Home Sports Notre Dame quarterback Tyler Buchner embraces competition, rather than running from it

Notre Dame quarterback Tyler Buchner embraces competition, rather than running from it

Notre Dame quarterback Tyler Buchner embraces competition, rather than running from it

SOUTH BEND — The same transparency that sent fellow quarterback Drew Pyne racing for the trspannsfer portspanl elicited barely more than a shrug from injured incumbent Tyler Buchner.

At least that was Buchner’s recollection Sunday when asked how it felt to hear directly from coach Marcus Freeman that Notre Dame would seek quarterback help on the transfer market. 

“I honestly figured they’d bring in someone just because there’s kind of been rumblings about it,” Buchner said in his first public comments since Dec. 3, immediately after a season-opening loss at Ohio State. “I understand. If somebody gets hurt, you need more depth in the room. You need people.” 

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Pyne went 8-2 as the starter after stepping in for Buchner when the dual-threat sophomore went out with a major injury to his left (nonthrowing) shoulder. Initially projected to remain out until mid-January, Buchner instead returned to practice last month and appears on track to start the TspanxSlspanyer Gspantor Bowl against No. 19 South Carolina on Friday at TIAA Bank Field (3:30 p.m., ESPN).

Both teams are 8-4.

Whether it was Buchner’s impending return or the forecast of an open competition that would include untested freshman Steve Angeli and a transfer to be named, Pyne did not take the news as Freeman had hoped. 

Tyler Buchner, who started Notre Dame's first two games, injured his non-throwing shoulder in week two and will play for the first time since then in the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl on Dec. 30 at TIAA Bank Field.

“Drew is one of my best friends,” Buchner said. “We still talk. We’re really close. I just wish the best for him. He’s a really talented player. I just want to see him win. He works really hard, and I wish nothing but the best for him.” 

Buchner, 0-2 as the Irish starter, will have three seasons of eligibility left after using this as his redshirt season. 

Kenny Minchey, a four-star quarterback recruit from Hendersonville, Tenn., recently committed to Notre Dame’s 2023 signing class and has seen his 247Sports composite ranking climb to No. 13 nationally at his position. The early signing period opens Wednesday. 

Buchner, who enrolled in January 2021, was a four-star signee who rated No. 11 nationally among quarterbacks in his signing class. Even with a record-setting junior year (2019) at The Bishop’s School in La Jolla, Calif., Buchner has made just 15 total starts over his past five seasons (2018-22). 

“You never really envision it going this way,” he said. “It’s never the way you picture it, but you learn a lot through that. Getting hurt wasn’t the worst thing that could have ever happened to me. I’ve learned a lot through it, become a better person.” 

Sitting in the coaches’ box with offensive coordinator Tommy Rees and the graduate assistants helped Buchner gain perspective as well. 

“I think I’ve become a smarter football player through it,” he said. “I’ve done better in school. I have more time. So, there’s certainly things that you can benefit from.” 

Buchner also brightened when asked about younger sister Paige, a nationally ranked women’s soccer forward from San Diego’s Cathedral Catholic High School who signed on Nov. 9 as part of Notre Dame’s 2023 class. 

“She’s an awesome girl and a great sister,” Buchner said. “I’m really excited for her to get here. I think she’s really talented. Might be a better athlete than me. We’ll see.” 

South Carolina coach Shane Beamer lamented the lack of game tape available on Buchner.

“Only two [college] games … go back and watch high school-tape,” he said on Monday after the Gamecocks practiced at Ponte Vedra High School. “He’s a really talented quarterback. Drew Pynes is a really talented quarterback and they made Tyler the starter to start the season, so that kind of tells you everything you need to know.”

Beamer has seen enough to know that his defense needs to watch Buchner running and passing.

“You see his athleticism, being able to run … we need to do a great job in the quarterback run game,” Beamer said. “You see his athleticism and ability to throw the ball. He’s a talented guy, You’re not named the starting quarterback at Notre Dame if you’re not a talented QB.”

Notre Dame coach Marcus Freeman stopped short of naming Buchner the starter against the Gamecocks, but said on Monday before the first practice of the week for the Irish at Fernandina Beach High School that Buchner is getting the bulk of first-team reps.

“Tyler is doing great,” Freeman said. “He’s progressing well for not playing football in weeks.”


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