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Buchner Deserves Time and Patience to Thrive

By: Patrick Byrne ⏐ Writer ⏐Twitter: @PatrickByrneIT



Photo Courtesy: Associated Press


Instant gratification. We all want it, it's ingrained in the fabric of every American at this point. You can probably blame the internet or perhaps corporate efficiency. Regardless, we all want it and we want it now. Our sports are no different. We all want our sports teams to be great NOW, not tomorrow, not next year, NOW. College football fits perfectly into our "now" way of thinking in today's world. With the advent of the transfer portal and players being able to start immediately upon transferring, rather than sitting out a year, we have all we need to bury our "win later" mentality, and go for it today. But wait a minute, is that the right attitude to have? Shouldn't we let players develop over time, and get better, as a team? In the case of Tyler Buchner, I think the answer is yes.


Tyler Buchner has started three games for Notre Dame in two seasons on campus - three. Sure, he played in 2021 but was used sparingly, more as a running than a passing threat. And yet, we all saw the potential of what he could do or could be in the Virginia Tech game, when he threw a long pass down the field to Kevin Austin, who was able to make the play for a big gain. What about the throw to Braden Lenzy in the Gator Bowl, on the fly, for a TD? Compare that to the heave thrown by Drew Pyne to Lenzy in the Navy game, where Lenzy had to make a circus catch on a comically underthrown ball. The accuracy and arm strength aren't even close. This doesn't even bring into play the multiple sidearm throws incorporated into Buchner's game, a must have in the Mahomes-esque football world we all now live in. This is the good news, now for the bad news.


We've also seen him throw multiple pick sixes, the most recent of which was on the 7 yard line on a slant to a waiting South Carolina defender, who returned it 100 yards for a score (sorry for having to rehash that one in your mind). I'm not here to defend the pick sixes, but I am here to remind you that Tyler Buchner missed his sophomore year of high school due to injury and didn't play his senior year due to Covid. I'm also here to remind you he's started in 3 games, oh wait, I already said that. He also changed his throwing motion his junior year of high school. I have no idea why he would've done this, but he did. Add up all of these things and I see a kid who's still learning how to tap into his full potential. He's somewhat learning as he goes, which is of course frustrating to us fans but none the less, this is where he is. Where that full potential lies we won't know unless he stays in the game and continues to play.


Trevor Lawrence ruined it for all quarterbacks. He started for Clemson as a freshman and was otherworldly, throwing passes that were on a rope while gallivanting around the field for 10-15 yard gains like he was out on a Sunday stroll. Trevor Lawrence isn't the norm, Max Duggan is. Yes, that Max Duggan, the same one who's led his TCU Horned Frogs to the National Championship game. Unless your college football expanse doesn't move past the Irish, you already know he was benched last season. He also threw 10 interceptions as a freshman and 10 more the next 2 years, while racking up 36 TDs. That's a 36/20 TD to INT ratio, not completely awful but certainly not worthy of Heisman consideration. This year, he threw 32 TDs and 6 picks, quite the comeback story as many have already scripted. Buchner isn't Duggan, I'm simply proving a point that a guy who plays can and will get better over time if they're able to fully hone their talents. Sitting Buchner at this point won't allow him the ability fully grow.


So, am I saying Notre Dame shouldn't have courted and signed Sam Hartman? Reluctantly, no, that's not what I'm saying. In this age of college football and the way the transfer portal is setup, they would've been foolish not to sign him. He's an experienced QB that instantly provides a boost to the QB room. What I'm saying is this, Buchner was "the guy" when Notre Dame signed him. A once 5 star recruit, he's similar from a recruiting perspective to fans reactions of CJ Carr. A can't miss prospect, he was going to propel the Irish to new heights and finally position Notre Dame to not only contend in the playoffs but potentially win the whole thing. How times have changed. The "can't miss kid" throws a few INTs and now he should be relegated to the bench, thrown into the transfer portal or simply sit and wait his turn while Hartman takes over the reigns. This isn't a Phil Jurvovich situation. Jurkovich has shown his immaturity time and time again and, in the end, the Irish are better off having shed a potential cancer from the locker room. Buchner may transfer as well, but I can assure you Irish fans would lament this long after when he ends up reaching the potential he's flashed at his new home.


Photo Courtesy: Associated Press


Greatness takes patience. It's not something that's handed to us on a silver platter. It's no mystery that Sam Hartman will make Notre Dame better from the jump to start the 2023 season, but will he make the Irish great? Perhaps, but still somewhat debatable given he's played in a slow mesh offense that's allowed him time to scan the field for open receivers. How will he do in Tommy Rees' offense? Hopefully the growing pains will be minor, but we won't know until the Irish take the field in Ireland against a newly coached Navy team.


If you, the Irish fan, wants Buchner (or any QB for that matter) to be good, you have to let them grow into the position. This kid had offers from Columbia and Yale as well as Notre Dame, he's smart and will learn to pickup situations on the field much quicker than most (I'm aware that Hartman is also smart, having gone to Wake Forest). He simply needs the time to be able to show what he can do, and the reps on the field to do it. Hartman will be nice to have on the team and he will most likely win the games we always should win (I'm looking at you Marshall) but will he be able to elevate Notre Dame to the next level? Maybe, but maybe the guy sitting the bench watching him do it was the answer all along.

1 Comment


Notre Dame has the talent & ability to win the national championship in 2023 with great QB play. It would require amazing development for TB to be great in 2023. If he beats out Hartman then he will be a great QB, if not, then ND has a great seasoned QB, anyway. They couldn’t go into 2023 with just Buchner. If he got hurt they’d really be in a pickle. I’m glad ND landed Hartman & I’m looking forward to them going 13-1, minimum.

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