Sports

Notre Dame seeking more aggressive mindset under new defensive coordinator VanGorder

FILE - In this Jan. 14, 2013, file photo, Brian Van Gorder talks to the media during a news conference introducing him as Notre Dame's new defensive coordinator in South Bend, Ind. Notre Dame defensive players say their heads are swimming learning a new system, a new terminology and for some new positions, but say the one thing they understand for sure is new defensive coordinator VanGorder wants them to be more aggressive. (AP Photo/Joe Raymond, File)

FILE - In this Jan. 14, 2013, file photo, Brian Van Gorder talks to the media during a news conference introducing him as Notre Dame's new defensive coordinator in South Bend, Ind. Notre Dame defensive players say their heads are swimming learning a new system, a new terminology and for some new positions, but say the one thing they understand for sure is new defensive coordinator VanGorder wants them to be more aggressive. (AP Photo/Joe Raymond, File)  (The Associated Press)

Notre Dame safety Austin Collinsworth says spring practice has felt like three straight weeks of final exams.

Defensive players say they are struggling as they learn a new system, new terminology and, for some, new positions. But one thing they understand is new defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder wants them to be more aggressive.

Cornerback KeiVarae (kee-var-AY) Russell says the Irish are switching from a bend-but-don't break mentality to an attacking mindset. VanGorder believes the defense needs to take control by being aggressive.

The Irish have used a 4-3 defense in nearly all practices the media have been allowed to attend, and VanGorder says Notre Dame will continue to switch between the 3-4 and 4-3 defenses as it has in recent years. VanGorder says he's still trying to evaluate what works best.