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Getting physical

SOUTH BEND – Notre Dame had more physical practices this spring than it did last year.

Coach Brian Kelly said Wednesday that he included more hitting during drills because it was needed to sort out some position battles and because his team isn't as established as it was last year.

"There were more positions that we needed to evaluate through contact, in particular, tackling on the back end, the safety positions, linebacker," Kelly said. "We had a battle at center and guard (on the offensive line). We really needed to see some contact at those positions. We couldn't avoid it.

"I think this team required it more than last year's team. We had some real established players in terms of the Manti Te'os, the Tyler Eiferts and that group was much more established.

"The contact was, one, putting those guys in individual battles, live battles, and then two, I think this is a different team than last year's, which in my opinion needed more of those contact situations."

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.