Despite reports late Tuesday night by Sports Illustrated’s Pete Thamel that Mike Denbrock was leaving Notre Dame for Cincinnati, conflicting reports have surfaced from 247Sports Wednesday that no decision has been made.
Initial reaction in the comments to our original post and on Twitter seem to indicate many Notre Dame fans would not be sad to see Denbrock leave. Retaining Denbrock for 2017, however, would be a very big win for Brian Kelly given all of the other turnover on the staff and Denbrock’s recruiting prowess. Our initial post on Denbrock potentially leaving listed some of Denbrock’s greatest hits on the recruiting trail. The list includes some prominent member of the 2017 Notre Dame offense such as Equanimeous St. Brown, Brandon Wimbush, and Kevin Stepherson.
According tot he 247Sports report, Denbrock has kept Notre Dame up to date with job offers he’s received and Brian Kelly wants him back on his 2017 coaching staff.
Could this leak have been a power play by Denbrock’s agent to force Kelly’s hand in making Denbrock offensive coordinator as opposed to looking outside the program or else within the program (ie Jeff Quinn)? Total speculation on my part there but from the outside looking in, the timeline of a report from Sports Illustrated linking Denbrock to Cincy only to be refuted the next morning certainly makes that seem possible.
Mike Denbrock’s Return Would be a Positive
Count me in on the crowd that would like to see Denbrock return to Notre Dame for 2017. The offense in 2016 certainly had its ups and downs – ok more downs than ups – but Denbrock didn’t forget how to coach all of a sudden. A multitude of problems such as putting too much onto Deshone Kizer and having too many cooks in the offensive kitchen played bigger roles in the 2016 offense regressing than the individual efforts of Mike Denbrock.
I will take it one step further and state that I am all for Denbrock getting more responsibility and being named full fledged offensive coordinator. That is assuming, of course, that the next Notre Dame offensive coordinator is given full control of the offense and isn’t just a figure head OC while Brian Kelly really runs the show.
This is now the second time that reports have surfaced from reputable sources that a Notre Dame assistant coach was leaving Notre Dame only to be refuted hours later. Earlier this month it was reported that Keith Gilmore was let go by Notre Dame only to be rebuked hours later. The future of Gilmore is still up in the air.
It will be interesting to see how this all plays out as all of these reports are very characteristic of a program at a crossroads with their coaching staff. Speculation ran wild since the final gun sounded against USC on the future of Brian Kelly until Jack Swarbrick announced six days later that Kelly would indeed be back. Since then assistant coaches have been on the move and the only constant for Notre Dame has been change.