Marcus Freeman Delivered Intense Post-Practice Message

Notre Dame’s first training session had just ended.

It was a two-hour session in which Notre Dame pumped in the noise of the crowd and fought the humidity.

And seconds after practice, Notre Dame gathered around head coach Marcus Freeman, letting them know the effort wasn’t good enough. Freeman used a few choice words to demand more from his team from a preparation standpoint, as a few players missed training due to overheating.

It was a message Freeman had to send to set the bar high, as a trip to the state of Ohio is four weeks away.

“It must be difficult,” Freeman said at his post-training press conference. “It doesn’t change. We don’t change what we do. It gets difficult. We had a couple of guys who couldn’t finish training today and it’s their job to make sure they’re available for practice. It’s the trainer’s job to make sure they protect the player.

“I was trying to send a message to those players that, ‘Hey, whatever you need to do to make sure you’re available to practice.’ We had some guys going out because of the heat, whatever you have to do to make sure you’re available, we have to do it because we’re not changing.”

Freeman downplayed the Ohio State game during the off-season, but it’s crunch time now and every move has been calculated — including the message to his team.

“I believe in what we have planned this fall camp,” explains Freeman. “I think this is what we need to be prepared to go. And we’re not going to change. We’re always going to look and review and debrief and say, ‘Is there anything we can do to improve?’ “But the length of training, the effort, the way we’re going to challenge our players, that’s not going to change. If they want to pull us back, it won’t happen. They have to keep doing what it takes to make sure they’re ready.” to leave.”

The Irish were not in pads, but multiple 11-on-11 bouts were filled with crowd noise streaming through the speakers. It was designed. Of course it will help to prepare Notre Dame for The Horseshoe, but Freeman had another reason why he wanted the sound.

“The noise from the crowd, it’s not about anything other than I want the coaches to let the players play,” Freeman said. “That was really a trigger. When you’re inside, you don’t hear anything. Outside they can scream a little. But I want the coaches to teach these guys from day one how to communicate with each other, how to solve problems without the coaches being on the field.”

Outside of a period of 11-to-11 scripted drives, Notre Dame performed its 1-on-1, 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 work in the red zone, which was also designed that way.

“We started in the red zone, it was very intentional,” Freeman explained. “I think Al Golden was the one who said in the NFL they were doing that to really make the long run of the skill guys work. I’m not trying to take it easy, but it’s progress in terms of how long our wideouts are. and our DBs are up and running. We started that in the spring, we’re going to start in the red zone and then we’ll work our way into the middle of the field. That’s why we did that.”

The red zone is an area that Notre Dame needs to improve on, as the Irish finished number 32 in the country in the red zone last year.

It was a mixed bag on both sides of the ball so if you’re Freeman it’s something you want to see.

“It went back and forth,” Freeman said. “It was really good to see. I think the defense has depth and that was something that was noticeable to me. The attack, we’re not quite as deep as we want to be. Until that point we continue. But it was good. You saw some good things from the offense, some good things from the defense.”

Freeman has also spent quite a bit of time around the attacking side of the ball during the off-season. He was on Tommy Rees’ meetings with the quarterbacks, and on Friday, Freeman moved into every position group on either side of the ball.

The knowledge has enabled Freeman to see the game from a different perspective and interact with his players even more.

“It’s been really good for me to spend a lot of time with the quarterbacks to see their progress,” Freeman said. I always tell them, ‘If things don’t go well, you get the blame and it’s not always your fault.’

“Perfect example today was Tyler (Buchner) throwing a ball. It looked like it was a bad throw. I don’t know who it was that led the route, the route didn’t go quite right. I looked at Tyler and said, “Hey, that’s why you have to hold people accountable, because from my point of view I was looking and that was a bad throw.” No, that wasn’t a bad throw. We have to make sure we’re on the right track. So a lot of things fall on those quarterbacks’ plate. That’s who I spend the most time with and so it was an eye opener to see it from their point of view.”

And speaking of the quarterback position, Freeman says it’s an open league. Buchner got the most reps with the first-team attack on Friday and the first-year head coach wants to name the starter sooner or later.

“It’s a battle of two quarterbacks between Tyler and Drew (Pyne) now,” Freeman said. “I think they all made great strides in the spring. Tyler missed the last two practices. One was the spring game and the training for it. But he got 13 really good workouts. I thought both those guys had extremely good springs. Then Steve (Angeli) and Ronnie (Powlus), those guys had good progression springs. But what you’ll see is Drew and Tyler fighting it out. They both get reps with that one. And again, if I, Coach Rees and the offensive staff feel like there’s a quarterback who showed us he’s the starter, we’ll name him.”

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