Notre Dame backup running back Jonas Gray set the wrong tone for the season opener.
The senior fumbled on South Florida's 1-yard line and the ball was returned 96 yards for a touchdown in the 23-20 loss.
Gray received three more carries after the fumble and finished with 17 yards, and Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said he will not hesitate to continue to use Gray behind starter Cierre Wood.
"He's got to go back out there," Kelly said of Gray. "He's got to play for us. He's physically able to do it. Mentally he's got to be able to do it. We're not sitting him down. He's got to play for us against Michigan, and he's got to play for us all year."
Wood said he has tried to help encourage Gray after the rough start to the season.
"I just told him, you are much better than you think are," Wood said. "You have to put that in your head, and it has to stick there and stay there and nobody can tell you otherwise. That's how I did it to myself. I told myself, I could start and everything positive about me. I made it happen. Nobody gave it to me, I made it happen.
"I told him that's just a minor setback. It's nothing. I told him as soon as it happened, it's done with. Now, we just got to keep playing. I know he is going to do great. I know that for a fact."