Fighting Irish freshmen helping Notre Dame football to victory
ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. – Notre Dame’s freshman class on the football team is experiencing a rare opportunity- meaningful playing time. True freshmen, including Quarterback Tyler Buchner, wide receivers Lorenzo Styles, and Deion Colzie, running back Logan Diggs, and offensive lineman Joe Alt are among those getting more time on the field this season, in part due to injuries, but the coaching staff also wants to develop the raw talent of these young players.
"The other night we had eight true freshmen play, seven on offense, one on defense at certain times during the game,” head coach Brian Kelly said. “There's been a lot of young players playing out there. The eye test is this team is playing better defensively, offensively. We’ve turned over virtually an entire roster and playing pretty good football.”
Freshman quarterback Tyler Buchner is the first freshman quarterback since Tommy Rees, Notre Dame’s current offensive coordinator, to play valuable minutes for the Irish. Passing for 285 yards and three touchdowns while also rushing for 213 yards and two touchdowns. Buchner says that he’s more confident now that he has game experience under his belt.
“The first couple games you’re a little bit nervous because it’s college and it’s a little different, but you just have to prepare like you are the starter because you never know when your number is going to get called and I try to prepare as much as I can,” freshman quarterback Tyler Buchner said. “As the dust has settled, the confidence level has definitely increased. Whenever they decide to toss me in for a play or two, I try to be as ready as possible for that.”
Freshman quarterback Tyler Buchner is roommates with another stand-out freshman in wide receiver Lorenzo Styles, who has 10 receptions for 164 yards this year and says his fellow freshmen are playing valuable minutes because they’ve earned the trust of the coaches and upper classmen.
“Feels great to make some plays for my teammates,” freshman wide receiver Lorenzo Styles said. “I feel like my coaches trust me, my teammates trust me. We have a bunch of talented guys and everyone just wants to work, wants to be the best. Everyone’s hungry. And I feel like that’s all you can ask for out of the young guys. Just being hungry, wanting more. Just want to get better every single day.”
Not only is this freshman class loaded with talent, they’re also helping the Irish win football games. Seven freshmen contributed to Notre Dame’s 28-3 victory over Virginia last Saturday, including Logan Diggs game high 64 rushing yards. And head coach Brian Kelly says that he’s not worrying about the four-game maximum in order for a player to qualify for a redshirt, and instead playing his freshmen to develop them in pursuit of the College Football Playoff.