It’s not often that a program that has won at Notre Dame in recent seasons is put in a position to have the volume of staff turnover we’ve seen in recent months. For the head coach Marcus Freeman, the turnover offers it a unique opportunity.
With Mike Elston now gone to Michigan, Notre Dame will have five new coaches on its team in addition to having a new head coach. It also means that the 29-year-old offensive coordinator Tommy Ree is the oldest staff member.
That means much of the staff who helped fuel Notre Dame’s 54-10 record over the past five seasons are gone. It also means staff who went 10-10 against ranked opponents during that streak are gone. Coaches who have embraced and executed “shopping down another aisle” on the recruiting track are gone. The head coach who created a culture of making excuses and turned what makes Notre Dame unique into a stumbling block instead of a building block.
Even in his first season as defensive coordinator, Freeman began to change some of those narratives. This was especially true on the recruitment track.
With the departure of many longtime staff members, once Freeman completes the staff, he will be surrounded by five new coaches who will be immediately held to the standards he sets for the program. There will be no need for de-scheduling if more long-serving coaches had stayed. In addition to five new coaches, Freeman’s first team will have a cornerbacks coach Mike Micken, who was on Mickens’ staff for three seasons dating back to their time together in Cincinnati (2018-19).
The turnover will make it much, much easier for Freeman to make the necessary culture changes within the staff needed to take the next step as a program. He can choose to widen the aisles his coaches buy on the recruiting track, just like he did as a defensive coordinator.
With Freeman now leading the program, assistant coaches will have a head coach who is actually working on the recruiting track. When your head coach is a grinder on the recruiting track and directs their coaches to achieve elite results, it improves the entire recruiting operation.
Freeman has already improved the personnel from a coaching standpoint with his offensive line (Harry Histand), wide receiver (Chansi Stuckey) and special teams (Brian Mason) hires. Replacing Elston with a better coach will be difficult, but Freeman has the opportunity.
If he succeeds, Freeman will put the Notre Dame program in a position to do in the near future what its four predecessors could not do, which is to finally compete for – and win – a championship.
Content of the Irish distribution
Notre Dame List 2021
Schedule Notre-Dame 2021
Ranking of signatories 2022 – Attack
Ranking of signatories 2022 – Defense
Notre Dame 2023 Class Big Board
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