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Notre Dame Football

Go Time for Notre Dame QB Tyler Buchner

December 18, 2022

Notre Dame football has been through a great deal over the four months, but perhaps the most significant challenge Marcus Freeman’s first team faced was the loss the sophomore quarterback Tyler Buchner in the final minutes of the Marshall loss. 

The California native suffered an AC sprain to his non-throwing shoulder and was lost for the remainder of the season. 

Losing a starting quarterback is a blow to any team, but for Notre Dame, it was even greater as Buchner needed time to grow into being the starter. 

It’s not the first injury Buchner has suffered as he tore his ACL his sophomore year of high school, so while he had been through the emotions of missing a season, it still wasn’t easier for him to take. 

“At first, obviously, sadness and a little bit of frustration,” Buchner said of his mindset following the injury. “I think that's normal. But after that, all sails pointed toward helping his team and supporting Drew (Pyne) and the rest of the room throughout the rest of the year and just try to be as helpful to the team as I could be.”

For Buchner, it meant being in the coaches box during games to help assistants chart plays and help give Pyne a different perspective. The experience also allowed Buchner to advance his knowledge of the offense as he was able to see how defenses played the offense in real time. 

“I helped chart some plays and things and I kind of gave a perspective from the quarterback because you can't watch everything at once,” explained Buchner. “And so, I kind of gave a lens of Drew at the time, what his read was and what he should have done. Or, if he did a good job doing something, things like that.” 

It has all led to an opportunity for Buchner to end the 2022 season on a high note as he’s expected to play in the Gator Bowl against South Carolina, but perhaps more importantly, the 6-foot-2, 215-pounder is getting practice reps that will benefit him long-term. 

And yes, Buchner has noticed his game growing during December’s bowl prep.

“I was throwing the ball really well that day,” Buchner said when asked about Tommy Rees giving glowing remarks last weekend. “It felt like I was seeing it really clearly, whether that has to do with spending almost a full season in the box and being able to see the field from that perspective and sort of hanging out with the coaches a little more and understanding the game at a deeper level.” 

Where has the biggest growth come? Mentally. Buchner believes he’s not only processing his reads quicker, but his understanding of defenses has improved. 

“I just feel like I know what's going on,” explained Buchner. “There's no guessing. It's like, ‘Yeah, the defense is in this because of this.’ I know that. This is good versus that. There's always answers to things, and I feel like I'm getting to the answer quicker than I was before.”

It’s why Buchner’s injury was so unfortunate. The quarterback position is one where experienced leads to efficiency. In 2021, Buchner got his feet wet, but as a starter, it’s a different game as the quarterback manages the offense and everything runs through him instead of having a small package. 

“Sometimes there's things like, ‘Oh, I think it was that,’ because you can't see the entire picture,” Buchner said. “You're sort of looking at one spot on the field, or multiple and you only have so much time. But now it just feels like when I have that split second to see the safeties, it's like, ‘Oh, yeah, 100 percent that.’”

Sophomore tight end Mitchell Evans, who also missed time due to injury, is happy Buchner is back on the field. 

“It’s good to have Tyler back,” said Evans. “He’s been gone all season, but it’s good to have him out there. He’s throwing the ball, running the ball and he’s doing really good.” 

As for Pyne’s departure, Buchner wishes his friend well and knows each player has to do what’s best for their career. 

“He’s one of my best friends,” Buchner stated. “We still talk. We’re really close and I just wish the best for him. He’s a really talented player. I just want to see him win. He works really hard and I wish nothing but the best for him.”

While Pyne has yet to publicly address his transfer, Notre Dame hasn’t been bashful about wanting to take a transfer quarterback.

Buchner didn’t seem too caught up on the potential of another quarterback arriving on campus as he knows the room needs to add depth. 

“I honestly figured they'd bring in someone just because there's kind of been rumblings about it and I understand,” said Buchner. “If somebody gets hurt, you need more depth in the room. You need people.” 

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