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Notre Dame quarterback Tyler Buchner suffered a high-grade AC joint sprain in his non-throwing shoulder in the loss Saturday to Marshall, Irish coach Marcus Freeman told reporters Monday.
Buchner will undergo surgery Tuesday and Freeman expects the recovery process to take four months, which would put the quarterback out for the remainder of the season.
“We can all do the math and probably put it somewhere, maybe January,” Freeman said. “So, that’s where we’re at with that. Moving forward, Drew Pyne will be our starter, and as I said when we addressed the quarterback competition in fall camp I had the utmost confidence in both of those guys being able to lead our offense and lead this football team.”
In the first two games, Buchner was 28 of 50 passing for 378 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions.
Pyne played in four games during his freshman season in 2020 and two games in 2021. Steve Angeli, a true freshman, will take second-team reps.
Freeman noted that he doesn’t see the pass game changing much with Pyne as the starter. But the major difference will be Buchner’s speed advantage compared with Pyne’s. The ability to make a team respect the quarterback is crucial in the option game, so for Pyne it will come down to what quarterback run plays the team can call with him as the starter. No matter what plays are called, Freeman recognized that the coaches have to do a better job preparing the team after its 26-21 loss to Marshall.
“The last 36 hours has been a reality check for all of us, from the coaches, the head coach to assistant coaches, to our players,” Freeman said. “Doing a deep evaluation of everything we’re doing and to really try to figure out what our issues are. I think I said this after the game, it is execution, it’s executing, but I think more than that it’s focusing on the entirety of the game.”
Freeman says he has seen leadership qualities from both Pyne and Angeli, and despite losing the quarterback competition before the season Pyne has stayed ready and prepared to take over at any time.
In addition to that preparation, despite not having Buchner on the field, Pyne and Angeli will have him on the sidelines to help guide them through games.
“That’s going to be [Buchner’s] role now, you got to become a coach,” Freeman said. “You got to somehow make our team better, even though you’re not going to be playing.”