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Notre Dame Needs A Bigger Axe


📷: Irish Tribune

In an embarrassing loss to Stanford last Saturday night, Notre Dame failed to execute one offense once again. After starting the game with a false start on captain Jarrett Patterson, little did Irish fans know that this would set the tone for the rest of the night. At best, the offense looked out of sync, too predictable, and poorly coached, and players lacked the competitive spirit to win that football game. Coach Freeman had this to say at his press conference on Monday…


“It's been a long 48 hours of trying to figure out what the heck happened on Saturday and why we didn't execute the way we have been previously, and what we have to do to fix it. And to do a better job in order to give us a chance to perform better when it matters on Saturdays in the game. I think we've had some really productive meetings and had good practice yesterday. The spirits of the kids in this program are unwavering. That's the thing that everybody has to understand. As disappointed as we all are on Saturday, the fight and excitement to get a chance to play another game here in five days and to play for this university will never change. We look forward to another opportunity on Saturday. We look forward to getting back on the practice field tomorrow and getting back to work and preparing for a tough test at UNLV. We know it will be a challenge and we have to be ready to go Saturday afternoon.”

At the end of the day, something has to change it must change quickly. Outside of the North Carolina game, the Notre Dame offense has not been very good this season. Quarterback Drew Pyne did not have his best game and the play calling from offensive coordinator Tommy Rees was one of the least creative games Irish fans have seen in years. On top of that, statements like this concern many Irish fans…


“You go to Stanford and you don't execute the way you want to. I don't question who we are on offense. I have the utmost confidence in coach Rees and our offensive staff and what we are doing. We just have to execute better. That to me is the challenge of saying that it's not the play calls or what we are doing, but why we aren't executing and what we have to do to execute."


Does Marcus Freeman understand that this is about more than execution? Does he understand that the quarterback problem, offensive philosophy problem, and a plethora of other issues all point back to one coach on his staff? Time will tell if Coach Freeman is just showing respect to his staff or not, but a coach with as much experience as he has knows, deep down, that something has to change on this football team. He has done a good job at elevating recruiting, but now it’s time to elevate his standard for his coaches and the product they put out on the field on Saturdays. Coach Freeman added this at the press conference on Monday…


“You're going to have to be able to really stand your ground during these tough times. Our program is different this year than it was in the past. To really establish something that's special, you're going to have to go through some challenges and difficult times. I've been through them. I've been to new places. I've been in new situations where you have to hit tough times. Again, nobody wants to go through them, but I know we're going to be better because of it. As I told the team, you have to understand you can't always win it easy. Nobody wants to lose a game, but this is going to build this program and our foundation to where it needs to be. They're encouraged. We're going to be okay. We know that. We have a good football team. The culture of this program is we're going to have to embrace these tough times and these growing pains of getting this program to where we want it to be."



Final Take

Irish fans hope these lackluster performances are behind this football team, but they can not overlook UNLV. UNLV is not a great football team, but with the way Notre Dame is playing right now, it is hard to overlook any team. If Coach Freeman is going to right the ship, then it begins with a better week of preparation, execution, and putting the fight back in the Fighting Irish. When asked about his goals this week, Coach Freeman said this…


“To beat UNLV. We're not talking about a bowl game. We're worried about this next opportunity that we have on Saturday. We can't worry about six games from now. We have to worry about taking care of what's right in front of us. That goes into the messaging for this week. But the minute you start daydreaming and drift into, 'Okay, if we win six in a row, okay, we're gonna go to a bowl game and what bowl game we're gonna play,' you're losing the attention that it takes to have success versus a team like UNLV. One, we can't disrespect that team, because they're a good football team. Two, you're doing a disservice to the seniors and the guys in this room right now.”


Go Irish!


📷: Irish Tribune

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