New linebackers/assistant head coach Jon Tenuta spoke to the media for the first time since being hired by Notre Dame on Thursday. Here are some highlights. (Full transcript available on UND.com).
On how he will work together with defensive coordinator Corwin Brown:
Obviously, with my experiences in where I’ve been and what I’ve done, with the packages that I have, and Corwin and his package, we just kind of melt the packages together. If something good, something’s bad, whatever, and work it out and game plan together and get ready for practice. Obviously some of my ideas but most of his will go into spring ball, then we’ll go from there. I’ve got to learn the players and what they can do first and foremost and adapt to that aspect.”
On if he envisions blitzing a lot with his linebackers:
I’m an aggressive attacking guy, so obviously, I hope and Corwin is, too. So we’re going to attack and get downhill and make things happen.
On whether it was tough to give up play calling duties after being a coordinator for so long to come to Notre Dame:
No. I’m just saying it’s happened to me before in my career. But I’m just saying this is Notre Dame. When that opportunity came up for me, this is where I wanted to be. So that part I’m still coaching, and I love coaching, the passion for the game, the players. So that part’s not a big deal. If people get into egos and all that, that’s where it creates problems.
On if his philosophies mesh with Brown’s:
No question. There’s no question. It’s based on the people he’s been around and some of the people we’ve been around, I’ve been around, so all of it comes into play.
On how his philosophies will work in Notre Dame’s 3-4 defense:
If you look at my package and the fronts that I played, my ends dropped and they were like a linebacker. So I may be a 4-3 personnel guy, but I’ve been a 3-4 personnel guy. So the whole package meshes together, that’s not a problem.
On coaching defense in an offensive era of football:
I think philosophically first and foremost, you have to stop the run, first and foremost. You have to stop the run or they’ll run the clock on you. Now with these wide open offenses and the way people throw the ball. Philosophically we want to confuse the front five the offensive linemen and not let the quarterback set his feet. So to me, you have to be the one that dictates and don’t let them dictate to you.
On how he prepared for playing against Charlie Weis in 2006 and 2007:
Knowing that you have to know your opponent, you can never really get into somebody’s mind, but I know Coach Weis is an excellent football coach. So at the end of January of that year I just started breaking down all the film and trying to get from his pro, what he’d like to do in pro football through that first season. Obviously, Brady Quinn was a tremendous quarterback and so on and so forth.
So it took me a lot longer to really get to understand what he was trying to do than the guys you see year in and year out. Because he definitely is not an NCAA Manual guy, and you won’t see the same thing two or three times week in and week out, because he’s going to have wrinkles and know how to attack and you so on and so forth.
On other job opportunities that came along:
To me that’s a loaded question. There were a lot of jobs I was interested in. There were a lot of jobs and people that were interested in me. But the first time I talked to Coach Weis, once that happened to me, this is where I wanted to be.
On what he brings to the program:
I just think knowledge, first and foremost, and different things to do against different people in your game plan.
On if he was surprised to get a call from Charlie Weis this off-season:
Yeah, obviously, a little bit. Obviously, he had to see where they were going with Coach Lewis and things like that. But very much impressed me, because instead of this guy or that guy calling you or somebody’s agent calling you to see if you’re interested in a job, Coach called me. So, to me, that big. That even put more in it for me.