Photo by Rick Kimball/ISD
Notre Dame Football

Morgan and Defense Locked In On BC

September 13, 2017

Written by Alec Swain

This past Saturday, Notre Dame suffered its first loss of the season. Contrary to last season, it was the defense which gave the Irish a chance to win. While the offense failed to build any momentum against the tenacious front seven of the Georgia Bulldogs, the defense was going punch-for punch with one of the most explosive running back duos in college football. 

As the center of the defense, linebacker Nyles Morgan is well aware of the progression he and his teammates have made.

“Guys are really dialed into their assignment and executing their defense at a high level; I feel like,” Morgan stated. “Obviously, you know, it's football and things happen but from an overall standpoint, pretty pleased.” 

Mike Elko has totally evolved this defense and has made them more physical, more fundamentally sound, and knowledgable about the defense as a whole. 

One area of concern on defense this season is the safety play. In particular, Nick Coleman has earned a starting role at safety this year. 

Coleman did not have the smoothest transition to college football last year as he struggled mightily at cornerback. Therefore, his role on this year's defense was a bit concerning. Especially, with the safety position being the weak point of this defense. 

“I would say in Nick’s case, just keep talking to him,” said Morgan. “Just keep letting him know that he is doing fine and that as long as he is executing the things that he is doing in practice, he’ll be fine.”

There is one player, though, who has caught the eye of Nyles Morgan this season. He too did not have an ideal start to his career at Notre Dame, but continuously fought adversity to finally earn a starting role on defense. 

Jay Hayes was forced into action late in his freshman season, basically burning a year of eligibility. Then, he was redshirted which took a toll on him mentally. After years of riding the bench, Hayes has finally found a place for himself. 

“I’ve seen Jay Hayes, especially if you saw this spring, he’s gotten bigger, stronger, faster, more explosive and really setting that edge for us,” explained Morgan. “I saw Jay back there more than anybody else I think from my standpoint. He is really holding things down on the front end.”

So far this season, Hayes and the rest of the defense have stepped up their production and effectiveness on Saturdays. Now, against a formidable Boston College opponent, the defense needs to build on their progression and prove they can be effective and game-changing on a weekly basis.


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