Frank Verducci New OL Coach for Notre Dame

The first new assistant coach for the 2009 season has been named by Charlie Weis at a position that technically wasn’t even announced that it was open until today.  Frank Verducci, who spent the past two seasons as the offensive line coach for the Cleveland Browns, was named the new offensive line coach for the Irish on Wednesday.

Here’s a snippet from the official release from the University.

Verducci joins the Irish after working eight of the past 10 years in the NFL with Cleveland (2007-08), Buffalo (2004-05), Dallas (2002) and Cincinnati (1999-2001). Prior to moving to professional football, he spent 19 seasons in the college ranks at Iowa (1989-98 and 1985-86), Northwestern (1987-88), Northern Illinois (1984), Maryland (1981-83) and Colorado State (1980).

“Frank provides an excellent background on both the offensive line and run game in general from two perspectives, having coached several years in professional football and at the Division I level – predominantly in the Big Ten,” Irish head coach Charlie Weis said. “His experience will be an asset both to our players and our staff.

On the surface he brings a very nice resume with him.  At first glance some might not be thrilled to be getting a coach from the pros after concerns over the “pro style” physicality displayed in Notre Dame’s practices in the past under Weis, but Verducci’s 19 years of coaching on the college level should alleviate any of those concerns.

It comes as no surprise to anyone that Latina will not be back in 2009 after two straight seasons of under performing offensive lines.  His fate was likely sealed when Notre Dame failed to run the ball effectively against just about everybody other than Washington and Purdue this season.

Verducci spent the past two seasons coaching the offensive line for Charlie Weis’s old buddy Romeo Crennel so he should be very familiar with the blocking schemes Weis wants to use.

The official release did not make mention of Verducci picking up the assistant head coaching title that Latina carried during his tenure at Notre Dame.

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  1. Hmm……..Mike Shanahan fired this year also, and claims he will be setting out a year? I wonder if he and Jon Gruden will be sitting in the stands watching Charlie?
    Nah……They too, belong to the ND rejection club.


    Must be the depression, the waterboy will be the new head coach emerging during this tumultuous economy (cheaper payroll). Although, Gruden too, said ND was his dream job. Maybe we can hire all these guys?
    Nah….the ND 9 billion private endowment fund took a 26% hit. See, timing is everything, so the austerity is everywhere. Your prediction of 20% unemployment is well on it’s way. The impact on sports will be interesting because most people are in denial that business is as usual.

  2. Im from the cleveland area and the browns o line has improved dramatically in the past two years over the previous ten. that being said this isnt jamal lewis of 2000, he’s old, fat, and the younger backs run circles around him maybe Jamal was the problem.

  3. If I had Weis’s ear, I’d have put a plug in for Aaron Taylor, a D-II or D-III coach with a physical high energy drill seargent mentality, or even a proven highschool coach know to be a good teacher. Sounds a bit odd, but they need someone screaming at the o-linemen but at the same time talking to them about building character, fundamentals, a mentor type. Those types usually are found in places I mentioned above.

  4. It appears, from looking at NFL stats, that Frank had some good rushing years with the Bengals and then some average rushing years with mediocre to poor teams. I guess my two cents worth is: If the guy has been around this long doing the same thing, then several people (teams) must think he does a decent job.

    I’m for giving him a chance. I have nothing against running an NFL style offense (it seems to work for USC), but it must be run correctly. If Charlie is bringing in someone who understands the offense he wants to run, then perhaps the chemistry will work. If not, then we can all hope Urban Meyer gets tired of winning BCS championships at Florida and wants to embrace a challenge at his “dream job”.

  5. JC,
    Thanks for your explanation. And based on that, my hope is dying for an effective running game. At best we’ll be like Purdue. Still if you look at the elite teams year in and year out, it’s great defense, and an effective running game. You need to be ready to execute the pass on demand, and have a quarterback that doesn’t need to be in a rythm. But if you can eat clock and score once in the redzone, along with that defense, you will vie for the best bowls or the BCS championship.

    I just hope they get an offensive coordinator who can adjust the game plan at an instant. I’m not talking about going pass happy like they have been. I’m talking about inside versus outside runs, or going ot a fullhouse backfield on demand. Tight end dumps or passes to the running back along a zone seam. You look at Florida’s gametime adjustments, much better than ours.

    well before I get on a rant, I’ll just say this, I’m going to hope, but my hunch tells me this isn’t going to help.

