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Notre Dame Football

Notre Dame LB Jack Kiser Always Ready

September 19, 2020

Jack Kiser was on the scout team on Tuesday and Wednesday preparing the Notre Dame offense for South Florida. 

Plans quickly changed when Notre Dame found out Buck linebackers Marist Liufau and Shayne Simon were unavailable for Saturday's game. 

Kiser was promoted to the starter at Buck on Saturday morning and knew it his time to step up. 

"You always have to be ready," Kiser said, following Notre Dame's 52-0 win. "Playing on scout team, your goal is always to make it up and get to the next level. When I found out, it was a mentality of 'let's go.'

"I knew the game plan and that's one thing Coach (Clark) Lea does a really good job of during the week. He makes sure every guy in the room knows the game plan no matter if you're going to scout team or not." 

The Royal Center (Ind.) native grew up 72.4 miles away from Notre Dame, so signing with the Fighting Irish was a big deal, especially for a town without a stoplight. 

"Notre Dame is the peak of the mountain in terms of college football and especially in Indiana," Kiser stated. "Wearing the golden helmet - those are dreams of many kids in the state of Indiana. 

"To put the helmet on, walk down the staircase and get on the field, then actually to take live snaps, contribute to the defense and contribute to a win - that's amazing. To get the game ball, you just don't think things like that will happen to you." 

Kiser earned the game ball by making eight tackles (7 solo), two tackles for loss and one hurry. 

The shutout might have been impressive, but head coach Brian Kelly was also impressed with the reaction to Kiser earning the game ball. 

"Jack Kiser was given the game ball for his play, and the reaction in the locker room was pretty impressive," said Kelly. "I think everybody was excited
when he got the game ball."

Kiser was quick to credit his teammates for sticking with him and being by his side on Saturday. 

"It's about the guys in the locker room," explained Kiser. "When they found out during the whole game, they are always right there supporting me and having my back. That just gives you all the confidence in the world." 

Yet, it was still a moment that left him speechless.

"I don't know," said Kiser when asked what it meant to get the game ball. "It's confirmation that all the hard work, working in the shadows - the guys in the locker room see that. It was just great. It was awesome to hear that." 

The redshirt freshman linebacker also was quick to give credit to Lea for making sure he was ready. 

"It's just the way Coach Lea coaches and the mindset that the team has," Kiser said. "Next man up. Always be ready. Whether that's staying late after practice and getting work in. Whether that's bouncing questions off guys in the locker room. 'Hey, I heard we switched this up this week. Can you explain that a little bit more?' Just little stuff like that. 

"The whole linebacker corps is such a great group. They want everyone to succeed and everyone to do well. When Shayne Simon and Marist (Liufau) go down, it sucks. You don't want that to happen to anybody, but they were texting me 'Hey, this is your time. Let's go.'

"That means a lot."

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