Fasano Knows It's His Time

The tight end position appears to be one of the deepest positions on the Irish team. The group is led by its leader, Anthony Fasano, who at 6'4", 257 lbs., will be a nice target for Brady Quinn and new coach Charlie Weis's offense. Fasano likes the attitude that the multiple Super Bowl champion coach brings to South Bend.

"I think he does a real good job of defining that line fine between confidence and cockiness," Fasano said at Media Day. "I think the way he runs practices and camp is like a psychology game for the players. I think that brings confidence before success.

"I don't think you can compare last year because it's totally different. I think by the times we play games, we're going to be thinking as one and everyone is going to have confidence going into every game.

"He just gives all the players confidence in his play calling and put us all in the best situations possible to win. I think that's what builds confidence. He has been around a lot longer than me. I'm going to take his word for it."

Fasano, a redshirt junior, comes into the season with some national hype. After a sophomore season that saw him catch 27 balls for 367 yards and 4 touchdowns, including a career-high 8 catches for 155 yards versus Purdue, he was named to the John Mackey Award Watch list for the best tight end in the country. Fasano can sense this is the time to shine.

"This is the first year I really feel like a veteran," Fasano said. "I feel like it's my spot and I really have a great chance to contribute to this team. I feel a little more added weight on my shoulders but I like that."

The coach for the tight ends is former NFL player and coach, Bernie Parmalee. He spent last season with the Miami Dolphins as the tight ends coach, where he has been his entire three-year coaching career. Parmalee says Fasano's production will be based on a week-to-week basis.

"It all depends on the game plan," Parmalee said. "Every game is different. I'm pretty sure everybody wants to be involved. Coach Weis has a nice system and gets everybody the ball."

Coach Weis used a word in his introductory press conference last winter that caught on with a lot of fans: "nasty." Along with this attribute, Parmalee wants his guys to come to practice every day with a pride in their work ethic.

"I look for a tough, strong player, who comes to work everyday, cares about what he does, and wants to go out there and compete and win," Parmalee said. "We're going to work hard and I expect that to carry over in the game."

With all the preseason publicity for Fasano and the comparisons to former Notre Dame great tight end, Mark Bavaro, dreams of an NFL career are not out of the question. With the NFL experience of the coaching staff, specifically his position coach Parmalee's career, it helps Fasano and his fellow tight ends deal with the added publicity.

"Just having a guy with experience and who knows about the game…it goes a lot further when you're hearing from a guy who has been there and done it all before you," Fasano said. "This tight end group is trying to take it all in and learn as much as we can.

"I would like to sit down and talk to him outside of football. When the time comes (for the NFL), he's going to be a great resource. It's a great training technique to go where I want to go."

For now, all focus is on the season at hand and making Notre Dame a winner in 2005. Fasano says that the team took a huge step in the summer with a great conditioning program led by strength and conditioning coach, Ruben Mendoza. The preseason fall camp will be an important piece of the puzzle if this team wants to succeed.

"We just need everyone to come together," Fasano said. "I think that's the biggest part of camp is getting all the fundamentals down and have one philosophy going into the season.

"In spring ball we made a lot of progress. I think this camp is very important for us. I think we are headed in the right direction."

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