Opinion: Now was not the right time for Notre Dame to announce Buchner starting
First off, this was the correct choice. Tyler Buchner gives the Irish the best chance to win now and in the future. There are a few things that bother me about Marcus Freeman announcing his starting quarterback now. Let’s just get right into why.
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It gives Ohio State time to prepare for Buchner
Jul 27, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Ryan Day talks to the media during Big 10 football media days at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Goddin-USA TODAY Sports
Last year the opener was against a down Florida State, Duke in 2020, and Louisville in 2019. None of those teams were ranked, let alone a top-5 opponent in the Buckeyes. On the road. It’s understandable that Freeman wanted to get Buchner reps with first-team, but keeping this quiet from the media and more importantly Ohio State is a much better move.
Iron sharpens iron
Notre Dame’s Tyler Buchner, center, stands with Ron Powlus III, left, and Steve Angeli during Notre Dame’s spring NCAA college football practice on Thursday, March 17, 2022, inside the Irish Athletic Complex in South Bend, Ind. (Robert Franklin/South Bend Tribune via AP)
A quarterback competition is healthy, it brings the best out of all candidates. Now, it should not be expected that Buchner will rest on his laurels and not give it his all. It’s not like either realistic option has much starting experience or an abundance of playing time under their belts. By holding off announcing a starter, it would have made both Pyne and Buchner compete to the end of camp, bringing out the best in each other through competition.
Potential for a transfer
Notre Dame quarterback Drew Pyne (10) during the Notre Dame Blue-Gold Spring NCAA college football game on Saturday, April 23, 2022, at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Ind. (Robert Franklin/South Bend Tribune via AP)
It is not unheard of for a player to transfer once they are out of an open competition for a starting job. Is it expected that Pyne will enter the portal with the season just a few weeks away, most likely not, but it has to be in the back of his mind. If he were to leave, that would give the Irish even less depth at the most important position in all of sports.
If an injury happens during camp
Notre Dame quarterback Tyler Buchner (12) stands on the sidelines with an ankle brace during the Notre Dame Blue-Gold Spring NCAA college football game on Saturday, April 23, 2022, at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Ind. (Robert Franklin/South Bend Tribune via AP)
Buchner’s injury history isn’t short. He missed time during his high school career with a torn ACL, he hurt his foot against Virginia Tech causing him to to unavailable for a few games and although the injury in the spring wasn’t major, it still forced him to sit the Blue and Gold game. Although equal reps most likely were never going to be the case, Pyne getting some with the first team makes sense. This is a worst case scenario, but one that could happen.
Notre Dame head coach Marcus Freeman watches spring NCAA college football practice on Thursday, March 17, 2022, inside the Irish Athletic Complex in South Bend, Ind. (Robert Franklin/South Bend Tribune via AP)
Like I lead off, this was Buchner’s job to lose and indeed he won it. There is some gamesmanship to be had here with this kind of announcement and Freeman has taken that out of his alma maters hands. The points above are just a few that came to mind over the last day since Buchner’s officially the starting quarterback for the Irish at to why Freeman should have held off. To me, it just doesn’t make much sense to publicly proclaim a starter.