Notre Dame, IN (UHND.com) – Before Brady Quinn rewrote the Notre Dame record books, Ron Powlus spent four seasons, most of which being a round peg in a square hole, putting his own name next to several Notre Dame records. On Friday, Charlie Weis introduced him as the new quarterbacks coach at Notre Dame after announcing Peter Vaas’s contract was not renewed.
“14 years ago I had the chance to come here and represent this university on the football field and wear the gold helmet and play in front of these fans,” Powlus told the media before adding, “I won’t be wearing the gold helmet, but working with Coach Weis on the quarterbacks, is a great opportunity for me to be a part of Notre Dame football on the football field again.”
Powlus takes over for Peter Vaas who was the a late addition to Charlie Weis’s original staff he formed two years ago. Vaas came from NFL Europe to replace David Cutcliffe after Cutcliffe left Weis’s staff due to health reasons. No reason was give for Vaas’s departure, but rather Weis said of his decision to promote Powlus, “He’s done an outstanding job for me off the field, and he’s earned my trust.”
Even though Powlus’s only coaching experience on the college level came two years ago when he filled in for Cutcliffe in spring practice, the lack of experience doesn’t concern Weis. “I feel he has great promise as a coach, especially working at this delicate position and working with the head coach who sometimes could be overbearing at this position,” stated Weis before introducing Powlus.
Powlus had an up and down career at Notre Dame after being one of the most heralded prep quarterbacks of the ‘90s. Hailing from perennial powerhouse, Berwick High from North Eastern Pennsylvania, Powlus came to Notre Dame in much the same fashion that Jimmy Clausen has landed with the Irish this year.
Because of Powlus’s own personal experience of being a highly touted quarterback recruit for the Irish, this move by Weis makes a lot of sense. Being the quarterback at Notre Dame is truly a unique experience and it’s something Powlus has first hand knowledge of. “You go to class and sign autographs and you take pictures coming out of 7-Eleven. I mean, that’s life being a Notre Dame quarterback.”
Powlus also hopes to be able to draw on his experience of being one of the most sought after recruits in the nation to his advantage when it comes to recruiting. “The world’s changed in recruiting from when I was recruited. But I think it’s comparable or it’s relative, I should say, in the amount of attention that’s received now,” Powlus said before adding, “Sure, I’ll be able to relate to a kid that’s getting recruited and recruited heavily.”
Powlus’s familiarity with the team after being the Director of Player Personnel the last two seasons under Weis is also something that should help make the transition from Vaas to Powlus a smooth one for both the players and staff. “Fortunately I’ve had an opportunity to establish a pretty good relationship with all the guys,” said Powlus when asked what kind of relationship he had been able to develop with Clausen to this point.
Despite all of the factors helping Powlus make the move from more of an administrative role to being an on field coach, the lack of experience is still something he will have to account for.
Powlus, however, is well aware that he has much to learn and will tap into Weis’s knowledge of developing quarterbacks, “Bottom line, I’ll learn what it’s like to teach the quarterbacks from one of the best quarterbacks coaches ever in Coach Weis. He’s proven himself to be an outstanding head coach and outstanding quarterback coach.”
Notre Dame’s new QB coach had all the right answers on Friday, but one question he wasn’t answering was about where all of the current quarterbacks on the roster were in their development. “No reason for me to sit up here and critique where our guys are or what I think. There’s a long time between now and the starting quarterback is named. You guys know the names in the program. You’ve all seen how much everybody has played and been at practice and you know where we are.”
This was a very strong hire for Notre Dame and was as Weis mentioned, a no-brainer. Powlus’s experience of being a four year starter at Notre Dame makes him a perfect fit for the Irish on the field and on the recruiting front.