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New Defensive Coordinator?


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Decided to sum up the previous UHND posts on my scouting of college defensive coordinators and NFL defensive assistants and post the results here. I’m convinced that we’re going to make changes in the Irish defensive coaching staff this coming offseason but I’m sure if they’ll be a complete makeover (three to four new assistants including a new defensive coordinator) or just a fine tuning (adding a “co-defensive coordinator” or a new position coach).

 

The following list involves either current college defensive assistants who have some kind of connection to Notre Dame (former player or coach, or graduate), Charlie Weis (through South Carolina, the New York Giants, the New England Patriots, or the New York Jets), or another current or previous Notre Dame coach; or, the coach is a defensive position coach in the NFL with extensive college defensive coordinator experience. For some reason I believe that such credentials will be what Weis is looking for if he decides to make a change:

 

1. Duane Akina (Co-Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Backs coach, Texas Longhorns): coached offense and defense with Rob Ianello at Arizona

 

2. Chris Ball (secondary coach, Alabama Crimson Tide): defensive backs and special teams coach under Gerry Faust at Akron

 

3. Greg Blache (defensive line coach, Washington Redskins): Notre Dame graduate; Notre Dame assistant coach/defensive line (1973-1975; 1981-1983)

 

4. Kevin Coyle (secondary coach, Cincinnati Bengals): college defensive coordinator, 1986-2000 (Holy Cross, Syracuse, Maryland, Fresno State)

 

5. Joe Cullen (defensive line, Detroit Lions): college defensive coordinator, 1997-98, 2000, 2002-04 (Richmond, Indiana)

 

6. Kirk Doll (linebackers coach, Denver Broncos): Notre Dame linebackers coach (1994-2001)

 

7. Mark Duffner (linebackers coach, Jacksonville Jaguars): college defensive coordinator, 1977-85 (Cincinnati, Holy Cross)

 

8. Ken Flajole (linebackers coach, Carolina Panthers): college defensive coordinator, 1980-85, 1994, 1996-97 (Montana, Richmond, Nevada)

 

9. David Gibbs (defensive backs, Kansas City Chiefs): college defensive coordinator, 1997-2000, 2005 (Minnesota, Auburn)

 

10. Jay Hayes (defensive line coach, Cincinnati Bengals): Notre Dame defensive line coach (1989), outside linebackers coach (1990-91)

 

11. Tom Hayes (defensive backs coach, New Orleans Saints): college defensive coordinator, 1979, 1982-88, 1991-94, 2001, 2005 (Cal-State Fullerton, UCLA, Oklahoma, Kansas, Stanford)

 

12. Chuck Heater (Recruiting Coordinator/Cornerbacks, Florida Gators): Notre Dame Secondary Coach from 1988-1990

 

13. Jim Herrmann (linebackers coach, New York Jets): college defensive coordinator, 1997-2005 (Michigan)

 

14. Pepper Johnson (defensive line coach, New England Patriots): New York Giants linebacker (1985-1992), New York Jets linebacker (1998-1999), New England Patriots assistant coach (2001-present)

 

15. Denny Marcin (defensive line coach, New York Jets): college defensive coordinator, 1974-87, 1992-96 (Miami of Ohio, North Carolina, Illinois)

 

16. Don Martindale (linebackers coach, Oakland Raiders): college defensive coordinator, 1987, 1999, 2003 (Defiance, Western Illinois, Western Kentucky)

- Notre Dame defensive assistant (1994-95)

- Rick Minter’s DE/LB coach at Cincinnati (1996-98)

 

17. Greg Mattison (Co-Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Line, Florida Gators): Notre Dame Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Line Coach (1997-2004)

 

18. Joe Palermo (Defensive Line coach, Miami Hurricanes): Notre Dame Defensive Line Coach, 1988-89, defensive line coach under Barry Alvarez at Wisconsin

 

19. Fred Pagac (linebackers coach, Minnesota Vikings): college defensive coordinator, 1996-1999 (Ohio State)

 

