(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Lafayette's averaged six wins over the last three seasons, but the Irish believe the time to take the next step forward is this season. The team is suiting up 19 seniors.
"They've been a big part of the program even since they were freshmen," head coach Paul Woolard said. "A lot of them contributed when they were freshmen, so I'm excited to see them now as seniors."
"When we came up here with Coach Woolard, he knew we were good," senior wide receiver and outside linebacker Austin Day said. "But now it's time to prove that we're good. And it's time to prove that we are the best."
The Fighting Irish will try to do it with more of a balanced approach to the Wing-T offense, even though they averaged nearly ten yard per carry in 2011.
"If you are going to win later in the year in district time and in playoff time, it's really important that you are able to throw the football," Woolard said. "We've been working on it hard this summer and we feel pretty good about it."
And the players are ready.
"We're all for it," Day said. "We're all for whatever coach has planned for us. We're going to try to execute what he has on paper and hopefully it works."
The big hurdle Lafayette faces early in the season is injury at quarterback. Senior D'Treal Stone hurt his foot at a summer football camp at the University of Tulsa. That opened the door for sophomore Drew Cortez to get some experience with the first team, and show off his arm.
"I think that with a Wing-T type of offense, we have a quarterback that it a lot of times a game manager," Woolard said. "Drew Cortez has been able to step in and do a good job this summer. And both of those guys, they do different things."
One of the guys leading the way for Stone and Cortez is Foster Brown, an offensive and defensive lineman that transferred to Lafayette from Texas.
Brown's getting Division I looks from schools like Mizzou and Kansas State.
But before his college career takes off, he is looking forward to being a force on the Irish line.
"I like being able to block people where I want them to go," Brown said. "And them having no say about it."
The Irish are hoping to ride seniors like Brown and Day deep into the playoffs.