Marcus Freeman Says 'Honeymoon Stage' Is Over After Notre Dame's Fiesta Bowl Loss

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 1, 2022

Notre Dame head coach Marcus Freeman watches during the second half of the Fiesta Bowl NCAA college football game against Oklahoma State, Saturday, Jan. 1, 2022, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
AP Photo/Rick Scuteri

A 37-35 loss to Oklahoma State in the Fiesta Bowl has dampened some of the excitement around new Notre Dame coach Marcus Freeman.

"The honeymoon stage is over," Freeman admitted after the game.

Notre Dame built a 28-7 lead in the second quarter before suffering the late collapse in Saturday's game. It ruined Freeman's debut as the Fighting Irish head coach after taking over for Brian Kelly last month.

Kelly surprised many by leaving Notre Dame for LSU, but the program kept continuity by promoting Freeman from defensive coordinator and linebackers coach to head coach.

There were plenty of fans within the locker room after the announcement:

Notre Dame Football @NDFootball

a player's coach<a href="https://twitter.com/Marcus_Freeman1?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Marcus_Freeman1</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GoIrish?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#GoIrish</a> <a href="https://t.co/pf9E1OygA8">pic.twitter.com/pf9E1OygA8</a>

With a recruiting class ranked No. 7 in the country by 247Sports, there was plenty of excitement surrounding the program.

A disappointing loss has likely soured the fanbase, but Freeman remained upbeat.

"You like to learn from a win, but this is going to be a learning opportunity in a loss," the coach said after the game.

Freeman must find more success in his first full season at the helm in 2022.