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All eyes on Notre Dame head coach Marcus Freeman this season

Marcus Freeman shot through the door line a cannon, pumping both hands in the air and letting out a scream of joy as his players rose to their feet to celebrate with their new head coach.

Just three days after Brian Kelly left Notre Dame for LSU, Freeman, who served as the Fighting Irish defensive coordinator and linebackers coach in 2021, was officially introduced as the program’s 30th head coach.

As his players surrounded him, jumping up and down in a celebrity circle, it quickly became apparent how much this hire meant for one of college football’s most prestigious programs.

The moment was caught on camera and soon turned into a viral video that graced the timelines of college football fans across the nation.

The caption of the post simply read, “a player’s coach.”

It has been “all gas, no breaks” for Freeman since that memorable day back in early December. A large portion of Freeman’s focus has been getting his team prepared for one of the most-anticipated college football openers in recent memory: a date with No. 2-ranked Ohio State, which is where Freeman played his college ball from 2004-08.

In an interview with FOX Sports college football analyst Brady Quinn ahead of Saturday’s top-five matchup, a confidently relaxed Freeman spoke about the whirlwind of emotions that has come with being named the head coach at Notre Dame, as well as the challenges in facing his alma mater in the season opener.

“If you get caught up in the everyday process of what you have to do, sometimes you can’t fully appreciate this opportunity,” Freeman told Quinn. “I try as often as I can to really look back and say, ‘OK, I understand the privilege I have to be the head coach of this football program.'”

Notre Dame’s Marcus Freeman talks expectations, playing Ohio State and more.

Marcus Freeman talks with Brady Quinn about expectations for the upcoming season, playing against the Ohio State Buckeyes and more!

Heading into the 2022 campaign, Notre Dame is on a run of five consecutive double-digit win seasons, including two appearances in the College Football Playoff (2018, 2020). The Irish lost in the semifinal round both years, suffering a 31-14 defeat to Alabama in the 2020 Rose Bowl and a 30-3 loss to Clemson in the 2018 Cotton Bowl.

Freeman enters his first season as a college head coach looking to lead the Irish back to the sport’s biggest stage, but fully understands that is no easy task.

“It’s going to be difficult to continue to climb the ladder that we’re trying to climb,” Freeman said. “I’m not to just make the playoff, but we are going to try and win it.”

Of course, the first step in that journey comes in primetime on Saturday when Freeman’s Irish travel to Columbus to take on an extremely talented and experienced Ohio State team.

“It’s great for us to have motivation, and that’s what I love about a big first game,” Freeman said. “It’s really easy to motivate your guys. It’s gonna be a great atmosphere.”

Although Freeman knows a lot will be made of Saturday’s game, he made it clear that his return to Columbus will be all about the Fighting Irish.

“It’s gonna be about our football team and our players going out there and performing,” he said. “This isn’t about Marcus Freeman going back to Ohio Stadium. This is about Notre Dame football and about this team prepared to go take on one of the best teams in the country.

“And guess what? There’s no better way to see how good we are than to face a great time like that, so I’m excited as heck for it.”

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