When you play a sport long enough at any level, eventually practice becomes a dreaded event that has to be a part of the schedule, something that must be endured in order to perform and remain competitive. It’s funny how even the small things are missed once they are no longer an option.

Three carries into the opener against Texas last year, the season was over for Tarean Folston due to suffering a torn ACL in his right knee. Since that moment, Folston has had a needed attitude adjustment towards the game he loves and every aspect that comes with it, including practice.

Notre Dame began practice Saturday and Folston couldn’t wait to be a part of the action.

Notre Dame running back Tarean Folston heads to the end zone with a touchdown in the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013, in South Bend, Ind. (AP Photo/Joe Raymond)
 (AP Photo/Joe Raymond)

During a footwork drill in the early going, Folston tripped over a pad that made up part of the course. The incident was nothing to worry about, simply getting back in the groove. Footwork has always been an impressive skill for Folston and was a key ingredient of his 2014 season when he rushed for 889 yards.

Folston showed up for practice at 220 pounds, intending to have a body ready to take a pounding this season. He showed up feeling great, not even wearing a brace on his right knee, a huge improvement after wearing a green jersey for the Blue-Gold game last spring, allowing him to avoid contact.

The running back will use his explosiveness and ability to get outside this season to make the most of every carry. He  will also have the luxury of a 6-foot-2, 220-pound back-up in Josh Adams when there are tough yards that can only be gained up the middle.

Folston is not concerned with what could have been last year if he hadn’t been injured. His only focus is getting 2016 underway and being as productive as he can in order to put the Fighting Irish in a position to play in the College Football Playoff this season.

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