Max Redfield’s Time Could be Now

Max Redfield - Notre Dame S
(Photo: Matt Cashore / USA Today)

Notre Dame signed four 5-star players last February.  One’s been a starter since day one, one never made it to campus, one had knee surgery and will red-shirt, and one has played sparingly.   Max Redfield is the one whose played sparingly, but that could very well change in a hurry this weekend.

On Friday it was reported that both Eliar Hardy and Elijah Shumate will not travel with the team to take on Stanford tonight putting a huge dent in Notre Dame’s depth at safety this weekend.

Enter Max Redfield. The high school standout came to Notre Dame with an elite pedigree, but to this point his main impact has been on special teams and mop up duty while other freshman such as Corey Robinson, Jaylon Smith, and Tarean Folston have played much larger roles.  The reason for that is that Redfield’s responsibilities as a safety are much greater than some of his freshman classmates.

“Tarean (Folston) has had to wait for his chance and he’s getting more of it as the season progresses,” Brian Kelly said earlier this week.  “Max has ten times as much on his plate at that position than Tarean Folston, ten times, in terms of coverage checks and formation adjustments and communication,” he added.

The reason Redfield has so much more on his plate is because of all of the responsibility that falls onto the safeties in Notre Dame’s scheme.   “If we were a close‑the‑middle‑of‑the‑field, cover‑one team, he would probably have been standing back there in week one if that’s what we did.  But that’s not our system.  We are a two‑deep team, and there’s a lot going on,” Kelly said.

Despite not playing many meaningful minutes thus far though, Kelly is confident that Redfield has a bright future for Notre Dame.  “He’s going to be a dynamite player for us.  But there’s so much knowledge in our system and the way we play, because we are a two‑deep team,” Kelly said on Tuesday.

Kelly also mentioned on Tuesday that Redfield was making progress and that the staff was starting to see him play the way he is capable of.  “He’s learned a lot and he’s grown a lot, and he’s at a position now where he’s starting to feel pretty comfortable,” Kelly said.   “We’re seeing him kind of fire his guns like we know he can.  And that’s only going to get better for him.  He’s got a bright future,” he later added.

Kelly said all of this on Tuesday before he knew that the Irish would be without Shumate and Hardy.  Against a physical Stanford offense the Irish are going to need all of the bodies they have at safety, especially given the troubles Matthias Farley has had in the tackling department this year.  With Shumate and Hardy out, that leaves just John Turner and Redfield as the reserve safeties for Notre Dame behind Austin Collinsworth and Matthias Farley.

Brian Kelly Shows His Growth With Changes To Notre Dame Offense

Could this weekend be Redfield’s coming out party just as the BYU game was for Jarron Jones last weekend?  Stanford’s offensive scheme is not as complex as some others the Irish have faced since they are more of a physical, hit you in the mouth type offense which could allow for Redfield to have some success given the fact that he is likely in line for much more playing time than originally thought.

Regardless of whether or not Redfield plays well or even plays a lot against Stanford, it’s seems clear that he has a bright future for the Irish.  If Notre Dame is going to upset Stanford tonight, that future might start to brighten up sooner rather than later.


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  1. menotti8 6 years ago

    Honestly, I’m as disappointed as can be with the outcome of this game. We had a great opportunity in the 4th quarter to put Stanford away or at least force overtime, but the two turnovers ruined that. To think that after Stanford racked up a little over 100 yards in the first half on the ground that our depleted D would be able to hold them to field goals late in the game is impressive and a positive at least. CW’s teams did not ever possess that kind of physical perseverance. CW’s teams would’ve been blown out after giving up over 100 yards on the ground after one half of football. At least BK has the kind of attitude installed in them to grind and grind no matter how things are going during the game.

    Make no mistake about it, we didn’t do as well as we should have this year. We should’ve beaten armPitt and scUM, but there are a couple of you guys who need to seriously get a grip. All I saw last year about Diaco on this site was praise for Diaco and what an awesome D coordinator he was. In the offseason, the same guys who are now whining about his schemes were pleaing with him to not leave ND for a head coaching gig somewhere else! Same thing with BK last year too — “He’s got this program heading in the right direction, guys!” Now, it’s “Oh, boo hoo, we suck like the Cubs! BK’s a loser, waaaaah!!”

