Tag:Brian Kelly
Posted on: March 1, 2012 5:52 pm
Edited on: March 1, 2012 5:59 pm
 

Spring Practice Primer: Cincinnati



Posted by Chip Patterson


Spring football is in the air, and with our Spring Practice Primers the Eye On College Football Blog gets you up to speed on what to look for on campuses around the country this spring. Today we look at Cincinnati.

Spring Practice Started: Thursday, March 1

Spring Game: Saturday, April 14

Three Things To Look For:

1. Munchie Legaux's encore. Junior quarterback Munchie Legaux had a chance to get comfortable under center in 2011, appearing in seven games and starting in the final three. When Zach Collaros went down with an ankle injury that kept him out for the remainder of the regular season, Legaux stepped in to help the Bearcats claim a share of the Big East title. At times, Legaux was brilliant on the field. He used his athleticism and creativity to keep plays alive, throwing for 749 yards and adding 185 on the ground. But there were also four interceptions in the last four games, and a 47.4 completion percentage on the season. Spring practice will be Legaux's first chance since then to prove he is ready for permanent starting job. Head coach Butch Jones has named Legaux the first-stringer to start workouts, but has described the competition as "wide open."

2. Looking for defensive playmakers. Even after Zach Collaros' ankle injury, the Bearcats' defense helped keep them in games by holding the opposition from reaching the end zone. Cincinnati ranked third in the Big East and No. 20 nationally in scoring defense, allowing just 20.3 points per game. A big part in their defensive success came from fantastic individual playmaking from All-Big East talent like linebacker JK Schaffer and defensive tackle Derek Wolfe. The Bearcats actually allowed an average of 356.4 yards per game, but thanks to playmaking and a Top 10 turnover margin (0.92/game) they were able to step up when it counts. Schaffer and Wolfe are gone now, and the unit will need more playmakers in 2012 to avoid paying the penalty for 300+ yards allowed per game.

3. Butch Jones back under the microscope. Jones' first two seasons as the Bearcats' head coach encompassed the entire spectrum of success. His arrival was accompanied with a drop from back-to-back conference titles to 4-8. The Big East free-fall had Cincinnati fans panicking until Jones delivered a 10-win season and share of the 2011 Big East title. The need for reloading talent is strong now as it has been since Brian Kelly's tenure, and the onus begins to fall on Jones now that "his guys" are starting to hit the field.

Catch up on all the latest Spring Practice Primers and Spring Game dates at our Spring Practice Home

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Posted on: February 10, 2012 12:19 pm
 

Irish name Chuck Martin offensive coordinator

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Notre Dame made a few coaching announcements on Friday, including the announcement that former safeties coach Chuck Martin would be taking over as the team's offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.

“I’m excited about that move,” said head coach Brian Kelly. “Chuck and I have a shared vision as it relates to our offense. He is experienced and knows what I’m looking for.” 

What Notre Dame is looking for is a consistency on offense, and in order to find that, the Irish will need a quarterback to emerge. Which is something Martin talked about on Friday as well.

"You'd love to have one," said Martin. "Is it realistic? I don't know. It's going to play out in the spring. Maybe somebody takes it and runs with it and comes into their own and they've played themself ahead of the other group.

"If it's not that…then you still got a long evaluation period in the fall. For me, it would be awesome if we did have a clear-cut starter, but it won't be a big deal to me and it won't be a big deal to coach Kelly. You can name your starter the day before the first game and it can be fine, he can go and win the Heisman Trophy. There's no magical answer." 

Notre Dame went into the 2011 season much the same way, with Dayne Crist and Tommy Rees battling for the job during the spring and fall before Crist won the competition. Then one bad half from Crist in the season opener against South Florida led to Rees taking the job and Crist eventually heading to Kansas.

The difference this spring is the competition is now between four quarterbacks, not just the two. Rees will be competing with Andrew Hendrix, Everett Golson, and the prize of Notre Dame's latest recruiting class, Gunner Kiel.

So while Chuck Martin may not know who his quarterback is yet, he does have options.

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Posted on: February 2, 2012 3:31 pm
Edited on: February 2, 2012 8:36 pm
 

Big Ten head coaches already upset with Meyer

Posted by Tom Fornelli

It appears that the grace period for new coaches in the Big Ten lasts for 65 days or only one National Signing Day. That's how long it took for fellow Big Ten coaches to publicly speak about being upset with new Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer.

Not surprisingly, the complaints from Wisconsin's Bret Bielema and Michigan State's Mark Dantonio are related to Meyer's recruiting tactics. Particularly the part where he just shows up, swoops in and then causes recruits to suddenly change their minds and flock to Columbus.

“There are a few things that happened early on that I made people aware of that I didn’t want to see in this league, that I had seen take place in other leagues,” said Bielema on Wednesday. “Other recruiting tactics, other recruiting practices that are illegal. 

“I was very up front and was very pointed to the fact, actually reached out to Coach Meyer and shared my thoughts and concerns with him. The situation got rectified.”

Michigan State's Mark Dantonio was a bit more to the point.

"(Ohio State has) a new coach, and it's different," Dantonio told the Detroit News. "I would say it's pretty unethical, in the end." 

