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Notre Dame Football

Chris Tyree Loving Notre Dame's 31 Personnel Package & Team Confidence

November 24, 2022
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31-personnel. 

It’s a rare set of numbers and letters, but it’s a combination that makes football fans feel some type of way. 

Notre Dame offensive coordinator Tommy Rees busted out a 31-personnel package last weekend and it was to the delight of Irish running backs Logan Diggs, Audric Estime and Chris Tyree. 

“It’s really exciting,” smiled Tyree. “You should have seen our faces when we first saw the 31- personnel on the script for the first time. It’s honestly just fun because all three of us are on the field at the same time.” 

Yes, the Notre Dame running backs were truly caught off guard as Rees continues to expand the offense and involve his backs, who have been extremely productive this fall. 

“It really came out of nowhere,” explained Tyree. “I mean, I appreciate it, just because it's all three of us on the field at the same time, it's a lot to deal with. I think it's just trying to get all of us on the field at the same time, it's an opportunity for us to make plays no matter who gets the ball. It's really exciting for us.” 

For Rees, it’s really is about getting three of Notre Dame’s best playmakers on the field, but it also puts pressure on the defense as it’s likely something they haven’t faced in game action. 

It was also successful as Notre Dame had some nice runs, but also Diggs ran for a wheel route that went for 28 yards. 

“That kind of just popped up last week,” stated Rees. “Those guys do a really nice job. Some weeks, all three were fully able to go. Some weeks, maybe one guy wasn't full go. Just trying to find wrinkles and things to help keep our opponents off balance.

“Just as many personnel challenges we can throw at people and try to make them think and try to get them into some base defensive calls that give us an advantage. We have really smart guys. You can throw a lot on them, and they handle it. We hit a couple of those, and we'll see how that package continues to develop for us."

Tyree hopes to see more of it as the Irish found success, but it provided some energy in the running back room.

“It's so many backs on the field at one time,” said Tyree. “I feel like we have a lot of pride in that room, carrying the energy and providing the energy in the offense, and for us to be on the field at the same time is really exciting for us.

“Every time we call it, all of our eyes light up, we're sprinting onto the field. ‘31! 31!’ It's really good for us.”

The success of the package is just another small win that has led to Notre Dame turning around its season after starting 0-2. 

Entering the season, Notre Dame was ranked No. 5 in the country and had an eye on the College Football Playoff, yet those dreams were gone in a seven day period and they had a first year head coach leading the program. 

On paper, Marcus Freeman’s job of resetting the program might have seemed impossible, but the Irish found a way. 

“Just looking back on it, before those first two weeks, that's all we ever talked about was winning a national championship,” Tyree explained. “For us to have those first two losses in the first two weeks is really tough for us.

“At the end of the day, we just motivated our whole season around the seniors. They put so much time and effort into this program. They have really been providing so much energy, so much leadership and so much knowledge to the rest of the team. I feel like we owed it to them to finish out shooting strong.” 

Notre Dame did find a way to get back on track with a big win over North Carolina at the end of September and started October with a win over No. 16 BYU, but then there was another step back with the loss to Stanford. 

Yet, Notre Dame remained committed to Freeman’s plan and have started to see the master plan heading into Saturday’s showdown with No. 6 USC. 

“I feel like you can tell just by the energy that we had in practice,” said Tyree. “Just checking out the vibe around the room, around the building, it was different when we finally figured it out. It was around that time (Cal/BYU/UNC) when we started to figure it out.

“You guys saw we started rolling for a little bit and then we had that one more downfall against Stanford. We pretty much did the same thing. It's all about doing it for your teammates, doing it for the brothers around you and making sure that you don't let them down.”

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