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Notre Dame Football 2012: Irish Expect Running Backs To Carry Offense Early

For the first time in years, the Irish offense may be powered in 2012 by its backfield.

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The Notre Dame Fighting Irish have been defined by their passing game dating back to the Charlie Weis years, but that may change in 2012. The Irish enter the season with as many questions at the quarterback and wide receiver positions as they've had in recent memory, but there is a stable of solid backs that could be the focal point of Brian Kelly's offense. Kelly, though, expects those three backs— George Atkinson III, Theo Riddick and Cierre Wood— to play all over the field, even where a wideout would traditionally play.

"We're going to play all of our backs," coach Brian Kelly said last week. "When we talk about all of our backs, they're playing both wide receiver, slot position, we can move them anywhere on the field as well as play the running back position."

(via CSN)

Wood, most notably, may set the standard for how Kelly wants to utilize his backs. Wood came to Notre Dame as a running back, but shifted to wide receiver when Kelly took over but may see a sharp increase in his carries in 2012.

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