Chris “The Jet” Tyree’s role as the understudy at the running back position has come to an end following the departure of Kyren Williams to the NFL. Once known as a can’t-miss recruit, Tyree will have the chance this season to prove that statement true. There’s no doubt that Tyree has big shoes to fill. But he feels he is ready to take on the role of an offensive leader.
“I think I’m a lot more confident in my game than I have been in the last couple of years,” Tyree said. “I’m a lot more poised as well. It’s just about me having confidence in my ability and executing my job out there.”
Tyree will certainly be one to watch this season, especially this weekend at The Horseshoe. The prime-time meeting of No. 5 Notre Dame versus No. 2 Ohio State is a matchup all about running the ball effectively and controlling the line of scrimmage. Doing so is likely a necessity for Notre Dame to have a chance to bring home an upset win. Freeman has frequently emphasized the importance of the run game in this matchup.
“That’s something that you wanna hear from your head coach — knowing he has confidence in us and is giving us the opportunity to really affect the game,” Tyree said.
Tyree hopes to bring other aspects of his game to the offense as the Irish suit up under the lights. His ability to make plays in the passing game out of the backfield can help shake things up.
“I understand that I have to affect the game without the ball in my hands as well,” Tyree said. “I’m just being consistent every play no matter whether I’m getting the ball or not.
Tyree will certainly play a major role in the running duties but will share responsibilities with fellow running backs Logan Diggs and Audric Estime, not to mention sophomore quarterback Tyler Buchner. Referring to Buchner as a “playmaker,” Tyree speaks to Buchner’s mobility and how that can benefit the offense.
“It’s simple, he makes plays,” Tyree said. “No matter if he’s throwing the ball, whether he’s running it, making checks, making reads, communicating with the offense. That’s what you’ll see from him.”
The infectious energy from camp, along with the preparation and talent present in Tyree and the rest of the offense, make the Irish no joke against the Buckeyes, despite national skepticism. One thing for certain, though — this weekend’s game is a massive one.
“It’s two powerhouse programs going at it week one,” Tyree said. “It’s those games you dream of as a child — playing in those Saturday night football games. We just know that we have to take it one game at a time. If we can come out with a ‘W’ it would be a really great start to the season, so that’s our focus right now.”
The Irish are going to need to lean on Tyree in a big way. If he can play to his full potential this weekend, the running game should not skip a beat despite the absence of Williams. Tyree can help contribute to an explosive offense and make plenty of highlight-reel, game-changing plays.
Tune in Saturday night at 7:30 pm on ABC to watch Tyree and the Irish take on the Buckeyes.