SOUTH BEND – Notre Dame's Ishaq Williams doesn't have the prototypical body type of a defensive end.
But the 6-foot-5, 261-pound junior can more than hold his own at the position, according to defensive line coach Mike Elston.
Williams has cross trained between outside linebacker and defensive end during the spring, and Elston likes what he has seen.
"Ishaq is too good of a player to be standing over on the sideline," Elston said after Monday's practice. "We are trying to get him on the field, trying to get him prepared for that situation. Whether it's as a linebacker or end, he's going to be one of the better guys, so we are just trying to get him in there and get him some reps."
Elston said Williams has returned to working primarily with the linebackers since defensive end Stephon Tuitt has resumed practice after recovering from surgery to repair a sports hernia.
But Williams is still be used in the Irish's substitution package as an end, and Elston feels he is more then equipped to handle playing on the defensive line when called upon.
"Shaq is fine holding up there against those big guys," Elston said. "The outside linebackers face those tackles all the time any way. I don't see him getting overwhelmed by power or size … because he is so explosive and long. He keeps those guys at arms length, and that helps him get off blocks and make plays."
For more on the Irish's defensive line, read Tuesday's Journal Gazette.