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Notre Dame Football

Notre Dame LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah Staying In The Now

October 14, 2020

Notre Dame linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah tied for the team with tackles in 2019 with 80. In 2020, the Virginia native is currently tied for the team lead in tackles with 15 through three games, but Owusu-Koramoah is just getting started. 

The senior has expanded his game and it’s led to Notre Dame defensive coordinator Clark Lea giving him a more significant role in the defense this fall. 

"Getting an understanding of the base defense was first,” Owusu-Koramoah stated. “Being able to understand my position and where I belong on the field. Now, the progression with me is the IQ. Now, that I understand the scheme more, Coach Lea feels more comfortable with me playing the dime positions with my covering getting better and my pass rush getting better.

"He feels comfortable and more able to put me at different positions."

A year ago, Owusu-Koramoah recorded 5.5 sacks, but Irish fans didn’t see him attack the quarterback as much as they have in 2020. Pass rush was an emphasis in the offseason for the defense and it’s something Owusu-Koramoah loves to do. 

"I'm not a big cocky guy,” said Owusu-Koramoah. “I don't take the most pride in any particular part of my game, but I love pass rushing. I love the ability to say I got to the quarterback, or I beat the man one-on-one. 

"I think that's a key part in the development and even the scheme of the defense. The quarterback is the most important person on the field, so if you get to him, you can stop the play. That's one of the things I love the most.” 

Notre Dame will have a tough challenge on Saturday as Louisville brings its speedy offense to South Bend. Malik Cunningham will give the Irish defense back-to-back weeks of facing mobile quarterbacks, but the Irish defense is remaining level-headed. 

"We prepare just like we prepare for any other quarterback,” explained Owusu-Koramoah. “There are a few adjustments and tweaks, but in the overall process, you want to treat everybody the same in terms of competition. 

“Coach Lea always tells us, 'The duty as a competitor is to respect all of your opponents.'

"That's what we try to do. We'll make a few adjustments and tweaks covering the perimeter, making sure we contain the pocket, but even in that sense, we want to treat everybody as the best."

That said, Owusu-Koramoah knows the defense will need to be better than they were against Jordan Travis and Florida State where the Noles racked up 405 total yards and 153 rushing yards. 

"There have been lows and highs,” Owusu-Koramoah stated. “One game, we may be good and in another game, we may have some things to correct. That's a process of being a defense and being people in ourselves - being imperfect. 

"The glory about it is that you get another game. We're grateful for that. We get another opportunity to go back to the drawing board and to adjust certain things. I would say that our defensive line is doing a wonderful job. Our secondary is doing a wonderful job. The linebackers, we always love to say the job isn't finished and we're still growing. We still have somewhere to be. 

"When I look at this defense, all I see is a progression in itself." 

Those adjustments should come easy to the veteran defense as it’s also a unit that gets along extremely well with each other. And perhaps more importantly, it’s a defense that plays for each other. 

"The best part of being in this defense is you have a lot of guys you know,” Owusu-Koramoah explained. “Team chemistry on this defense is better than any other of the defenses I've been around. Guys get together in the offseason. Guys get together when we're not on the field; even on the field, we make a little slang or motivational comments to go on the field every day. 

"The best part of being in this defense is the brotherhood." 

Owusu-Koramoah has the hype and if all goes to plan, the 6-foot-1, 215-pounder will have a decision to make in a few months. 

The NFL will be calling his name as the hype is already there as publications and analysts have him projected as a first-round pick. However, Owusu-Koramoah is trying to block the noise and focus on the moment. 

"In terms of my progression to the next level, I think it's very important that I talk to Coach Lea and Coach Kelly a lot about this,” said Owusu-Koramoah. “It's very important I stay in the now, even with all the watch lists and things like that. 

"It's very important we continue to worry about how my weight is now. Worry about how the team is doing now. Worry about the overall development of our unit. 

"With all due respect, we are worrying about the now." 

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