Blue and Gold Illustrated

Oct 08, 2022

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

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8 OCT. 8, 2022 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED UNDER THE DOME Michael Mayer Is The Man By Tyler Horka Michael Mayer had his Michael Jordan moment against Cal. Tongue out, quick stepping, mobbed by teammates. His go-ahead touch- down early in the fourth quarter stood up as the game-winner. Notre Dame expects nothing less from the All-American who will in all likelihood be playing on Sundays at this time next year. Notre Dame also expects more than 2 catches for 10 yards. That was Mayer's stat line in addition to the touch- down in the 24-17 win over the Bears. Those aren't the type of numbers that win a guy the Mackey Award. Those also aren't the type of numbers that put Mayer in position to leave South Bend after three seasons with just about every tight end record in the book. Notre Dame needs more from Mayer, and the Irish need to do more to get Mayer involved, too. The passes junior quarterback Drew Pyne missed to him in the first quarter against Cal need to be connected on. The Notre Dame wide receiver room has been an object failure early in the season. Outside of sopho- more wideout Lorenzo Styles and the tailback pass-catching game, Mayer is the only sure thing in the Notre Dame aerial offense. There will be games down the line that are won or lost depending on Mayer's usage. Notre Dame wouldn't have beaten Cal without Mayer, and he only caught two passes. If he would have caught more, maybe the Irish win by a more comfortable margin. The bottom line is the more Mayer does, the better the Irish's odds of winning will be. Period. Chris Tyree; He's Been Underutilized By Todd D. Burlage Choosing Michael Mayer in this debate, as my talented colleague Tyler Horka did, makes good sense. Notre Dame's junior tight end is the face of the Irish of- fense, a likely first-round NFL Draft pick, and a stat sheet stuffer most every week. As expected, Mayer is living up to his preseason All- America hype by holding his place at or near the top of the Irish receiving chart in targets, receptions, yards and touchdowns. That said, this debate isn't about celebrating the ex- pected production from a superstar player. It's about find- ing a complement to breathe some life into this offense, take some pressure off Mayer, and give this struggling unit something to build around and get excited about. And with limited options, the only legit one becomes versatile junior tailback, Chris Tyree. The triple-threat runner, receiver, returner offers everything Notre Dame needs — and much of what Mayer can't — and that's versatility and explosiveness. With Kyren Williams off to the NFL, Tyree returned this season as Notre Dame's most accomplished offensive weapon beyond Mayer. Yet, Tyree, one of the top two or three fastest players on the team, had only 9 carries and 3 receptions in the losses to Ohio State and Marshall. So, what gives? Tyree is the rare talent who can make a game-changing play on any play, either by ground or through air. And, without added touches for Tyree, this Irish offense stands little chance of finding the improvement necessary to beat BYU Oct. 8, or most of its opponents after that. Point ✦ Counterpoint: WHO IS NOTRE DAME'S MOST IMPORTANT PLAYER NOT NAMED DREW PYNE FOR THE REST OF 2022? The perfect opportunity opened up and Harvard graduate punter Jon Sot wasn't going to let it slip away. When Sot put his name in the transfer por- tal after the 2021 football season and Notre Dame was the first school to reach out to him, a decision to relocate became an easy one. Sot, a two-time first-team All-Ivy League per- former in 2018 and 2019, graduated from Harvard in May with an economics degree. He arrived at his new campus in June and is studying science and management with a finance concentration at Notre Dame. Through his first three games with the Irish, Sot averaged 45.2 yards per punt — which ranked 19th best in the country — with 5 boots of more than 50 yards, plus 9 kicks were downed inside the 20-yard line. Blue & Gold Illustrated and other local media recently caught up with Sot to discuss his transfer circumstances, his acclimation process and his relocation experiences. BGI: How is Notre Dame different from Harvard? Sot: "Harvard, we'd get 10,000 maybe 20,000 at the games. Here, we're selling out. It's just completely different. It started with Ohio State and that was the most people I had ever played in front of. "When I ran out of the tunnel, my emotions, I started to tear up a little bit because of how crazy the environment was." BGI: And how would you describe the acclima- tion at your new school? Sot: "When I first got here, I felt like I was a freshman in college again. You've got to meet like over 100 guys, and you have to try and make relationships with them. At first it was tough, but the people here are amazing. "The brotherhood is real here. Everybody takes care of each other and as time continues to go on, I feel like I continue developing those relationships." BGI: How would you explain stepping right in and immediately performing well? Sot: "I think just my age. I've played three years before this. I had over 100 punts before I even got here. Once you're out there, it's all the same, just see the ball come from the snapper and do your job." BGI: How did academics fit into your relocation mission? Sot: "For me, aside from the football, another reason I was attracted here was being able to pair up Harvard and Notre Dame as my two degrees. That's really something I'm proud of. "[Coming to Notre Dame] is one of the best deci- sions I've ever made. I feel so pushed." BGI: So, how pleased are you with the transfer decision? Sot: "This is my last season of college football and there's no better place to do it than here, and I'm just loving every second of it. The thing I try to do the most is just slow everything down and take it all in because we only have so many games. "Eventually the season's going to be over and that's it for college football for me." — Todd D. Burlage Five Questions With … NOTRE DAME GRADUATE STUDENT PUNTER JON SOT Through Week 3 of the college football season, Sot ranked 19th in the country with an average of 45.2 yards per punt. PHOTO BY CHAD WEAVER TYREE MAYER

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