Brian Kelly to Call Plays for Notre Dame

Brian Kelly - Calling Notre Dame's Plays
Notre Dame Fighting Irish head coach Brian Kelly yells to his players in the first quarter of the Blue-Gold Game at Notre Dame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly announced on Tuesday that he would resume play calling duties for Notre Dame in 2014 after letting former offensive coordinator Chuck Martin hand the responsibilities last year.  Kelly confirmed he would go back to calling the plays for the Fighting Irish on Sirius XM Radio’s King’s On Campus radio show hosted by Bill King.

Brian Kelly has been in search of a new offensive coordinator since Chuck Martin accepted the head coaching position at Miami Ohio and while Notre Dame’s head coach wasn’t quite ready to name Martin’s successor, he all but confirmed that the new offensive coordinator would be an internal hire – something that has been widely speculated for days.

Kelly all but confirmed that the offensive coordinator would be internal by resuming play calling duties by announcing he would still be calling plays.  Sure enough, reports began to surface that Mike Denbrock would be named Notre Dame’s next offensive coordinator.

Kelly told King that he wanted to be more involved in the offense with Everett Golson returning to quarterback the Irish and an array of offensive weapons that will give Notre Dame its most balanced set of skill positions players since he took over as head coach in December 2009.

During Kelly’s appearance on King’s program, Kelly also stated that Notre Dame’s offensive talent in 2014 will allow the Irish to be more aggressive than they have been in years past – a statement sure to both excite and concern Notre Dame fans who will take that to mean the Irish offense will become more pass happy.

Brian Kelly called plays for Notre Dame for his first three seasons at Notre Dame before handing over the duties to Martin before last season.  Kelly also made a name for himself as a playcaller throughout his career and produced some high octane, high scoring offenses at Cincinnati.  Notre Dame has yet to feature offenses as potent as the ones Kelly produced at Cincinnati though with Golson under center, a stable of talented running backs, and a deep and balanced receiving corps, the potential is there for this year’s offense to be more explosive than Kelly’s past Notre Dame offenses.

With Kelly set to call plays and Denbrock reportedly set to assume offensive coordinator responsibilities, Kelly said that he plans on adding a quarterbacks coach to work closely with the young quarterbacks on the roster behind Golson – sophomore Malik Zaire and incoming freshman Deshone Kizer.

Without play calling responsibilities, Denbrock would still be tasked with creating the offensive gameplan, installing the offense in spring and fall camps, and overseeing the offense while Kelly places his focus on his starting quarterback and calling plays.

Notre Dame has not officially announced the move of Denbrock to offensive coordinator or who the quarterbacks coach that Kelly intends on adding to round his his staff.




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  1. (1) Kelly called his own plays at Cincinnatti, and called plays that resulted in the following averages:

    2007-36 points per game
    2008-26 points per game
    2009-39 points per game.

    In the latter two years the Bearcats won the Big East Championship

    (2) Kelly called plays in the Pinstripe Bowl.

    In that game the Irish ran 90 plays, got 31 first downs, and possessed the ball for more than 38 minutes.

    That dog will hunt.

  2. Pretty smart point in article. (BK will minimize mistakes as he is the play-caller) And pretty good point by Mike Blick. (try to keep the D off-the-field)

  3. I sure hope the Irish plan on having a good ball control offense next year, anything that will give the defense less exposure to the shortcomings they will have on the defensive side in personnel next year.

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