Notre Dame football: Sam Hartman, Freeman at odds over Sun Bowl decision

The Notre Dame football head coach and his star quarterback don't agree on the player's decision about playing in the Sun Bowl.

Aug 26, 2023; Dublin, IRL; Notre Dame Fighting Irish head coach Marcus Freeman, left, celebrates
Aug 26, 2023; Dublin, IRL; Notre Dame Fighting Irish head coach Marcus Freeman, left, celebrates / Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports
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One of the most interesting things about bowl season, especially when it comes to Notre Dame football and programs like it, is just who plans on playing in the bowl game. Among those who are planning on sitting out is Sam Hartman, meaning his Irish career is officially over.

On Friday afternoon, Notre Dame football head coach Marcus Freeman talked about the decisions of some of his players. He made it clear that he wasn't all that thrilled about their choice to sit out. Though he added he understood why they made it and wasn't pushing it.

""I disagree. I think you should play. But I love you, and I support you, and you’re going to do great things.""

Marcus Freeman

Specifically talking about his conversation with Hartman, Freeman laid out his tough love approach. "I disagree. I think you should play," the Irish coach reportedly told his quarterback. "But I love you, and I support you, and you’re going to do great things."

It would seem part of the reason that Freeman made it clear that he was at odds with Hartman over not playing in the Sun Bowl, was because there was a time when it appeared the Wake Forest transfer was going to play. Something happened between Senior Day and the end of the 2023 regular season.

Notre Dame football coach and star QB at odds over Sun Bowl

After that Senior Day win, Hartman made the proclamation that he had "two more" as a member of the Figthing Irish. That alluded to the seasaon finale against Stanford and the bowl game. However, as Freeman put it on Friday, "he talked to the people he felt are important in his life and made a decision he felt was best for him."

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It's clear the Notre Dame football coach wishes that decision had been different. But he understands it's a byproduct of the era we live in.