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Positive attitude focused on Syracuse prep

Joe Hettler | Wednesday, December 3, 2003

There’s a difference in a team’s attitude coming off a 50-point win, even if Tyrone Willingham doesn’t think so.”I think our guys have been pretty consistent and that’s a reflection of the coaching staff,” Willingham said. “The attitude is very strong and very positive and it’s remained like that all season.”But Notre Dame players were more confident during Tuesday’s practice, the team’s first since thrashing Stanford 57-7 Saturday. “The attitude is really upbeat,” defensive lineman Darrell Campbell said. “A lot of guys are feeling that swagger. We’re really anxious to play this game because it’s the last game and hopefully [we will] finish with a four-game winning streak.”The Irish couldn’t do anything wrong against the Cardinal, as they scored 57 points in the first three quarters before putting the second team in. Notre Dame hadn’t scored that many points since a 62-0 win against Rutgers in 1996.The victory gave Notre Dame confidence as they prepare for the Syracuse game.”[The win] lightens the attitude of everybody on the team and the stress load,” offensive lineman Bob Morton said.Now the team focuses its attention on a Syracuse team that is reeling, from a 24-7 loss to Rutgers. It was their third straight and put them at 5-6. Meanwhile, the Irish are riding a three-game winning streak after beating Navy, Brigham Young and Stanford. With one game left, Notre Dame would like nothing more than finishing the season at .500.”It’s a big game for us,” defensive end Justin Tuck said. “We have a chance to even our record at 6-6 and we know that we need to bring our ‘A’ game. I’m sure they want to go out with a good feeling in the off-season and so do we.”Morton said the team can still make the 2003 season a successful one by defeating Syracuse.”One thing we’ve always talked about is that we can make a stamp on our season,” Morton said. “We can be a legendary team too. You don’t have to be 12-0 to make an impact on football and that’s what we’re going with. If we turn the season around and we finish up strong this could be our stamp. This could be what we’re looking for.”