Why Notre Dame Football Fans Should Feel Lucky

Now that the 2022 College Football season is over, it’s a great time for reflection. Notre Dame Football was a mystery for most of the year. An ongoing struggle for consistency and navigating the path to the Irish’s new identity. It wasn’t easy, and there are varying opinions on how it went.

There will be plenty of time between now and 2023’s opening game in Dublin to dissect the roster, debate areas of strength and weakness, etc. But for today I wanted to focus on some more nuanced reasons Irish fans should feel as though they are in very competent hands moving forward under Marcus Freeman.

Relentless Energy

Oct 29, 2022; Syracuse, New York, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish head coach Marcus Freeman greets his players after a touchdown against the Syracuse Orange in the first quarter at JMA Wireless Dome. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

If you follow Notre Dame social media at all you know how it seems Freeman is 5 places at once. He and his staff are always on the move. Whether it be for recruiting visits, alumni events, charitable fundraisers, etc, this group is extremely active. Noticeably much more so than the previous regime.

In a modern college football world where more is required than ever of head coaches regarding their time and obligations, I love that Notre Dame has a young, modern coach ready and willing to grind. This is a breathe of fresh air.

Relationships With Athletes

Dec 30, 2022; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish head coach Marcus Freeman lifts the trophy after the game against the South Carolina Gamecocks in the 2022 Gator Bowl at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Reper-USA TODAY Sports

Marcus Freeman is selling Notre Dame Football the way it should be sold. Classic but with a modern twist. This is much more than simply the notion that Freeman can relate because he is close to the players in age.

Unlike many established emperors of college football coaching royalty, Freeman has no history with “the way things were”. He doesn’t harbor resentment towards now having to share the spotlight and power dynamic with players, he leans into it. This will be key for success moving forward.

Relationship With Administration

Dec 30, 2022; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish head coach Marcus Freeman reacts after a touchdown during the second half against the South Carolina Gamecocks in the 2022 Gator Bowl at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports

By now it’s no secret that Brian Kelly’s relationship was strained, how much so and for how long is up for debate. There were consequences to this unfortunate dynamic. It’s harder to get things done when this is the relationship. Ears and wallets tend to stay closed.

Things appear to be going differently with Freeman. His genuine personality lends folks to want to be helpful. Want to make things work. Want to be flexible. This amiable of a relationship between coach and administration is an invaluable asset for a football program to have.

Portal Plays

Notre Dame Fighting Irish head coach Marcus Freeman with players shortly before taking the field for Friday’s Gator Bowl game. The University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish took on the University of South Carolina Gamecocks in the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl game in Jacksonville, Florida’s TIAA Bank Field Friday, December 30, 2022. The first half ended with South Carolina holding a 24 to 17 lead. [Bob Self/Florida Times-Union]
Jki 123022 Bs Gatorbowl 15

Marcus Freeman and company have been much more active in the Transfer Portal than anyone predicted. This is a great sign of things to come. Freeman realizes how critical the portal is becoming and is trying to maximize it while maintaining Notre Dame’s values.

This is not an easy task, but one well suited for Marcus due to the way he can naturally read and connect with people. He’s a great reader of people. Finding the right fits. Nobody knows how gifted of a “gameday” coach Freeman will become, but in terms of everything else, it’d be hard to argue the Irish faithful aren’t darn lucky to have Freeman running the operation.

For more Irish news & notes follow John on Twitter @alwaysirishINCAlways Irish on Youtube and or your preferred audio podcast provider.

Story originally appeared on Fighting Irish Wire


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