Marcus Freeman puts the Notre Dame program above everything else

You can choose to take his word for it or not, but Marcus Freeman was pretty specific when talking about Notre Dame’s process in hiring a new offensive coordinator.

“At no point during this process have I had the support of Jack Swarbrick and the administration,” Freeman told reporters during a news conference Monday.

“I want to be very clear about that. I don’t feel at any point in this process or since I’ve been here that I’ve had the support of our administration and Jack.”

The Irish looked at several candidates before deciding to promote tight ends coach Gerad Parker. Freeman acknowledged that Notre Dame was pursuing both Kansas State’s Collin Klein and Utah’s Andy Ludwig.

Freeman outlined what he was looking for in an offensive coordinator — an offensive offense that incorporated multiple formations, multiple personnel groupings and the ability to be multiple in both the passing and running games. He applied these criteria to the first search and the results were clear.

“The top two offenses you saw on film were Kansas State and Utah,” he said. “We interviewed both of these guys. We took them both to campus and for their own reasons they decided not to come. So we got back together and looked at all these different candidates we were looking for.”

Freeman showed no hard feelings toward Klein and Ludwig.

“Two people decided it was best for them to stay where they are and much credit to them,” he said. “Congratulations. We found the guy I feel is the right guy for us.”

Shortly after Ludwig’s visit to South Bend, reports surfaced that Ludwig’s buyout was a significant hurdle, and subsequent reports cited that as the reason Ludwig wanted to stay with the Utes.

Freeman flatly denied that, saying Swarbrick has offered to pay every buyout presented to him.

“Jack Swarbrick has never shied away from paying a buyout,” Freeman continued. “We talk about these things. We discuss them. But that’s not why somebody didn’t choose Notre Dame. Let’s make sure we get it out there.”

Freeman left no wiggle room on the point.

“I just don’t want the narrative to be that somebody didn’t choose Notre Dame because of a buyout because that’s not true,” he reiterated.

“And I’ll say it again and again. That’s not the truth. OK?”

Some fans will take him at his word and some won’t. Some will feel better after hearing directly from Parker, who showed why he is so well-liked and highly thought of in the coaching community.

And some won’t.

But everyone should be able to see that Freeman really is the ultimate team man.

Freeman could have skated over the process and been less clear about the role a buyout played. Leaving even the slightest hint that the administration is giving him less than its full support—true or not—could only help Freeman move forward.

Nor would it be seen as whining or complaining. In fact, it was expected.

What was not expected was a full-throated defense of Swarbrick and the administration.

Freeman’s insistence that he has the full support of the administration removes his biggest potential excuse if things don’t work out. But it’s obvious that Freeman doesn’t even let this possibility enter his mind.

Keeping the administration on the hook would clearly benefit him personally.

But that does not benefit the administration.

It would not benefit Jack Swarbrick.

That wouldn’t do Gerad Parker any good.

And most importantly, it would not benefit the program.

Marcus Freeman had a choice.

He could have left a lifeline without anyone really noticing. Instead, he sacrificed that lifeline to show a united front.

Whether you believe him or not, whether you believe this administration is doing everything in its power to win another national championship, it’s obvious that’s Freeman’s sole motivation even if he has to make sacrifices to do so.

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