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Irish Insights

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Toughening up

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said this week has been about toughening up the team.

And with that in mind, the Irish focused a lot of attention on running the ball and stopping the run.

"We know we can play fast," Kelly said Wednesday after the team's fifth day of fall practice. "We know that we can spread it out and do those things. We want to really have our guys focus on this week our toughness as a football team."

Kelly said he liked what he saw from the offense and the defense Wednesday.

"When I look at our ability to run the football, I'm judging it knowing that we showed that we can play very good run defense. We had some good moments today," Kelly said.

"I think our defense flew around and played physical. I liked the way we ran the ball and the way we flew around on defense."

With the Irish focusing on running the ball, Kelly said Dayne Crist and Tommy Rees have an advantage over Andrew Hendrix and Everett Golson when he evaluates the quarterback competition.

"We are so focused on the run game right now, a lot of it is playing smarter, not faster," Kelly said. "The veterans are going to have a leg up during this segment of what we've asked them to concentrate on.

"Everett and Andrew would show better if we were just playing faster. Right now, Dayne and Tommy have shown the ability to play smarter, getting into the right run checks, making sure we have the right plays called.

"That's really been our focus. Those guys have kind of pushed themselves up a little bit because of how we are playing right now."