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Isaiah Foskey: new roles, same mentality

| Friday, September 10, 2021

Though the defense did not perform at their normal level, junior Isaiah Foskey posted a breakout performance in the Irish’s matchup against FSU on Sunday. His eight tackles and two sacks made him a force to be reckoned with on the field, demonstrating his versatility as a player. Foskey said that he believes himself to be multifaceted in the coverage and rushing aspects of the game, and he is excited about his changing role this season. For Foskey, with these changes at hand, it is all about the mindset going forward.

“I’m way more comfortable than I was,” Foskey said of the new dynamic. “I was more concerned with covering, but now I’m excited when I see a tight end and I’m about to cover it. I already know I can stick with it, put my hands on him and stay with him.”

With this change of pace under Marcus Freeman comes the added role of linebacker for Foskey. The defensive line underwent significant alterations this season; key players like Daelin Hayes and Ade Ogundeji took their leave from the program, creating spaces for new players to fill, Foskey included. The junior said that though he has never played the position of linebacker before, he thinks he did well in his first showing, attributing his comfort level to the countless repetitions performed in practice.

“I can just see it and react off of it,” he said. This added aspect of his game only increases his potential on the field. With the ability to shift gears, the possibilities of Foskey making integral plays rises substantially.

“I can cover now,” Foskey said. “I do a lot more covering, and I rush a lot, and I’m usually in on third down, so I always have my opportunities to rush the quarterback.”

These rushes proved successful on Sunday, as Foskey had two of the five sacks that night. He described the game as moving slowly for him, allowing him to see the openings he needed to make these important plays. He knows that the rest of the defensive line will cover him when he acts on this, noting that someone is going to be free to help. This is a testament to the capacity of the defense on a whole. Foskey said that they take advantage of this, jointly playing off of the confusion of the opposing offense at the several different fronts the Irish can pose.

“It was a great collective win that we put on,” Foskey said. “It wasn’t just me who had a great game.”

Moving onto the rest of the season, Foskey continues to attribute the success of the team to the shared and individual mentalities of the players. Especially for the defense, who are looking to get back to how they are used to playing, a positive and determined mindset will be essential in the coming months.

The team has a quicker turnaround than usual this week, as they lost an extra day of practice due to the game being played on Sunday. Foskey said it is all about pushing through everything and focusing on the task at hand. 

“Soreness always goes away,” he said. “I feel like we are all physically ready to play, and mentally it’s all just something that we all just have to set our minds to. But I feel like we’re going to get progressively to that.”

With the match against Toledo on the horizon, Foskey’s mind already has a sole focus: Saturday’s game.

“We’re just moving forward from Florida State right now, just focusing on Toledo and trying to dominate Toledo right now,” he said. 

That is the mentality of the season: to dominate every game. For this weekend, Toledo’s offensive line and left tackle will prove formidable opponents for the Irish defense, but Foskey is excited about the challenge and the opportunity to go up against them. He is seeking to take the experience against FSU and use it as fuel to elevate their performances even higher against their next rival.

“We have the same mindset, doing the same stuff, just doing it even better right now,” he said.

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About Emily DeFazio

Emily is a senior at the University of Notre Dame majoring in History and minoring in Italian and Digital Marketing. She serves as an Associate Sports Editor at The Observer.

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