20. Willy Robinson (secondary coach, St. Louis Rams): college defensive coordinator, 1988-93, 1999 (Fresno State, Oregon State)

 

21. Schottenheimer, Kurt (secondary coach, Green Bay Packers): Notre Dame outside linebackers coach (1986)

 

22. Randy Shannon (Defensive Coordinator, Miami Hurricanes): linebackers coach, Miami Dolphins, alongside then Dolphins DB coach Bill Lewis

 

23. Phil Snow (linebackers coach, Detroit Lions): college defensive coordinator, 1980-81, 1983-86, 1995-2004 (Laney College, Boise State, Arizona State, UCLA, Washington)

 

24. Richard Solomon (defensive backs, Arizona Cardinals): college defensive coordinator, 1973, 1980-86 (Dubuque, Illinois); New York Giants assistant coach (1987-1991)

 

25. Charlie Strong (Assistant Head Coach/Co-Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers, Florida Gators): Notre Dame Defensive Line Coach (1995-1998)

 

26. Mel Tucker (defensive backs coach, Cleveland Browns): college co-defensive coordinator, 2001-04 (Ohio State)

 

27. Bob Trott (defensive assistant, Cleveland Browns): college defensive coordinator, 1989-90, 1996-2004 (Arkansas, Clemson, Duke, Baylor, Louisiana-Monroe); New England Patriots assistant coach (1993-1995)

 

28. Washburn, Jim (defensive line coach, Tennessee Titans): South Carolina assistant coach (1983-1988)

 

29. Keith Willis (defensive line coach, Boston College Eagles): defensive line coach under Rick Minter at Cincinnati

 

There are also many other assistants/position coaches who might be interested and available to make the jump to Notre Dame, from college programs that have fielded top defenses for at least two of the past three seasons (Alabama, Auburn, Boston College, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Louisville, LSU, Miami, Missouri, N.C. State, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Penn State, Southern Cal, Texas, Virginia Tech & Wisconsin) but I’ll leave them out for now.

 

Charlie could promote a current college or NFL position coach to be the (co-)defensive coordinator at Notre Dame. Or, bring a current college position coach into a bigger program (and probably more money) to coach the same position for the Irish. I’m not sure exactly what changes need to be made, but looking over the recruiting rankings for our starting front seven and their backups, I feel like we’re going to see some new faces coaching the defensive line and linebackers next year at the very least. These guys are just too good on paper to not be a Top 25 ranked defense:

 

DE Chris Frome: #10 DE (Rivals/****); #45 DE (Scout/***)

DT Derek Landri: #2 DT (Scout/*****); #3 OL (Rivals/****)

DT Trevor Laws: #12 DT (Scout/****); #16 DT (Rivals/****)

DE Victor Abiamiri: #3 DE (Rivals/*****); #9 DE (Scout/****)

 

LB Mitchell Thomas: #25 LB (Rivals/***); #34 LB (Scout/***)

LB Maurice Crum: #17 LB (Rivals/***); #59 LB (Scout/***)

LB Travis Thomas: #16 RB (Scout/****); #31 RB (Rivals/***)

 

Experienced (non-freshman) reserves (front seven):

 

LB Anthony Vernaglia: #5 ATH (Rivals/****); #18 LB (Scout/****)

DT Travis Leitko: #10 DE (Rivals/****); #12 DE (Scout/****)

LB Scott Smith: #17 LB (Rivals/***); #80 LB (Scout/***)

LB Joe Brockington: #22 LB (Rivals/***); #38 LB (Scout/***)

LB Kevin Washington: #37 LB (Rivals/***); #52 S (Scout/***)

DE Dwight Stevenson: #38 LB (Rivals/***); #59 DE (Scout/***)

DT Derrell Hand: #39 DT (Rivals/***); #49 DT (Scout/***)

DT Patrick Kuntz: #49 DT (Rivals/***); #63 DT (Scout/***)

LB Nick Borseti: #58 LB (Rivals/***); #97 LB (Scout/**)

LB Steven Quinn: NR LB (Scout/***); NR LB (Rivals/**)

DE Justin Brown: NR DE( Scout/**); NR DE (Rivals/**)

 

I think we could also add Crennel, Amato, and Shannon.

