Notre Dame Football: Miami RedHawks
- Chuck Martin took a $200,00 paycut to become head coach at Miami (Ohio).
- Familiarity won't mean complacency for Mike Denbrock and the Irish offense, JJ Stankevitz writes on CSNChicago.com.
- Good story from MLB.com's Steve Gilbert on how the D-backs took a shot at signing Golden Tate a few years ago.
- IrishIllustrated's Tim Prister says the stadium expansion is all about the university.
"Lo feels very comfortable with Coach Martin," Wood Sr. said. "He gave Lo his first chance to get on the field as a defensive back as a freshman at Notre Dame."
Wood joins former Irish quarterback Andrew Hendrix and tight end Alex Welch in moving to Oxford, Ohio, to join Martin, who accepted the RedHawks' head-coaching job on Dec. 3 after four years as a Fighting Irish assistant.
Martin coached Notre Dame's safeties for two seasons before becoming the program's offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in 2012. The former position helped him connect with Wood, a cornerback who saw playing time immediately as a freshman in 2010.
The 5-foot-11, 194-pound Wood was on track to become one of the Irish's starting corners in 2012 before tearing his left Achilles during a preseason practice, costing him his junior season. Then-true freshman KeiVarae Russell took over and never looked back, starting every game the last two seasons as Wood saw mostly reserve action.
Wood, an Apopka, Fla., native, finishes his Irish career with 31 career tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss and one pick-six, which he recorded in the third quarter of a 45-21 win over Maryland on Nov. 12, 2011.
"Coach Martin said he would love the opportunity for Lo to get back into his man-to-man speciality," Wood Sr. said.
- Colleague Chris Low offers his reaction to Notre Dame fans' favorite coach joining one of their favorite programs.
- BlueandGold.com's Andrew Owens recaps how former Irish players fared this past weekend in the NFL.
- CSNChicago's JJ Stankevitz says the future remains bright at tight end for Notre Dame despite Troy Niklas leaving.
- New Miami (Ohio) quarterback Andrew Hendrix reflects on his time at Notre Dame with IrishIllustrated's Steve Hare. (Subscription required)
Both the UConn and Miami (Ohio) head coaches announced their staffs this week, with each featuring a number of Notre Dame ties.
Diaco brings along Ernest Jones and Josh Reardon, who will serve as the Huskies' running backs/player engagement coach and co-special teams coordinator/cornerbacks coach, respectively.
Jones was the director of player development and engagement with the Irish the past two seasons. Reardon was a Notre Dame graduate assistant the past two seasons.
Martin, meanwhile, brings along Corey Brown as his defensive line coach after Brown spent the past two seasons as a graduate assistant with the Irish defense. Bill Brechin also joins the RedHawks in a to-be-determined title after serving one year as Grand Valley State's receivers coach, which was preceded by three years on Notre Dame's offensive staff.
Notre Dame’s all-time leading rusher, Autry Denson, joins Martin at Miami as well to coach the running backs.
Martin had earlier announced that Irish graduate assistant Pat Welsh would join his staff as tight ends coach.
UConn has videos and quotes from Diaco and his new staff members on its athletic website.
"We've worked together at multiple universities for the better part of 10 years now," Diaco said of Jones. "He's been a great asset to me, he's helped me grow as a person in a lot of different areas. Coach Jones will be the Director of Player Engagement, which is going to work on a few of our pillars of development. He's a person that's passionate about taking the baton from someone's parents, and taking that baton that person and passing it on to the next phase of his life better than he found it. He's got a great passion and energy for that and he's fantastic in that role."
"Coach Josh Reardon is here, he's been impressive for me as a player, he then became a student assistant, then a graduate assistant," Diaco said. "He furthered his career and has a great expertise in this area, this greater New England and northern footprint as he recruited and coached positions in this area. He intimately helped me as a coordinator to build the defenses we had [at Notre Dame]. He's going to be an incredible asset and resource in not only helping Anthony and Vincent create the very best defense that limits points and big plays, but also special teams."
- Colleague Travis Haney has a Notre Dame favorite, Eddie Vanderdoes, among his breakout players for 2014.
- SI.com's Brian Hamilton has more from Troy Niklas and his family on the NFL decision.
- Alex Welch tells the South Bend Tribune's Eric Hansen that he will be joining Andrew Hendrix at Miami (Ohio).
- Surprise, surprise: Notre Dame tickets were among the hottest sellers this year, per Forbes. (H/T to the gang at One Foot Down.)
