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Competition remains tight at RB for Notre Dame

Updated: September 3, 2013 11:18PM



SOUTH BEND — Amir Carlisle got the first carry among Notre Dame running backs Saturday in the opener against Temple. And he promptly went 45 yards.

George Atkinson III was next. Cam McDaniel, Greg Bryant and Tarean Folston also had the opportunity to make an impression.

The Irish finished with 188 rushing yards in the 28-6 victory, but none of the backs pulled away from the pack in the tight competition.

“We’re not at that point where, later in the year last year we knew when we were going to close out the game, Theo Riddick was in the ballgame, and we’re not there yet,” Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said Tuesday. “We’re still searching for that. Everybody is going to have an opportunity to show that that’s their job.

“All of them are very versatile. They all can do the things that we’re asking them to do. We’re still searching for that guy to close out ballgames.”

Carlisle led the Irish with 68 yards on seven carries.

“I thought he started off well, obviously got the ball outside to the defense early on and showed some good acceleration. I thought he ran the ball inside hard without any hesitation at all,” Kelly said. “Let’s be patient with these guys. It’s going to take some time. He hasn’t played in a couple years.”

Carlisle, a transfer from Southern California, didn’t play last season after suffering an ankle injury.

McDaniel had 65 yards on 12 carries against the Owls. Atkinson, Folston and Bryant finished with 34, 14 and 12 yards, respectively. Atkinson had one touchdown.

“All these guys are really new at the position in the sense that they just need more time. I think they’re all accomplished. They’re all going to be really good players for us. It’s just going to take us some time. But I thought (Carlisle) got off to a good start,” Kelly said.

“They all have confidence that they can do the jobs that we’re asking them to do, including Greg Bryant and Tarean Folston. I thought they all went in there and showed that they can help us, but we’re not going to answer the questions about who’s one, who’s two, who’s three, four, five. It’s going to take us a few weeks before we get to that.”

Notes: Notre Dame is ranked No. 14 and Michigan is No. 17 in the latest Associated Press top 25 poll released Tuesday. … Kelly said wide receiver DaVaris Daniels would practice Tuesday. He suffered a “slight groin” injury Saturday against Temple. … Third-string quarterback Malik Zaire has not been cleared, as of Tuesday. Last week, Kelly said the freshman was recovering from mononucleosis.



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