2014 looks to be a season for the Irish where new faces will emerge on defense along with a new coach.
Every down players like Jaylon Smith are being tweeked to move inside which conjurs up thoughts VanGorder has designs on a 'moving parts' theory for his crop of players this season.
One face that remains familiar with Irish faithful and will remain one of the non moving parts- litterally- is Sheldon Day.
In what will fast become a need as far as dominant play goes- Day is one player the Notre Dame coaching staff will not have to work on very much where his role will come into play.
Leadership will also be a role Day may acquire as spring and summer rolls on and Coach Brian Kelly admits as much.
Where Notre Dame may have lacked the most last year was a voice for other players even though cogs like Stephon Tuitt and Louis Nix were present but it's a door Day can knock down and must:
"He's not going to stand in front. He's not Kapron Lewis-Moore his senior year, that guy stands in front and you're going to listen," Kelly said. "He's not there yet, but he's certainly showing us the consistency."
"What we're asking from Sheldon Day is to give us the same Sheldon Day every single day," Kelly said. "And that's the first step."
To expect that Day will perform in 'Irish Chocolate' fashion may be a bit extreme.
Even during an injury plagued year in 2013- Day still managed to put up 26 tackles in the final 7 games.
His play is without question.
But what will be seen as oppurtunity with the departures of Tuitt and Nix to the NFL for other players to step up- Day is more suited for the role since he has seen action since his freshman year along with time in the National Championship game in 2012.
It will be something Day will have to recognize himself.
Accepting the role as a Notre Dame player is one tough task enough.
To become the leader others desire of you is another story.
Sheldon Day has never left any doubt since arriving in South Bend as to his role and what he can do on the defensive line.
At Warren Central- Day was a man among boys.
Now-he is on the verge of becoming not only a 'Next Man In' for Brian Kelly, but could very well be 'the man' in 2014 for the Irish.