Spring training starts for Notre Dame Football, fresh faces and Coach Freeman's plans

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Notre Dame Football is officially back in action with day one of spring practice with a new plan and faces.

The talk of the town is obviously the Duke transfer, quarterback Riley Leonard. His battle with Steve Angeli will be on display leading up to the Blue-Gold game on April 20.

"You have an opinion based off what you've seen in the past with Steve, with Riley, with all those guys. But you still have to make it based off a subjective competition. Right. And I want to make sure that we have dialogue opinions," Head Coach Marcus Freeman said.

However, it won't be an easy win for Leonard, after watching Angeli's success (232 yards, three touchdowns) in the Sun Bowl.

"We also utilize the facts, right, the different criteria's that we're going to use in terms of having a quarterback competition, very similar to what we did last year. And so, it will play itself out. Right. And the best thing about is we're in no rush to, to name a starter. And I think the competition in that room is going to make everybody better," Freeman added.

As for the guys Leonard and Angeli will be relying on for production, they'll look to a wide receiver room that didn't meet the expectations last season.

"I think I saw more deep balls caught, you know, in this practice, and I've seen in a long time. And so, it was really good to see, right, and it's going to be great for both sides," Freeman mentioned.

The narrative is expected to change this season with new Wide Receiver Coach Mike Brown from the University of Wisconsin, and Florida International University transfer, Kris Mitchell, who had over 1100 receiving yards and seven touchdowns last season.

"The speed, the ability to throw the ball downfield is going to obviously be great for offense, but it's going to be a great challenge for our dbs. And so, you know, I love I can't wait to see this competition as we go throughout the spring," Freeman said.

Also, joining Notre Dame's receiving room is Beaux Collins a transfer out of Clemson. As of now Collins is only allowed to observe because he's still enrolled at Clemson.

Then there's Mike Denbrock. The new offensive coordinator, making it Notre Dame's third in three seasons. Denbrock leaving Brian Kelly and LSU to come back to Notre Dame for his third stint.

"I forget how competitive he is, man. And I probably said that when I first talked about him, like he, he's a competitive dude. And, you know, I heard him out there today. Chirping. And get back, they do a long ball and I hear get back to the huddle get used to that. That's what we do. And I'm like, okay, I like that man. And, you know, he's a leader. He's a leader," Freeman added.

Notre Dame did make more coaching changes and promotions during the offseason, one of them being Mike Mickens, who was initially only coaching the cornerbacks but is now coaching the entire Defensive Back room, after the departure of former safety's coach Chris O'Leary taking a job with the LA Chargers. 

Joining Mickens as the Assistant Coach of Defensive Back's room is the Special Team's coordinator, Marty Biagi. Freeman tells us that Biagi does have coaching experience on the defensive side of the ball.

Also receiving a promotion during the off-season, Running Back Coach Deland McCullough, who earned an added duty as Associate Head Coach under Marcus Freeman.

Freeman believes McCullough's next step in the football world is to become a head coach.

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