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  • 17 Apr
    SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Who will be Notre Dames starting quarterback isnt the biggest concern facing coach Brian Kelly.Kelly knows DeShone Kizer and Malik Zaire can both play at a high level. That isnt necessarily the case elsewhere. The Irish have holes to fill at linebacker, along the offensive and defensive lines, at defensive back and at receiver.Most of those vying for starting positions dont have a lot of experience.Its a balance of some guys that have played a lot of football and have had success with some young players, Kelly said. The balance at times would make you leery, and at times is very exciting. Because theres a lot of talent on this football team.Enough balance, Kelly believes, to compete to be a playoff team.We dont have a conference championship. So everything that we work toward is to be one of those four teams, Kelly said.A key factor in that is expected to be quarterback play. Kelly said the competition between Kizer, the returning starter, and Zaire, who was the starter last season until breaking his right ankle in the second game, is close. Kelly has said he doesnt know when he will make a decision and hasnt ruled out using both players. He said both have looked sharp in practice and neither has an advantage. Kelly said coaches already know what each can do.So every day is not, `All right, what did you see to decide about Malik, or, `What did you see thats going to help you decide on Kizer? We already know about them, he said. Its really about focusing the offensive play calls and the offense we want to run through Malik and focusing the play calls we want to run through Kizer. Thats really what we want to do right now.REPLACING JAYLONOne of the biggest questions is who will replace weakside linebacker Jaylon Smith, who led the team with 114 tackles last season. Sophomore Asmar Bilal, who didnt play as a freshman, appeared to have the early edge, but Kelly said Thursday that junior Greer Martini, who started four games last season and had 35 tackles, and sophomore Tevon Coney have moved ahead of him.DOUBLE-DIGIT WINSThe Irish have won 10 or more games in a season twice in six seasons under Brian Kelly, including going 10-3 last season. The Irish did it once in five seasons under Charlie Weis, once in three seasons under Tyrone Willingham and failed to do it in five seasons under Bob Davie. The Irish will be trying to win at least 10 games in back-to-back seasons for the first time since doing it three straight seasons 1991-93 under Lou Holtz, whose teams accomplished that feat five times in 11 seasons.YOUTH MOVEMENTAmong the freshmen Kelly expects to help this season are: receivers Javon McKinley, Chase Claypool, Kevin Stepherson, defensive backs Donte Vaughn, Tony Pride Jr. and Julian Love, Devin Studstill and tailback Tony Jones Jr.KEY GAMESThe Irish open the season on the road at Texas on Sunday night, Sept. 4, but the Irish will likely be favored coming off their season-opening 38-3 victory last season. The toughest games are expected to be at home against Michigan State on Sept. 17, against Stanford on Oct. 15 and at USC in the final regular-season game on Nov. 26.PREDICTIONKelly appears to have the Irish rolling, and this years schedule doesnt appear to be as difficult as those in recent years: 10-2. Zack Greinke Jersey . LOUIS -- Attorneys for the St. Jarrod Dyson Jersey . Gather a group of friends, or find a league to join online, draft your team, set your lineup and compete in a number of different formats. http://www.diamondbacksteamshop.com/Diamondbacks-Curt-Schilling-Kids-Jersey/ . World champions Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov of Russia won the gold medal with 237.71 points, Moore-Towers and Moscovitch followed at 208.45 and Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov of Russia were third at 187. Randy Johnson Jersey . With the short-handed Warriors needing help from someone -- anyone -- to stop a three-game skid, ONeal returned from right knee and groin injuries that had sidelined him for four games and put up season highs with 18 points and eight rebounds. It was just enough to help lift Golden State to a 102-101 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday night. Ketel Marte Jersey .J. -- Marty Brodeur beat the Pittsburgh Penguins yet again. HIGH POINT, N.C. -- Andre Fox scored 20 points on 7-of-12 shooting and High Point held off UNC Greensboro 63-57 on Friday night to open the High Point University Classic.Miles Bowman Jr. scored 12 points, Jamal Wright added 11 and the Panthers (2-1) never trailed.Wrights 3-pointer early in the second half sparked a 9-0 run in which Austin White also hit a 3 and the Panthers led 44-34. Fox followed up his steal with a one-handed dunk and the Panthers were up 55-42 with 6:39 left. Diante BBaldwins 3-pointer with 21 seconds to go pulled the Spartans (1-2) to within 57-61, but they got no closer.ddddddddddddWright had five points, four assists and a steal to help High Point take a 26-23 halftime lead.Baldwin scored 17 points for UNC Greensboro and Francis Alonso added 11.Navy and North Dakota State are also playing in the round-robin HPU Classic. ' ' '