>>Kelly Says How Irish Comes Together Will Determine Success
Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly believes the Fighting Irish have the pieces to challenge for a national championship. The question is whether the players will push one another to do the hard work and come together as a team to make it happen.
The Irish have a motto every year they put on T-shirts for inspiration. This year's is "Culture beats Scheme," hoping to rally the players behind the theme of everyone putting team first. The Irish hold their first practice Friday in Culver, about 40 miles south of campus.
The Irish players say they're behind the idea.
The Irish return all but four starters from the squad that went 8-5 last season, starting the year 6-0 and being ranked No. 5 before losing late against Florida State to start a collapse fueled by turnovers and injuries. It was the worst finish ever for a Notre Dame team that won its first six games.
The Irish lost two offensive linemen and quarterback Everett Golson, who left Notre Dame after earning his degree to use his final year of eligibility at Florida State. He had been competing for the starter's job with Malik Zaire. Kelly said Zaire has to work on some technical aspects of being a quarterback, but expects Zaire to be a strength for the Irish.
Selecting a backup for Zaire between sophomore DeShone Kizer and freshman Brandon Wimbush is a priority, Kelly said.
The Irish also need to replace Cody Riggs at cornerback. That job is expected to go to KeiVarae Russell, who was expected to start last season until he was among five players held out of practices and games while the school investigated whether homework and papers they turned in had been completed by others.
Kelly said Notre Dame feels confident the NCAA will rule Russell eligible to play, saying Russell did everything necessary. Kelly isn't as confident about defensive lineman Ishaq Williams, saying all he knows is the "process is still ongoing."
Kelly said Russell will be allowed to practice with the Irish while awaiting word from the NCAA. Williams will not.
Kelly also announced that wide receiver Justin Brent will be given a chance at running back after the school announced earlier this week that Greg Bryant, the second-leading rusher from last season, won't play in 2015 because he didn't meet "expectations."
Kelly also announced that sophomore defensive lineman Kolin Hill of Schertz, Texas, plans to transfer to a school closer to home. Hill played in nine games last season and had seven tackles.
>>Harbaugh Says Michigan in Bunker Mentally
The first question Jim Harbaugh took at media day was from a first grader.
The new Michigan coach was in an upbeat, somewhat playful mood Thursday, answering a few questions from kids amid several more from reporters. But after one query - this one from an adult - about the amount of attention his arrival has drawn, Harbaugh indicated that the coming days will be much quieter.
After months of seemingly nonstop anticipation, Michigan's season opener at Utah is a month away. The Wolverines start practice Friday, and it's time to forget about a summer in which their coach's every move seemed to create a buzz.
The biggest on-field question about the Wolverines is what will happen at quarterback. Shane Morris returns after playing five games in each of the past two seasons, but Jake Rudock will compete for the position after transferring from Iowa, where he was a two-year starter.
Rudock is entering his final season of eligibility. He completed 62 percent of his passes in 2014, throwing for 2,436 yards with 16 touchdowns and five interceptions.
Rudock was asked how his previous experience in the conference could help him at Michigan.
Harbaugh sounded ready to get the competition started.
"We'll roll the balls out there and let the quarterbacks have at it," he said. "I really believe that it will be fair, and I'm excited to watch it."