Photo by Rick Kimball/ISD
Notre Dame Football

Jerry Tillery Wants Notre Dame To Change The Narrative

December 21, 2018

As the Cotton Bowl gets closer by the day, the talk about the Clemson defensive line only increases and rightfully so. The Tigers defensive front could have left for the NFL last spring, but they came back to win a National Championship.

You’ve seen the incredible production countless times on the TV and on paper, but what about Notre Dame’s defensive line?

Senior defensive tackle Jerry Tillery isn’t bothered by the lack of hype surrounding the Irish and that’s how he wants it. 

“It’s always the story when teams come play Notre Dame,” stated Tillery. “When we played Michigan, it was all about Michigan’s great defensive line. We played Syracuse and they had some great players. Last year, NC State’s defensive line was going to steal the show. 

“The story is always different after the game and people are always talking about Notre Dame’s defensive line. We’re looking to change the narrative in this game too. It definitely gets guys going.”

For Notre Dame to change the narrative, it starts with the front four being aggressive, which they have done all season. 

“It’s a violent game and what you do has to reflect that,” explained Tillery. “That’s where it starts. If what you’re doing schematically isn’t working, then you make changes, but you still do it aggressively. That’s helped us win a lot of games.”

Tillery has been aggressive this season and his numbers reflect it. The 6-foot-6, 305-pounder racked up 30 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss and 8.0 sacks in his final year in the blue and gold.

However, despite the production, the Louisiana native is excited to get back sophomore defensive tackle Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa for the Cotton Bowl after breaking his foot in week one. 

“He’s looked really good,” Tillery said of Tagovailoa-Amosa during playoff prep. “He’s coming back nicely from his foot injury in week one. He’s going to help us win. He’s a great player and getting back into it. It’s been fun to watch his progress and development.”

Another positive for the Irish is Tagovailoa-Amosa stayed involved with the team and defensive line over the course of the season despite not being able to play. 

“He’s a part of our team, part of our brotherhood and has been working hard with us,” stated Tillery. “He’ll always be part of this team.” 

If Tagovailoa-Amosa can play on December 29th, it will give Notre Dame more depth on the defensive line and that’s something the unit has prided itself on.

“It’s been the message from the beginning,” said Tillery. “We know it takes a lot of guys to play at a high level to play 60, 70, or 80 snaps a game. We knew a lot of people were going to play. It influences the work ethic of guys in the offseason and fall camp when they know they’re going to get a chance. 

“It affects the development of people. We’ve had it shift here. People understand they will play and their work ethic has reflected it.” 

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