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Notre Dame Football

Daelin Hayes: 'We don't have to beat around the bush anymore'

October 31, 2020

Notre Dame avoided a let down on Saturday as the Fighting Irish rolled over Georgia Tech 31-13. 

Brian Kelly and his team will tell you it wasn’t the best performance, but there’s no time to dwell on it as No. 1 Clemson is coming to South Bend next Saturday. 

“It's just an awesome opportunity,” Notre Dame captain Daelin Hayes said. “We don't have to beat around the bush anymore. It's Clemson week, baby. 

"We're going to work our butts off and stick to our process. I'm excited for our team to be ascending at this point." 

That work will start on Sunday afternoon as the Irish will have its ‘Mental Monday’ a day early as Tuesday will be an off day mandated by the NCAA for the election. 

Hayes knows his team will need to raise their level of preparation this week and it starts with him building off the last month as he’s locked in a little extra. 

It paid off for the Michigan native on Saturday as he recorded two sacks and now it’s time to add more over the next six days. 

"As far as practice, it's being consistent day in and day out,” explained Hayes. “Busting your butt, working your craft, extra meetings, spending extra time with the coaches. Anything you can do to give yourself an edge on Saturday, it always shows up in some form or fashion.

"I'm doing the best I can to prepare myself to be the best player I can be for my brothers on Saturday." 

Sacks have been hard to come by and yes, Hayes has seen the negative feedback when it comes to his production. However, it didn’t bother him and stayed patient.

“I feel a lot of people have been making a big deal about my production as far as being a pass rusher,” stated Hayes. ‘A lot of times, I've been winning. There have been wins. There have been times I've been close to the quarterback or had good rushes. Sometimes it doesn't play out. Those plays don't come to you. 

"That's part of being one of 11. As long as we're winning and we're playing great defense and guys are making plays, then there's nothing more you can ask for. 

"Today just happened to be one of those days where they came to me. I was excited. The first one is the sweetest, but also the hardest to get out of the way. Glad I could put that behind me and keep moving forward." 

Notre Dame will need to have all 11 guys on the same page next weekend and Hayes is confident it will happen because each individual cares about the guy next to him. 

“We go out and we play for each other,” said Hayes. “We love each other. We take that personally. The six points we gave up is six points too many in our minds. 

"We're going to go back and watch the film to see where we had our mistakes we have to clean up. We can't make any mistakes against Clemson next week. We want to be perfect. We want to be the best defense. We take it personally. We care about each other. We love each other.

"When you have that love and care factor, the sky is the limit for any group. We always say for the brotherhood. The six points we gave up, we didn't even want to give up that. Next week, we're going to lock in and we're going to put on our best and let the chips fall where they may." 

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