Rumors Swirl Around Notre Dame OC Chip Long & Alabama

It wouldn’t be the off-season without some rumors flying around about changes to the Notre Dame coaching staff.  Late Saturday night reports broke that Notre Dame OC Chip Long was in Alabama allegedly interviewing for some position on the Alabama staff even though rumors were also flying that Steve Sarkisian was going to be named offensive coordinator for the tide.  Since then, Notre Dame sources have reported that Long is not going to Bama and signs indicate he will remain with Notre Dame.

First, let’s jump into the source of all of the rumors in the first place – a report from  The report said that Long was in Tuscaloosa on Saturday and it looked like he would be getting a job on the staff in some capacity.

Notre Dame offensive coordinator Chip Long was also in Tuscaloosa today, according to sources. It looks like he could join the staff in some capacity even if/when Sarkisian is hired as offensive coordinator. A Birmingham native, Long has been the offensive coordinator at Notre Dame the last two years after one season as the OC at Memphis.

Since then, however, Tim Prister of Irish Illustrated reported that Long will not be going to Alabama.  Prister, however added an interesting nugget in one of his tweets.

There’s been a bit of smoke on Twitter about a potential falling out between Long and Brian Kelly following the Cotton Bowl, but Bryan Driskell of Blue & Gold Illustrated tweeted this morning that those reports are not true.

You may recall that Alabama made a run at Chip Long last year when they were looking for an offensive coordinator again at this time last year.  Long rebuked Nick Saban at the time.  What exactly happened this time around remains very unclear.  Was the original report all just speculation?  Did Long actually interview for a position?  If so, was it just a courtesy interview since he has so many local roots?  If not, where does that leave Long and Notre Dame.  Remember, Brian Kelly has said multiple times that if one of his coaches interviews for a lateral move, they better get it.

This all conjures up some bad memories from a year ago when Mike Elko initially flirted with Texas A&M in December only to come to alleged agreement with Notre Dame to stay before ultimately going back to A&M for more money and then leaving Notre Dame in a pure cash grab.  It doesn’t appear that is the case here.

Eric Hansen of the South Bend Tribune tweeted just a few minutes ago though that a source close to Notre Dame has confirmed to him that Chip Long is staying at Notre Dame.

It’s still unclear at this point if Long actually interviewed though or if the initial report was inaccurate or speculative.  Whatever the case, Kelly and Long still have a lot of PR work to do since that will easily get thrown at them on the recruiting trail.

In all honesty, if Long did interview for the position in anything other than a courtesy manner, Brian Kelly would have been fully in the right to fire him on the spot.  Knowing Kelly’s previous stance on his assistants interviewing for lateral positions, I can’t imagine this being a case of Long interviewing behind Kelly’s back and still being welcomed back.

It’s times like these that the early Signing Period is huge for Notre Dame.  If the entire class of 2019 to date wasn’t already signed, Kelly and his staff would be burning up the phone lines right now.  Luckily though 10 early enrollees arrived today and the rest of the class is signed already.

More on this one as more info becomes available.

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  1. WOW with so much knowledge you have maybe you should apply for the job!! Everybody’s a great coach wasting there time on this site, like during the USC game ” THROW THE BOMB NOW ” ! LOL

  2. Long needs to show that he can make adjustments in game quickly when things aren’t going as planned and start taking what the defense gives you instead of being stubborn. Example, PITT having 8 or 9 in the box and continuing to run Williams right at it only to get stuffed over and over. Long only called deep passes on the last drive of the game to Claypool and Boykin which resulted in a PI and then a TD. Hmm, where the hell was that all game? Doing this earlier could have opened the run game back up as the defense would then have had to adjust to cover deep. How many quick slants did our big body receivers catch in Clemson game? From what I remember, hardly any…why…because they weren’t called. How do you beat an aggressive blitzing team like Clemson? You get the ball out quick and having guys like Boykin and Claypool and allowing them to use their big bodies to shield away defenders on quick passes like that is something you take advantage of. Instead, we see tunnel screens called for Claypool and nothing else. Many more examples but you get the point…

    I’m not a big fan of his so far. I don’t mind his gameplans generally as I think there are some good designs and a good focus on running the ball but it’s simply the adjustments to defenses earlier in the games where he seems to be struggling. This tends to be one of the most important aspects of being a great coach and I just haven’t seen it from Long. It’s like he builds a gameplan and that whole “stick to the gameplan” mentality sticks with him entirely too long.

