SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Every Tuesday this spring, Notre Dame football coach Marcus Freeman met with the team's quarterbacks. Tuesdays with Marcus provided Freeman, a career defensive assistant, the chance to connect with those competing for the most important job on the field.
"We just talk ball, we watch practice, I want them to know the head coach has their back," Freeman told ESPN. "I've learned it's not always about execution. It starts with the decision. As a defensive coach, it's all about, 'OK, did he complete the pass? Is it incomplete? Was it an interception?' It was about the execution. But I'm learning as a head coach, it starts with making the right decision."
After a stretch of stability at quarterback, Notre Dame is among the prominent college teams figuring out its next leading man on offense. From mid-2018 through 2020, Ian Book led the Fighting Irish at quarterback, setting several records before turning things over to Jack Coan, a graduate transfer with 18 career starts at Wisconsin. Coan delivered both steadiness and production, completing 65.5% of his passes for 3,150 yards and 25 touchdowns last season.
Like many quarterback competitions, Notre Dame's features both angst and excitement, as the Irish ultimately need an upgrade at the position to take the championship step Freeman thinks is possible in the coming years.
Freeman and offensive coordinator Tommy Rees have a notable decision ahead, as the Buchner-Pyne competition will continue into at least the first part of preseason camp. Coaches at Clemson, LSU, Texas, Texas A&M, Oregon and other programs face similar quarterback choices in the coming months.
While Baylor (Blake Shapen) and a few other teams settled on quarterbacks this spring, many others will let the competition continue. Here's a closer look at Notre Dame's QB situation and 10 others around college football coming out of spring practice. I also offer predictions on who will take the first snap for each team during the 2022 season.