    Am I happy with 4 loses? No, we need to do better. Is it good enough? No, but am I going to cry like my three year old does when he doesn’t get what he wants and act like we’re 3-9 a la CW? NO! We’ve beat three top 25 teams, all ranked ahead of us even prior to the Stanford game. We’ve had a ton of injuries to key players throughout and prior to the start of the season. We had our starting QB from last year get kicked out of school. We went to the NC game last year for goodness sake! I’m not saying let’s make excuses because the program does have some improving to do to get to Bama’s level, and we should be at least a 10 win team this year, even if still losing to Stanford and Oklahoma (we should have beat them too, though). However, we do need to look at the positives and quit crying everytime something bad happens. Get a grip and realize the ship isn’t sinking, it’s just navigating some difficult storms. We’re heading in the right direction. Expect road bumps along the way.

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  2. joey d 6 years ago

    Do any safeties on BCS level teams get dragged around the field by running backs or mysteriously fall down when going to make a tackle? Farley and collinsworth are brutal. Could redfield have made as many HORRIBLE plays as Farley in this game? I don’t think redfield falls on his ass at the 5 yard line and let’s the guy score. Farley costs this team more than anyone else, even more than turnovers by tommy

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  3. bj 6 years ago

    swarbrick just doesnt weigh in and make kelly do what he has to do to win, he better read him the riot act or find a real coach that knows how to win. losing becomes a habit. vince lombardi.

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  4. pete 6 years ago

    agree,with everything said on this board. As I stated earlier, get some new assistant coaches or Kelly’s going to have to completely change his coaching scheme, philosophy, play calling, game plans , etc. I do think Golson will make a big difference.

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  5. spiceyirish 6 years ago

    Recruit defensive linemen from here on out. That is my quick summary of the game.

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    1. fxm 6 years ago

      Unfortunately, unless we get Matt Elam (doubtful) not a lot of big bodies out there. I vote we take our 6’4″ 340 lb. red-shirt guard John Monteleus and move him to NT. I am sure BK will take it under advisement.

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  6. tomy651 6 years ago

    keep believing the ESPN crap that the only team that has a good season is the team that wins the national championship.

    fire nick sabin.

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  7. Todd Swisher 6 years ago

    On several occasions this year, my frustration has led me to be critical of the Irish for their poor play. I’ve been critical of their porous defense which cannot stop the run and doesn’t create much pressure on the quarterback. I’ve been critical of their strange play calling – for example, on several occasions, they completely abandoned the run game when it was working. Without a doubt, this got them beat at Michigan and at Pitt. What makes that even more difficult to understand is that when they quit running the football, they put the game in the hands of their quarterback, who has proven over 4 years that he cannot shoulder the load. It’s not that he’s a bad kid, he just isn’t a quarterback who has the talent or the consistency to take over football games at this level. He would probably be a really effective quarterback at the 1AA or Div. II level. He can compliment a strong run game fairly effectively, but he really isn’t the type of quarterback who is going to take over games and win them for you at the BCS level. That being said, I just don’t understand why they asked him to do just that by throwing the football so much. I guess I just don’t understand either their offensive or defensive philosophy – it just doesn’t make a lot of sense. They were far too predictable on offense all year and I just don’t get the “bend but don’t break” philosophy on defense. They performed well during the ASU game when they attacked and got after the quarterback but then curiously they stopped attacking during the fourth quarter and it led to a comfortable win becoming a “nail biter” in the fourth quarter.

    All of that being said, and not to make excuses because injuries are part of the game, but I have never seen a team endure so many major injuries in one season. They lost Baratti, Spond, and Springmann for the season before the season even started. They lost Grace, Counsell, and Nix to season-ending injuries at about mid-year. They also lost Shwenke, Day, Jones, and Rochelle for several games as well. Couple that with the suspension of Tuitt during the Pitt game and 2 defensive backs for the Stanford game and it is unbelievable what they had to endure on the defensive side of the ball during the year – unbelievable! Offensively, they lost of couple of offensive lineman to injury and the loss of Golson was simply devastating this year – they simply did not have an answer at the quarterback position. I do think all of this needs to be taken into account when evaluating the season. 8-4 would most probably have been 10-2 in my opinion. I still don’t think they are where they need to be – they are not a legitimate national title contender yet; however, they would probably be 10-2 (losses to Oklahoma and Stanford) and firmly entrenched in the top-20, perhaps the top-10, given their schedule. Through all the frustration this year, and there has been plenty of it, I do think it’s important to understand that 8-4 (hopefully 9-4 after a bowl game) is respectable given what they endured this season.