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Guest irishrick

i think that coach minter will stay at ND, he may get an assistant , wasn't fomer bob Davie, an def cord under Lou holtz??? just maybe he will return as def cord, we had a good def team then ? bob wasn't ready for the head position, but was given it based upon his def cord position , what say you on this :) :( :lol:

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Guest SirJohn

Well Rick, a new assistant still means someone has to go. Resign or be fired. NCAA allows only 9 assistant coaches. Total 10 with the HC. So????Something has to give. :cry:

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Guest irishrick

your right SJ, i just think that charlie wants to keep minter, but you know how the fans can react,, as emeril says kick it up a notch, i hope he stays, but charlie has the problem to deal with. one way or the other

..

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Guest AtlantaIrish

I think Tenuta from Georgia Tech would be a good fit. He never gets the athletes out of high school that the big time programs get but he always develops them and always schemes really good(the lone exception was the Clemson game).

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Guest Kgreene2343
I think Tenuta from Georgia Tech would be a good fit. He never gets the athletes out of high school that the big time programs get but he always develops them and always schemes really good(the lone exception was the Clemson game).

 

I love his schemes too, and he would be great.

 

The defensive line coach from KC would be a great get, as would most of the defensive backfield coaches you mentioned. But I do not like the Lion's DL or Green Bay's secondary.

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Guest WillDomer

As much as it pains me to say it out loud, I would not mind having Boob Davie back at ND as the D coordinator. D is his forte. He was good at A&M and although he was an unmitigated disaster as our Head he had a good defensive mind while assisting Lou. One thing I know for sure, no matter WHO it is, Minter has served his time and needs to move on. Moreover, whomever we secure as D coordinator, he needs to teach at least TWO things: (1) wrap up and tackle - fundamentals; and (2) chuck them off the line. Nothing was more evident to me during this season than that we clearly were outpaced and shorter than most receivers - BUT the great equalizer can be to chuck them at the line, throw them off their routes - particularly when one is slow - it can keep you in the game and keep them OUT of their flow and rhythm. I do not profess to be any great play caller on either side of the ball, but #(2) above was so clearly evident this year it was not even funny.

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I think that Pepper Johnson could really help us recruit the big time DTs that we've been missing out on....after all he does have DL coaching experience in the NFL. We are already doing a great job of brining in LBs and DBs now we just need some more incentive for those big uglies up front to come to ND.

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I don't really see this as a defensive coordinator problem. I don't think the wrong plays were called. It is just more than obvious to me that the players are NOT playmakers. Minter inherited this defense last year and their most glaring deficiency was lack of speed. You can't coach speed. They either have it...or they don't.

 

As good as Charlie is with the offense, I refuse to believe that he wouldn't recognize bad defensive schemes on his own team. If he did, he'd fix the problem. This defense is not full of stars. Abiamiri and Landri are the best of the lot...and they are on the line which has not received the critisim. Zibby has been playing poorly this year. He played better last year. Is it that Zibby wasn't coached properly when he knew what to do last year or is he just not executing? I go with the latter. Duke is a converted WR for crying out loud. The corners were pathetic when Minter arrived and, in my opinion are better now than when he got here. We lost two very good linebackers this year but MO has proven to be pretty dang good. Teams are not running all over us.

 

This all being said, losing to USC by 20 points is always going to cause a rumble in the jungle. As CEO of ND Football, CW will have to deal with the fallout. I just don't think he is going to fire Minter who has only been there for two years trying to make chicken salad out of the chicken shit he was given. Let the Weis recruits come on board and follow their development. If the Defense still sucks two years from now...then something clearly needs to be done.

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