Letter from the Editor

Author: Matt Cotner

Recency bias. It affects all of us. That’s why it is difficult to remember anything that happened in this 2021-2022 Irish football season that does not include the departure of Brian Kelly, the hiring of Marcus Freeman and the collapse witnessed at the Fiesta Bowl.

Taking a step back though, one realizes this season, like any other, was filled with twists and turns. It featured the return of fans in the stands, a game day experience that many felt relieved and excited to partake in again. It featured Irish staples, with another strong season from the likes of Kyren Williams, Michael Mayer and Kyle Hamilton. It featured new faces, such as transfer quarterback Jack Coan and defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman. 

Early-season tests against Florida State and Toledo left many fans apprehensive about these additions. After those early tests came the difficult mid-season portion of the schedule. The Irish toppled Wisconsin in the Shamrock Series at Soldier Field with a cathartic fourth quarter that left many forgetting the earlier struggles. However, falling to Cincinnati the following week ended a 26-game home win streak. While the Irish fought to win out, it was not enough to reach a second consecutive College Football Playoff. 

The sudden departure of Brian Kelly added to the departure of stars such as Hamilton and Williams for the draft, as well as coaches such as Mike Elston and Lance Taylor moving onto other opportunities. Swift handling of the Kelly situation with the hire of Marcus Freeman largely kept the 2022 recruiting class intact. While the disappointing loss in the Fiesta Bowl leaves a bad taste in the mouth of players and fans alike, the new Freeman Era presents opportunity. 

Since 2016, the Irish have been a very successful football team. However, the lack of a marquee bowl win still haunts the program. The new, young staff brings an energy to recruiting that should lead to better and better classes. 

The turmoil that this season of Notre Dame football brought is undeniable. Big changes are happening in South Bend, and expectations for the new regime are high. Ultimately, this season was a successful one, and we hope you enjoy this year’s Scholastic Football Review. 

In Notre Dame, 

Matt Cotner