What The Departure of Chip Long Means for Notre Dame in Short Term

Today, what many speculated might happen this off-season happened. Chip Long will not be Notre Dame’s offensive coordinator in 2020.  The twist to the plat, however, was that Notre Dame and their now former offensive coordinator Chip Long are mutually parting ways.

It had been circulating for some quite some time that Notre Dame wasn’t necessarily a long term home for Long. Just last offseason, it appeared that he was looking to go to Alabama, and there had been rumors all season that this could be Long’s last in South Bend.  It was always assumed that Long would leave for a head coaching gig.  That hasn’t happened yet.  His Notre Dame departure, however, has.

Long took over the Notre Dame offense after the miserable 2016 season and played a significant role in the Irish turn around over the past three seasons. The Irish have averaged over 30 points each of the last three seasons, and the 2019 offense was the most productive in the Kelly era averaging 37.1 PPG.

Credit can also be given that Kelly’s trust in Long to run the offense allowed the Head Coach to take more of a CEO role, which has been said to be instrumental in the NDs turnaround.

Some fans will see Long’s departure as a good thing. Although the offensive numbers were high under Long, they weren’t good against elite opponents. The Irish offense soared against inferior opponents but struggled to do anything against the likes of Georgia or Michigan

As for what exactly led to Long’s departure, it’s still unclear, but some have speculated that his replacement could already be on staff – Tommy Rees.

Rees is seen as a promising up and comer in the coaching world and had been getting interviewed for some OC jobs – most notably Northwestern. This may be an attempt at keeping the QB coach

Rees is the top candidate to replace Long as the offensive coordinator and will be calling the plays in the Camping World Bowl, which will serve as an audition for a promotion if he isn’t named Long’s successor before then.

There are certainly some worries that can be had with making Rees the OC starting with his lack of experience, but presuming this happens signifies that Brian Kelly will essentially be retaking control of the offense.

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ND’s turnaround has been largely credited to Kelly stepping away from the offense and focusing more on the team as a whole. Some might worry that he might resort to old habits, but optimism can be had that Kelly will be able to balance himself better this time around.

Let’s see how the bowl turns out before we panic.

Impact on recruiting

Long’s departure comes close to National signing day, which would worry some that this will impact the strong momentum the Irish have had in the past year, but it could be argued that Rees has been more instrumental on the recruiting path.

Rees has been at the center of a lot of ND’s commits, including 2021 QB Tyler Buchner, and so there might not be a need to panic about everyone jumping ship. In fact, a few commits have already signaled that this will have no impact on them.

2020 TE Kevin Bauman

2021 WR Deion Colzie post-Long news

2021 OL Blake Fisher

The biggest recruit is one most people probably aren’t thinking about either. Fans can think whatever they want about Ian Book, but he is perhaps still Notre Dame’s best option at quarterback next season, and it’s said that Book and Rees have a healthy relationship.

Book is eligible to transfer anywhere he wants for next season, and after the sharp criticism he took this year, it wouldn’t be absurd to think he doesn’t want to spend another year with the pressure of being the quarterback at Notre Dame.

Making Rees the OC probably leads to Book coming back for one last ride and being the starter for the 2020 opener.

Overall, Long’s tenure can be considered successful, but that doesn’t mean it’s not the time for a change. It can be understood why some would be nervous about Tommy Rees taking over the O, but let’s settle down and see what takes place over the next month.

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28 comments

  1. Kenneth Wallace 3 months ago

    Absolutely Notre Dame needs to pay better. Kelly is in the 50th best paid coach, and the assistants are way down the list.

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  2. david 4 months ago

    Old, mediocre coaches don’t die..they just atrophy.

    The Brian Kelly underlings network — whatever it was — have now all moved on.
    And a Brian Kelly “coaching tree” doesn’t exist.
    A dead end road.

    Hence….Tommy Rees, Notre Dame OC.
    Until Kelly retires, or needs someone to toss under the bus to steal himself another couple years.

    Enjoy this bullshit. It must be your favorite meal by now.

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    1. ndcrazymike 4 months ago

      Hey dopey ya boy Willie TAGGART just got hired at FAI, you must be very proud! Wait till they run that SIMPLISTIC VELOSITY, enjoy that bullshit. Frosty at NEBRASKA another 5-7 season, talk about 2 coaches you bragged ND should hire! They have no coaching tree, they are 2 big time failures! EAT some more bullshit dopey and have some crow for Desert, you’ve been full of it for years!!

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  3. Damian 4 months ago

    I know this is a bit of a nitpick but I’m sure Chip Long would appreciate it if someone found a better picture of him.

    Every time I see this picture it looks like he’s getting ready to say ‘derpy derp’ or something. It’s a terrible picture. Sorry guys.

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    1. Ron Burgundy 4 months ago

      He’s saying thank goodness I had a Plan B.

