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Notre Dame Football

Marcus Freeman Updates Notre Dame QB Situation Heading Into Gator Bowl Prep

December 4, 2022

Notre Dame football will head to Jacksonville to take on South Carolina in the Gator Bowl on December 30th, but who will play quarterback for the Fighting Irish? 

Drew Pyne announced his intentions to enter the NCAA Transfer Portal on Friday, which surprised many as the timing was certainly unexpected. 

Notre Dame head coach Marcus Freeman was very transparent when he explained Pyne's situation on Sunday night. 

"Drew was tremendous," explained Freeman. "You hate to see him leave and enter the portal, but as I told him in our meeting, what he has done for our program, the ability for him to step the end of Week 2 and throughout the season, he did a tremendous job.

"We had a conversation this week, myself and Drew, as well as many of the other players that we have on our team in terms of our intentions, my intentions into certain positions, look for transfer, and I'm always looking for ways to enhance our roster." 

It's a rare glimpse into the offseason conversations between a staff and a player. 

And Freeman didn't stop there. 

"I always want to be upfront and honest, and I was with Drew and told him that we would possibly look at taking a transfer quarterback,” Freeman stated. “I did not want him to leave, but he made the decision to enter the portal and I definitely respect his decision." 

Where does that leave Notre Dame as it relates to a starting quarterback? Freeman wasn’t disclosing that information as South Carolina head coach Shane Beamer was also sitting on the Zoom meeting. 

“We still have three quarterbacks on the roster,” said Freeman. “You have Tyler Buchner, Steve Angeli and Ron Powlus. All have been practicing the past two days that we practiced and could see any of the three play. They'll all be ready to play.” 

Yes, Notre Dame sophomore quarterback Tyler Buchner is healthy after suffering a shoulder injury in game two. 

“He is full go,” Freeman said. “He has practiced the past two days in practice.” 

Notre Dame cornerback Cam Hart was in a sling for the USC game and then announced he would return for a fifth season shortly after the Irish returned to South Bend. 

Hart will also miss the Gator Bowl as he’ll have surgery. 

“He had a shoulder injury that he is going to end up having surgery on,” stated Freeman. “He will be out obviously for the bowl game.” 

When it comes to players who could sit out the bowl game due to the NFL Draft, Freeman didn’t have official answers for defensive end Isaiah Foskey or Michael Mayer. 

In fact, Freeman let both players step away for a few days to reset and make a decision on their future. 

“I met with both of them,” Freeman explained. “We had a plan to sit out some guys as recovery for these last two practices of development and trying to kind of really focusing on the younger guys and developing the younger guys on our team.

“I told both of those guys kind of just take the week and take a couple of days to really think about what they want to do for their future, and we will discuss it sometime this week. Probably early this week.”

Monday also marks the first day underclassmen can enter the NCAA Transfer Portal. Freeman didn’t set any timelines for his team, but he has conducted meetings with players to discuss their future. 

“We haven't set a firm date, deadline, but we told them, listen, we know as far as getting into the portal, the portal opens on Monday,” said Freeman. “We need to kind of have an idea of what the future plans are for certain guys.

“For our guys that are deciding if they're going to play or opt-out for the NFL Draft, they understand the sooner the better. I just didn't want them to have to rush into a decision.

“We just got done playing a 12-game season. Take a week. Talk amongst the people they trust, their coaches, their families, and probably be ready to make a decision here Monday. Early this week.” 

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