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Notre Dame Football

Jeremiyah Love Taking On Multiple Roles in Notre Dame's Offense

March 29, 2024
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Spring practice is always a time for experiments or even position moves. 

It’s not uncommon for players to cross-train at a different position to gain more experience if needed or to expand their role within the program.

Notre Dame sophomore running back Jeremiyah Love is doing the latter. The St. Louis native has started taking reps with the receivers to expand his game, but also the Irish offense under new offensive coordinator Mike Denbrock. 

"Basically, I want to get some receiver work and a foundation at receiver so I can move out to the slot anytime they need me to or stuff like that,” stated Love. “I'm just going to probably be going back and forth - slot and running back." 

Running backs coach Deland McCullough has no issues with Love spending more time with Mike Brown. A permanent position switch isn’t the works, but Love can help the offense more if he’s not limited to a specific route tree and the bonus is the running back room doesn’t suffer. 

“That was by design,” McCullough explained of Love working with the receivers. What an opportunity to get Jeremiyah some specific training at receiver, like some of the nuanced things and not just say, ‘Hey, go line up there in the four spot and run a sluggo. Or just take off and run a go.’ He gets some specific training there. That’s what we took these last couple days to do.

“Going back to the beauty of the room, you can remove a guy like him and just keep on going. It’s not like, ‘Man, you know what? We need him back because we can’t run the ball today. We can’t do good things at running back.’ That’s not the case.”

The reps at receiver are one change for Love, but there’s also another in learning Denbrock’s new offense. 

Love hasn’t felt growing pains mastering the new scheme and can already feel Notre Dame is going to be more explosive in 2024. 

"I wouldn't say anything has been tough,” Love said. “I guess it's a new offense, so having to learn it is challenging in itself. I wouldn't say there is anything necessarily tough about it. One thing I do like about his offense is it's way more explosive. We're doing more stuff with the backs with routes and stuff like that. That's kind of my field of play, so I think the offense is great." 

As a freshman, Love appeared in all 13 games and rushed for 385 yards and scored two touchdowns, including the 13-yard catch and run in the Sun Bowl. 

In all, the 6-foot, 196-pounder tallied 147 snaps and it’s put him ahead of the curve entering his first spring. 

"I would say my football IQ,” Love stated when asked where his growth came from in 2023. “I came in and played as a freshman. I got a lot of playing time and that only helped my IQ. I know things that I didn't know before and it allows me to be a smarter football player." 

McCullough rotates his backs, so the starting back is definitely an honor, but it doesn’t necessarily mean there are 300 carries waiting. That said, Love and Jadarian Price figure to be the two-headed monster for the Irish, with Gi’Bran Payne and the two early enrollees fitting into the mix. 

It’s a heated yet friendly competition, which is what Notre Dame wants from every position. 

"There's a lot more competition,” Love explained. “Audric (Estimé) was Audric. I knew what he was going to do. But him being gone, there's an open spot. Everybody is competing every day and coming in to work. We're being respectful about it. No one is hating on each other. It's coming in every day to work and we play off each other." 

When it comes to personal goals, Love wants to start to show his leadership during the spring. He’s not going to overstep, but he recognizes there is a void to fill with Estimé’s leadership off to the NFL. 

"I'm very confident,” said Love. “Playing behind AUdric, I looked up to Audric. I got a lot of knowledge from him. My objective was to come into my sophomore season trying to be a leader. Audric left some big shoes to fill and I don’t want to step into his shoes fully, but be a leader in the room and lead the young guys. Just set an example for the team.

“That's what we as a running back room do. We're trying to set that tone for everybody. We're all trying to feel that leadership role.” 

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