  6. C-Dog,

    I suspect Charlie’s over zealous penchant for zone blocking has led to the demise of our running game.

    As we know, you generally only use the run in the NFL to keep defenses honest.

    However,it is well known you have to have a balanced offensive attack in college football to be successful. To accomplish this you have to synthesize the zone blocking and man-blocking to fit your team. Then yes, we are down to basics, execute, execute, execute.

    So, blending of the offensive blocking schemes is tantamount to a successful balanced offensive attack in college football. Like Lou and Urban.

  7. C-Dog,

    Zone blocking is primarily pass blocking (bend but don’t break mentality). Zone blocking is waiting for the defensive stunt to develop into the zone then defend. Not many running lanes open with this approach.

    On the other hand, good old fashion Smash Mouth run the football, you are aggressive and rocket-off the O-line and man-block destroy or pancake your assigned guy!

    So tell me, did we hire the right guy??

  8. Amen Chris,

    At this juncture we are only going to attract the revolving door crowd. Especially when the guy you just got rid of had more accolades on his resume when hired than the one who was just hired to replaced him.
    I haven’t seen much man-blocking and pancake blocking going on this year in Cleveland. There must have been a reason why Cleveland cleaned house. Who else will we recruit on the unemployment line? It appears it has nothing to do with the resume, just availability. Not all change it good. But the positive test of time will surely prevail.

  9. IF the o-line improves people will stop crying and start praising. If they continue to be poor blockers and not “tough” then I’d say bad hire but until then I am rooting for him.

  10. JC –
    You are correct! Great, another coach from the NFL – 10 years removed from the college level. It appears Weis is involved in cronyism here – recycled out of work prospects from Crennel. Wonderful. They cite Lewis’ 1000 yd rushing season as an accomplishmnet of this guy – you kidding me? Lewis got most of that yardage on his own. Also NOT IMPRESSED.

  11. Not surprised, a weak candidate – not to mention the future of CW’s career rests on this guy’s shoudlers.

    An entry level assistant coach with zone blocking expertise??

    Not impressed. The fire sale is on.

  12. Two thoughts just occured to me.

    The first is that the only question I have about zone blocking is whether the o-lineman still is going to fire out. The most successful running plays I’ve seen happen when the o-line fires out with all 5 or 6 guys, plus maybe a fullback moving in total orchestration to create the desired lane. The running back still needs to read when things don’t go exaxtly right, but by dictating terms, the offense has the defense in reactive mode. Not sure how that changes with zone blocking or if the idea puts the o-lineman in a passing mode. When young players misinterpret the term “zone” in basketball, that defense fails. It’s only when they understand that they still need to be aggressive that it becomes superior.

    The second is this Weis comment about wanting to power run. Like it or not that’s just not where his head is at. That’s OK, instead of looking at a power run game versus going pass happy, he might want to install the spread running attacks. Highly schematic, guys going every which way. That seems to fit his desire for complex schemes. I think these kids can handle it.

    But let’s hope there is one area that gets back to basics. That is an agressiveness and pride among the o-line to hit and not be hit. If all this guy does is motivate those linemen to knock someone down on every play, and to play with pride, then we’ll be fine.

  13. has a nice little blog about him and only makes me more nervous considering how important this coaching change needed to be. Anybody a fan of zone blocking or sick of it failing as I am??

  14. My thoughts exactly C-Dog. I seen former OL coach for Cleveland and I cringe. If Jamal couldn’t run behind his line then what are our RB’s going to do??!! Oh well, hopefully he can get more out of this OL which would clearly point the finger at Latina and end this speculation that it is impossible to coach under CW.

  15. Given other schools have done more with less, I think we don’t need to worry so much about recruiting as we do coaching. I sure hope he’s more like Joe Moore with a modern edge. The Browns didn’t exactly light it up on the ground either, nor was their line very good, so hopefully this is one of those picks of a guy whose hungry.
    A lot of thoughts coming to mind, but I guess we’ll just have to wait and see if there’s new energy and we develop a line that puts feart into the defenders.

  16. i hope that verducci will be able to tap into that potential we all know is in the o-linemen nd has been recruiting. i like the way our choaching staff is looking with brown, tenuta, polian and ianello. hopefully we get a solid veteran o-coordinator and a d-linemen that can recruit. i am looking foreward to 09 more and more.

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