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Notre Dame Football

Notre Dame QB Room Deep in Talent Heading Into Spring Football

March 23, 2023

Notre Dame has gone from an uncertain quarterback situation to a room of exciting depth in a matter of months. 

Sam Hartman has the experience and production the other Notre Dame quarterback lack, but Tyler Buchner showed a ton of promise in the Gator Bowl victory in December over South Carolina where he accounted for over 300 yards of total offense without All-American Michael Mayer on the field.

Sure, the favorite is Hartman as he’s amassed 12,967 yards and 110 touchdowns through the air, but the spring is about getting the 6-foot-1, 210-pounder comfortable in the Notre Dame program and on the field with new teammates. 

“He’s like a freshman,” stated Notre Dame head coach Marcus Freeman following the first practice of the spring. “It’s new. I think this is his sixth spring ball, but you are at a new place with a new system and still figuring out where to go and what a drill is called.

“He has a ton of natural ability when throwing the ball and he plays the game of football well. You’ll see the leadership traits grow. He’s a leader. You can tell he commands respect.” 

Hartman has meshed into the locker room well in three short months, but don’t think Buchner is just going to roll over because the ACC’s leader in all-time passing touchdowns is now in South Bend. 

For Buchner, it’s about competing and learning from Hartman and letting the chips fall where they fall under new quarterback coach Gino Guidugli and offensive coordinator Gerad Parker. 

“You see Tyler too,” Freeman said. “He was sharp and Tyler did some really good things. It’s exciting to see two guys pushing each other and battling while respecting each other. I’m really excited to see this quarterback competition as we move forward over 14 practices to really see, not who becomes the guy but how much better it will make the room. That’s what you love. Anytime you have competition, it makes the room better. I’m excited for that.”

And yes, Notre Dame has had its fair share of ugly quarterback battles, but in recent years, the QB room has become healthy as it relates to relationships and it seems to be that way again in 2023. 

“They compete and push each other knowing there is only one starter vs. Navy,” explained Freeman. “They have respect. They are choosing to love each other and have their back, but also compete. They have an ability to make each other better. That is a reflection of the leadership and the type of personalities those guys have.”

All eyes might be on Buchner and Hartman, but don’t forget about sophomore Steve Angeli and freshman early enrollee Kenny Minchey. 

Sure, Angeli and Minchey likely aren’t going to factor into who will be starting in Ireland, but the next month will be a significant step into their development as their careers are just getting started. 

Freeman will also be invested into the development of all four quarterbacks this spring. Yes, Freeman doesn’t have a background working on offense, but the last year showed he’s more than willing to spend time learning about the offense and will continue to be involved on the offensive side of the ball. 

“My role will be the same as it was last year,” said Freeman. “It’ll be myself, Coach Parker and Coach Guidugli and we’ll sit and talk and look at the statistics of the competition, but also the other side of it who makes the best decisions, who takes care of the football the best, and who ultimately makes plays is going to be important. It’ll be a collective effort between all three of us to eventually name a starter.”

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