game, we need to look at that. We go into camp looking at all four of those guys clearly can compete and help our football team win. We just have to find out how that plays out."

Aside from finding a starting quarterback, Kelly said the next big position concern is a third running back.

Sophomore running back Cameron Roberson, who suffered a knee injury in spring practice, will not play this season, Kelly said. That leaves incoming freshmen Cam McDaniel and George Atkinson III as options behind starter Cierre Wood and Jonas Gray.

Kelly also said offensive tackle Lane Clelland will not play this season because of a knee injury.

The Journal Gazette's Assistant Sports Editor Tony Krausz covers The University of Notre Dame. Krausz, a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism and a native of St. Louis, has been assistant sports editor since October 2005. Prior to joining the JG, he worked at two papers in Mississippi covering high school and college athletics.

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