Blue and Gold Illustrated

Oct. 1, 2018

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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Page 10 of 55 OCT. 1, 2018 11 UNDER THE DOME Notre Dame Legend • Notre Dame's First All-American - 1913 • Team Captain - 1912 • Four Year Starting Quarterback - 1910-1913 • Rockne's Teammate, Roommate and Friend • Forward Pass Pioneer • Gipp's Backfield Coach " ... It is a story researched and told lovingly, one that helps provide immense context and understanding not just of Dorais' life and compe ve fire but of Notre Dame' s rise as a power and the founda on of American football itself… " – Roland Lazenby; Most prolific sports author of our me Brian Kelly And Derek Mason Trade Verbal Barbs According to Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly, senior tight end Alizé Mack played his best football game ever at Notre Dame in the 22-17 victory versus Vanderbilt Sept. 15. It wasn't necessarily about Mack grading out high in blocking or catching (he made three receptions for 25 yards), but rather about his resiliency and poise taking on "cut blocks" — including an initial one that made him flip head first into the ground — off the edge while going in motion. The Irish head coach specifically referenced going for the knees. "He was getting cut maliciously by their defensive end," Kelly said three days after the game. "It was bad football. It's legal, but it's bad football … and I have no problem saying it. We're so concerned about frontal cuts and we got a defensive end chopping [Mack] on every play, and he hung in there every play, was digging him out, blocking in line. "… I'll give that film to any NFL scout and show him what he can do. That was the best game he's played since he's been here." For his part, Mack took it in stride. "I never expected to get hit like that," he admitted. "When you're a big guy, you're going to have people that are going to want to go low." As expected, Vanderbilt head coach Derek Mason took umbrage to Kelly's comments. "I really don't care much about Brian Kelly's comments about football," Mason responded. "Because when you go back and watch that game, from the holding to the post chops by Notre Dame, I thought it was bad football on their part, okay? "… Nowadays, we're asking defensive players to raise the target, lower the tar- get, hit with their eyes up. All these things are really a part of football. Brian Kelly can take his comments and keep it moving. "If he's got something personal with me, he can come see me." — Lou Somogyi DEXTER WILLIAMS EXPECTED TO RETURN The worst-kept Notre Dame football secret throughout the summer and first month of the season was senior running back Dexter Williams' "unofficial" suspension the first four games of the season. Neither head coach Brian Kelly nor the school would confirm or deny the suspension because of university privacy laws, but it was clear Wil- liams' hiatus from game action was similar to the one former wide receiver Kevin Stepherson had in the first four games of 2017 before get- ting reinstated in the fifth game. The game at Wake Forest Sept. 22 was the last of the four contests. Barring any more snafus, Williams should be cleared to play when the Irish host Stanford and likely would split action with junior Tony Jones Jr. and sophomore Jafar Armstrong. "We've been working with him on the things that he's got to get better at," Kelly said the week of the Wake Forest game. "Just repre- senting the little things — classroom atten- dance, in the weight room, on the football field, just being a good teammate — doing all those little things, he's been great. "He's making good progress for us." Williams was the fourth-leading rusher in 2017, with his 39 carries netting 360 yards — a whop- ping 9.2 yards per carry — and four touchdowns. — Lou Somogyi Kelly took exception to his senior tight end Alizé Mack getting "cut mali- ciously" by a Vanderbilt defender during Notre Dame's 22-17 win Sept. 15. PHOTO BY ANGELA DRISKELL

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