Al Golden is 'the glue' that holds Notre Dame together, says rival coach

Some Notre Dame football rivals are not all that impressed with the job Marcus Freeman has done so far, but they are with the team's defensive coordinator.
Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

As the Notre Dame football team prepares for a run at the playoffs, some rival coaches are letting the public know what they think of the staff that head coach Marcus Freeman has built. They are also letting the public know what they think of Freeman specifically.

Among some of the opinions held about the Fighting Irish staff, one set of comments stands out not because it’s particularly enlightening, but because it’s a rather harsh take on ND’s head man. On the flip side, it’s quite the glowing recommendation of the man he appointed to be his defensive coordinator.

Notre Dame football defensive coordinator comes out smelling like a rose

As has been the practice for several college football magazines over the years, Lindy’s talked to coaches from across the country about every team in the sport. They then published anonymous comments about the coaches for every team in every division.

Most of the time, these anonymous quotes are fairly benign. In fact, they’re usually glowing. But the ones concerning Notre Dame football were very much not. At least not when it comes to Marcus Freeman.

According to Lindy’s one anonymous coach laid all the Irish’s success in 2023 at the feet of Al Golden and didn’t hold back on his critique of Freeman.

Marcus Freeman hasn’t exactly been Knute Rockne over there. I’ll tell you what, the real glue to this team is Al Golden.”

It’s hard to argue that Golden hasn’t been a heck of a defensive coordinator, at least for one season. 2023 saw the Irish with one of the best defensese in the country. 

It’s also not the first time that Freeman has taken a shot for his coaching prowess. Especially because there have been times when outsides believed Notre Dame football lost to teams it had no business losing to. Louisville in 2023 certainly counts as one.

When the 2024 campaign kicks off, it will certainly be interesting to see how things are going and how well these comments aged.