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Notebook: JD Bertrand puts damper on otherwise outstanding defensive outing

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Head coach Marcus Freeman’s tone turned to disappointment.

In a game where so many things went right in Notre Dame’s 45-32 road victory over North Carolina on Saturday, one thing that went wrong will carry forward two weeks. Senior linebacker and captain JD Bertrand was flagged for and disqualified by a fourth-quarter targeting call.

Bertrand will miss the first half of Notre Dame’s matchup with BYU on Oct. 8. The Irish (2-2) have a bye next week, And Bertrand, seemingly, will have a lesson with Freeman, a former Ohio State standout linebacker, on tackling legally.

“It’s targeting,” Freeman said of Bertrand’s tackle. “And you can argue all you want, but as I told JD on the field, it’s our job to learn from that situation. And so, it’s an entire game he’s missed now, where he missed the first half of this game, and he’s going to miss the first half of the next game.

“And so, we have to learn from it, and we have to change, or you’re going to continue to get targeting penalties, no matter if we agree or disagree. And so, we have to understand it. That’s the way the refs call it.

“So, we have to practice different ways to tackle it. You’ve got to make sure you’re not leading with your head. One is safety, but two, you need to be on the field. So, we have to look at that and study and say how would we practice — for him, in particular — a better way to make sure that doesn’t happen again.”


A host of Notre Dame defenders take down North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye. (ASSOCIATED PRESS)


Until the California game Sept. 17, tackling had never been an issue for Bertrand.

The 6-foot-1, 230-pound linebacker led the Irish with 101 tackles (63 solo) while starting in all 13 games last season. Before last week’s blemish, Bertrand had recorded 17 tackles this season.

Bertrand even…

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Author : Inside ND Sports

Publish date : 2022-09-25 05:31:33

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