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Freshman quarterback Gunner Kiel impresses in first practice

March 21, 2012|by Pete Byrne (pmbyrne@wsbt.com)

NOTRE DAME - Gunner Kiel has a chance to be the starting quarterback at Notre Dame.  But day one of spring practice is all about baby steps for the Irish freshman.

"For him it's just understanding the language", Brian Kelly said when asked of his impressions of Kiel's first day. 
"Right now that's a bit overwhelming for him.  But when we can get him comfortable, he's got all the tools".

That much was evident to players and coaches alike.  Kiel spent most of day one participating in individual drills, while his more experienced teammates Tommy Rees and Andrew Hendrix split the first team reps and Everett Golson worked with the 2nd team offense.

But while the freshman needs time to get acclimated to the demands of the position in college, there's no denying Gunner Kiel is a special talent.

"He's a very talented young man", Kelly says.  "He isn't rated that way because he's not.  He's extremely talented.  And he's got something that the other three quarterbacks don't.  He's 6-foot-4.  When you've got that size it allows you to see some things."

"Great touch.  Great arm strength", Irish running back Theo Riddick praised.  "(Kiel) looked very good.  All of them did.  I love the competition right now.  Let the best man win."

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