Marcus Freeman Gets 1st Win with Notre Dame as Twitter Questions His Job Security

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 17, 2022

SOUTH BEND, IN - SEPTEMBER 17: California Golden Bears quarterback Jack Plummer (13) battles with Notre Dame Fighting Irish defensive lineman Isaiah Foskey (7) during a game between the California Golden Bears and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on September 17, 2022 at Notre Dame Stadium, in South Bend, IN. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Marcus Freeman is finally in the win column as Notre Dame's head coach after the Fighting Irish earned a 24-17 victory over California on Saturday in South Bend, Indiana.

Drew Pyne hit Michael Mayer on a six-yard touchdown pass to put Notre Dame ahead 24-17 with 9:16 left in the fourth quarter.

Notre Dame on NBC @NDonNBC

MICHAEL MAYER FOR THE TD! ☘️<br><br>Notre Dame retakes the lead over Cal. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GoIrish?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#GoIrish</a><br><br>📺 <a href="https://twitter.com/nbc?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@nbc</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/peacock?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@peacock</a> <a href="https://t.co/aMpiGHDZIU">pic.twitter.com/aMpiGHDZIU</a>

Unfortunately for Freeman, his team's performance won't help to get the skeptics off his back.

The logic behind promoting Freeman to the top job was sound. The 36-year-old was a high-level assistant on the rise and poised to get a head coaching opportunity somewhere in the near future. Given his age, he can lead a program for a decade or more and provide a lot of long-term stability as well.

But the extent of Freeman's learning curve was clearly underestimated.

Dan Wolken @DanWolken

Losing an elite coach and replacing him with a 36 year old who has never done the job before isn’t as easy as it looks <a href="https://t.co/HPwYKFSEkK">https://t.co/HPwYKFSEkK</a>

Nicole Auerbach @NicoleAuerbach

is it just me, or does Marcus Freeman look like he's aged 10 years?

Joel D. Anderson @byjoelanderson

Marcus Freeman seems headed for that “grand opening, grand closing” tenure

Charlotte Wilder @TheWilderThings

I just have second-hand sadness for Marcus Freeman

Nick Baumgardner @nickbaumgardner

Irish are a leaky team right now which -- when you look at the actual situation happening right now -- makes sense. Marcus Freeman is brand new, this staff -- in this existence -- is, too. Team scrapped after two Ls. A place to start.

Freeman's defensive influence was evident toward the end, though. Isaiah Foskey in particular wreaked havoc on the Cal offensive line in the fourth quarter.

Notre Dame on NBC @NDonNBC

HUGE 4TH DOWN SACK BY ISAIAH FOSKEY! ☘️ <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GoIrish?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#GoIrish</a><br><br>📺 <a href="https://twitter.com/nbc?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@nbc</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/peacock?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@peacock</a> <a href="https://t.co/q8JuDdImn7">pic.twitter.com/q8JuDdImn7</a>

Todd McShay @McShay13

Monster play by Notre Dame EDGE Isaiah Foskey! The great pass rushers show up in moments like that. Foskey showing why he’s a rising prospect with first round potential.

Pete Sampson @PeteSampson_

Notre Dame's pass rush has had a day, Isaiah Foskey's fourth down sack ends Cal's drive to tie it. Notre Dame takes over with 6:30 remaining.<br><br>If the Irish offensive line can match the defensive line in production, Notre Dame will get its first win of the season.

Things don't get much easier for Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish hit the road to play 3-0 North Carolina, which has had a week off to prepare. From there, they have a date with 12th-ranked BYU on Oct. 8 in Las Vegas.

Maybe Saturday represents a turning point. Freeman will certainly hope so.