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    1. fxm 6 years ago

      You are correct in principal, but most of the defensive damage occurred after we struggled with Temple and whiffed against Michigan. That said, we would probably be a 1 loss team with Golson. If we can not average over 30 points a game next year, there is something seriously broken.

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  8. Sheldon 6 years ago

    Oh I guess when Harvard and Yale are ahead of us in the polls. Face it,Brian Kelly does not have a clue offensively. He goes to a no back offense with a QB with cement boots in the backfield when our two TE offensive formation is unstoppable. His ego won’t allow him to throw out what doesn’t work, because what doesn’t work is his offense he has been running for years. JS

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  9. Sheldon 6 years ago

    Duke football has surpassed us, so I just wanna know how long are we going to give this staff excuses?

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  10. pete 6 years ago

    I understand everyone’s frustration. I really believe Kelly can win big at Notre Dame, but he needs to shake up his coaching staff. Notre Dame needs a big time special teams coach and a big time offensive coordinator. The offensive coordinator should be young, creative, proven, someone currently having great success in this position. We have a lot of talent on offense that isn’t being utilized correctly in my opinion. Will Golsen returning help? Yes. But other changes need to be made.

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  11. bj 6 years ago

    for a quarter of a century all i have seen is “we have a foundation on which to build and prosper.” malloy, white, jenkins and swarbrick have accepted mediocrity for 25 years! i just dont think they have had the mindset or the will or the desire to win. any kid that comes to nd will play his heart out. but the coaches are second rate and just cant produce. the ads find one incompetent after another. its all maddening to me. in businees you win or you are gone. time to join the ivy leagues where football is a hobby, not a devotion.

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  12. Michael the Archangel 6 years ago

    I don’t share the future despair many of you express. TWO fourth quarter INT.TOs
    and a third string NG in his second start there (Kona played sparingly)
    vs. their outstanding veteran OL minus our best MLB vs. the run (Grace),
    two of our best OLBs (Spond and Councell) out,
    our two best tackling safeties out . . .and we lose by 7 vs. an elite team on the road,
    with their senior-laden D as determined to win their last home game as ours were last week, and
    with their RB Gaffney certainly among (if not) the best inside runners in college football.

    27-20 doesn’t look as devastating as what I feared it could have been.

    Do I think Diaco’s D’ scheme is too passive ( I suspect Kelly has the final say on that as well)
    and our offense too predictable. YES. Do I think running a shotgun/pistol on third or fourth and short
    without the threat of a running QB is asinine? YES. Do I think we pressure opponents’ QBs enough? NO.
    Am I tired of watching a “bend-but-don’t break” D’ scheme break far too often. ABSOLUTELY
    (but then I watched the same scheme play not to lose and often lose late with Lovey and the Bears for years).

    Missouri and Auburn stunk last year, and they’re playing for the SEC championship.
    With our talent base, and the young depth we were forced to utilize with all our injuries, I do have hope
    for next year (and I’m NOT a Cubs fan).
    But without Nix, and Tuitt, and the time to expect quick development of replacements for
    Calabrese and Fox, we’ll need to score a ton more points to improve on this year’s win total.

    Next season might require some 41-38 games for us to win more than 8 or 9.
    Hoping Jaylon, Folston, Niklas, N.Martin, Councell, Robinson, Jarren, Ishaq (good game this week),
    and others stay healthy and continue their climb to stardom they showed evidence of this season.

    Outstanding effort again by the ND OL protecting a most immobile QB vs. the pass
    against a most physical, dominant pressuring Stanford D, especially Zach Martin,
    our two-time captain who neutralized as good an OLB (Murphy) as there is in college.
    Bennett Jackson played maybe his best game of the season, and perhaps Farley, as well.
    Folston showed flashes of brilliance, and our TEs and WRs are top notch, with all returning
    except TJ, the ultimate poster-boy of development and reliability whose consistency among the
    seniors was approached by only Watt and, of course, Zach Martin.
    And Calabrese and Fox did rise to the occasion in several games their final season, including tonight.

    We have a foundation on which to build and prosper.

    It’s time to play to attack our opponents next year with points and pressure. Even if it means
    we won’t win much more, it’d sure be more fun to watch.

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  13. St. Pat 6 years ago

    Redfield = wasted redshirt

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