You had said that you were out of a job before Brian Kelly hired you at Grand Valley. What kind of influence has he been on your career?
“CHUCK MARTIN: Once again, we got to work with some pretty good players. That's the starting point. We're different in a lot of, lot of ways. People that know us know we're pretty different people. But we're similar in a lot of ways when it comes to football, as far as competitiveness and confidence, and then obviously he's been running a program for, not the longest tenure in college, but he's been in charge for a long, long time and just being around him on a daily basis, it's just organizationally, and I always tell people he's the best off-the-field head coach in America. There's so many things that he gets done for the players in this program to make their lives more efficient, to make their lives more enjoyable, that you're always learning those things. That kind of stuff is obviously what I'll move forward with.
Everyone knows I'm a lifelong Notre Dame fan, and that's the only place I ever really wanted to coach, so obviously it's a very difficult decision to not stay there. But for me, for my family, for my career, this was the best move to put me in a position to get to where I want to go at the end of the day.” New Miami (Ohio) coach Chuck Martin
Did you learn even more these last two years, just being on the offensive side of the ball with him and calling the plays and whatnot?
CM: Yeah, I would say more big-picture stuff, too. That's always where I was looking to him, as far as how is he handing certain situations, how is he improving the whole organization, how is he getting things done for the football program, how is he getting things done for our players that gives us a better chance for success. There's only so many ways to run routes and throw, sometimes that can be a little bit overblown. This, that and the other thing. But definitely the big-picture stuff is where you get the most value.
When news of your departure from Notre Dame broke, there were a lot of positive comments from the players -- congrats and whatnot -- on the new gig. What are you going to miss most about that group that you worked with these past couple of years?
CM: These were incredible kids. Obviously they are so much more than football players at Notre Dame. And that's why Notre Dame has so much pride in its student-athletes, because they're truly student-athletes. We watched what they'd go through on a daily grind. It's so impressive. They're awesome kids from awesome families. Whenever you leave a job, you'll miss the school, you miss the people, in particular you miss the players. And they move on and graduate, too. But those are the things that you miss the most — the interaction with the people you work with, and the interaction with the kids you coach. Everyone knows I'm a lifelong Notre Dame fan, and that's the only place I ever really wanted to coach, so obviously it's a very difficult decision to not stay there. But for me, for my family, for my career, this was the best move to put me in a position to get to where I want to go at the end of the day.
The day you took the Miami job, news broke that Everett Golson was going to be re-admitted to Notre Dame. I'm just curious about what your relationship with him has been like and what kind of impression he left on you with the way he was able to recover these last couple of months and do what he needed to do to get back on track?
CM: Just very proud of him. He's my guy, and I enjoyed all my time with him when he was there. I even enjoyed my time with him when he was a little bit afar. I'm just proud of how he's grown over the last few years, and he's an awesome kid with an awesome heart, and just figuring his way. He's already done so many special things at Notre Dame, and I know he's going to do a bunch more special things in his last couple of years. But very proud of how he handled it, and how he really started to take a situation that certainly could be a negative and turned it into a positive. And that's what you're always looking for kids to do. Kids don't hit a home run with every decision they make, and when they make bad decisions and they improve from these decisions that's when you know they're really turning into the type of person that they're capable of being.
There are reports of some guys from there possibly playing their fifth years with you. Can you speak to that yet?
CM: I don't know that any of them are really spending a ton of time with that now. I think they've got finals right now and then they've got a bowl game to play. And if down the road they decide that that's something they want to do, obviously if they choose to move on from Notre Dame, I would obviously be interested. But on the other hand, they're just kind of handling their business and finishing their semester and finishing their season. We'll kind of see where that takes us in the future.
ESPN.com caught up with Martin on Monday night. Here is Part I of that conversation.
What have these last two weeks been like for you? I imagine little sleep, a lot of traveling and a lot of meeting with new faces.
Chuck Martin: Yeah, it's been crazy, and obviously there's a lot of things to get up and running, and hiring a staff, and trying to get going in recruiting, and trying to figure out the lay of the land of the place you just got hired. So yeah, it's been good, but like anytime you change jobs it's a little bit of a whirlwind. But you get going and you work as many hours as you can every day, try to get as much stuff you can get done, knowing that you'd like to get more done but it's not going to happen. So you just keep plugging away and keep grinding.
Did you find a house out there yet? How's the living situation going on with the family and everything?
