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Notre Dame Football: Marcus Freeman Updates Media Ahead of Ohio State Game

It’s all about motivation and preparation.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: APR 23 Notre Dame Spring Game Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

As the Notre Dame Fighting Irish prepare to take on the Ohio State Buckeyes and kick off a new era, head coach Marcus Freeman met with journalists Thursday to drop some names and talk about the team’s preparation focus.

Special Teams Stuff

Freeman couldn’t provide an exact number of special teams starters, but explained,

“We’re going to have to put our best players on special teams. That’s because of how important that is to our program. We believe that we have to have a superior special teams unit… We have to... understand how important that phase of the football game is. I expect to see guys like Bo Bauer... Jordan Botelho and you’ll see Isaiah Foskey on some units... The most dependable players, the players you count on will be on all of our special teams.”

Talking Frosh

On whether he’s treating the freshmen differently from the veterans as the pressure intensifies, Freeman said:

“You got to understand they’re still freshmen. This is their first collegiate game and we have to have that understanding. Now, a lot of them… earned the trust in their coaches and coaching staff that we can play them and we will… but, we have to understand that this is their first collegiate game and going into a place like Ohio Stadium, they’ve got to understand the type of challenge it will be, and so we’ve got to be smart in terms of what we’re asking them to do, but if we put them on the field, we have the confidence that they can get the job done.”

Jayson Ademilola’s Contribution to the Defense

On the defensive lineman’s presence and energy, Freeman said:

“He obviously brings an emotional aspect to the game and plays the game with emotion. He’s a high-motor guy… you push play, that dude’s all over the field. That’s what you need. You have to play this game with some type of emotion. Like we say all the time, you want to play the game with emotion but not be emotional... I’m excited and confident in what he’s going to bring to the table.”

All About Motivation

On where motivation makes the most difference, Freeman explained:

“It’s all in the preparation. If you’re not motivated Saturday night at seven thirty to play the number one, number two team in the country, then, again, we have bigger issues… You have to continue to motivate your guys and understand that preparation is the most important key and, as I’ve told them all the time, I have to find ways to create this type of environment where the practices are hard, the practices are tough, there’s a lot of pressure… 105, 110,000 fans, that’s pressure.”

Bouncing Back

As for running back Logan Diggs and receivers Joe Wilkins, and Deion Colzie recovering from injuries, Freeman said:

“All three of them will be in a position to play for us and be able to go out there and compete. Again, we’re not going to put them on the field if we don’t think they’re ready to help us and they’re ready to play a game. We feel all three of those guys are ready to help us and ready to go compete on Saturday.”

Getting After It

On the importance of a fast start, Freeman said:

“That’s something you’ve got to preach. You’ve got to practice it. You’ve got to start practice with situations that don’t help you ooze into a game. We try to start practice with some openers… the minute we’re done with stretching… we can go right into a competitive situation. It’s a mindset, but also, it’s about execution. It’s about knowing exactly what you want to do.”

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