Notre Dame Fighting Irish head coach Marcus Freeman met with journalists Thursday following last week’s win against the UNLV Rebels and before this weekend’s trip to New York to take on the Syracuse Orange. Injury updates, regulation changes, and more were up for discussion.
On adjusting to Syracuse’s Oronde Gadsden II, Freeman said, “I’ll start with Gadsden. He’s a guy that I know they list as a tight end, but he can be a tight end; he can be a wideout and he can be a mismatch at times, and so we have to try to be physical with him. You’re going to have to win some jump balls. He’s got great body control and the ability for him to get the ball out of the air. He’s a tough, tough guy to defend.”
Considering Syracuse quarterback Garrett Shrader’s limitations against Purdue and Clemson influencing the Irish game, Freeman said, “As far as trying to limit their offense with Shrader, you’re just going to have to limit their big plays, and that’s what I think you see really studying that Clemson game is he’s going to get yardage. He’s going to get yardage running the ball. He’s going to make some throws, but to eliminate the big plays and truly make sure you have a hat for him, you have to be physical with him and you have to try to make physical tackles on him, but he is a talented football player that you can’t just say we have to stop him running because he can throw the ball well and you can’t just play 8-man drops because he’s got the ability to run the ball and they have the ability to run the ball with (running back Sean) Tucker. It’s a really good offense. That’s going to present a huge challenge for our defense.”
The Receiver Group
On the Irish receivers over the past week, Freeman said, “They’ve actually had a really good week. I’ve challenged them… We have to… continue to gain confidence in practice in terms of how to expand our passing game and that’s obviously the wideouts, the quarterback, the o-line, and everybody, and so they’ve had a really good week. It’s… interesting… I’ve spent a good amount of time with them this week and realized… It’s such an unselfish… you have to be unselfish. You can do everything right, you can be wide open, and you don’t always get rewarded for it, but they’re continuing to… get better and I look forward to seeing what they do on Saturday.”
What’s New With NIL
On recent league clarifications regarding the involvement of schools, coaches, and staff with players’ name, image and likeness (NIL) deals, Freeman said, “Yeah, I haven’t had the chance to look over it. Somebody had mentioned to me the NCAA said that coaches are now allowed to do things with collectives, and that was the gist of what I got and my folks just went right back to Syracuse and that’s something that we’ll deal with after the season. Right now our focus is prepare for Syracuse and try to win this game, but if there’s any way to help our student-athletes, I’m all for it, and if part of it is working with the collectives to help raise money, I’m all for it.”
The QB’s Recovery
On the movement of Irish quarterback Tyler Buchner’s recovery timeline into January, Freeman said, “Yeah, he’s not able to do many physical drills. Right now even with his throwing shoulder I know it wasn’t surgically repaired, but it still affects the other shoulder and he hasn’t been released to run as of today, yet, but I think here, soon, he’s going to start progressing and again, it was a four to five-month recovery which puts us somewhere in January, and right now I’ve been told nothing otherwise with that. What can he do to continue to enhance and prepare is he’s doing a really good job at meetings and continue to keep his mind sharp mentally, be another set of eyes… another voice… but again, the ability to study the game, and the ability to mentally stay sharp is something that you can’t get enough of, and he’s doing that.”
On the status of Jack Kiser, Brandon Joseph, and Jaden Mickey following injuries, Freeman said, “All of them are expected to play, all three of them, and so, they’ve all been practicing and all expected to play.”
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