Notre Dame wants to put Clemson in the rearview and focus on Wake Forest following bye week
SOUTH BEND, Ind – The Irish are preparing for Wake Forest while learning from mistakes against Clemson.
The good thing about coming off the bye week is players are rested and now ready for the next matchup.
The unfortunate thing is having to talk about what happened at Clemson. Only an eight-point loss, but it never felt like Notre Dame had a chance against the 4-4 tigers and their top 10 defense.
“As I told the team, the result of Clemson is cause and effect, right. And we have to own that there's no luck. But there's reasons for why things happen,” Head Coach Marcus Freeman said.
A few reasons for the outcome were the muffed punt by Chris Tyree resulting in a Clemson field goal and Sam Hartman’s sixth interception of the season returned for a touchdown.
“It's easy to blame it on two plays, three plays, if we don't throw an interception or we don't muff a point. But that does nothing for us as a team,” Freeman added.
Throughout the first 30 minutes the Irish were successful in the run game thanks to Audric Estime. The junior rushed for 66 yards in the first half but was only given three carries in the second half.
Those play-calling decisions have fans wondering – why didn’t Notre Dame switch up the plays? Freeman says it’s not as simple as it is in a video game.
“It's not as simple as calling just a different play. Like that's, I promise you, it's not like Madden, and you know, you call better play and you're more efficient,” Freeman said.
Looking ahead to game day, the Irish hope to have better success with their play-calling against Wake Forest in the final home game of the season and senior day.
Freeman mentioned the Irish will recognize 31 seniors, one of them being quarterback Sam Hartman who’s playing against his former team.
Hartman spent five years in a Wake Forest uniform and set the record for most touchdowns passes in the ACC.
After five seasons, Hartman transferred to Notre Dame to lead the offense and now in his last game in the blue and gold, according to Freeman, they're picking his brain to prepare for the Demon Deacons.
“You have a guy that's been in the system in the building that we can ask questions to, it's no different than Javontae Jean-Baptiste when he was here, when we played Ohio State. "Hey, anything you see anything, you know, personnel wise?’. At the end of the day, Sam's got to be ready for their defense and making sure that our offense is playing on high level and, and we got to make sure we're ready to go,” Freeman said.
As for injuries, right guard Rocco Spindler will miss the remainder of the season with a knee injury according to Freeman. Starting center Zeke Correll is still in concussion protocol and his back Andrew Kristofic is still dealing with a high ankle sprain, leaving Ashton Craig in line for the start.