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  4. Bruce G Curme 4 months ago

    One thing is clear, and this has been true for a year or two before CL decided to move on: Most of our assistant coaches DESERVE a big pay hike. SHOW THEM SOME MONEY! How about taking whatever is leftover of our $4,000,000 for the Camping Bowl as a stipend (after our considerable bowl expenses are deducted) and dividing it up amongst our assistants, including Coach Balis? Then, incrementally, over the rest of BK’s contracted years, raise their salaries to that level?
    Just guesstimating, but that could be about a $250,000 per year jump…hardly extravagant by modern college football numbers…yet it would make us competitive.

    BGC ’77 ’82

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    1. Fitz 4 months ago

      Next to competence, continuity is one of the most important things in a coaching staff. ND needs to
      pay top dollar to attract and retain the best position coaches and coordinators with season end
      performance bonuses. I’d also employ buy-outs for OC an DC.

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  5. southside 4 months ago

    So what’s the deal ? What does Kelly/Long “mutually” parting ways mean ? What’s done is done–but I want the inside story that is yet come forth. Was Long fired or did he resign ? Is he headed for HC at Memphis ? A lateral move to OC elsewhere wouldn’t make sense –unless it’s to Alabama where his salary would double or more so–like Elko did. What a coinsidence — before the Chip Long news , I was looking up the pay scale of assistant coaches. Wow , Brent Venables of Clemson is in the 2 million range , as is Arande of LSU and Elko of Texas A&M. I noticed 2 other assitant coaches on Clemson are in the 1 million range ! Fact is numerous assiatant coaches are in the 1 million range on the list –and not on elite teams. The list does not mention salary of ND assistant coaches. But , I hunt / pecked a few links and found out Elko was making $345,000 as DC for ND. Now he’s the 3rd highest paid at 2 million of assistant coaches. Chip Long’s tenure at ND put him on radar–if he’s wanted elsewhere for big bucks — He gone brother.

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  6. Kyle 4 months ago

    I have never in my life heard of a player choosing to transfer from a starting job at a school to escape criticism from armchair QB’s at home. Spinning promoting TR as a move to keep Book at ND is one of the most ridiculous stretches I’ve ever heard from a professional journalist.

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  7. Ryan 4 months ago

    So persistent throwing in the rain and short side runs at Michigan were all Long’s fault?

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  8. Matt 4 months ago

    They should hire Graham Harrell

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  9. jeff 4 months ago

    This is a power move by Brian Kelly who wants to be back in control of the offense. He is going to promote TR to OC and once again BK will be calling the plays. TR will be Kelly’s puppet. The offense will stumble in the Camping World Shithouse bowl and continue into next year. Better have a solid Plan B its about to get ugly.

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    1. southside 4 months ago

      Not a good time to mention puppet—seeing that Big Bird just passed away. I’ll be okay — Christmas soon arriving.

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      1. Michael The Archangel 4 months ago

        And losing Oscar The Grouch, too, Southside. Indeed, bad timing!

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  10. ChrisJ 4 months ago

    Please please please transfer Book!!! Jurkovec 2020!!!!!

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    1. Tom Whalen 4 months ago

      can i ask what you’ve seen in jurkovec up to this point that makes you think he’s a clear cut improvement over book (who admittedly struggled in the beginning of the season) but has been playing at a consistently high (+ WINNING) level for the back half?

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    2. Ron Burgundy 4 months ago

      Because he’s the back up. The minute PJ starts playing, the guy behind him will be the popular choice.
      It’s science.

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      1. Damian 4 months ago

        Probably true. Tom’s right, Jurkovec hasn’t had the opportunity much to run the offense yet so we don’t know what he brings to the table other than his recruiting stats.

        But in a way Ron is right too, and that’s an indictment of BK’s inability to fully develop QB’s. We’ve had a lot of QB’s come in with tons of promise only to flame out at some point. One, maybe two I can dismiss as just QB’s that couldn’t hack it at the CFB level. But when it happens over and over again you have to start questioning the coaching.

        And I sympathize with Chris because I’m not totally sold that Book has turned a corner. I’m not convinced yet that this is a new an improved Book as opposed to that maybe we’ve just played really weak teams since Michigan.

        That’s why I really was hoping to face a highly ranked team with a really good defense in a big bowl game so we could see if this is really an improved Book or not. Because as things stand he will be the starter next year. And if this isn’t a new, improved Book we’ll be in the same boat next year. Outside looking in, going to a mid level bowl with not a whole lot to play for other than hoping to build off it for the next year. And personally I’ve grown tired of the old “maybe next year” hopes. When will it ever be this year?

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      2. ChrisJ 4 months ago

        https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=X98DbxKss_4
        (Jurkovec)
        VS
        https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Cy5hvUVwphE
        (Book)

        I saw this kid tear up one of our better local high schools here in OH. He would be better than Book give the chance.

