Lou Holtz Apologizes to Marcus Freeman But Stands Behind Comments Directed at Ryan Day: "I Don't Feel Bad For Saying It Because I Believe It"

By Chase Brown on September 26, 2023 at 3:25 pm
Lou Holtz
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Lou Holtz has doubled down.

In an appearance on Don't @ Me with Dan Dakich, Holtz addressed his comments about Ryan Day and the Buckeyes on The Pat McAfee Show and Day's response after Ohio State's 17-14 win over Notre Dame, revealing that he stands behind his opinion for the head coach and his team.

"I called Coach Freeman (on Monday) and apologized because I put them in a bad position, maybe," Holtz said. "I don't feel bad about saying it because I believe it, and Notre Dame was a better football team. Three times Ohio State had 4th-and-1, ran the ball and couldn't make it. Other than the one long run (from TreVeyon Henderson), they averaged less than 2 yards a carry.

"If I was coaching, I would have said it. I would have went to our team and said, 'I think you're better, you're physical, you're more talented. Coach Day doesn't believe so. Go prove him wrong and prove me right.' But when I say something, and I can't control the outcome of the game, that was unfair to Coach Freeman."

When Dakich asked how Holtz reacted to Day's comments after Ohio State's win – which featured the remark, "I'd like to know where Lou Holtz is right now" – Holtz said he understood Day's decision to come after him.

"That's his choice. I can understand why he did," Holtz said. "He doesn't want to talk about Michigan (because he's) 0-2. He doesn't want to talk about the big game coming up against Penn State and against Michigan again. He's a great coach. He's done a great job. He's a great offensive mind. He hired an outstanding defensive coordinator from Oklahoma State (Jim Knowles), who is doing a tremendous job for him. Ohio State is a good football team. I don't think they are a great football team. He can go after me all he wants.

"I honestly felt that Notre Dame was a better football team and more physical, and I am sorry that Coach Day was offended by it. I hope he goes on and has a wonderful year. I don't think they will be a great football team. I really don't. I felt Notre Dame (could have) won the football game."

Holtz then explained what occurred on his phone call with Freeman, who he believes is a "tremendous coach" that "belongs at Notre Dame."

"Coach Freeman is always class. He is a very polite guy," Holtz said. "He didn't even make a comment about it, but I wanted him to know that I felt bad. When you put a team at a disadvantage, and you can't control the outcome of the game, that's wrong.

"But I hadn't done TV in a few years. I had no idea that it would be that widely received. I really didn't. I had no idea Mr. McAfee's show was so widely watched. But I made (the comments), and that's it. You can't do anything about it. You can't change it. You pick up the rifle and march on. That's all you can do."

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