When you first got there and got to meet the players and the personnel, what was your initial impression of what you had to work with?
CM: Well in that case, you never know -- when you don't have as much success as you'd like, there's a lot of different reasons for that. The one thing that I was very, very pleased with was that we have good kids and they like each other. We don't have like a fractured team. There (wasn't) some big issue within the framework of your team, so that's obviously a good starting point. If you have good kids that like each other and they have some resemblance of a team going in, then it's something you can build on and start. And again, for me, we didn't get into a whole lot of what's good, what's bad, what's been done great, what's been done not-so-great. It was just kind of, we're going to put in our own systems, from offseason strength and conditioning to how we handle academic stuff, to obviously new systems on offense and defense, and then we're going to start recruiting kids to our system for the future. But in the short term we're going to try to develop the kids we have and just go full-steam ahead. So we don't spend a lot of time trying to figure out good, bad or indifferent or what we have. We just say, hey, this is our team right now and let's start developing the players and let's get better for next fall.
During your introductory press conference you mentioned Ara Parseghian. Have you two touched base since you took the job?
CM: I have not. I was actually, it's funny, I was at Armando's (barber shop) the day I was taking off and Ara was in there the day before and had told Armando that, 'Hey, we've got to get a good coach at Miami of Ohio.' So just the fact that Ara Parseghian was talking about a job that I was getting ready to take was pretty special for me. It kind of makes you pinch yourself and makes you pretty excited. If this place is important to Ara Parseghian and I'm the one in charge of getting it turned back around, that's pretty awesome.
How have you or will you go about filling out your staff?
CM: We got some guys on board. I think they're releasing them (Tuesday) or (Monday night) at some time. We've got about four or five guys hired and we're in the process of filling our last three or four spots, so we're plugging away. It's something you want to get it working but also, it's like a giant puzzle -- got to get the pieces to fit right. You want to make sure that everybody can complement one another. And some guys hopefully bring some attributes to the table that other guys don't have. So as you start to fill in and then you get to those last couple spots, you might be looking for some key things you don't have yet on the staff to try to fill those keys. But it's a fun process, you'd like it go very quickly, but also you're here for the long term and you want to get the right people to build it the right way.
Your coaching career has been anything but conventional, especially at Notre Dame, moving from safeties coach to offensive coordinator. How do you think having your feet in all of these different spots at all of these different programs is going to help you in running your own program?
CM: Yeah. It started back when I took over for Coach (Brian) Kelly at Grand Valley. Spent 12 years on defense and only coached on defense and I moved to offense then with these days in mind. I'm only 45; I'm hoping I coach a lot longer. My plan back then, it wasn't by accident that I moved to offense. I had a plan that I was going to be a head coach, hopefully for a long time, and that to know both sides of the ball and have true experience on both sides of the ball and not just be a one-dimensional head coach would not only benefit me in running an organization, but also benefit me when I get a job where I can probably add just as much to one side as you can to the other. So obviously going to Notre Dame and having the experience of going as a defense guy and then flipping to offense halfway through, that's why I was excited about the opportunity. You keep growing and learning in college football; you never stop learning. You've got to stay up with all the new wrinkles every day. When you have the experience of bouncing back and forth like I had, you kind of take turns with what everybody's doing, and now I feel obviously that will super benefit me when I get here.
At this rate, it would be easy to say that the concerns now fall on Kelly, who lost his second coordinator to a head-coaching job in an eight-day span Wednesday when Bob Diaco accepted the UConn post. That came in the wake of Chuck Martin packing his bags for Miami (Ohio). The moves hamstring the Irish staff as it readies for Rutgers on Dec. 28's New Era Pinstripe Bowl, and as it gears up for the mad dash to national signing day in the 39 days following the 2013 finale.
The initial reaction across players and fans, per routine, was overreaction. Tweets decrying Diaco for looking out for himself were soon deleted, eventually giving way to more and more congratulatory remarks for a man whose next career step was only a matter of time.
Make no mistake, this is far from the situation that is taking place in Piscataway, N.J., where Flood, the second-year head coach, let go of three assistants after an underwhelming 6-6 campaign. The Scarlet Knights step into the Big Ten next season. And this is far from the case that Kelly was referencing in that bowl press conference, as he had just taken the Cincinnati job and had only three of his Central Michigan assistants with him by the time the Bearcats faced, and defeated, Western Michigan in the International Bowl nearly seven years ago.
