A year has passed and Notre Dame football coach Brian Kelly is growing philosophical.

"It's a lot different in year two for us," Kelly told the press this week. "Last year at this time, we had names taped to the helmets and we weren't really certain about a lot of the positions. We clearly had to hit the ground running because we had to get our systems installed."

As though to underline Kelly's words the Fighting Irish opened their spring practice week with renewed determination.

Last year, the status of Dayne Crist, Notre Dame's natural leader, fell into doubt over his health due to an injured knee. This spring he's once again coming off a season-ending injury, and his status as favorite has dimmed.

"I'm expecting a competitive evaluation," Kelly said, referring to the star quarterback's chances. "So we can leave the spring saying that we have a better idea of who the starter may be."

Now that talented new blood has entered the picture, Crist's all but assured place in the starting lineup has been complicated. It remains to be seen what Kelly will decide.