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Irish Insights

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Notre Dame begins fall practice

Notre Dame opened fall practice Saturday afternoon in new practice jerseys, no pads – per NCAA rules – and with plenty of rain.

The rain started a few minutes after the team's stretching drills and the offense and defense broke into groups for run throughs. It continued through the portion of practice open to the media.

During the stretching period, former Bishop Dwenger standout Tony Springmann looked in as good of shape as coach Brian Kelly said he was during Friday's news conference. The 6-foot-5 ½, 280-pounder was easy to spot in his line, wearing No. 69. He kept a good pace.

Springmann practiced at nose tackle during the open practice period.

Defensive end Stephon Tuitt looked bigger than his listed 6-6 ¼, 295 pounds, and Aaron Lynch looks just as impressive as he did during the spring.

Here are some observations from a rainy first day of practice:

Offense

The first-team offense started under the guidance of Dayne Crist at quarterback, but the senior stepped out after the first four plays and Tommy Rees took over. No big surprise here as that's how they operated during the spring.

The rest of the first offensive unit was left tackle Zack Martin, left guard Andrew Nuss, center Braxston Cave, right guard Trevor Robinson and right tackle Taylor Dever; the receivers were Michael Floyd, TJ Jones and Theo Riddick, former Dwenger star Tyler Eifert began at tight end but stepped out after four plays as Mike Ragone came in and the running back was Cierre Wood.

The second-team offense operated with two quarterbacks as well with Andrew Hendrix starting then Everett Golson taking over.

The rest of the second was left tackle Tate Nichols, left guard Chris Watt, center Mike Golic Jr., right guard Brad Carrico and right tackle Christian Lombard; the receivers were another Former Dwenger standout John Goodman with Robby Toma and Daniel Smith, Alex Welch was the tight end and Jonas Gray was the running back.

Quarterbacks

Crist and Golson threw together to Rees and Hendrix paired together.

Hendrix looked a little hesitant on his first throw as he paused, pumped then delivered a floating pass. On his second try, he smoothly delivered a throw.

It didn't appear that any of the four quarterbacks was thrown too much by passing in the rain as they got wiped down balls before each throw.

Running backs

Veterans tutored the new guys as Wood was paired with freshman Cam McDaniel and Gray was with George Atkinson III during a drill where one back ran with the ball while another held the tail of his jersey.

The only hiccup during this drill came from walk-on Patrick Coughlin, who as working with walk-on Tyler Plantz. Coughlin fumbled on his return to the starting point, costing him pushups.

Be back with more after Kelly talks to the media after practice.

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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