Chicago Sun-Times
with Mark Lazerus

Gray satisfied with progress

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One of the biggest question marks heading into training camp was the backup running back position, where Jonas Gray needed to prove that he can not only be a reliable backup to Cierre Wood but also be the physical runner that Robert Hughes was for the Irish last season.

So far, so good, at least as far as Gray is concerned. 

"I definitely think I accomplished a lot of things," Gray said of training camp. "One of the things I wanted to do was become a more physical player. I did that. Just taking the mentality to practice every day to be a physical player, a physical runner, and knowing how to protect my body when I do that, too. I accomplished a lot. I'm very confident with the offense."

Coach Brian Kelly could not have been more clear when he said earlier this the week that Gray's role will contract or expand based on his production. The senior got the message.

"Yes, I am," Gray said when asked if he was comfortable with his role. "I believe in coach Kelly's ability to put us in position to win. I'm down with whatever he's down with."

Although Wood and Gray are expected to carry the bulk of the load, freshman George Atkinson III and Cam McDaniel can also expect carries.

"They both do a lot of things well," Gray said. "They both have a thirst for knowledge and they both are very smart players. They don't mind asking the tough questions and they push us, too."

Kelly has been pleased to see both upperclassman mentoring the freshmen. 

"I would not have said that Cierre would be a very good teacher but he's been very good with the young guys," Kelly said. "He really [has]. Just going back to [Wednesday] where he helped on a couple reads with pass protection. He's been good. Jonas has been really good. They know they need those two guys."

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This page contains a single entry by Neil Hayes published on August 25, 2011 10:24 AM.

Rees will still get plenty of work in practice was the previous entry in this blog.

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