Source: Irish interested in Edsall

One day after a source familiar with the Notre Dame coaching search said things were "heating up" with Cincinnati coach Brian Kelly, another coach has emerged.

There is mutual interest between Notre Dame and Connecticut coach Randy Edsall, another source said Wednesday.

Edsall is a solid defensive mind who showed great leadership on the Connecticut campus in the wake of the tragic death of player Jasper Howard.

The Huskies also beat Notre Dame this season.

On Tuesday, Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh reiterated that he had no scheduled meetings with Notre Dame. And Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz, also mentioned as a possible candidate, said he had not had any discussions with representatives for the Irish.

Kelly has had direct communication with representatives for Notre Dame but a decision was made not to have a formal interview with athletic director Jack Swarbrick while they were both in New York City on Tuesday, a source said. Further discussions between Kelly and Notre Dame are expected, said the source, who indicated that no contract had yet been offered but that the entire process could be completed within days.

An official announcement that Kelly will replace Charlie Weis could come Friday, after Kelly has had a chance to talk with his players at Cincinnati's annual football banquet Thursday night, according to a report on the Chicago Tribune Web site.

If Kelly is hired, he is unlikely to coach the Bearcats in the Allstate Sugar Bowl against Florida on Jan. 1, the Web site reported. Associate head coach and defensive backs coach Kerry Coombs would likely be Kelly's replacement for the bowl.

Last week Kelly and Notre Dame officials had an informational meeting, which was facilitated by Parker Executive Search, the Atlanta firm that Notre Dame used to gauge potential candidates' interest, according to the Web site. The Tribune also reported that Irish representatives discussed the opening with Ferentz, but Ferentz told ESPN that he never spoke with a search firm representing Notre Dame.

Lou Holtz, a college football analyst for ESPN, believes Kelly will be named the coach by Friday.

"I believe that's what is going to happen," said Holtz, who coached the Irish from 1986 to '96 and won their last national championship in 1988. "I believe something will be done by the end of the week, at least that's what all the indications are."

Holtz was a guest on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000 in Chicago.

"[Kelly] really wants the job," Holtz said. "I think that's his lifetime job. He would love to be there.

"He has an Irish name, plus he has all the ingredients the athletic director is looking for. Here's a guy who's been prepared every place he's been. He's done a tremendous job at Cincinnati."

Joe Schad covers college football for ESPN.