Molnar ready for a challenge in South Bend
Charley Molnar's succinct introduction at Notre Dame in January explained much about a résumé dripping with success stories. As important as a high football IQ is for any coach, especially an offensive coordinator, it means little if ideas aren't concisely translated.
Molnar's ability to communicate effectively is a crucial asset as head coach Brian Kelly installs a new offense in South Bend. It's the same quality that made similar transitions at Central Michigan and Cincinnati so seamless, even when dealing with the same kind of inexperience at key positions Molnar inherited in South Bend.
Quarterback Dan LeFevour, shot out of a cannon as a redshirt freshman at CMU, is a shimmering example. Setting countless passing records for the Chippewas, LeFevour, drafted in the sixth round by the Chicago Bears last month, led Central to a Mid-American Conference championship in his debut under center in 2006. Molnar was the wide receivers coach, but as much as anyone, was instrumental in the young QB's rapid development.
"[Molnar] had a direct impact on my success," said LeFevour, who threw for 3,031 yards and 26 touchdowns that year. "He did a great job of preparing the wideouts from the standpoint of what I was thinking as a quarterback. "He was great to just bounce ideas off of from that perspective and was a great resource."
Molnar is trying to do the same with junior Dayne Crist, Notre Dame's probable replacement for Jimmy Clausen.
Though it's the first time Molnar's served as an offensive coordinator since 2000 at Kent State, his work overseeing specific positions provided insight referenced by all offensive units.
"He was coach Kelly's eyes from the press box and the way he would communicate with the wide receivers, so they kind of knew what my thought process was and where they should be," LeFevour said. "Coach Molnar was an intermediary and a mediator. You know why something fits into the entire concept. It just all makes sense."
It certainly did at Cincinnati, where Molnar was the passing game coordinator. The Bearcats averaged just over 308 passing yards a game in 2009, which ranked eighth in the country.
Wideouts Mardy Gilyard and Dominick Goodman both broke school records in career receiving yards and TD catches. Each finished their careers with a program-best 204 receptions.
LeFevour gained traction at CMU early on as Molnar polished equally inexperienced receivers. Bryan Anderson set a freshman record in Mount Pleasant with 73 catches for 877 yards and five scores.
Wiring all the components together, including an Irish receiving corps and offensive line dotted with youth, and a running game that needs major improvement, appears to be a challenge Molnar is prepared to tackle.
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