If all it takes is for a team to believe it will win, Notre Dame will go undefeated this season.
"We have a lot of expectations from people talking," admitted senior Quarterback Tony Sestito. "We expect to be undefeated with a state championship."
Irish Head Coach Sam Alvaro said his receivers will be well prepared. They always are. Coach Alvaro is excited about his skill position players and is expecting big things out of Sestito.
"His arm strength has improved almost double, which I've never seen that in one year," remarked Coach Alvaro. "I mean, throwing 40 yard balls to throwing them 65 plus now. He's really worked hard in the off season and our other kids have too, our line, everybody's really put the time in this year."
A strong passing game has always been a trademark of Notre Dame football but Coach Alvaro said this year the line will be the team's strength.
"Defensively wise, we're not going to wait on it anymore. We're getting after it. The kids are expected to come up and hit people and play hard," stated Coach Alvaro. "On offense I think it's going to be a little bit more balanced this year, so it's not going to be so much just passing like we had in the past. So it's going to be more 50/50 and I think it's going to be exciting."
"Well hopefully on defense we're shutting people out and holding people to one or two scores a game," said Sestito. "Offensively we just do what we've got to do. I see it hard for us to lose."
The Irish consider the 2011 season disappointing and no one, coaches or players, want to see a repeat. Sestito admits Notre Dame had trouble finishing in the fourth quarter, that's where most of the losses came. Sestito said the team has been working to prevent that in 2012.
"Everybody's working real hard, getting faster, getting stronger, a lot of younger guys stepping up and getting there and getting in the weight room," explained Sestito. "So hopefully it pays off."
So what should fans know about the Irish in 2012? This Notre Dame team truly believes it's headed to Wheeling in December.
"Yeah we change some things up to keep it new and exciting for the kids. This year, we didn't have to do any of that. These kids have pressured us to put the time in and this and that so that's one of the key things that we feel like is going to get us over that hump to get us into the playoffs and hopefully down to Wheeling," said Coach Alvaro. "I really haven't seen this since 2003, as a group, when we were 9-1 and went to the playoffs for the first time."