Blue and Gold Illustrated

Nov. 26, 2022*

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

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BLUEGOLDONLINE.COM NOV. 26, 2022 11 UNDER THE DOME "I talked earlier in the season about being more ag- gressive and confident. Personally, I think making my first shot always helps get me going." — Notre Dame women's basketball sophomore Sonia Citron after she posted 24 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists and 1 block in a 92-58 Irish win over Northwestern Nov. 16 "I'll open up today by sending our prayers to the University of Virginia and those victims that were touched by the tragedy that unfolded last night. I es- pecially want to send thoughts out to Coach [Tony] Elliott and the football program. I can't fathom what they're going through right now. It's a painful re- minder of how fragile life is and how important it is to always tell those people you love them." — Notre Dame head coach Marcus Freeman "I would welcome the challenge if teams want to play us that way. It can be a lot like it was in the first half. The first 3 touchdowns were against cover zero. You're risking a lot there as a defensive coach. Guys are going to see it and be aggressive. "We feel like we have a good plan of how to attack it and how to beat it. You have to get guys down if you're going to play that way. We would welcome that." — Notre Dame offensive coordinator Tommy Rees on the possibility of opponents trying to duplicate the success that Navy had blitzing the Irish Nov. 12 "This group has truly laid the foundation for where I see this football program going forward. It hasn't been just a smooth road. It has been a bumpy one and had some ups and downs. They have helped us really understand how to get through those tough times. "The culture of this program is truly defined dur- ing some of the toughest times. What this group has done is taken this team and propelled us for- ward. We've gotten better through some of those bumps in the road. "Without the leadership they provided, without the example they set, we wouldn't have been able to truly improve though those ups and downs. They have done such a great job through changes in lead- ership, though wins and losses, of being able to keep the mindset of this program and these players where it needs to be, and that's constant improvement. "When your leaders are coming in every day trying to improve and get better, there's no other option for those young guys. Sometimes, they see better than they hear. The greatest example they see is our leaders and seniors." — Freeman on the Fighting Irish's senior class "How should Notre Dame fans view the season if the Irish go 9-4, without beating USC, but with impressive wins over ACC title game participants Clemson and North Carolina and against two teams, BYU and Syracuse, that were ranked at the time? "It'd be disappointing, given the Irish started the season ranked in the top 10. But I'd say their improvement is still encouraging. Marcus Free- man wound up having more first-year head coach growing pains than anticipated, but the season did not deteriorate into a disaster as initially feared." — The Athletic's Stewart Mandel "Improvement is not linear, as Notre Dame showed Saturday in Baltimore. The Fighting Irish have been dominant for some stretches (entire Clemson game, first half at Navy) and shaky for others throughout the season. They will need to figure out what went wrong in the second half against the Mids, especially with the run game. "Notre Dame can't take any opponent for granted, especially on its home field, and Boston College comes in after stunning NC State on the road. The Irish can still be a spoiler this season — they visit USC on Nov. 26 — and secure a solid bowl berth. But inconsistency continues to surround Marcus Freeman's team." — ESPN's Adam Rittenberg PHOTOS BY TAVAN SMITH TOP TWEETS THEY SAID IT THEY SAID IT "Joe Alt looks like the best offensive tackle prospect since Penei Sewell [of Ore- gon in 2020], and he can't even be drafted until 2024. The son of Kansas City Chiefs Hall of Famer John Alt, Joe is picking up right where his dad left off." — Max Chadwick of Pro Football Focus

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