Two Notre Dame Football experts discuss the program’s future

NOTRE DAME, Ind.—Now that the University of Notre Dame has officially announced that Marcus Freeman will be the next head coach, where does the program go from here?

The Irish could tackle a couple of different areas now that they have a new head coach but recruiting seems to be high on multiple Irish insiders’ lists.

With early signing day in college football planned for December 15, the Irish now have to go regain some of their recruits’ faith and trust in the program.

For some commits, they’ve wanted Freeman to be the head coach since the job opened up. For others, it may take a little salesmanship.

Regardless, two Notre Dame Football experts said the next step must be recruiting.

“The immediate next is recruiting right, early signing day is coming around the corner here, and they have some players not many who are wavering a little bit but would like to see some certainty in the program, so you need to put Marcus Freeman on a plane and have him visit all of those players in a very short amount of time,” said The Athletic’s Pete Sampson.

“You can prioritize recruiting, you can prioritize getting through this transition into a new head coaching era, and then you worry Sunday about the college football playoff or your postseason destination,” said Irish Sports Daily’s John Brice.

The whole process of naming Freeman as the program’s next coach took less than a week.

“Brian Kelly was the perfect coach in 2010 to hire. Marcus Freeman would not have been, whereas I think moving forward, you could make an argument Marcus Freeman is the perfect coach for Notre Dame in 2021,” Sampson said.

Brice said the enthusiasm and passion for Freeman from the players is enough to carry the team deep into the postseason.

“I don’t think Notre Dame has played its best football game yet, so yes you get the right momentum you get things moving in the right direction and you come together and continue to play better football, I think Notre Dame is capable of making a run,” Brice said.

If the Irish are lucky enough to sneak into the Final Four of the College Football Playoffs, they’ll get their chance to prove themselves.

With Freeman’s promotion comes an empty spot on the coaching roster at Notre Dame. Who might become the team’s next defensive coordinator?

“Do you give Mike Elston the promotion to defensive coordinator after he has been passed over in previous turnovers, including Marcus Freeman’s? Is it Mike Mikens, who is familiar and well versed in Marcus’ defense from their time in Cincinnati, is he the guy? Do you go outside? I would be very surprised if they went outside, but it’s a possibility,” Sampson said.

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