It seems that Bielema and Dantonio aren't used to the recruiting tactics Meyer has brought along from his days in the SEC, where the gentlemanly rules of the Big Ten do not exist. It seems SEC coaches know that no commitment means anything until a letter of intent is signed, so the race for any recruit they might want doesn't end before February.

Question the morality of it all you want, but you'll notice the SEC has won the last six national championships while the Big Ten has been rather uninspiring.

Meyer's first class at Ohio State was good enough to finish ranked third in the CBS Sports National Signing Day Top 25. In that class of 24, 10 of the commits didn't come on board until after Meyer became head coach at Ohio State. Of those 10 players, eight had previously given commitments to other school.

Including offensive lineman Kyle Dodson (Wisconsin) and defensive end Se'Von Pittman (Michigan State). Hence the reactions of Bielema and Dantonio. Still, of the other six, four had been committed to Penn State and two to Notre Dame. You don't hear Bill O'Brien or Brian Kelly crying foul about it today.

Not that complaining will do anything to deter Meyer. He's a head coach that realizes in order to build a successful program, not only do you need to have a good coaching staff, but you have to have good players. Players that are found through recruiting.

So whine about how he does all you want, he's seen the fruits of his efforts and has a couple rings to show for it. Nothing anybody can say will change that.

Other Big Ten coaches can either get on board, or run the risk of being left behind.

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Posted on: February 1, 2012 9:34 pm
 

Signing Day is bittersweet in South Bend

Posted by Tom Fornelli

If you look at the players Notre Dame has in its latest recruiting class, you can see why the Irish are ranked at #17 in CBS Sports National Signing Day Top 25 this year. After all, Brian Kelly and his staff managed to sign one of the top quarterbacks in the country with Gunner Kiel, got a perfectly named William Mahone -- if Irish fans aren't calling him "Pogue" before he even sets foot on the field, they're doing it wrong -- at running back, and continued to build on defense with players like Tee Shepard, Sheldon Day and Jarron Jones.

The problem is when you look at Notre Dame's list of commitments and realize who isn't there. That's when you notice wide receiver Deontay Greenberry is suddenly missing.

His name was supposed to be on that list, and his signature was supposed to be on a letter of intent coming across a fax machine, only it wasn't. Instead Brian Kelly was caught off-guard on Wednesday morning when he found out that Greenberry had given his letter of intent to Houston. Understandably, Kelly was a bit perturbed at the development.

"I used to have a saying about players like that and that was I'd rather play against him for four games than with him for four years," Kelly said shortly after hearing the news.

Kelly would later change his tune on Greenberry, saying it's hard "to feel disappointed about something I never had," but his original feelings reflected that of a fan base in shock. Five-star wide receivers just aren't supposed to turn down a chance to play at Notre Dame for a school like Houston. A school like Houston that just lost its head coach at that.

Times, however, they are a changing, both in South Bend where the Irish just aren't the powerhouse they want to be, and in the recruiting game, which is more national than ever before. 

The real reason Greenberry's switch hurts is because Notre Dame has a big playmaker to replace on offense next season in Michael Floyd. Nobody knows who is going to be lining up under center for the Irish next season. It could be Tommy Rees, Andrew Hendrix, Everett Golson or the newcomer, Kiel.

Whoever it ends up being, having a target like Greenberry available would have made things a lot easier.

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Posted on: January 17, 2012 11:07 pm
Edited on: January 17, 2012 11:17 pm
 

ISU DB coach Elliott to take Notre Dame ass't job

Posted by Adam Jacobi

On January 2, Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly (seen at right) announced a litany of job status updates in his coaching staff, including a promotion for cornerbacks coach Kerry Cooks to co-defensive coordinator alongside Bob Diaco, who has also assumed the role of assistant head coach for the Fighting Irish. Chuck Martin was also moved from safeties coach to offensive coordinator. With that, then, Diaco now has three responsibilities and Cooks has two, and there's a hole at safeties coach, so the Notre Dame staff would appear ready for some help with position coaching. Now, Notre Dame has found just the man for the job.

Tom Dienhart reported on Tuesday night that Bobby Elliott, the secondary coach at Iowa State, would be taking an assistant role at Notre Dame, and CBSSports.com can confirm that report, per a source close to the situation. Iowa State defensive back Deon Broomfield also tweeted that Elliott informed the team that he would be leaving. Elliott's role with Notre Dame is likely to be involved with the safeties, as the secondary has been the main focus of his positional work over the course of his career, but the exact job title and responsibilities that he will accept with Notre Dame have yet to be confirmed.

There shouldn't be much time spent acclimating Elliott with Cooks and Diaco, Elliott's superiors on the defensive staff; he coached them both at Iowa during his 12 years as a defensive assistant under Hayden Fry. Diaco was an All-Big Ten linebacker with the Hawkeyes and graduated in 1995, while Cooks was a standout strong safety through the '99 season.

