Blue and Gold Illustrated

Oct 08, 2022

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

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30 OCT. 8, 2022 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED NOTRE DAME HEAD COACH MARCUS FREEMAN … On how the Irish got it done against North Carolina: "It was a challenge to our offense to be able to run the ball. It was a challenge for our defense to stop the run. The lowest amount they had offensively through the first three games was 183 rushing yards. To hold that offense to 66 rushing yards was a great accomplishment by our defense. "Coach [Al] Golden and Coach [Tommy] Rees did an un- believable job in preparing this group. I'm really happy with where this team is progressing. That's what I just told them in the locker room." On how the Notre Dame defense turned it around after UNC's first drive: "We understood the quarterback could run. We had to keep the contain. The other part of that is you can't play spy. That's not going to be what affects a quar- terback like that. You have to be aggressive but understand you have to stay in your rush lanes. "It was good to see the ad- justment from our defensive line. Like I said on the sidelines to them, I don't want you to play cautious. But I want you to be aware that we can't just rush past the quarterback be- cause he'll step up and run. It was good to see that." On JD Bertrand's second targeting penalty in as many games: "It's targeting. You can argue all you want but as I told JD on the field, it's our job to learn from that situation. It's an entire game he's missed now. He missed the first half of this game, and he's going to miss the first half of the next game. "We have to learn. We have to change. Or you're going to continue to get a targeting penalty no matter if we agree or disagree. We have to understand that's the way the refs call it, so we have to practice different ways to tackle and make sure we're not leading with our head. One is safety, but two is you need to be on the field." JUNIOR QUARTERBACK DREW PYNE … On the outburst from the offense: "Winning is always great. We focused all week on execution. Coach Freeman and Coach Rees both focused on that, and our offense went out there and executed. "We scored on a lot of drives. And that all starts with our O-linemen." On playing well on first down: "Coach Rees called an unbelievable game. He puts me in a position to go out there and do my job and execute. I can't tell you how many times I ran over to the phone and said, 'Coach Rees, that was all you.'" On getting the ball to tight end Michael Mayer: "Like I said, Coach Rees puts us in a position to succeed each and ev- ery play. I was able to find Mike a couple more times this week and execute and do my job in getting the ball to him. "I'm very happy because he's such a great player and get- ting the ball in his hands is something that our offense can really benefit from. Mike is just an unbelievable player." NORTH CAROLINA HEAD COACH MACK BROWN … On Notre Dame: "To be fair, they have won 25 straight ACC games. So all of us are trying to catch them. And that's regular- season games, I thought it was 19, now it's 25. So they've got a great program, they do it right, they do it within the rules, and they're really good. I think you just give credit to them. "We've got a lot of things that we do well, we've got ob- vious things that we need to continue to do better. Weirdly enough, we're continuing to improve on defense. Tonight, we just could not stop the run. And they just lined up and hit us right in the face and just kept running it and kept running it and we couldn't get them off the field." On the number of North Carolina personal fouls and unsportsmanlike conduct penalties: "We really want to win, and we want to have a fair chance to win, and we want to compete as hard as we can, and we want to make each other accountable. If I feel like something has been taken away from the kids on a play, it's my responsibility to stand up for them and that's simply what I'm doing. "Somebody throws a flag at me because I'm questioning a call, good for them. But the kids were fighting their guts out and we've asked them to be a player-led team. We've asked them to push each other, we've asked them to call on each other." On the Notre Dame defense: "They've got great players up front, I said that they're two-deep, and they're very aggres- sive. And again, they're the best players in the country. That's who they are. They're one of those eight teams that recruits the best players in the country every year. "And what it seemed to me is that they said, 'We are not go- ing to let you run the ball.' They were blitzing a lot with their linebackers, and they were going to make us throw it." FROM THE LOCKER ROOM Marcus Freeman picked up his first road victory as Notre Dame's head coach with an impressive performance by his team against North Carolina. PHOTO BY KAYDEE GAWLIK

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