Notre Dame Fighting Irish head coach Marcus Freeman checked back in with journalists Thursday after the team’s 31-23 loss to the Clemson Tigers and the following bye week. The coach talked injury updates, zoomed in on the Wake Forest Demon Deacons’ defense and evolution at the Irish quarterback position.
On offensive line injuries, specifically Zeke Correll’s concussion, Andrew Kristofic’s ankle sprain and Jayden Thomas’ hamstring injury, Freeman said, “The only guy that still is questionable is Zeke; he’s still in concussion protocol. He’s done some non-contact, but he has not been able to do contact yet. He hasn’t cleared concussion protocol. But the rest of those guys… should be available.”
On Wake Forest’s third-down and red zone defense, Freeman said, “I think they do a good job of mixing up what they’re doing. You’ll see different type of fire zones... and just stemming up front and keep you off balance. Now, as I’ve told the offensive staff, a lot of teams have kind of changed what they’ve done, the last few games previously on film to what they’re doing in the game. So, we have to be prepared to see a lot of man coverage to see a lot of press. And, if they continue to do what they do, we have a plan, but we also have to have a great plan for, for adjustments. If they don’t do what they’ve always shown to.”
On how quarterback Sam Hartman has benefitted Notre Dame and how the program has benefitted Hartman ahead of his last home game, Freeman said, “He’s been so consistent in terms of his approach to the game. He’s done some really great things for our football program in terms of, not just on the field, but off the field in terms of how he’s really elevated the preparation and the play of the quarterback room… his ability to meet with the wideouts to make sure everybody’s on the same page. He just brought a lot of things to our program that sometimes you just don’t always see on Saturday. As far as what we’ve done for him, I hope the ability to know another offense, the ability to, for him have to learn a new system, a new coaching staff adapt and adjust and get out of his comfort zone a little bit. It’s something that I think he would be able to say, hey, Notre Dame provided for me, in another way of running a program, right? Obviously, I don’t know the ins and outs of how (Wake Forest’s) Coach Clawson runs his program, but again, it’s gonna be different just because the head coach in the place is different. But, listen, we’re very grateful for having Sam as part of his team. We’re grateful that he chose this program and, we’re gonna miss them tremendously. but we got a couple of games left with them and we look forward to having these next three.”
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