Elliott, 58, had actually been a strong candidate to assume the Iowa head coaching position from Hayden Fry as Fry's career wound down in the late '90s; he was young, experienced, and had extensive ties to the program (all factors that eventually led to Kirk Ferentz's hiring). A life-threatening blood disorder was discovered late in the 1998 season and forced Elliott out of coaching, however, and he didn't come back to the sidelines until a two-year stint with Dan McCarney and Iowa State in 2000-01.

From there, Elliott was the defensive coordinator for Kansas State for four years, then he was DC in Chuck Long's hapless regime at San Diego State for three years after that. Elliott rejoined ISU in 2010 after another year outside the coaching ranks, and his secondary was best known this season for neutralizing the Oklahoma State passing attack in the thrilling 30-24 overtime victory at Jack Trice Stadium that ended the Cowboys' national championship dreams.

Elliott is the second Iowa State assistant coach to leave during the offseason; former offensive coordinator Tom Herman joined the Ohio State staff as the Buckeyes' offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach following the Pinstripe Bowl.

Notre Dame is expected to announce Elliott's hiring by the end of the week.

For more Fighting Irish updates, subscribe to the CBSSports.com Notre Dame RapidReports by Mark Bradford.

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Posted on: January 10, 2012 6:47 pm
 

Brian Kelly gets a two-year extension

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Notre Dame announced on Tuesday that it had exercised the option on Brian Kelly's contract that extended his deal through the 2016 season.

"While Coach Kelly and I are focused on the additional work that must be done to reach our goals, I am very pleased with the progress we have made during the past twoyears.” said athletic director Jack Swarbrick in a statement.

"Our football team’s performance on the field, in the classroom, and in the community reflect Coach Kelly’s commitment to building a program that will be able to sustain success in the long run, and to doing so in a manner consistent with Notre Dame’s values and tradition." 

Kelly's first two seasons in South Bend haven't brought the return to national prominence that the school and fans had been hoping for, as the Irish have gone 16-10. Along with consecutive 8-5 seasons, the Irish also find themselves in the same boat as they did last offseason, getting ready to head into spring practice without a starter at quarterback as Tommy Rees is expected to compete with Andrew Hendrix and Everett Golson in the offseason following the transfer of Dayne Crist to Kansas.

Kelly has also seen three of his assistants leave to take jobs elsewhere, though the school also announced two-year deals for all the assistants that remain on his staff.

On the positive side of things, Notre Dame has seen a lot of improvement on the defensive side of ball thanks to the recruits that Kelly and his staff have brought in. The real question, however, is if Kelly will be around through the end of his contract and if Notre Dame will finally start living up to the lofty expectations routinely placed on the team.

Eight-win seasons will only keep the peace for so long. 

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Posted on: January 6, 2012 1:44 pm
 

Tyler Eifert returning to Notre Dame

Posted by Tom Fornelli

The 2011 Notre Dame season has come to an end much the same way the 2010 season did, in that Brian Kelly isn't sure who his starting quarterback will be next season. The good news for Kelly is that while he may not know who he'll have taking the snaps next season, whoever it is will still have tight end Tyler Eifert around to throw the ball to.

According to Irish Illustrated, Eifert informed the Notre Dame coaching staff of his decision on Friday.

"He's really come around and wants to come back," said Tyler's father Greg Eifert. "He wants to come back, get bigger, get stronger and get to a BCS bowl next year."

This is very good news for a Notre Dame offense that is already losing its biggest playmaker in Michael Floyd to the NFL, as Eifert finished the 2011 season second on the team in receptions (63), yards (803) and touchdowns (5). Eifert had submitted his NFL paperwork and was told that he was a third round pick, which was the same grade Michael Floyd heard from the NFL last season before deciding to return to South Bend. Floyd is now a consensus first round pick.

Get caught up on the early-entry announcements HERE, and all the latest rankings, mock drafts, and breaking news check out the NFL Draft Home.  

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Posted on: January 2, 2012 7:10 pm
Edited on: January 2, 2012 7:11 pm
 

Report: Meyer taps two ND coaches for OSU staff

Posted by Chip Patterson

Some of the top assistants in the country are leaving their current posts to join new head coach Urban Meyer at Ohio State, reportedly including a pair of Brian Kelly's assistants at Notre Dame.

The Fighting Irish head coach made a series of staff announcements and changes on Monday, including the promotion of Bob Diaco to assistant head coach, Kerry Cooks will be the co-defensive coordinator along with Diaco, Chuck Martin has been named offensive coordinator, and Scott Booker has been promoted from intern to full-time assistant.

At the very bottom of Notre Dame's lengthy release, the school states that running backs coach Tim Hinton and offensive line coach Ed Warinner left the program to pursue other opportunities. According to a report in the Columbus Dispatch, those opportunities may be with Meyer and the Buckeyes.

According to Dispatch sources, Hinton and Warinner - both Ohio natives - have decided to leave the fighting Irish to join Meyer's new staff at Ohio State. It is expected that Warinner will coach the offensive line while Hinton's exact position on the staff remains to be seen. Hinton and Meyer were both graduate assistants during the 1986 season, and he will likely be in charge of tight ends and play a big role in local recruiting.

Ohio State officials at the Gator Bowl gave no official confirmation to the Columbus Dispatch, though Meyer did state earlier he wants to introduce his entire staff this week.

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