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Notre Dame Football

Rees excited for what's next from Mayer, Williams & Co.

July 27, 2021

When much is produced, much more is expected.

That's perhaps especially true on the football field – and especially for Notre Dame, which returns two of the nation's biggest break-out stars from the 2020 season.

Sophomore tight end Michael Mayer and redshirt-sophomore tailback Kyren Williams return as explosive commodities in an Fighting Irish offense replacing all-time wins-leader Ian Book at quarterback and the majority of their offensive line.

Both players enter 2021 camp on the heels of earning various freshman All-America honors, as well as All-ACC selections.

That gives second-year offensive coordinator Tommy Rees a strong starting point for the duo who last year combined for 1,888 yards' offense and 16 touchdowns – 14 of them by Williams.

“I think it's one, staying consistent in where we were at, and two, it's OK, now that you've shown you can do this, we're going to add more to your plate,” Rees told IrishSportsDaily. “And as we add more to your plate, are we able to handle it? Are we able to excel at it and being able to take that and run with it?”

To that end, the Mayer-Williams combo consistently has proved up to the task. Sophomore tailback Chris Tyree has attacked that challenge with a similar head-on approach he adopted on kickoff returns during his debut season.

In fact, just last week it was another young player – redshirt-freshman Drew Pyne, no stranger in his own right to hard work – who had remarked on his peers' work ethic to Rees.

“I think they lead with the way they work and they lead with the way they play,” Rees said. “Pyne actually said it (last week): Your best players have got to be your hardest workers. And when you talk about those three guys, we're fortunate because all three of them work their tails off. Definitely feel that with that group.”

Preseason camp, which opens in days, becomes an opportunity for Rees to further expand the toolbox of those players, in addition to an all-around offense that Rees sees as owning top-end speed at wideout and multiple weapons at tight end in addition to Meyer. George Takacs is one such player; freshmen running backs Audric Estime and Logan Diggs are just two others.

The wideouts, in particular, Rees sees as a group ready to advance the offense.

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