Blue and Gold Illustrated

August 2022

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 8 of 55

BLUEGOLDONLINE.COM AUGUST 2022 9 UNDER THE DOME role, you're building a whole new set of relationships," Tressel told Blueand- "Those things don't happen quickly, as much as we'd like them to. I always say, 'Progress is made at the speed of trust.' Well, trust takes time." Freeman has found Tressel's words to ring true, but he's not letting himself use them as leeway. "Now as the head coach, you have to pull back a little bit and see the big picture that there's nothing more im- portant than my relationship with our players, taking care of our players and making sure I find ways to help them reach their goals," Freeman said. "Part of their goals are to win a national championship. Part of their goals are being developed for the NFL. Also, there's life after football that maybe they don't realize yet. "To do that, I have to let the people around me do their jobs without me be- ing involved. That's an everyday strug- gle. It's a part of trusting your staff and trusting those great people you hired." Freeman's staff is uniquely his. Seven of the 10 assistant positions turned over since his Dec. 6 hiring. It's far from the continuity he envisioned the day he was introduced. The changes have, though, brought some familiar faces into the second-floor offices down the hall from his in the Guglielmino Athlet- ics Complex. He spent 2013-16 with tight ends coach Gerad Parker at Purdue. He and defensive line coach Al Washington worked together at Cincinnati in 2017. Special teams coordinator Brian Mason worked with him on the Bearcats' staff from 2017-20. The two defensive staff holdovers — safeties coach Chris O'Leary and cor- nerbacks coach Mike Mickens — served under Freeman last year. Mickens was also his corners coach at Cincin- nati from 2018-19 and is a former high school teammate. Freeman has not been shy about expressing his confidence in offensive coordinator Tommy Rees, the lone offensive assistant to return from the 2021 Notre Dame staff. "You know who they are as people, who they are as coaches," Freeman said. "I don't ever worry about who they are in terms of taking care of their play- ers and loving their players. I'm always going to be a little involved in terms of, 'How do we continue to enhance? How do we get better at the things we're do- ing?' I've been fortunate to hire some really great coaches — some that I've known and some I haven't known." Not all of them started on Notre Dame's staff with the same level of trust. It's natural to trust former col- leagues than new ones, even after a strong first impression in a job inter- view. The interview can, though, make clear Freeman found someone who he will grow to trust. Someone who he can immediately respect and give proper space even as that trust forms. "Trust is built over time," Freeman said. "I also believe you can choose to love and respect without time. I love and respect Al Golden and the guys on the offensive side of the ball. The ability to let them do the jobs they're hired for is so important. "That's the only way we're going to maximize this staff and the people we've brought in." ✦ Get your author-signed copy! Use code B&G22 COMING FALL 2022

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Blue and Gold Illustrated - August 2022