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Notre Dame Football

Pressure and Sacks Are Nice, But Notre Dame DE Isaiah Foskey Wants Turnovers

September 17, 2020

Isaiah Foskey was a name that Notre Dame fans were excited about dating back to last year. 

The 6-foot-4, 257-pounder got spot time against New Mexico, Bowling Green and Duke in 2019, but it wasn't until the regular-season finale that he shined. 

Foskey blocked a Stanford punt and Justin Ademilola recovered it inside the Stanford three.


"That play was a lot of fun," laughed Foskey. "It was basically the turning point of the Stanford game. It was just great to get the team back into motion and get the offense and defense back into motion. It was just a great moment and perfect timing for everything just to turn around. 

"It was great just to get that blocked punt and have Justin recover it and have everyone celebrating on the sideline. Everyone's heartbeat was back up." 

The California native once again gave Notre Dame momentum last weekend in the 27-13 win over Duke. 

Foskey had critical red zone pressures and his first sack in the first half to light a fire under the Irish.

"At first, I didn't even know it was a sack until I went to the sideline," stated Foskey. "They were reviewing it. It was electric. It was fun being out there and trying to make plays. 

"Coach Lea and Coach Elston put me in the right position to make plays. I was just doing my job. One of 11."

Now, if we're being honest, Foskey didn't have to do too much as he was left unblocked several times throughout the day. 

Lea and Elston had told Foskey before the game that could very well happen and to attack. 

"I don't expect anyone to try that again, but Coach Lea and Coach Elston, they put me in the right position," explained Foskey. "They told me during practice throughout the whole week that someone, one of the going defensive ends, is going to be unblocked on some of these plays and I was lucky to be the one that was unblocked. 

"They told us not to hesitate. Just go straight and beeline right to the quarterback. They just made the right call for the situation and it worked out."

Pressures and sacks are good, but Foskey wants more. 

"Coach Lea has this turnover circuit and we work on trying to go for the ball," Foskey said. "That's exactly what I'm looking for, the ball and the guy, trying to get a turnover or bat the ball down or get the ball up in the air, so we can get an interception for anybody who can grab it. That's just me. 

"I'm going straight for the ball. If I get this sack, I get the sack, but I am trying to go for the ball and get a turnover and get us off the field."

However, to cause havoc and turnovers, Foskey had to put in the work during the offseason.

The focus wasn't so much to improve athletically, but rather on his hands. 

"Using my hands is mostly just me getting extension because that's the problem I had last year," stated Foskey. "Not getting extension or keeping the guys too close to me. 

"That's exactly what me and Ade (Ogundeji), when we came back here in the summer, that's what me and Ade were working on. Trying to get extension, using our hands in pass-rush, not trying to let a guy punch you and not trying to let them get our hands on us or having them grab us. 

"We were working moves like that and working moves on each other. We would record each other, see what we did wrong, and try and improve from there."

Foskey has no problem putting in the work as that's why he chose the Irish program and why he decided to play defensive end over tight end. 

"To me, tight end is pretty fun to play, like when you're catching the ball or making a big block," Foskey explained. "But defensive end for me, it just comes more natural. You can make a big play on defense and it's a lot more electric for the fans or the people on the sideline. 

"To me, that's more electric like when you get a sack or get a fumble and get everyone off the field. That's more electric than catching a touchdown, even though it's pretty fun and you get the glory and fame for catching a touchdown. I feel like defensive end is a position that I like."

And yes, Foskey believes the defensive ends can be more productive in 2020 despite losing Khalid Kareem and Julian Okwara to the NFL. 

"We just have to listen to the coaches," said Foskey. "That's exactly what Julian and Khalid and Jamir, all the people that left last year, that's exactly what they did. 

"Listen to the coaches. So, that's exactly what we have to do now. We still have Daelin and Ade. They were here last year, coming back as fifth years, so we're not losing any momentum coming back this year."

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