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Notre Dame Football

Tagovailoa-Amosa's SPAM message is delivering

April 20, 2021

The SPAM got to Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa.

Not cluttering his e-mail; rather, the canned delicacy that ushered him from Ewa Beach, Hawaii, to South Bend, Indiana, at a heavier weight than either player or Notre Dame coaches had expected.

“My passion was always at defensive end,” said the Fighting Irish's 6-foot-2.5, 282-pounder. “Nobody knows this story, but when I first came in, what happened was, I just came in overweight. The Hawaii food, man, it will get to you. I came in overweight and they just moved inside I just put my head down and went to work.

“It's my last season here, I definitely just wanted a shot outside. It will just be fun.”

He is getting that shot under the tutelage of a new defensive coordinator, Marcus Freeman, and with a modified defensive system that must replace almost all of its edge production from 2020's College Football Playoffs squad.

"He's done an excellent job,” Freeman said. “I would think he would tell you he loves being at the end position. He brings a physical aspect to the run game. He's not out there just to be a pass rusher. That's an added bonus for him.

“When we go to third down, he's a guy we'll probably move back inside and get some more edge rushers with length out there.”

Added defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator Mike Elston, “Myron's doing great. The move for him has been very beneficial. He's trimmed down and leaned out in his weight. He looks really good with speed and agility off the edge. Probably the most productive guy right now up to this point throughout spring. He and the nose guard position between Kurt Hinish, Howard Cross III and Aidan Keanaaina -- those four guys have been super productive and very, very disruptive."

Tagovailoa-Amosa returns along the Irish defensive front as one of the team's more experienced players on either side of the ball; his 38 career games include more than 20 starts, 10.5 tackles for losses and a role in four fumbles.

He believes he can do even more after growing accustomed to working on the interior of the Notre Dame defense but with a lighter frame and freer approach in Freeman's system.

“To be honest, the shift out to the end wasn't that hard,”. It's a lot easier in my opinion. As far as double-teams go, there's less double-teams and even if it is, it's with the tight ends, so it's a lot easier.

“It's been a fun transition. Getting on edges has been a lot easier on the outside than on the inside. Overall it's just been a fun time.”

Tagovailoa-Amosa's jovial side also extends to his discussions of food; he insists the SPAM-seaweed-rice dish famous to his native state is a treat and, “You would like it.”

He also is generating those same vibes from his new defensive coordinator.

"I remember reaching out to Myron and what an infectious attitude and energy the guy gives off,” Freeman said. “I had a long talk with Coach Elston about him and I thought in my head, (MTA) can come back and be the defensive tackle and (Kurt) Hinish would be the nose and let's go. …

"He's done an unbelievable job making that transition from tackle to end. We're trying to do a couple different things with him to try to free him up and give him the ability to make plays within the scheme. He's had a great spring.”

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