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3 Up, 3 Down - Marshall

Written by Nick Kremer, Editor for The Irish Tribune

Photo from Yahoo! Sports

Notre Dame took on Marshall this past Saturday for Marcus Freeman’s home opener as the Irish Head Coach. Marshall was able to leave South Bend with a win, dropping the Irish to 0-2 to start the season.

It’s never as good, or as bad as it seems. Let's take a look at 3 areas with stock up, and 3 areas with stock down after this past Saturday.

Stock Up 📈

Special Teams - What was originally considered one of the most worried about areas of the team coming into the season, the special teams has been one of the biggest surprises through two games.

Writer for The Irish Tribune, God Country Irish had this to say about Special Teams: “Jon Sot. Whether it is pinning the other team deep, or punting as far as he can kick, Jon has been an impressive transfer this season. Brian Mason has also been impressive. After a sub-par showing from the special teams unit during week 1, Mason had his Special Teams units playing much better against Marshall.”

The Special Teams have made a difference in games in flipping the field and winning the field position battle. Let's hope this unit’s stock can continue to rise.

Mayer, Tyree, Styles - It was hard to find many positives on the offensive side of the ball for this game. Michael Mayer was the biggest bright spot for the offense against Marshall. He had over 100 yards receiving in this game and was playing with purpose for 4 quarters.

Chris Tyree was a bright spot on the offensive side of the ball, even though he only got a few touches. Tyree looked great on kick returns, and showed a different burst when he got carries out the backfield. I look (and HOPE) we see a lot more of Tyree going forward.

Lorenzo Styles seems to be the only play-maker that we have in the WR room. Styles showed good speed, route running, and hands in this game. I hope he is involved even more going forward.

Howard Cross and Tariq Bracy - Howard Cross is slowly becoming my favorite player on this football team. He is undersized for his position, but he plays like the biggest man on the field. His motor, aggression, and attitude needs to rub off on some of the other defensive players.

Tariq Bracy has played lights-out throughout the first two games. He has been phenomenal in coverage, the run game, and tackling. Stock is way up for Bracy.

Stock Down 📉

Coaching - From running backs missing blitz pickups, to lineman whiffing on blocks, to WR’s not competing for the ball, and linebackers catching the ball carrier instead of attacking. Every position group looked poorly coached. This has to be fixed and fixed NOW.

Tommy Rees has been at Notre Dame since 2017, and has been Offensive Coordinator since 2020. The quarterbacks on the roster were recruited and developed by him. Some of his playcalls are questionable at best, and they do not look well prepared.

God Country Irish had this to say about Rees: “With a lack of identity, consistency, and unawareness of his players strengths, Rees has been a huge disappointment as the Offensive Coordinator so far this season.”

Offensive Line - I didn’t think I would see a Notre Dame Offensive Line play this bad. They do not fire off the ball, they stop their feet, they miss assignments, and do not play with any intensity. Harry Heistand needs to get these guys going, and quickly.

This is what God Country Irish had to say about starting Center Zeke Correll: “Between poor communication, poor technique, and poor execution, Correll’s position should not be secure at this time.”

I have been disappointed with everyone on the OL. Blake Fisher and Joe Alt, both supposed to be our best Lineman, whiffed on blocks, missed assignments, and got beat by Marshall’s DL at times. The entire OL could not get a push and could rarely come off a double-team to pick up a linebacker.

Yes, teams are stacking the box against Notre Dame, but the lack of basic fundamentals and technique are a huge concern going forward.

Effort/Passion/Heart/Leadership - This is the biggest concern for me. I don’t know if the team used it all in their game against OSU, or what, but the lack of effort, passion, and heart was disappointing. These guys need to get excited when they make a big play, and get pissed off when something goes wrong. This is FOOTBALL. It is an emotional game. Half the time these guys act like they’re just going through the motions, and don’t really even want to be out there.

Leadership is missing on this team. When your CAPTAIN, 5th year Offensive Lineman throws his shoulder pads and helmet down, then tries to skip the Alma mater, there are issues. Mistakes are expected, but when they are coming from your leaders on a consistent basis, that's a bad sign.

This one, more than any other, I hope is on my stock up list after next week. ☘️


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