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The Notre Dame Fighting Irish Football program is in good hands with Marcus Freeman as head coach.
Freeman, a former linebacker at Ohio State who spent a year in the NFL bouncing around practice squads, helped build the Cincinnati defense as their DC.
That Cincinnati defense made the CFB Playoffs this year while Freeman was in South Bend.
Since Freeman was appointed DC on (date), he has commanded respect from players and other members of the coaching staff.
When Brian Kelly announced he was leaving the program, players were left shocked. The captains took matters into their own hands and made sure that Notre Dame’s AD, Jack Swarbrick, knew that they wanted Marcus Freeman as their next HC.
Swarbrick listened and appointed Freeman as head coach. Freeman, who has helped Notre Dame build two incoming top 5 recruiting classes, was welcomed by a standing ovation to the team when he walked in their locker room as HC for the first time.
Mike Elston, the Defensive Line coach at Notre Dame, talked about this moment, stating, “I was actually somewhere recruiting (laughing). I wasn't even in the locker room. But seeing the video doesn't shock me. He's the same guy every day. The players appreciate that. It was very heart-warming. And he's a great guy, and the players love him, and it showed up on that video.”
The trust that the players put in Freeman to help him get promoted to head coach has paid off, the players are in better shape and having more fun than ever.
Since being appointed head coach, the players have found practices more upbeat.
When asked about the biggest change Freeman has implemented on the Notre Dame program, star tight end Michael Mayer said, “I think number one, it's been the practices. The practices have been more upbeat, more up-tempo, a little bit more against our own defense. For me, I think it's been great. It's got me better in shape. I think the team can agree. It's a little bit more competitive, a little bit more energy on the field, and I think that's something that's been great for this team, and I think it will show this weekend.”
Meanwhile, Freeman himself has learned a lot about himself in his short head coaching tenure so far.
“You come from Cincinnati where we had a lot of success, and you feel like you really had a good spring. You really had a good fall. As you go into the first game versus Florida State, after that game, you're like, "Oh, crap, we're not as good as I thought,” stated Freeman at the Head Coaches press conference. Freeman went on to say, “after week 6, your best player, Kyle Hamilton, goes down. So you have to say, Okay, now how do we fit this scheme around who's the next guy in? This group has just trusted us and this coaching staff. The coaching staff has done a tremendous job in terms of just figuring out what's the best way to teach these guys. What's the best thing that fits these guys? We've worked as a team. The defensive staff has been a team all year. Taking other people's ideas is something that we've done. And just the ability to try and get to this final product that we have, it's been a growing experience.”
Freeman continually emphasized the importance of learning from one another and continuing the momentum.
Freeman and the Fighting Irish will face Oklahoma State in the Fiesta Bowl on New Years Day at 11 AM Mountain Time. This will be the first game of the Marcus Freeman era and all Notre Dame fans are rooting for a strong start to an era that has high expectations.
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