Football: Kelly to call plays, Denbrock likely to be offensive coordinator for Irish
LaMond Pope email@example.com or 713-2691 January 14, 2014 6:18PM
Updated: January 14, 2014 11:34PM
SOUTH BEND — Notre Dame answered a lingering question Monday, introducing Brian VanGorder as the new defensive coordinator.
Tuesday, the Irish began addressing the other side of the ball.
Coach Brian Kelly told SiriusXM Radio that he will call plays on offense and that the program is searching for a quarterbacks coach. That would indicate, as ESPN later reported, that Mike Denbrock would become the offensive coordinator. Denbrock was the outside wide receivers/passing game coordinator for the Irish. He served as the interim offensive coordinator for the bowl game.
Kelly handed the play-calling duties to offensive coordinator Chuck Martin in 2013. Martin left to become the head coach at Miami (Ohio) in December.
Kelly called the plays for Notre Dame in the 29-16 victory against Rutgers in the Pinstripe Bowl.
Kelly discussed VanGorder’s addition at a press conference Tuesday, but left before the question segment.
“This is an incredibly gifted teacher, educator and the defensive coordinator,” Kelly said of VanGorder, who spent the 2013 season as the linebackers coach with the New York Jets.
VanGorder’s experience also includes stints as the defensive coordinator at Georgia and Auburn and for the Atlanta Falcons. His system will fit the roster.
“I’ve got those things that kind of hold my philosophy together, but I think that my experience tells me to always do a good job evaluating the current talent, the current players and then make decisions that best play to their strengths,” he said. “That’s the process that we’ll be in right now.
“I think that no matter what you run schematically, the idea of our players’ enthusiasm for what they’re doing and their standards and expectations are relative to whatever we do, whether it’s 4 3 (or) 3 4.”
VanGorder said he’s “built to stop the run.” He also acknowledged limiting big plays, an area Notre Dame struggled in throughout 2013.
“You’ve got to stop explosive plays through the air,” VanGorder said. “That’s imperative. I think in today’s game, your ability to mix your coverages, your looks and all those things have become more and more important and then the pressure part of it.”
VanGorder served as Kelly’s defensive coordinator at Grand Valley State in 1991. He’s ready for the sequel.
“The one thing I really look forward to are the already established standards and expectations here of Notre Dame and the football program,” he said.