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Lincoln Riley reveals what stands out about Notre Dame

Daniel Morrison11/23/22
Article written by:On3 imageDaniel Morrison
Lincoln Riley
Jayne Kamin-Oncea / Contributor PhotoG/Getty

2022 marks a new era for both sides in the Notre DameUSC rivalry. Both teams brought in new head coaches. USC went out and hired offensive guru Lincoln Riley away from Oklahoma, while Notre Dame promoted its defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman to replace Brian Kelly.

While speaking to the media, Lincoln Riley was asked what stood out about the Notre Dame defense.

“They’re good,” Lincoln Riley said. “I mean, they haven’t given up 400 yards yet this year. That’s hard to do in college football. They’ve been good on third down. I think they’ve got good players at all levels.”

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“You can tell they’ve recruited there for many years and they’ve built a talent base, and that shows up. I mean there’s a lot of talented guys on that field, and then when the backups come in there’s still a lot of talented guys on that field. They’ve done a nice job, they really have. They’ve had a really good defensive year,” Lincoln Riley explained.

“I don’t see just a ton of weaknesses with the group, and they’ve got guys that can rush the passer, they play well in the secondary, they’ve intercepted balls, they’ve been good on third down. I mean, they’re just a good defense. They’re a challenging defense. The margins are thin with a group like that. You’ve got to execute at a high level, and I’ve said that before when we’ve played good groups, but that’s what shows up.”

Lincoln Riley seems to be gearing up for one of USC’s biggest tests of the year, at least when Notre Dame’s defense is on the field. Really, that battle between Lincoln Riley’s offense and Marcus Freeman’s defense could be one of the best for years to come in this rivalry.

“Opportunities are always going to be there, but the windows are tougher, the opportunities are not as easy sometimes. It’s never easy, but good teams and good defenses make it harder on you to make plays and they do a nice job of it.”

Notre Dame has dominated this rivalry in the last few years, winning four in a row. However, those games were under different coaches for each team.

Marcus Freeman’s concerns about the USC offense

Lincoln Riley’s counterpart, Marcus Freeman, has his own concerns about the USC offense, as he explained.

“I mean, it all starts with the quarterback. Every offense, I believe, starts with a quarterback. It starts with the quarterback in the decision-making, in his ability to extend plays and put the ball where it needs to go,” Marcus Freeman said.

“But even with the running back, Travis Dye, being out, who was extremely talented — as you watch back through their season, they got a stable of running backs. The one guy that was from StanfordAustin Jones. He was at Stanford and we faced him last year. And, you know, they got a freshman running back, Raleek Brown, that’s fast. And they use him at returner and do some different things with him, and he’s talented.”