"It certainly creates a little bit of a challenge," Flood said of Rutgers' situation, "but I'm confident that people are put in positions where they can be successful, and that's really my job as the head football coach, to make sure we got a coach assigned at every position and in all three phases and the coordinator role."
Kelly's challenge is considerably smaller. This is Notre Dame, after all. Initial reaction among recruits speaks to that, with most youngsters recognizing that much of what they were promised remains in place so long as Kelly is at the forefront. If Diaco does not bring along other Irish assistants with him to Storrs, Conn., Kelly will have a much easier time filling the holes on his staff. Kerry Cooks, let's not forget, has also been the co-defensive coordinator these past two years, and he will probably take on Diaco's responsibilities for (at least) the rest of the month.
The fact this Notre Dame team went 8-4 and had its top two assistants get hired to run their own shows speaks volumes about where the program is now. Jimbo Fisher lost seven assistants in a season that ended with Florida State winning the Orange Bowl, and the Seminoles have turned out oh-so fine in the year since. This is a good problem to have, and as IrishIllustrated's Pete Sampson said, one coordinator leaving right after the other could trigger an eventful race back to South Bend to occupy Kelly's office whenever he should depart.
That's down the road. For now, the calendar has 19 days remaining in a year that began with a letdown against Alabama in the national title game and will likely end with a win against Rutgers -- with plenty of embarrassment (Manti Te'o, Everett Golson) and departures (Gunner Kiel, two receivers) sandwiched in-between.
As they did in this past year, the Irish will enter 2014 hoping to close whatever gap remains toward a national title. And while Jameis Winston isn't walking through that door, the two most important elements of that chase, Kelly and Golson, still are.
- Chuck Martin's deal at Miami (Ohio) is for five years.
- Dan Fox is finishing his career on a high note, JJ Stankevitz writes on CSNChicago.com.
- DaVaris Daniels is searching for consistency, Andrew Owens writes on BlueandGold.com.
- The South Bend Tribune's Al Lesar says that not much has improved for the Irish in three months.
- IrishIllustrated's Douglas Farmer goes over six quick points from this past Saturday's game at Stanford. (Subscription required)
Kiel visited Mid-American Conference schools Ball State and Miami (Ohio), our Joe Schad reports, and he also visited Cincinnati during Easter weekend for the Bearcats' scrimmage inside Paul Brown Stadium, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.
Gunner Kiel has visited Ball State and Miami (OH), each w a senior QB and each within two hours of home
— Joe Schad (@schadjoe) April 8, 2013
Kiel's father, Kip, spoke highly of his visit with the Bearcats, telling the Enquirer's Tom Groeschen that it went well.
“The visit to Cincinnati went really well,” Kiel’s father, Kip Kiel, told The Enquirer via telephone.
Kip Kiel said his son especially wants good chemistry with his position coaches. In UC’s case, that is quarterbacks coach/passing game coordinator Darin Hinshaw and offensive coordinator Eddie Gran.
“He thinks the world of coach Hinshaw and coach Gran,” Kip Kiel said.
Schad says that Kiel may visit Ole Miss in the near future as well.
Gunner Kiel might visit Ole Miss in the near future
— Joe Schad (@schadjoe) April 8, 2013
- Here is a great, simplified future scholarship chart, courtesy of IrishIllustrated.com's Pete Sampson.
- Ty Duffy over at The Big Lead previews Notre Dame, the website's preseason No. 19 team.
- CBSSports.com's Jerry Palm has the Irish D.C.-bound this winter for the Military Bowl, where he says they will face Miami (Ohio).
- Can you imagine LeBron James in a Notre Dame uniform? Urban Meyer could when coaching receivers at Notre Dame, Ben Axelrod writes on BuckeyeGrove.com.
- With the inevitability of a first-time starter at QB in Week 1, Tyler Moorehead looks back at the 15 most recent starting QB debuts in Notre Dame history.
- Jamoris Slaughter made quite the impact Saturday, Al Lesar writes in the South Bend Tribune.
- … so, too, did Theo Riddick, Andrew Gastelum writes in The Observer.
- IrishEyes.com's Tim O'Malley breaks down Notre Dame's offense Saturday.
- The USC gameplan will have to wait, Neil Hayes writes in the Chicago Sun-Times.
- Ara Parseghian was honored with a statue at Miami (Ohio) this weekend, Mike Hiserman writes in the Los Angeles Times.