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New assistants bring 'practice what you preach' mentality to sidelines

NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- With only two and half weeks until the Fighting Irish kick-off 2017, the expectations of a bounce-back season are bigger than ever!

A host of new coaching assistants under Head Coach Brian Kelly were faced with those expectations right from the opening of camp.

Coach Kelly’s complete overhaul included bringing in new Offensive and Defensive Coordinators, Chip Long and Mike Elko and Special Teams and Strength and Conditioning Coaches Brian Polian and Matt Balis.

For this incoming staff, its ‘practice what you preach.’

Balis said Coach Kelly told him the bounce back on the field would only take place by gains off of it!

“I want them to compete. I want them to learn how to lead. And live the traits. Live the traits talked about which are laser focus, attention to detail, grit, smart, attitude,” said Balis.

The Irish gave up more than 30 points on five different occasions last season.

Coach Elko says he is not focused on the undoing last season, but more on the middle of his defense and executing the fundamentals which started in the weight room.

“That’s all we talk about. We talk about what we want to be and our vision for where we want this to go. Matt did great. Getting those guys stronger and faster. Getting them in great shape so we can push them,” said Elko.

On the other side of the ball, Long will be calling the plays on offense in 2017.

“We are gonna have to play fast, play physical and we are gonna finish everything we do. Coach Kelly likes that. It’s the culture he wants. So I think it’s been a good mesh and we expect our quarterback to have it as well,” said Long.

Next up for the Irish a scrimmage on Sunday at Notre Dame Stadium beginning at 3 p.m. followed by media day.

Fans are invited to the scrimmage.

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