Sometimes, you just have to go for it.
That’s what Notre Dame defensive end Isaiah Foskey did this summer when his teammate Kurt Hinish took him to a summer workout with Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald.
Foskey said they didn’t go to the gym with the intention of meeting up with Donald but Hinish knew he’d be there. Donald played college football at Pittsburgh, which is where Hinish is from.
Foskey cornered Donald after the workout and picked his brain.
“It was surreal seeing him in person,” Foskey said. “He’s way bigger in person than he is on TV. I asked a lot of questions.”
Foskey took away one key from his meeting with Donald.
Don’t try to do too much.
“I asked him what his game plan was going into a game,” Foskey said. “He said, ‘It’s simple, just come up with two moves and counter off those moves. What he does is fantastic.”
Foskey decided to use the same philosophy.
“I’ve simplified what I do,” he said. “I have a good swipe and a chop.”
Foskey played well in Notre Dame’s 41-38 overtime victory over Florida State on Sunday. He finished with eight tackles, two sacks and two tackles for losses.
The attacking defense that first year defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman implemented is a good fit for the 6-5, 260-pound junior linebacker. Foskey plays a hybrid position called the Vyper. He drops back and covers running backs and receivers in pass coverage, but he also rushes the quarterback more than a traditional linebacker would.
It’s a position with plenty of freedom.
Last year, Foskey was strictly a defensive end. Foskey said he just got used to playing the Vyper position in the middle of fall camp.
When he was a defensive end, Foskey just focused on the quarterback and whoever was blocking him. At the Vyper position, Foskey has to keep his eyes on the whole field.
“I have to watch everything now,” he said. “I do a lot more pass coverage. I get to use my athleticism more. My potential is very high. I can show my versatility in covering (receivers) and rushing (the quarterback).”
After a good first quarter, the defense struggled against FSU, giving up 38-points and 264 yards rushing. There were too many missed tackles. Foskey said the defense will be better against Toledo, and it wasn’t the scheme that failed.
“We have to execute better,” he said. “It’s the idea of focusing and then refocusing on every play.“
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