247Sports’ “On Campus” radio show with host Bill King (Sirius/XM Channel 91) had Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly as its guest on Tuesday morning from Indianapolis (where the American Football Coaches Association convention is held this week). The Irish head coach revealed that he will return to calling the plays for Notre Dame’s offense.
Brian Kelly told Bill King that he has made a decision on his new quarterbacks coach, to be announced next week.
With former Irish offensive coordinator Chuck Martin hired as the head coach at Miami (Ohio) in December, Kelly indicated he wanted to be more involved with the offense with the return of junior quarterback Everett Golson from academic exile. Last spring Kelly also revealed that he would turn the play-calling duties over to Martin in 2013.
Furthermore, with neither freshman Malik Zaire nor incoming verbal commit DeShone Kizer ever having taken a snap in a college game, Kelly said the new coaching hire will specifically have the title “quarterbacks coach” in order to devote his efforts to developing the young talent.
Kelly said while the official hiring announcement will not be until next week — defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder will be introduced to the media this afternoon at 3 p.m. EST — he has already made a decision on who will fill the vacancy on offense. However, he would break protocol by announcing it now, similar to revealing after the Pinstripe Bowl that he had already decided on who the defensive coordinator would be but couldn’t divulge the name.
Earlier this week a source told Blueandgold.com that former Michigan offensive coordinator Al Borges, current Buffalo head coach Jeff Quinn (Kelly’s offensive coordinator at Cincinnati) and Quinn’s former assistant Don Patterson were on the short list to be interviewed for the vacancy. Interim coordinator Mike Denbrock also was in the running for the offensive coordinator title. If Denbrock received the OC title, one of the three other candidates could step in as a quarterbacks coach, the source said.
During King’s show, Kelly also revealed two important items on Notre Dame’s current scholarship numbers situation, which is at 78, and can up to 85, by NCAA rules.
First, he would like to add four more players in the recruiting class, which would bring him to 26 (with early enrollees Justin Brent and Andrew Trumbetti counted toward last year's group of 23 to make it 25).
Second, Kelly said the decision who will be returning for fifth years has been made, but he didn't divulge names.
Let's do the math. If you want to bring in four more recruits to get to 82, then three more fifth-year seniors would make it the full 85 — unless you bring back four for 86 with the knowledge that someone else on the roster is either going to transfer or will be medically unable to play the rest of his career.
Our belief has been that offensive guard Christian Lombard, inside linebacker Kendall Moore and safety Austin Collinsworth would return, with defensive end Justin Utupo a dark horse. Either way, the numbers should add up.