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Spring Practice Primer: Notre Dame

By Tom Fornelli | College Football Writer

Spring football is in the air, and with our Spring Practice Primers the Eye On College Football Blog gets you up to speed on what to look for on campuses around the country this spring. Today we look at Notre Dame.

Spring Practice Begins: Wednesday, March 21

Spring Game: Saturday, April 21

Returning Starters: Eight on offense, six on defense, one specialist

Three Things To Watch For:

1. Yet another quarterback competition. Last year at this time it was a battle between Dayne Crist and Tommy Rees. Crist eventually won, but now he's at Kansas and Rees is left battling with Andrew Hendrix, Everett Golson and incoming freshman Gunner Kiel. With so many arms competing for the job, odds are the competition won't be won this spring, but somebody could emerge as the leader. Rees has the most experience by far, but he struggled toward the end of last season and lost snaps to Andrew Hendrix. Everett Golson redshirted last season, and like Hendrix, he gives the Irish offense more of a dual-threat. Most eyes, however, will likely be on Gunner Kiel, who comes to South Bend as one of the best quarterbacks in the 2012 recruiting class.

This will be a battler that gets a lot of attention from now through the summer.

2. Finding a new #1 receiver. Michael Floyd was likely the best wide receiver South Bend has ever seen, as he re-wrote the record books during his time at Notre Dame. Which means he will not be easy to replace, but with uncertainty at quarterback, a reliable target emerging amongst Notre Dame's receiving corps would be a big help. Theo Riddick and T.J. Jones return, but neither are the big target that Floyd was. Which means a lot of eyes will be on DaVaris Daniels and Justin Ferguson. Both receivers are 6-foot-2, but neither have seen the field on the college level yet.

3. A brand new secondary. While Brian Kelly has plenty of talent to work with on the defensive line and in the linebacking corps, the Notre Dame defense has a serious lack of experience in the secondary this season, particularly at cornerback. Going into the spring the Irish only have four cornerbacks on the roster in Bennett Jackson, Lo Wood, Jalen Brown and Josh Atkinson . None of them have started a game at Notre Dame, but two of them will be counted on to start every game in 2012.

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