Photo by Rick Kimball/ISD
Notre Dame Football

Dexter Williams All Smiles Heading Into The Cotton Bowl

December 21, 2018

Things are getting exciting for the Notre Dame football program as the Irish left campus on Thursday afternoon for a couple days at home. 

Senior running back Dexter Williams is always excited for what’s next and it’s clear his focus is on Clemson as the Irish will face the Tigers in the Cotton Bowl on December 29th. 

“It ’s going to be a great game,” Williams stated. “They have a great defense and we have a great offense. You have to rise to the occasion and play our best because they have been there before. It’s our first time there, so we have to come out and play with a lot of passion and emotion. 

“We’re 12-0 and have done a lot of things, but we’re still on this journey and have a lot of things to accomplish. We’re happy being 12-0, but there’s more that we want.” 

The Irish will face a Tigers defense that gives up just 2.4 yards a carry in the run game, which is good for best in the country. It’s a one-game season and Williams wants to play two more games but knows Clemson comes first.

“We are focusing on Clemson,” explained Williams. “We can’t overlook or past them.  They are the next step and each day we’re focusing on them.  We are focusing on how we can attack them and their defense.

“The defensive line is great. They have great players and a great front. They are just a great defense.  That’s all I can really say about them.”

Williams missed the first four games of the season but ran wild the final eight games of 2018. 

The 5-foot-11, 215-pounder rushed for 941 yards and 12 touchdowns on the year and is hoping to improve his game in the final days leading up to the Cotton Bowl. 

“I’m just trying to improve in all phases,” stated Williams. “Running the ball, blocking and catching the ball. Each way I can improve my game - reading defenses better and learning the game of football. I’m trying to be a student of the game.” 

While the Irish are preparing for the College Football Playoff, it doesn’t present a challenge of not playing an actual game for over a month. 

The Florida native isn’t worried about time off as each day has left a smile on his face. 

“A lot of guys find happiness being in this building and being with our brothers each day,” Williams explained. “We go through a lot each day and for us to be where we are at today, there have been a lot of smiles and happy faces. 

“I feel the environment we’re in has changed. There are a lot of people who are hungry and want it more. Each day we come here together, there’s a lot of excitement.” 

Speaking of smiles, Williams shared a big smile with his mother earlier this week as he took his final exam at Notre Dame. 

“There was definitely a lot of excitement,” smiled Williams. “There was a lot of excitement from my teammates and coaches. It was a feeling that was indescribable because I finished college. A lot of people doubted me. I was happy I could prove them wrong and I could show my mom, my family and brothers here I could do it.

“She was definitely proud and she cried a little bit. She was happy and I was happy to tell her I finished everything strong. It was a moment I will cherish with her.” 

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