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Notre Dame Football

Captain Notes with Khalid Kareem | Returning to Notre Dame, Rebounding & Prevent Defense

September 30, 2023

Notre Dame Stadium hosted one of college football’s best games last weekend as the Irish and Buckeyes duked it out until literally the last second came off the clock. 

Several Notre Dame alum returned to campus for the weekend, including Chicago Bears defensive end Khalid Kareem, who was unfortunately put on the IR list.

Kareem has played in several big games for the Irish, but even he was impressed with the atmosphere Notre Dame and the fans were able to create last weekend. 

“That was one of the best environments I’ve ever been around,” Kareem stated. “That was the most electric I’ve ever seen at Notre Dame Stadium. From the music to everyone being involved in being loud on 3rd down to get OSU’s offense flustered. You can tell that everyone on campus that day bought into the “hype” and can see the potential of this team.” 

The heartbreaking loss is now in the past and it was clear Notre Dame’s coaches and players were more than ready to move past it during the week. 

How does a team rebound from an emotional loss? 

It’s simple. 

“The keys to bouncing back are the same for any week,” explained Kareem. “Go back watch the film, assess what you didn’t do well and how you can improve on those. Honestly, most importantly what did you do well and how can you continue to hold that standard and continue to ascend from there.”

Highlighting the positives is tough to do, especially for fans, but it’s something head coach Marcus Freeman also stressed this week. 

“There were a lot of good things that happened out there,” stated Kareem. “Yes you lost, but don’t let the loss and the outside noise take away from the positives of the game as well.” 

The prevent defense is always a hot topic when a team is on the losing end and that’s the case for Notre Dame this week as the Irish allowed Ohio State to convert a 3rd-and-19 to set up the winning score. 

Is there a time and place for the prevent defense? Is it a good defense? Kareem has also been on the field for plenty of close games and has a few thoughts. 

“In my opinion, it’s a conservative defense, where you take your foot off the gas a little bit play top-down and react off of the offense more than usual,” Kareem explained. “I think it’s good in situations where the offense needs a huge chunk play at the end of the game, place your foot at the sticks or the goal line and don’t let any plays get behind you. Don’t bite on the under routes because that’s what they want you to do so that they can get you on the double move and get the huge chunk play they need.

“There’s a time and place for every play, but sometimes it’s good to keep a little pressure on the offense, especially if they haven’t been able to overcome it. No reason to fix what isn’t broken.”

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