Sports Illustrated’s Stewart Mandel wrote an article today about 10 new assistant coaches around the country who will make instant impacts at their new schools and new assistant head coach/linebackers coach Jon Tenuta was second on his list.
One of the biggest surprises of the off-season was that Tenuta — one of the nation’s most respected defensive coordinators at Georgia Tech, who was, at one point, rumored to be following Les Miles to Michigan — wound up taking a non-coordinator job.
However, while Corwin Brown remains Notre Dame’s coordinator, it’s clear Charlie Weis went out of his way find a spot for Tenuta (secondary coach Bill Lewis was moved to an administrative post), whose blitz-heavy defenses he’s faced first-hand past two seasons. And Tenuta will almost certainly play a significant role. There’s no question the Irish’s long-struggling defense could use his type of spark.
I missed out on the Tenuta news breaking two weeks ago when I was on vacation so I haven’t really weighed in much on this so far, but let me say now that I don’t think the impact Tenuta is going to make on this staff can be overstated. There are some concerns with his recruiting abilities compared to those Bill Lewis brought to the table, but the fact that Weis got one of the hottest commodities among defense coordinators to come to Notre Dame as the linebackers/assistant head coach might be one of the more impressive things he’s accomplished at Notre Dame.
Corwin Brown stands to gain the most from this move based on everything he can learn from Tenuta whose blitz schemes have received high praise over the years. Brown will also be coaching the secondary, a more familiar position for him.
Tenuta was also able to get a lot out of his players at Georgia Tech even though they were not highly ranked. He very good at putting his players in a position to make plays even though they might not have been the fastest or the biggest. Considering our inside linebackers for 2008 might not be ideal for a 3-4 defense, that skill should come in handy for Tenuta.