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Leap Year? Should Buchner Stay or Go?

By: Murray O'Connell and Nick Kremer | Twitter: @MurrayOConnell | @NickKremerIT

Photo Courtesy of Stefan Revenboer LocalToday

Senior Day, 2012. Manti Te’o runs out of the tunnel toward his parents one last time. The fans are cheering, some even wipe away tears. It was a touching moment not just for Te'o and his family, but for all those fans that fell in love with him over his 4 years at Notre Dame. For those not old enough to remember, Te’o was a beast. No, check that, he was the beast that ate other beasts. Yet, you couldn’t help but fall in love with such a classy, humble kid. That, plus the fact he gave up millions of dollars to return to Notre Dame for his senior season made that moment even more special.

But that was then, and this is now.

College football has changed. College football is changing. What was once the norm is now thought of as foreign. What was once seen as crazy, is now becoming possible. Gone are the days of Manti Te’o returning for his senior season, now for better or worse, it has become all about marketing the brand, that brand being of course, the individual player.

There is money to be made, this time legally. There is the potential for significant money to be made, by auditioning for another league. There are only so many chances these players get to build a name for themselves, so when the opportunity arises, they need to take it.

Tyler Buchner has already proven what an asset he can be, returning after what was supposed to be a season ending injury, only to strap his team onto his back and lead them to a Gator Bowl victory over a formidable opponent. Buchner’s stock is hot, which is why this is the best time for him to leave Notre Dame and find a new school to thrive at.

Buchner should leave Notre Dame:

In terms of academics and setting himself up in the real world with a degree from a university that will open many doors for him in the future, of course Tyler Buchner should stay at Notre Dame. But if we are talking on the field only, Buchner needs to read the writing on the wall and find a place where he can build his brand, and potentially take his game to another level.

Let me throw some names out there: Joe Burrow, Jalen Hurts, Russell Wilson. Here are a few more, Bo Nix, Caleb Williams, Michael Penix Jr. What do all of these quarterbacks have in common? All have transferred from their original colleges and universities, to play for another. Quarterbacks with a lot of potential, leave to turn that potential into a legacy and hopefully a larger eventual paycheck. Is Buchner an elite quarterback like all those mentioned earlier? Who knows, certainly to date, not even Buchner knows. But he won’t find out playing backup to Sam Hartman.

As great as those cut-a-way shots were from NBC showing Buchner in the booth with Rees all last season, do Irish fans think the new offensive coordinator will fall in love with Buchner with Hartman in the same locker room? Buchner has earned a shot at being the starter, but he’s got as much of a chance of that happening as Marcus Freeman skipping chest and back day at the gym. This job is Hartman’s, barring any injuries. So for the sake of building his brand, Buchner needs to move on.

Lets say Buchner stays this season. Of course the coaches are going to say all the right things to make it sound like there is a legitimate quarterback competition, but we all know how this is going to end. Hartman will be the starter and the new OC will have some special packages he will throw Buchner in throughout the year. Is Buchner going to impress any NFL scouts playing what, maybe 6 or 7 snaps per game, the majority of which he’s keeping the ball to run with? Maybe he gets in anytime they are in a goal line formation and gets to pad his stats with 2 yard touchdown runs. Is that the kind of stuff he wants to get on tape to impress potential NFL suitors? Not even the Cleveland Browns are that stupid to be impressed by a quarterback that just likes to run all the time… are they?

If I’m Tyler Buchner, and what I wouldn’t give to have his hair, I couldn’t help but feel a little chip on my shoulder. His freshman year, Notre Dame decided to bring in a transfer quarterback, Jack Coan, and give the job to him over Buchner. His sophomore year Buchner was seen as the best quarterback in the room, was named the starter, but got injured and in comes Drew Pyne. His next season, after already spending two years in the program, what does Notre Dame do? Bring in an elite transfer quarterback to “challenge” Buchner for the starting job. He just finished proving he was good enough to start for the Irish just a few months ago, but that wasn't enough for the Notre Dame coaches. Notre Dame is showing Buchner what they think of him, they like him when they have to, but if given the opportunity, they will go for somebody they feel is better.

