Quick-hitters: Notre Dame head coach Marcus Freeman’s first press conference of fall camp

The head coach’s first press conference of fall camp often features news, confirmation or denial of summer rumors, injury updates, position battle questions and other housekeeping items after months away from reporters. Marcus Freeman covered all those bases Friday after Notre Dame ended its two-hour practice.

Freshman offensive lineman Joey Tanona has medically retired, Freeman said. Wide receiver Joe Wilkins Jr. (Lisfranc) and tight end Mitchell Evans (stress fracture) will miss the season opener at Ohio State. Jarrett Patterson has indeed moved from center to guard. He wants to act with urgency in naming either Tyler Buchner or Drew Pyne the starting quarterback. And much more.

Here are some topics he addressed.

PROMOTION: Sign up for just $1 for your first year at Blue & Gold

On the Notre Dame quarterback race

“As soon as we can. I love the competition aspect of it. Competition helps people grow. But as soon as we’re ready to name a starting quarterback, we’re going to do it. We’re not waiting for certain times or certain days. We just need to make sure we’re ready.”

On first impressions of June enrollees

“I wish I could give you a better feel for those guys. We saw them a little in June and in the weight room. There are some guys who have done some good things. Today, [wide receiver Tobias] Merriweather stood out. The depth in that room isn’t extremely long, so he’s in a position where he is going to have to step up early. If he’s ready to help us, he’s going to play. Because of the depth in the room, you’ve seen him get a lot more opportunities than some of those other guys. He’s long, he can run, I’ve heard nothing but great things from the summer with what he’s done.”

Notre Dame training camp opens for business, a timeline look at Day 1

On Jarrett Patterson moving to guard

“We feel like right now, him playing guard gives our offensive line the best chance to have success. You have to look at that unit as all five, not individual pieces. J-Patt being at guard gives those five guys up front the best chance to be successful.”

On playing the season opener at his alma mater, Ohio State

“I know what it’s like to be in the visiting locker room and on that side of the field. This is about Notre Dame football. I know some of the headlines will be me going back to my alma mater. But my focus point is Notre Dame football and preparing this team. When we get to Sept. 3, Ohio State happens to be the opponent.

“The great thing is it’s a great opponent. You have to challenge yourself and see where we are as a team when you face an opponent like that. But this has nothing to do with me going back to play Ohio State.”

On standout position groups

“Man, I love being around our O-Line. I do. I say it all the time, we’re an O-Line and D-Line driven program. Those guys work and they’re pushed and they continue to respond to being challenged. I love being around and love the culture in that room, the vibe.

“As much time as I can spend with our O-Line and D-Line, I’m going to do it. Those guys will really drive our culture and our program.”

On linebacker Marist Liufau

“He’s a high-motor, high-energy guy. He plays the game fast. He steps on the field and just loves to compete. That’s what you love about him most. We need competitors. Marist is an ultimate competitor. He plays the game with passion.”

On what he has learned as a head coach

“The same things that make you a successful position coach, a successful coordinator are the same things that make you a successful head coach. It still comes down to hard work. It still comes down to preparing and using those great minds around you. I’ve always done that. That’s what I’ve learned. I’ve thought that maybe when you become the head coach, you change who you are. But it’s the same things that have helped me progress in this profession and the same things that I hope will help me be a successful head coach.”

On surprise players or positions

Jaden Mickey did a really good job in the spring. He’s an energy provider. Those confident guys provide energy. Brandon Joseph, same thing.

“Offensive line, I’ll continue to fall back to those guys. [Center] Zeke Correll, because of the spring he had and what he showed, we felt the way to get the best five offensive linemen on the field was to move J-Patt to guard. He showed us a lot about him in the spring.”

#Quickhitters #Notre #Dame #coach #Marcus #Freemans #press #conference #fall #camp

Leave a Comment