SOUTH BEND, Ind. (BVM) – The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are coming off of a 2022 season that didn’t quite live up to expectations, but did finish strong. The Irish went 9-4 in Marcus Freeman’s first season, and won six of their final seven games, with the only loss in that stretch coming to No. 6 USC in Notre Dame’s regular season finale.
A 45-38 win in the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl was a good way to close Freeman’s first season at the helm, and proved Notre Dame’s offense had finally rounded into form with Tyler Buchner back under center for the first time in several months after he had suffered an injury during the second week of the season.
However, in 2023, the offense will have a new look. Earlier this month, it was reported that former Notre Dame offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Tommy Rees is leaving Notre Dame for the same role at Alabama.
Rees was a quarterback at Notre Dame from 2010-13, and returned to his alma mater as an assistant in 2017. In 2020, he was promoted to offensive coordinator in addition to his previously held quarterbacks coach role under Brian Kelly, and he remained the Fighting Irish’s offensive coordinator in the program’s first year under Freeman.
Now, Notre Dame will be looking at a new direction for its offense. In 2022, Drew Pyne, who has transferred to Arizona State, was the primary quarterback following Buchner’s injury. Buchner will return in 2023, but it is likely Wake Forest transfer Sam Hartman will be the starter come Notre Dame’s opener on Aug. 26 against Navy.
Notre Dame will also need to replace star tight end Michael Mayer, but will return top receivers in Jayden Thomas and Lorenzo Styles, a decent running back room led by Audric Estime, and a strong core at offensive line. The only question remaining is who will be coaching this group? Here are the top five offensive coordinator candidates for Notre Dame.