Aug. 15, 2003

by Lisa Mushett

On Thursday, talked to sophomore tight end Marcus Freeman who, after not playing as a freshman, is looking forward to finally hitting the field for the Irish in their home opener against Washington State on Sept. 6, at Notre Dame Stadium. Hear what Marcus had to say.

Q. How is training camp going for you thus far?

A. It is going well. I am just trying to stayed focused and concentrate on the task at hand.

Q. Is it easier for you being in your second season with the Irish?

A. It is definitely easier. I know more of the plays. I am familiar with the coaches and my teammates, making for a better transition, but it is still hard. I am trying to get into good condition for the season.

Q. What is the hardest part about training camp?

A. Just being outside in the heat and running so much. Also, you have to watch out that you do not get mentally tired. Physically, I am in good shape and I feel great, but the mental game is tough.

Q. Is it difficult for you with so many other tight ends to get enough reps where you feel comfortable with the offense?

A. It is frustrating at times, but that comes with the territory at Notre Dame. We all chose to be here knowing that there were so many people at our position. The world is all about competition. We just have to compete and make each other better.

Q. Do you feel that competition makes you a better player?

A. I think if I already had my spot given to me, I would not work as hard as I am right now. The competition is definitely making me a better player.

Q. Do you think this second year will be easier for you academically, as well as athletically?

A. I think so. Academically, it was an easier transformation for me into college life because I came from a good high school (Cretin-Derham Hall in St. Paul, Minn.).

Q. Talk about the impact of having high school teammates junior fullback Rashon Powers-Neal (who is also Freeman’s cousin) and freshman offensive lineman Ryan Harris here with you at Notre Dame?

A. When you go away from school it is always hard, so it is nice to have a familiar face around to help when you need it. We all hung out together back in Minnesota and now we hang out here. It was great to have those guys representing Notre Dame back home.

Q. Have you taken Ryan Harris under your wing to show him the ropes?

A. I took Ryan under my wing even back in high school. I have been telling him things that I went through as a freshman and what he needs to be prepared for. I am just trying to encourage him and get him going down that right path early in his career.