  3. Notre Dame has issues retaining it’s assistants, and unfortunately the reality of CFB is money, money, money. It’s not BK, it’s not the school, not the players, it’s money. When you lose assistants to lateral moves, that’s a problem.

    And to be elite, you need great assistants. Everyone focuses on head coaches because they are the face of the team. But when it comes to the dirty work, the work in the trenches, that’s the assistant coaches. Sometimes kids go to schools not necessarily because of the head coach, because they love the assistant coach they are going to get to work with.

    Why does Alabama and Clemson do so well. It’s not just getting 5 star recruits. It’s also the assistant coaches they employ. Those are the guys that help create elite teams.

    The head coach is important, yes, but he isn’t the only important element.

    If ND wants to be elite, they need to show that they value their assistant coaches more. And number 1, you can’t lose your valued assistants to lateral moves. Promotions, yes, and in some ways that can help you get good assistants if they see your school creates opportunities. But not laterals.

    As for Chip Long. I’ve seen things I liked this year, and things that maybe aren’t so good (i.e. trying to force BW into being a passing threat more than he was capable). Now I don’t want him taking off. I just think he’s still a bit of a work in progress.

    Lea though, we can’t lose him. He needs to be kept at all costs. ND’s defense has the potential of having an elite group with a little work and a few more of the right players. Though thankfully I haven’t seen anything on that front.

    In short, right now ND looks like a jumping off point. Go be an assistant there, show you’re good and another school will swoop in and pay you more. That CAN’T happen, ND has to be a destination, not a springboard for other similar jobs.

  4. Beyond the difficulties of recruiting nationwide and the limits put on by the Admin., ND must realize
    that to remain among the elite, you have to show you value the coaches you want to remain and:
    pay to play if you want them to stay.
    Nothing wrong with advancing a healthy bonus for both of your co-ordinators after a 12-1 season. It’s not that ND doesn’t have the money available to do that! Recognizing a job well done with a bonus in pay is what successful organizations do.
    Don’t underrate, appreciate. Show them the money!

    1. I’m confused. Is the dislike button to show your dislike for the poster, regardless of what he posts? How could anyone dislike a post that informs, then mourns, the loss of an ND icon like Kuechenberg? And the same goes for David’s posts. It’s his opinion; don’t “hate the sinner” – instead regard the opinion before you immediately hit the dislike button. It’s not supposed to be personal; it’s supposed to be a blog discussion, right?
      Sorry for interrupting the flow of vitriol. Back to venting our dislike by safely clicking our dislike buttons as we have the cover of anonymity behind our screens. It’s become quite popular in America these days. I’m sure you’ve noticed.

      1. A new option, “ if you have nothing good to say don’t say anything at all “ those were Bobs Mother’s wise words. Get rid of “ Dislike”. My Wife is a Facebook junkie. She will show me someone’s take and I see the thumbs up, but no thumbs down.

  5. …..It will be interesting to see how his co-ordinators feel…especially to that ‘Coach of the Year’ award.
    That must have been pretty hard for them to take.
    Lots of good, new opportunities out there right now.

    They see Elko in pretty high clover, with a good gig waiting for him when the time’s right. Where’s Kelly going to get them?

    I posted that ‘stupid nonsense’ a week ago (..shout out to the peanut gallery!)

    So that didn’t take long. But Alabama might.

    1. “High clover”??? I guess so, if you want to spend your career finishing third (or worse) in your SEC division. Texas A@M isn’t wired for the SEC – it’s like trying to run 220 through a 110 line.

      BGC ’77 ’82

  6. If there is a falling out between Long and Kelly it’s probably that Long wants full authority to put in his own offense. Not a 50 to 50 split with 50% being Kelly’s offense.

    1. ….and/or that he just can’t tolerate helping make Kelly look competent, for a fraction of the money and recognition.

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