Saturday’s game against Purdue marks the beginning of a new year and new era for Notre Dame football, as Brian Kelly will participate in his first game as head coach of the Irish.
After several seasons failing to meet expectations, anticipation is running high amongst the student body for this football season.
Sophomore Alyssa Dammann said numerous new faces, including that of Kelly, are what excite her most about Saturday’s game.
“I’m excited to see how Brian Kelly brings it together. He seems like he knows how to use what he has with this team,” she said.
Dammann said the influx of new players makes this season feel different than the previous season.
“I’m more excited than I was last year,” she said. “This new year seems like a new era, with a lot of new faces playing against Purdue on Saturday.”
Freshman Christen McDonough also believes Kelly is capable of achieving great results with the football team.
“I thought Kelly was really exciting when he spoke at Freshman Orientation, and as an athlete I can definitely say that he would be a really cool coach to play for,” she said. “He seems really uplifting.”
Freshman Jay Dolan echoed McDonough’s sentiments, saying Kelly’s personality seems to be a strength he brings to the football program.
“I think with a new coach we’ll have a winning attitude, so we should do well this season,” he said.
As freshmen, McDonough and Dolan are excited for the new experience of attending an Irish football game as a member of the Notre Dame community.
“I attended one game in the past, but now I’m really excited to actually be part of the student section,” she said.
Dolan said being part of the student body means the game will be special for him.
“I have been to games before, but as a student it has to be a completely awesome and different experience,” he said.
Some, however, view the season with a more cautious optimism.
“I am excited to see what Coach Kelly will do with the team,” sophomore Mark Sonnik said. “However, I think that it will take some time to implement his football schemes.”
Sonnik said Saturday’s game would probably be a very competitive one because of the close final score of last year’s game against Purdue.
“I am hoping this will be a good year since it is my last one as a student,” senior Jake Pardo said. “I think that we will do better than we have the last few years.”
Pardo said in addition to a new coach, a lot of new faces on the field are what excite him about the team.
“We lost some key star players at the end of last year, but the players that have replaced them this year seem pretty good,” he said.
Pardo was a little more optimistic for his last home opener.
“It’s Purdue. We’re going to win easily.”