Sporting a knee brace on his left knee instead of his right, Dayne Crist looked just fine as he returned to practice for the first time since a second season-ending knee injury last October.
Crist, no longer the clear cut starting quarterback, rotated with Tommy Rees at the #1 QB position in Notre Dame's first practice of the spring Wednesday morning indoors at the Loftus Center.
Crist, who was injured heading into spring practice last year as well, is head of schedule again and while he's not limited in many ways, he can do almost everything his coaches need him to do.
"It's very similar to last year," Kelly said about Dayne's availability physically. "He took a lot of reps and obviously he's so much further along in terms of development end of where to put the football."
"He did a good job and it's going to be fun going through this process of determining the starting quarterback."
As the Irish took the field for the opening series of the spring, Crist was running the show with Cierre Wood in the backfield and Theo Riddick, TJ Jones and John Goodman at wide receiver.
Noticeably missing from the starting core was standout Michael Floyd, who is serving an indefinite suspension following a DUI arrest early Sunday morning.
Within two plays of Crist running the first team, Tommy Rees replaced him. Now wearing #11 instead of #13, Rees took the helm for the next two plays of the series.
When the first team was out again -- Rees started first, with Dayne replacing him. They're even from the start.
When Crist went down last year against Tulsa, the then freshman Rees replaced him and led Notre Dame to a 4-0 record as a starter--including a victory in the Sun Bowl.
Andrew Hendrix and early enrollee Everett Golson rotated at quarterback with the 2nd and 3rd teams. It didn't take long for Golson to show off his speed during the 30 minute viewing period.
The Irish even have a new tool to help them evaluate the quarterbacks with a video camera on their helmets that allows coaches to see what the players are looking at.
Crist wore the helmet on Wednesday and Kelly said Dayne couldn't even tell it was---because of how light weight the device is.
Wednesday marked the first of 16 spring practices, culminating with the Blue/Gold Game on April 16. The Irish will practice every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday in the mornings.