I admire and respect Buchner for getting his body and mind back in shape after having to miss an entire season due to injury. He has shown some flashes of brilliance, and also shown he has more work he needs to do. He won’t get an opportunity to show off, or an opportunity to grow at Notre Dame as long as Sam Hartman is around. Also keep in mind who is in line behind Hartman, Minchey and Carr. Buchner needs to do what is best for his brand and his future, and that means transferring somewhere where he will get a chance to be QB1.

As much as the fans might not like the direction the game is headed, these are the new rules, and they show no signs of changing. Gone are the days of Te’os running out of the tunnel one last time on Senior Day, it's now become about the brand, and players need to manage their own.

Buchner should stay:

In today's college football world, patience in a program is almost unheard of when it comes to players that want to play immediately. If Buchner feels that he may not receive the chance to start at Notre Dame in the near future, it could be tempting to look for that opportunity elsewhere. Additionally, if Buchner is unhappy with his role on the team or the coaching staff, a change of scenery could be attractive.

However, it is important to consider the long-term benefits of staying at Notre Dame and competing for the starting role. With another year of learning under Sam Hartman and the offensive staff, Buchner will have a better understanding of the game and will be better prepared to lead the team. The experience he gains and the relationships he builds will be invaluable in the long run. Finally, the chance to win a National Championship and earn a Notre Dame degree cannot be underestimated.

For Tyler Buchner, the case for staying at Notre Dame couldn't be stronger. Here are five compelling reasons why he should stay put:

1. Sam Hartman: Buchner has the unique opportunity to spend a year learning from quarterback Sam Hartman, who is widely regarded as one of the top college quarterbacks in the country. With Hartman's guidance, Buchner can continue to improve his skills and prepare himself for the role of starting quarterback in 2024. This additional year of learning and development will only make him a better player. By staying at Notre Dame, he'll be able to make the most of this opportunity and emerge as the top quarterback for the Irish in 2024.

2. Playbook: Buchner is comfortable with the playbook and system at Notre Dame. The last thing he needs is to go to a new school and learn a completely new system. Additionally, most programs already have their QB room set for next season, which would limit his options. Buchner knows he'll have a great opportunity to compete for the starting spot in 2024 if he stays at Notre Dame. Even with Tommy Rees leaving, he will have a chance to be involved in the install from day one from the new offensive coordinator. By staying in a familiar system, he'll be able to play with confidence and make the most of his opportunities on the field.

3. Strong supporting cast: The Irish have a talented offensive line, a strong running game, and a lot of talent at the wide receiver position. Buchner knows he'll have an elite supporting cast around him, which will give him the best chance to succeed. This supporting cast will make his job easier and help him put up big numbers on the field. Furthermore, he'll have the chance to play with some of the best players in college football, which will only make him a better player.

4. National Championship: Notre Dame is close to competing in the playoffs and Buchner has a chance to help the Irish compete for a National Championship. By staying at Notre Dame, he'll have the chance to play in some of the biggest games of his life and make a name for himself. He'll be remembered as a key player in one of the most successful seasons in Notre Dame history. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that he simply can't pass up.

5. Notre Dame: Last but not least, Buchner has the opportunity to earn a degree from the University of Notre Dame, which is widely regarded as one of the top universities in the country. A degree from Notre Dame carries a lot of weight and will open doors for him in the future. Furthermore, he's a high academic kid and education is important to him. By staying at Notre Dame, he'll be able to continue to pursue his education and make the most of this opportunity.

In the end, the decision to transfer or stay at Notre Dame will come down to what Buchner values most. While the opportunity to start immediately may be tempting, the long-term benefits of staying at Notre Dame and continuing to develop as a quarterback should not be overlooked.

*Photos courtesy of Michael Conroy AP,


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1 Comment

Feb 08, 2023

The entire 2023 season, Tyler Buchner will be one play (and injury) away from being the starting QB for the rest of the season, or a major part of it.

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