Notre Dame football coach Marcus Freeman seems to understand the reality of this era of college football and knows he won’t have a full team.
The regular season for the Fighting Irish is over. It ended with two straight blowout wins over Wake Forest and Stanford. Now it’s time to focus on the bowl game, 10 wins and having momentum heading into 2024.
This part of the season, in this day and age, is an interesting one. This era means that a program like the Notre Dame football team, a squad that tried as hard as it can to act as one, starts acting as multiple parties. It’s time for the team to splinter.
Some guys are getting ready for a bowl game. Some are getting ready for the NFL. Some aren’t sure what exactly they’re getting ready for. But they know they won’t be playing in a bowl game that offers nothing more than bragging rights.
Notre Dame head coach Marcus Freeman understands this era of college football. He said as much on Monday when he met the press. He talked about how there will be some members of the Fighting Irish who won’t be preparing for a bowl over the next month.
“I don’t expect every single person on this team to play in the bowl game,” Freeman said during his press conference.
Notre Dame football entering bowl prep
It’s not hard to guess who Freeman was talking about. He understands that both Audric Estime and Sam Hartman are thinking about the NFL. Hartman’s next step is the pros, no matter what. His eligibility is done.
Estime’s situation is different. He hasn’t said whether he’s coming back or moving on. Even if he comes back, it doesn’t make a ton of sense for him to risk injury in a bowl game.
There are others who might decide to sit out as well. Certainly the guys who decided to enter the portal on Monday won’t be taking part.
We’ll be finding out what other Notre Dame football players are sitting out a bowl in the coming weeks.