The Notre Dame head coaching search is heating up today with reports that Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick is meeting with Marcus Freeman instead of being in Dallas to meet with the College Football Playoff Committee. The CFP committee is convening today to discuss expansion to 12 teams or staying at the current alignment of four. Swarbrick, however, has more significant priorities as he is left to pick of the pieces of Brian Kelly’s abrupt departure from Notre Dame for easier pastures at LSU.
Over the last day and a half, since news broke that Brian Kelly was taking the easy way out and going to LSU to pursue a national title there after failing to win one in 12 years at Notre Dame, there has been a groundswell of support for defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman to be named Kelly’s successor. It appears that support has caught the eye of Jack Swarbrick as well.
Heather Dinich did not report that the meeting is specifically for the head coaching job, but one would have to assume that is what Swarbrick and Freeman are discussing. In addition, we learned yesterday that Brian Kelly is attempting to lure both Freeman and offensive coordinator Tommy Rees with him to Baton Rouge. If Freeman is Notre Dame’s man, however, those overtures from Brian Kelly will be futile.
As of now, there are no reports of anything other than Freeman and Swarbrick meeting and that Notre Dame also wants to keep Rees on staff. However, IF you start connecting the dots here, a picture is beginning to become clear that Notre Dame might be zeroing in on Freeman. You don’t try to keep an offensive coordinator on staff as well if you’re bringing in an outside hire.
The timing of all of this is still very fluid. Swarbrick said on Tuesday that they wouldn’t rush a decision, but timing is of the essence here, given Signing Day is just a couple of weeks away. The Irish need stability on the staff by Sunday to have any chance at making the College Football Playoffs. Last night we received confirmation that the CFP committee will consider coach/player availability in their final rankings.
Hopefully, things move quickly, and Notre Dame has its new head coach – preferably Marcus Freeman – in place in short order.