The 2012 season may not have ended the way Notre Dame had hoped, but there was certainly a lot to build on for the folks in South Bend that happened before the Fighting Irish arrived in South Florida. Notre Dame produced a 12-0 record that included the Irish's first sweep of its Big Ten rivals since 2002, an impressive (if not controversial) defeat of Stanford, a 17-point besting of Oklahoma in Norman and the team's second straight win over USC in Los Angeles. There was also a second-ranked defense led by 2012 FootballScoop Defensive Coordinator of the Year Bob Diaco and an offense that found a playmaker in quarterback Everett Golson (2,703 yards of total offense, 18 total touchdowns).
But now it's time to wipe the 2012 season away and begin anew.
Fourth-year head coach Brian Kelly was asked why his team can't simply rebuild and must start over.
"We're definitely building on the habits, we're definitely building on all the things that it takes to be successful," Kelly said. "What we're talking about is a different collection of players and where we are this year relative to who those playmakers are going to be on both sides of the ball. That's the identity we're talking about.
"We're not losing all of the things we built over the last three years. That's in place. That's the foundation. This is more about the 2013 team more so than it is the program. That's the difference between the two."
Kelly, entering his 23rd year as a head coach spread across four schools, Kelly was asked if complacency is an enemy teams following successful seasons must battle.
"If you say we're going to roll out the ball and this is who we are, there's a chance that could happen. Having done it for as long as I have, we wouldn't let that happen," said Kelly.