Marcus Freeman on Notre Dame’s Blowout of Navy to Start 2023

Irish graduate transfer quarterback Sam Hartman was stellar in his Notre Dame debut: 19-23 for 251 yards, four touchdowns, and zero interceptions. Notre Dame fired on all cylinders in the week 0 season opener against long-time rival Navy, which the Irish won 42-3.

“I was really proud of their overall performance, four quarters of execution. It was a really great way to start the season,” head coach Marcus Freeman said. “You couldn’t draw it up any better.

Freeman noted Hartman’s experience and poise when asked about his veteran signal-caller.

“I think it’s a reflection of.. his 47th or 48th game he’s played in. This moment isn’t too big. It’s about him going out there and executing,” Freeman said.

“There were a couple of calls that were depending on what the defense was showing, where we were going to check to a run, a pass, to making sure he was putting our offense in a situation to succeed, [and he did that].”

Hartman wasn’t the only Irish newcomer who stepped up. Freshman wide receiver Jaden Greathouse led the Irish with three receptions for 68 yards, two touchdowns, and a long of 35 yards. To fans who wondered how much the Irish would play talented freshmen, Greathouse made his presence known loudly.

“Consistently do your job, and you’ll be in position to be rewarded,” Freeman said. “Four wideouts caught touchdowns today… They’re talented. Now, to be able to show they have the ability during the game, is what’s going to catapult that room.”

While junior Audric Estime played well (16 attempts for 95 yards and a touchdown), sophomores Gi’Bran Payne and Jadarian Price showed flashes, and freshman Jeremiyah Love impressed as well, each having runs over nine yards or longer.

“We had planned to get all of the running backs in the game. There’s a lot of talented individuals. You’ve gotta be unselfish,” Freeman said.

The offensive line dominated Navy all game, with both guards playing exceptionally well and constantly pushing Navy’s line off the ball.

“Those two guards can play. Pat [Coogan] and Rocco [Spindler] both stepped up and did a really good job,” Freeman said.

When asked about his first performance in an Irish uniform, Hartman was quick to spread credit around:

“It starts with what Coach Freeman said. We know from last year what a challenge they [Navy] present. We had a great plan and went out and executed it. Jaden Greathouse… no moment is too big kind of deal. It [also] really starts up front [on the offensive line]. I had a lot of time to go through my reads and just felt comfortable,” Hartman said.

Hartman credited everyone from his offensive coordinator Gerard Parker to Aer Lingus. Last week, he gave out Beats by Dre headphones to his teammates as part of a signed NIL deal package. It’s early in the 2023 campaign, but if Hartmann’s presence and poise show anything, it’s that he will stand in the pocket, take the pressure, and make throws deep downfield anyway, and he will read make his checks and spray the ball out to the flat for significant gains.

The Irish have a four-maybe five-headed monster – perhaps a new four horsemen – at running back, and they have the most accomplished starting quarterback entering a season in many years. NBC flashed a graphic during Saturday’s game showing the disparity in career snaps entering a season for Hartman compared to past season’s Irish quarterbacks.

Notre Dame heads home to face Tennessee State in Saturday’s first home game of the season.

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  1. So Joe Montana didn’t like Brian Kelly either (I’m sure young Nate shared some great stories…)
    Ah, but what the hell does Joe Montana know, right?

    ND beat cancer….without even trying !!

  2. The O-Line play was flawless. One penalty the entire day. When was the last time we saw the OL play near mistake free. Never under Heistand where 5 plus false starts per game were the norm. Game balls to the entire coaching staff.

    1. And much of that O-LINE has eligibility next year, and the receivers and backs are young, too. Freeman has shown great portal instincts, and all this returning offensive power will only help him attract a first rate QB (if nobody in house or no “freshman ready”) guy impresses.

      My worry for next year is on defense. From what I remember, we have more 5th year starters on defense this year than I can remember on offense and defense COMBINED in any previous season.

      But now isn’t the time to be thinking over next year, nor even OSU. This may be our best shot at a national title since 1993. And the way to make that happen is to beat the next 13 teams we play, one at a time, as we all know.

      BGC 77 82

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