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QB decision draws near

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly didn't announce who the starting quarterback for the Sept. 3 opener against South Florida will be, but the decision appears to be getting closer.

"(Dayne) Crist and (Tommy) Rees have separated themselves by virtue of their knowledge, by virtue of their ability to manage the offensive system and structure that we have," Kelly said during Tuesday's media day.

"They can take the whole offense and run with it, both those kids. So you've got two quarterbacks that I have great trust and confidence that they can play championship football for us."

Crist, who started nine games last year before suffering a season-ending knee injury, and Rees, who went 4-0 as starter in place of Crist, have been presumed to be the frontrunners for the starting job over sophomore Andrew Hendrix and freshman Everett Golson.

Hendrix didn't play last year, and Golson enrolled early to take part in spring practice, helping put him somewhat in the quarterback-derby mix.

"You've got two young guys that have not mastered the entire offensive structure, but have excelled in small doses of what we're doing," Kelly said. "So if either one of them would enter the game for whatever the circumstances are, they would not be able to run the entire offense that we want to run against South Florida."

Kelly said he would look at using Hendrix and Golson, who are both more mobile than Crist and Rees, if it gave the Irish a tactical advantage.

"There are some things that they do very, very well, that if they had to enter the game, we would move towards what their strengths are," Kelly said.

Kelly also had some injury updates Tuesday.

Freshman safety Eilar Hardy suffered a knee injury that will require surgery and keep him out for the season, Kelly said.

Sophomore offensive tackle Tate Nichols is ahead of schedule from coming back from a dislocated knee, and senior tight end Mike Ragone had a strained quad but is getting closer to being able to return to practice, Kelly said.

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