Fortuna: Whether by chance or by design, Notre Dame hits all the right notes in its spring game


SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Just over two hours after the Blue-Gold match ended, Marcus Freeman sat on the deck outside his corner office at the Guglielmino Athletics Complex, Touchdown Jesus and the visitors that he received directly in his line. of sight.

Earlier in the afternoon, a few buildings inside Notre Dame Stadium, Freeman had answered a question about his next 100 days by saying his priority was “recruit, recruit, recruit,” and that he That’s what would make him a better leader for the Fighting Irish.

Now there he was, the sun still shining on a wonderful spring day, the handful of remaining hookers leaving campus, the head coach keeping his promise not a moment too soon.

“Today is recruiting, tomorrow is recruiting,” Freeman said after the game. “Every day we have to recruit. Every coach should have this mindset. That’s pretty much, we have to get the best players in the country that fit in that place. It’s a daily responsibility, a daily goal.

Spring games are a lot like minor league baseball. In other words, they are for the fans. What happens on the playground simply takes precedence over the glitz and circumstance of bringing a community together for a festive event, with family activities for the little ones and an excuse to drink good times for the older ones.

With that as the backdrop on Saturday, consider Freeman’s first spring game a grand slam, a perfect game and a cycle all rolled into one.

Or, since we haven’t exaggerated with the analogies yet, a touchdown that sent the crowd into a frenzy.

Wait, that last part actually happened.

Of course he did.

“Looking at the clock, I know we have to play,” said Steve Angeli, who ran 10 yards in the last game to give Team Gold a 13-10 victory over Team Blue. “We were in our tempo calls and I got the game, I looked at the clock, I saw we had about nine seconds left and I was like, I have to go. I took the shot, just came out and saw the bends keep backing up, did some push up simulations, they kept reacting, then just went for the front pylon.


First-year quarterback Steve Angeli dives into the end zone as safety Justin Walters (22) defends during the final play of the Blue-Gold Game at Notre Dame Stadium. (Matt Cashore / USA Today)

Angeli is the four-star freshman quarterback making his public debut in Ireland, which under normal circumstances would make him the most talked about quarterback in the spring. He did his part to get noticed, leading a game-winning 10-game, 83-yard drive that took every game of the four minutes and 10 seconds left in the game early in the series. But circumstances forced Angeli to take precedence over presumptive starter Tyler Buchner, who sat out after injuring his ankle following a fall down the stairs this week; and Drew Pyne, the man who challenged Buchner for the better part of two years and received the majority of the action in the Blue-Gold game.

And, in some ways, to Tommy Rees, who by this point must have been subjected to every stage of fandom humanly possible.

One of the many fan-designed t-shirts that were spotted outside the stadium before the game read: ‘Freeman-Rees ’22. We’re Not F-cking Leaving”, with a cloverleaf taking the place of the “U”. Hard to believe that less than 10 years ago Rees was booed entering a drive here, before leading a game-winning drive against Purdue. But his decision to become Notre Dame’s offensive coordinator and not follow Brian Kelly to LSU in December was the pivotal move that kept much of the Irish staff together, leading to Freeman becoming head coach. . Rees’ remaining words – not so different from the funny shirt words – has now become something of a rallying cry, meaning he can run for office in those parts.

Frankly, anyone wearing blue, white or green this Saturday could probably do it too. The weather has been beyond gloomy for much of the spring and rain is expected to arrive on Sunday. Still, the sun was shining and temperatures hit the 80s on a perfect game day, full of good feelings for players past and present.

The ex was training his first spring game in Death Valley, while hosting Irish quarterback Dante Moore’s top target This weekend? Off topic. the the great rival took control of ESPN with her hot new trainer and already rich quarterback? See you in November.

On the ground, Notre Dame recognized its newest College Football Hall of Fame inductee, Aaron Taylorwhile bringing back dozens of key players from the program’s last two playoffs.

Off the pitch, the homecoming was much bigger, with hundreds of letter winners – from extras to superstars – being welcomed in the days before the match for dinner at the stadium’s premium club, golf on the course at the campus and tons of interaction with the current roster and its head coach, which has left a strong impression on his riding.

taylor called reception “beyond” and “unprecedented”. Freeman said “we couldn’t script a better way” to end the game.

No one who was here would argue. If Our Lady could repress this sun and this serenity, she would be undefeated every year.

This is of course not the reality. That’s why his new head coach was talking about it hours after the perfect game was over, already refining his next shot.

(Top photo of Notre Dame coach Marcus Freeman celebrating with the Blue-Gold spring game players: Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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