Yahoo Sports’ Dan Wetzel and Sports Illustrated’s Pat Forde and Ross Dellenger discuss Notre Dame’s ugly loss to Marshall and discuss what it means for the rest of the season for the Fighting Irish.
DAN WETZEL: Marshall 26, Notre Dame 21. Marcus Freeman, 0 and 2 on season, 0 and 3 as head coach. Alarm bells are ringing there in South Bend. Again, another one – not really upset if you watched the game.
PAT FORD: Correctly.
DAN WETZEL: Marshall was ready to roll. Charles Huff, great coach, came from Nick Saban’s system. His team was ready to go. Charles Huff isn’t going to stay long at Huntington with things like this. So he did an incredible job with that program, and they came in and beat Notre Dame. So all credit to the Marshall players on this one.
However, Marcus Freeman can recruit. It’s face-freezing. He is fascinating. He’s cool. College football could use guys who are kind of — this guy is like a good guy. We need a good factor here. That’s him. I think most people want Marcus Freeman to have some success, even though he’s the coach of the terrible Notre Dame, which everyone usually hates.
But you have to win. And as we’ve said many times — I think I said last week — Brian Kelly isn’t really likable, but he hasn’t lost games he shouldn’t have. And there is something to be said for that. They always won. They may not have beaten the teams they couldn’t beat. They always beat teams they could, especially lately.
So this is a terrible result for Marcus Freeman. He still has a lot to prove. And I don’t know where this season is going. They don’t have a good offense. Not good from Tommy Rees, their offensive coordinator. Not good from Tyler Buchner, their quarterback. All around badass.
And, yes, you have a recruit class now, but you have to win to keep the recruit class. Notre Dame is a little less flippant than most places because kids don’t just go there. They go there for more than wins and losses. But again, you have to prove it. Thoughts on this, Ross?
ROSS DELLENGER: You know, Marcus Freeman, he zips the sideline better than any coach in America, but it doesn’t lead to wins though, unfortunately.
DAN WETZEL: No points. Yes, no points for this.
ROSS DELLENGER: Appearances don’t get you there. Marcus Freeman’s offseason of love has really been incredible, hasn’t it? And Notre Dame has pushed for it. You can say. They have pushed it. There have been so many stories about it. And it’s a good story how it all came about. But, man, the honeymoon is over, right? It is done.
And the thing is, I don’t know that it’s going to get better in the short term. First off, they don’t seem to have a quarterback that can move the football very well, an offense in general that can move the football very well. And they play– they go to UNC of North Carolina, which, by the way, just beat two Sun Belt teams. But this looks pretty good right now.
DAN WETZEL: Yes, not like…
ROSS DELLENGER: It is a conference of power
DAN WETZEL: –uncomfortable. Yes. They looked pretty good.
ROSS DELLENGER: Yeah, so Notre Dame has to go to UNC in a few weeks. They have to go to BYU. They’re hosting Clemson, right? And then they host…
DAN WETZEL: BYU is in Vegas. BYU is in Vegas.
ROSS DELLENGER: Oh, Vegas. And then USC and Clemson. I mean, you can see a 7 and 5 or 6 and 6 like a barrel — and they have to play Syracuse, which has suddenly come to life. Well, oh boy, that could be an interesting first season up there.
PAT FORD: Yeah, I mean, if you look at everything — 0 and 3, first of all. No one has ever been 0 and 3 as a coach at Notre Dame. Not Gerry Faust. Not Charlie Weiss. So Marcus Freeman is writing a bad story there. You can look at it and say, okay, it was a fire drill that he undertook. He was thrown in a bowl game against a good opponent in Oklahoma State. You take a 21 point lead. But again, okay, don’t worry.
DAN WETZEL: It’s a bowl game.
PAT FORD: You go to Ohio State. Ohio State is loaded. You play a very good game. You’re in the game, at least. Okay. Coming home and losing to Marshall? No, not well. No, it’s OK. Not good. Very, very, very bad. These are the games that Notre Dame does not lose. They didn’t even use them to program them.