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Notre Dame Football

Marcus Freeman Q/A on College Football Live

January 6, 2023

Notre Dame football coach Marcus Freeman joined ESPN's College Football Live on Friday afternoon. 

On looking back and judging the 2022 season:
”I feel like we learned a lot of different lessons about ourselves as individuals, ourselves as a team. As I tell the guys all the time, it had to be this way. We had to learn this way. We had to improve this way. I’m just proud of the way they finished. I’m proud of the leadership we had. At the end of the day, I felt we did a great job of finding a way to finish the season off the right way. I love these guys.” 

On dealing with Transfer Portal and NIL:
”I could complain. I could say I love it, but the reality is it is what it is. My only focus is to say how do we capitalize off of the portal and the way college recruiting is and NIL - all these different things that go on in college football. We have this thing called the Transfer Portal. How can we use it to enhance our roster with very specific needs? 

“That’s kind of how we approach it. How do we make sure we protect our guys? That’s by continuing to remind them why they chose Notre Dame, but I don’t want to waste time saying I don’t like or I do like it because then you’re not doing anything to capitalize off of it. That’s where my main focus is.” 

On if Notre Dame has a specific number of scholarships for high school and portal players:
”It will be forever changing. Listen, ultimately, you have to get to 85 by the end of spring. We understand that, but we want to continue to be able to build the foundation of this football program through high school recruiting. Develop those young people and get them into our program. We know we can utilize the Transfer Portal to truly enhance specific needs we have and we’re going to do that. 

“Being a first-year head coach, there are different decisions you have to make and different numbers you have to look at. I don’t think it’s a black and white number right now as much as it’s enhance the positions we need. Let’s get the right guys out of high school and by the end of spring we have to make sure our scholarship numbers are at 85.” 

On landing QB Sam Hartman and how he can add to the offense:
”I still think you have to be able to run the ball. I think when you run the ball, it creates so many openings in the passing game. To have a quarterback like Sam Hartman in the program is going to elevate the play of everybody - the quarterback room, the wideouts, everybody on the team. I think for him, he was looking to get to an NFL-type system. A pro-style type of offense. That’s obviously what we have with Coach (Tommy) Rees and our offensive system. 

“I think it’s really a win-win for everybody. I look forward to getting him here and seeing how he’ll fit into our offensive scheme and how we can tailor our scheme around our quarterbacks and obviously be productive, which is the ultimate goal.” 

On what he learned as a first-year head coach:
”The biggest thing last year was everything was a first. You coach your first bowl game. You transition to recruiting and your first spring as the head coach and the offseason into fall camp. Everything was a first where this year, you kind of have a blueprint for what you want to do. We have to enhance what we’re doing and we will, but you have that consistency amongst your personnel and coaching staff. You have an idea of what we’re going to do as we go through the season.

“I was just doing a calendar yesterday and I was like, Ok, we know what we’re going to do here. How do we tailor it to 2023? That’s going to be something we do. The blueprint is already laid in stone and we’re going to look forward to building on it.” 

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