Blue and Gold Illustrated

Nov. 18, 2023

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

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28 NOV. 18, 2023 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED NOTRE DAME HEAD COACH MARCUS FREEMAN … Opening statement: "Obviously, disappointing outcome. As I told the team in the locker room, that's a really good team. And we knew that all week. They had four losses, but as you watch the film, it's a good football team. It's a Clemson football team — the record doesn't reflect how good of a team that is. "But when you play a good team like that, there are three or four plays in that game that if you turn the ball over, you muff a punt and turn the ball over to their offense, they end up creating an outcome that's an eight-point loss. So that's the reality of it." On if Notre Dame's offensive approach was similar to the Ohio State game: "I thought there were some schematic things we could do to create some success on the ground. We didn't want to approach this thing and say, 'We're just going to run the ball and huddle and keep the ball away from them.' We wanted to be able to throw some balls and throw some shots, but they did a good job of defending the throws that we ob- viously put up. "And then, the pick-six kind of spooks you, right? It spooks you. It spooks the quarterback a little bit and makes you say, 'Okay, let's go back to the run game a little bit.' It was a Clemson approach. It's not an Ohio State approach." On how Clemson kept the Notre Dame offense in its own territory in the second half: "I wish I could say it's just one or two things. But on third down, we weren't able to convert. I think a lot has to do with the pressure they were getting, but also, we weren't able to get open. "We got to continue to improve on our throws. We got to put the ball exactly where we're supposed to be. There's a whole bunch of people that are included with not having success that we were look- ing for in the second half." On backup center Andrew Kristofic's injury and third- string center Ashton Craig's per- formance: "I think it was an ankle. I just know he was out. Ashton did a great job filling in, the third center. "I haven't watched the film, I don't know what the result of some of the pressure was, but for having to come in and to be the third center, I'm happy and pleased with him being able to do that." NOTRE DAME GRADUATE STUDENT LINEBACKER JACK KISER … On the pressure on the defense when Clemson started every late- third and early-fourth quarter drive near midfield: "You can't really focus on what's going on, on the other side of the ball. When you're a veteran-led group like we are — we're very fortu- nate to have a lot of leaders — we're not focused on that. "We're internally motivated, right? We don't care what circumstances are going on out on the field. We know that we gotta go out there and do our job, day in, day out, every snap." NOTRE DAME GRADUATE STUDENT QUARTERBACK SAM HARTMAN … On Notre Dame starting each late drive inside its own 15-yard line: "The field's the same length. You're gonna have to drive those drives, and our defense kept them out of the end zone, kept them out of scoring position. "We didn't give them any help all game. We haven't given them all help, really, in the past couple games. And again, it just comes back to bite us when we don't execute as an offense and I don't execute as a quarterback." On settling for field goals instead of finishing drives in the first half: "It was huge. And again, that goes down to execution. A one-score game, at the end of the day, is all about execution. I didn't do it, personally, well enough. "We were down there [in the red zone], [freshman wide receiver] Rico [Flores Jr.] was wide open on one of the roll outs and I didn't throw it. I was a little late, I guess. Didn't make plays that needed to be made. And then later in that play, JG [freshman wide receiver Jaden Greathouse] is open in the end zone, and I just overthrew him." CLEMSON HEAD COACH DABO SWINNEY … On winning the turnover margin: "We were pretty domi- nant in the first half, with no turn- overs. In the second half, 2023 showed back up, and you battle again, right? "We're a tough team to beat when we don't beat ourselves and we take care of the ball like we did today." On the message throughout the week: "We played a great football team, and we didn't make any excuses. I told them all week, 'Nobody cares. Nobody cares what we don't have. Quit worry- ing about it. We got plenty. Let's take what we got and let's go beat what they got. You guys are here, you're on scholarship. This is an opportunity.' "A n d m a n , t h ose g uys re - sponded. I mean, it was awesome." — Jack Soble FROM THE LOCKER ROOM Graduate student linebacker Jack Kiser finished the game with a team-high 9 tackles against Clemson. PHOTO BY LARRY BLANKENSHIP

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