Manty Theo didn’t need to star in Netflix’s recent two-part documentary Untold: The Girlfriend Who Didn’t Exist. The former Notre Dame linebacker star has found ample closure in his life after the chaos and drama of the winter of 2012-13, in no small part because he is now married with a one-year-old daughter and a son on the way. But to some extent, he wanted to make a documentary, in particular, to pay tribute to Notre Dame.
“I didn’t think it mattered in case I needed to tell [my story]Theo said before the Irishman beat Cal 24-17 on Saturday. “When Netflix first offered me this opportunity, I told them that I didn’t feel the need. I experienced closure in my life and I was at peace with where my life was and what it will be, what it can be for the rest of my life. I’m fine.”
Instead, the 2012 unanimous All-American, now two seasons behind his last NFL appearance, saw an opportunity to exonerate anyone who supported him as dead spin brought charges against him in early 2013.
“The main thing I wanted to make sure is that a lot of you really supported me over a long period of time, that I didn’t provide the facts to back everyone up,” he said. “It was sort of my attempt to say, ‘Hey, look, thanks for all your support, thanks for supporting me’; …
“After all the truth and facts came out, everyone should have seen it. It was like people were saying, “I told you he was a good guy.”
For Theo, Notre Dame as a whole stood in that camp long before the well-received documentary. He has returned to campus several times over the past decade, perhaps most notably in 2018 following the sudden death of teammate Kona Schwenke that spring. South Bend has long been as cozy a home for Theo as his native Hawaii. When a stranger treated Te’o and his family to dinner on a Friday night, unannounced, and left before Te’o could say thank you, it underlined the welcoming feeling he always felt in the Indiana cold.
“Home will always be home,” he said. “On a good day and a bad day, when you go home, this is your refuge, and this is what Notre Dame is to me.”
Here’s Theo – a former pro football player who made over $10 million in his eight-year career and now owns two companies, who still looks like he could hit the field after a month of training, a devout man more down to earth than the vast majority who had ever applauded him or ridiculed him, he possessed at least some streak of kinship that almost anyone who has set foot on campus in the last decade will immediately understand.
“The only thing that makes it feel different is that there are a lot of buildings here that didn’t exist when I was here,” Theo said, adding that he would get lost just driving from the airport. However, the construction part is welcome.” Te’o was enthusiastic about the new Irish Athletics Centre, better known as the indoor soccer field.
Feasibility Study ON FREEMAN
Te’o made a surprising comparison when asked what he thought of Notre Dame’s freshman head coach. Marcus Freeman. While their defensive styles vary greatly – one “bend, don’t break” and one aggressive to the point of failure – Te’o sees similarities between Freeman and the former Irish defensive coordinator. Bob Diaco in how their players come together for them.
“Just someone you would literally do anything for,” Te’o said. “I think as a head coach this is the most important thing you can establish with your players.
“I will do everything for you”. That’s what led to our success in 2012 defensively because all of us guys would have done anything for Coach Diaco. [and the rest of his defensive staff]. Now they have him as the main person, so what a great blessing and opportunity.”
— Matt Cashore (@mattcashore) September 18, 2022
MESSAGE TE’O TO THE TEAM
Freeman asked Theo to speak to the team on Friday. Still at 0-2 at that point, Theo’s post at Notre Dame was one with more credibility coming from someone who had experienced such public ups and downs in his life.
“This is the best thing in football, this is the best parallel with life,” he said in an interview with the Irish. “Things won’t start the way you wanted. Keep going.
“Life is not always the way you want it to be. Keep going.
“You can’t do anything about 0-2, but you can do something about today.”
As this Cal Hail Mary is unfinished, at about the 24 second mark, you can see Freeman’s reserved reaction, no doubt wondering if he can get to DB right now and there to teach them how to handle this game. https://t.co/FZh8HibF5e
— Douglas Farmer (@D_Farmer) September 19, 2022
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— “I love these kids and I love this place.” — Markus Freeman
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— Iowa football at 2 am
Finish that game and I’ll never again refer to South Florida-Notre Dame circa 2011 as “the last unique college football game.” https://t.co/FegV1lK6qn
— Douglas Farmer (@D_Farmer) September 18, 2022
Notre Dame knew that in North Carolina it would have to rely on runners. It wasn’t so much a reflection of the soft Tar Heels defense as it was a reflection of the Irish lineup, although that defense was certainly ripe for use.
with a sophomore Logan Diggs healthy after missing out on Notre Dame’s victory over Cal with illness, the Irish could change three guards throughout their 45–32 victory over North Carolina on Saturday.
And they did, every one of the Diggs, Jr. Chris Tyree and sophomore Audric Estimé, who received at least 13 touches. Their 49 combined hits on 83 genuine attack shots give a good indication of how much Notre Dame depended on them. Add to junior tight end Michael Mayernine targets for seven catches and 88 yards, and 70 percent of Irish snaps come from 76 percent of Notre Dame’s yards.
Irish head coach Marcus Freeman would have you believe Mayer’s lead frees those backs, and given that Notre Dame had one game for Mayer from the backfield, perhaps that’s as literal as it is figurative.
“Michael Mayer is making sure everyone is performing at the right level,” Freeman said Saturday night. “These guys have a standard and they will have to learn. It will be nice to see him lead.”
Freeman’s tone had already changed to a pragmatic, forward-looking one despite the aggressive outburst the Irish had just enjoyed. This is because Notre Dame’s already thin skill depth charts lost another piece last week when the junior tight end Kevin Bauman tore the cruciate ligament of the cruciate ligaments. Bauman has caught three passes for 44 yards this season, including a 22 at Ohio State and an 18 at Marshall.
“We knew we were going to have to be strategic about what kind of personnel we were going to use,” Freeman said.
In the future, this will mean more Estimé, Tyree and Diggs, as well as more Mayer.
junior defender Drew Pine he may have tied Mayer with a touchdown each of the past three weeks, but Saturday’s seven catches on nine targets were the most effective year since a preseason All-American tight end. Clearly one of those finishes, a quick serve behind the line of scrimmage, helped the percentage, but even without that Mayer would have outpaced his eight catches on 12 targets against Marshall.
“This week I was able to find Mike a couple more times and just do my job,” Pine said. “Give him the ball.
“I am very happy because he is such a great player. Putting the ball in his hands is something that can benefit our offense.”
Talk about understatement.
This emphasis on Mayer and efficiency in getting the ball will need to continue. that the crime of Notre Dame should continue in line with these positive trends.
And these are positive trend lines. The 45 at Chapel Hill was about a foot away from 52, which can be misleading, but with Estime fumbling for the goal line in the final minutes of the game, it’s a fair guess in this case. A week after…