Yahoo Sports’ Dan Wetzel, and Sports Illustrated’s Pat Forde and Ross Dellenger discuss Notre Dame’s ugly loss to Marshall, and debate 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 the season, 0 and 3 as a head coach. Alarm bells are running off there in South Bend. Again, another– not really an upset if you watched the game.
PAT FORDE: Right.
DAN WETZEL: Marshall was ready to roll. Charles Huff, terrific coach, came from Nick Saban’s system. His team was ready to go. Charles Huff is not going to be in Huntington too long with stuff like this. So he has done an incredible job with that program, and they went in and just beat Notre Dame up. So all credit to the Marshall players in that.
However, Marcus Freeman, he can recruit. He is personable. He’s exciting. He’s cool. College football could use guys that are just sort of like– this guy’s like a cool dude. We need a cool factor here. He’s it. I think most people are rooting for Marcus Freeman to be of some measure of success, even though he coaches freaking Notre Dame, which normally everyone hates.
But you got to win. And as we said many times– I think I said last week– Brian Kelly, not real likable, but he didn’t lose games that he wasn’t supposed to lose. And there is something to be said about 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 has an enormous amount still to prove. And I don’t know where this season is going. They do not have a good offense. Not good by Tommy Rees, their offensive coordinator. Not good by Tyler Buchner, their quarterback. All around bad.
And, yes, you got a recruiting class now, but you got to win to keep the recruiting class. Notre Dame is a little less flippable than most places because kids are not just going there. They’re going there for a little bit more than just wins and losses. But still, you’ve got to prove it. So thoughts on that, Ross?
ROSS DELLENGER: You know, Marcus Freeman, he rocks the quarter zip on the sideline better than any other coach in America, but it doesn’t lead to wins, though, unfortunately.
DAN WETZEL: No points. Yeah, no points for that.
ROSS DELLENGER: The appearances don’t get you there. The offseason of Marcus Freeman love has really been incredible, right? And Notre Dame has pushed it. You can tell. They’ve pushed it. There have been so many stories about it. And it is a good story how it all came about and everything. But, man, the honeymoon is over, right? It’s over.
And the thing is, I don’t know that it’s going to get better in the short term. First of all, 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, North Carolina, who just, by the way, beat two Sun Belt teams barely. But that looks pretty dang good right now.
DAN WETZEL: Yeah, not as–
ROSS DELLENGER: It’s a power conference
DAN WETZEL: –embarrassing. Yes. They looked pretty good.
ROSS DELLENGER: Yeah, so Notre Dame’s got to go to UNC in a couple of weeks. They got to go to BYU. They host 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 barreling– and they do have to play at Syracuse, who suddenly has come to life. So oh, boy, this could be an interesting first season up there.
PAT FORDE: Yeah, I mean, if you look at everything– 0 and 3, first of all. Nobody’s ever been 0 and 3 as a coach at Notre Dame. Not Gerry Faust. Not Charlie Weis. So Marcus Freeman is making bad history there. You can look at it and say, OK, it was a fire drill taking over. Thrown into a bowl game against a good opponent in Oklahoma State. You blow a 21-point lead. But still, OK, no worries.
DAN WETZEL: It’s a bowl game.
PAT FORDE: You go to Ohio State. Ohio State’s loaded. You play a pretty good game. You’re in the game, at least. OK, fine. You come home and lose to Marshall? No, not fine. Not OK. Not good. Quite, quite, quite bad. Those are the kind of games Notre Dame does not lose. They didn’t even use to schedule them.