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Notre Dame Football: Working through an uneasy offseason

Have a drink

Clemson v Notre Dame Photo by Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images

I’m not sure where to begin, but this current offseason of Notre Dame football has been different. How different? Well... I honestly can’t put my finger on it. It’s like porn and the supreme court... I can’t describe it, but I know it when I see it.

The recruiting discourse is boring, predictable, and likely inaccurate in regards to the extreme opinions of fans. While it all makes for “good content” it’s also mostly bullshit, as well as having almost no effect on the season at hand.

Perhaps what has made this offseason a little different is because of what’s at stake this season. On the Earned 5-Star Podcast, we have mentioned multiple times just how wide open this college football season is this year. That fact allows hope to creep into our calculations, but then we remember the Stanford and Marshall games from last year and the water muddies up a bit.

And there it is — I think. Marcus Freeman has just one season under his belt, but there were enough red flags during the 2022 campaign to give some pause as to the expectations for 2023. The pressure on him to put a team on the field worthy of a college football playoff berth is immense, and that pressure is multiplied because of the disappointments of 2022. In a way, I believe a lot of fans are able to also feel this pressure. Given the amount of support Freeman has received since his hiring, fans don’t want to feel let down.

The “can Marcus Freeman make this work” vibe is strong enough to dull some of the many positives to be excited about for the fall campaign.

  • Sam Hartman. The giant QB question that has hung over Notre Dame for a number of years is seemingly answered by the right arm of the Wake Forest transfer (and #1 ranked QB in the transfer portal).
  • Joe Alt, Blake Fisher, and Zeke Correll. Notre Dame’s offensive line has NFL talent and plenty of collegiate experience.
  • Audric Estime. A god among men.
  • Benjamin Morrison and Cam Hart. Do the Irish really have a couple of lockdown cornerbacks? Probably.
  • JD Bertrand, Jack Kiser, and Marist Liufau. There is no other linebacker trio in the country with more experience.
  • Two of the toughest three games on the schedule are at home.
  • Two of the toughest three teams on the schedule are breaking in new starting quarterbacks.

And other things.

This definitely feels like I’m rambling here, which I suppose is kind of the point. Something feels uneasy this offseason, but I don’t think it’s one thing or the other — and maybe it’s not even a negative thing. Hell — half of the regular season will be in the rearview mirror this year by the time September ends.

July is usually the time when we really start buckling down for the season, but with the first game being on foreign soil and against Navy — it’s kind of hard to really get the juices flowing any sooner (and then it’s Tennessee State).

Those were just some thoughts I had banging around while getting through the first month of summer. Maybe it will be different in a few weeks... or not.