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Irish ready for Stanford

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly hasn't relented from his message of how physically challenging the No. 7 Irish's game against No. 17 Stanford (4-1) is going to be on Saturday.

After Notre Dame (5-0) completed practice on Thursday, Kelly continued to harp on how tough the game is going to be this weekend.

"We're going to be in for a physical, hard-nosed, four quarters … one of those good old fashioned backyard brawls," Kelly said. "For us to go into a boxing match, using probably a bad analogy, and rope-a-dope that's not how I want to play. I want to go in there and slug away. I think that's kind of the demeanor that we want our football team to continue to take shape with."

Both teams will rely on their running backs a lot Saturday. Stanford is led by Stepfan Taylor, and Notre Dame will use all three of its backs – Theo Riddick, who is fine after bruising his elbow in last weekend's win over Miami, Cierre Wood and George Atkinson III.

"We've got three guys that we're trying to get that balance," Kelly said. "We struck it a little bit better last week, but it's going to be something that we're constantly keeping an eye on and keeping those guys fresh and keep attacking defenses with three really good runners."

Kelly also said Thursday that while he would prefer freshman defensive end Jarron Jones not play this year and focus on his studies, Jones has been getting enough work at practice that if needed he could play this season.

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.