Notre Dame Fighting Irish head coach Marcus Freeman has a perfect record since converting to Catholicism, but will the Holy Spirit be enough to carry the Irish through the upcoming game against the North Carolina Tar Heels? Freeman met with journalists Thursday to talk adaptation at the Irish QB position, injury updates, and more.
Challenging a Defense
On the threat of a two-back set, Freeman said, “Well, I think it’s the ability to use one of those two backs in a different position. That’s what creates the mismatch. You can use Chris Tyree in the backfield or use him in the slot. That to me is, do you treat him as a running back? Do you treat him as a wide receiver? Is it 11 personnel? Is it 21 personnel? Those will truly change the way you call defenses, depending on what they do... I think the ability for us to use Chris in so many different ways, it really can present some challenges to a defense.”
The Irish Tight Ends
On the health of Mitchell Evans as he heals from a foot injury and the status of Kevin Bauman, “Mitch, he’s not ready yet. I hope he’s able to get back, hopefully by the BYU game, or soon thereafter. I know he’s out of the boot. He’s making his progression towards return. So, we’ll see. Kevin, he kind of got twisted up a little bit yesterday, and so still waiting to see how he feels today and his return today, but that’s still to be determined depending on how the day goes.”
Getting the Most Out of the Bye Week
On how he’ll use the step back from play next week, Freeman said, “I hope after four weeks, or four games we’re not tired. I don’t plan to rest them a lot. We’ve got to get better. We’ve got to develop in that week. We’ll have a couple practices, three or four practices during that week to continue to find ways to develop as individuals, as football players. We’ll utilize that. So, It’s not like it’s after week six or towards the end of the year. We’re talking about the first third of your season will be complete as we hit our bye week. So, if the guys are banged up, obviously, we’ve got to be smart and try to get them to return to play, but the majority of guys, it’s the development time; it’s practice time… We’ll be busy out here as a football program with our current team and also out recruiting.”
Memes on Memes on Memes
On our Lord and savior, Reesus Christ’s little viral moment, Freeman said, “I think it’s something that might’ve been a bigger issue to those outside the football program than it was to us inside the football program. That tough coaching is what you get every day, and I always have a strong belief you can push those guys as far as they trust you, and to me, that is a reflection of Coach Rees and Drew Pyne’s relationship. Drew Pyne’s the first one to say, ‘I want tough coaching. I want that type of coaching.’ Obviously Tommy, myself, and everybody in this program, we’ve got to be cautious on the language we use, and I’ve got to remind myself I’ve got six kids, and I’m sure little ones are watching. We’ve got to… be careful on the language we use, but that’s an intense moment… You don’t treat every player the same, in terms of how you coach them. You treat them in terms of what will help them respond… for that moment, that’s what Drew needed.”
An Irish QB Update
On what he wants quarterback Tyler Buchner to get out of his new situation, Freeman said, “I think it’s twofold: one, to be another coach, to be an extra set of eyes, to be able to help our quarterback room… maybe charting a play or two… There’s two things: how do you make yourself better even though you’re not playing? That can be watching the play go on, charting things… and also being a teacher, being able to communicate… with some of those quarterbacks…” That’s been a challenge I’ve kind of presented to Tyler is ‘how do you make yourself better when you’re not playing, but you’re here, you’re a part of what we’re doing…?’ I think he’s done a good job in... not even a week of being out and to help himself improve but also help that quarterback room improve.”
On confidence in quarterback Steve Angeli stepping in for Drew Pyne if necessary, Freeman said, “We’ve got to be able to ask Steve Angeli to do the things that we know he can do, but it also has to be enough that you’re not running one play... He’s prepared not as the scout team quarterback but as a quarterback that can be ready going into the game and he has the greatest example in Drew Pyne... being in that room. I’ve also challenged Drew Pyne, and say hey, man, anytime you’re watching film, anytime you’re getting extra film in and studying... you’ve got to bring Steve Angeli with you.’
Follow me on Twitter.