It’s become a theme among Notre Dame football players this week.
With the hype surrounding the Fighting Irish is at a season-high after the team’s dominant wins over Boston College, Michigan State, and Miami (Ohio), defensive end Daelin Hayes echoed the sentiment voiced by running back Josh Adams on Wednesday.
The Fighting Irish aren’t satisfied. They’re hungry to find ways to improve.
In Hayes’ case, that applies to both the team and himself as an individual. Despite a solid start to the season in which he has accumulated 12 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, a sack and a forced fumble, the sophomore told Matt Freeman of Irish Sports Daily that he’s eager to improve.
“The end goal to be a dominant and first-round defensive end,” Hayes said. “Am I that now? No.
“I don’t have to be, but I have to work that process. I have to be intentional each day and coming in with an attitude to get better.”
Hayes said he has learned about that process of getting better through two of his mentors: Notre Dame defensive line coach Mike Elston and, of course, his mother, Lakeshia Neal.
“She sits me down and tells me that we live in a society where you want everything right now,” Hayes said. “You want to make the big play, be dominant and this or that all right now.
“There is a process to it. You have to work that process each day. Being a completely dominant player, it takes time. I’m in a season of working the process and doing what I can do to help my team.”
While the Notre Dame defensive line as a whole has been solid this season, drawing extensive praise from North Carolina head coach Larry Fedora in advance of the Tar Heels’ Week 6 matchup with the Irish, Hayes said his teammates on the line have a similar mindset to his.
They have embraced the process of getting better and are constantly looking for ways to improve.
“Everybody has a desire to be their best. Everybody wants to be the best they can be,” Hayes said. “Guys are coming in hungry and working their process. It’s huge.”