Fortuna Files: How does Notre Dame respond? Plus, Ryan Day lets it all out and more
A wild Week 4 led to plenty of second-guessing around the country, from Notre Dame's 10-men-on-the-field gaffe to regrettable losses elsewhere. Plus, is there an early season hot seat in the SEC?
When you witness a game and atmosphere as epic as Ohio State’s 17-14 win at Notre Dame, there are not enough hours in the weekend to process all that you are thinking. In that regard, the Irish’s late-game blunder is relatable.
Luckily for us, Marcus Freeman speaks at noon every Monday, so it was worth hearing him out before going to print with any more takes on what we all witnessed less than 48 hours ago inside Notre Dame Stadium.
“The last two plays we have 10 guys on the field,” Freeman said Monday, after recapping most of the game in his opening statement. “Even to just address that, right. The reality was when did you find out? It was too late. It was too late, and you don’t have time to get — by the time we realized there were 10 guys on the field, you don’t have time to get somebody from the sideline when the ball’s on the 1-yard line on the far hash. To be able to, you have to touch somebody on the offense to get them to stop the play. By the time we realized that, to run somebody out there, you would’ve gotten a penalty, but they would’ve declined it and still scored a touchdown.
“And so as we talked as a staff yesterday, obviously we can’t let that happen. We know that. We can’t let 10 guys be on the field and not see it. But two, we came up with a call, a signal, to be able to say hey, you have to jump offsides and touch somebody on the offense so you could stop the play, right, and so it was a learning opportunity for myself and everybody involved with our program.”
That it was. Freeman confirmed Monday that he did not realize that Notre Dame had only 10 men on the field for Ohio State’s penultimate play, which came out of a Notre Dame timeout. Postgame, he had spoken only of the final play, when he gave an unsatisfactory answer about not wanting to take a penalty at that point.
In fairness, those of us in the room asking questions were unaware of there being 10 men on the field on the previous play until after the news conference, although we all had been stationed behind the opposite end zone, more than 100 yards away, in real time.
How the Irish ended up with just 10 men on the field for the two biggest plays that most involved with the program had ever been a part of is an entirely other question, one that has not had a public answer.
More importantly, moving forward, is how this affects the team the rest of the season.