        Book has had plenty of time to show everyone that he can put up good numbers against bad teams and struggle bad against good teams. Time to move on to someone who has the higher ceiling.

        When Jurkovec came here, the coaches immediately screwed with his throwing motion to try and “make it better”. Based on that highlight video, would you really mess with his throwing motion? I sure as hell wouldn’t. Jurkovec has already said he went back to throwing how he used to because the way the coaches were trying to teach him wasn’t working out which clearly showed in the spring game. I’m telling you guys, that throw in the Navy game on that 18 yard comeback route from the right hash to the wide side of the field while standing tall in the pocket and getting blasted right in the chest as he was throwing was freakin incredible. That’s only a small glimpse of what he will bring to the table.

        Also, isn’t he Kelly’s highest rated QB recruit out of HS ever? I just want to see Jurkovec. I don’t even know who is behind him other than that Buchner kid coming in here in two years. Brenden something right? Don’t even know his last name. I just want to see Jurkovec take over for good.

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      3. ChrisJ 3 months ago

        Ron/Tom,

        For whatever reason, I cannot post links on here to YouTube. Please search for Phil Jurkovec high school highlights. Talk about impressive. Then search for Ian Book high school highlights. Not impressive.

        Jurkovec is making long TD throw after long TD throw with great arm strength. Book is making short pass after short pass with receivers getting tackled. The coaches have tried to change Jurkovec’s throwing motion when he came in and that is why he looked bad in the Blue/Gold game. He has since gone back to throwing the way he did in these highlights. I mean, would you really change anything based on seeing these highlights? I sure as hell wouldn’t. And in the short times we’ve seen him this season, his throws have looked so much better and on point unlike the Blue/Gold game. The throw he made against Navy on that 18 yard comeback route from the far hash while taking a shot in the chest and still having the arm strength to get the ball to Lenzy out there was more impressive than any throw Ian Book has made. This is because Book literally cannot make that throw and one of the reasons Jurkovec should be starting.

        I just want to see Jurkovec take over and lead this team. Book is not the answer. It’s time to take a chance on your highest rated QB recruit you’ve had. Kelly, stop being a moron and play your best QB!!

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    3. southside 4 months ago

      Ground Hog Day — again.

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  11. Damian 4 months ago

    Long was definitely up and down. Potential was there but we just never seemed to get over the hump.

    I can’t say I’m enthusiastic about Tommy Rees taking over as OC for a couple of reasons. One, frankly, is I’d prefer an experienced, proven OC. Unfortunately ND isn’t in the habit of paying their assistants what it takes to get those kinds of assistants, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some OC’s out there that could fill the role.

    Another reason is ND continues to have problems developing their QB’s and Rees has been the QB coach the last 2 or 3 years. He really hasn’t proven himself in the role he is already in yet.

    Maybe he’ll be a great OC, but I just it’s a huge risk to take on someone that has yet to prove himself yet.

    The other is if that means BK takes over the offense again I think we may end up taking a few steps back. One of the reasons cited for the 2016 disaster is that BK wasn’t involved enough with the team as a whole. Now I’m not saying we’ll have another 4 win season, but I think making progress as a team will take a hit.

    So my hope is that ND tries to get an experienced OC who can run the offense and BK stays in his current role as an overall CEO.

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    1. southside 4 months ago

      Damian , what OC you got in mind that’s out there ? The good ones are taken — mak’in big bucks . I’d rather take my chances in 2020 with in house coaches Rees/Taylor/Kelly at helm–maybe a Rees/Taylor as Co-OC’s. To be frank , Kelly’s input on Offense –sure beats a gamble on hiring some yahoo coming in as last resort among the “pick’ns” that are left out there.

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      1. Brian 4 months ago

        Saban benching Jalen Hurts in the championship game for Tua
        LSU hiring Joe Brady and revamping their offense
        Dabo Sweney replacing Kelly Bryant with Trevor Lawrence mid-season.
        These are all examples of teams taking a risk to possibly win a championship.
        Or you can play it safe with the coach who will win you about 9 games a year (depending on how many really good teams you play) and a QB who can win you a game as long as the opposing defense isn’t ranked in the top 40. Does anyone think we can win a championship next year with Rees calling plays for Book?! The former couldn’t physically throw the ball farther than 20 yards, the latter is afraid to throw it more than 20 yards*.
        (*games against MAC teams excluded)

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      2. ChrisJ 4 months ago

        Brian,

        Amen brother

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      3. Damian 4 months ago

        I just want to move forward. Rees moving to OC and BK taking over play calling again feels like a retread, and going back to less successful years.

        ND’s defense is improving and getting better. With BK as a total HC with a full time OC calling plays ND had improved. I think with the right OC maybe, just maybe, ND can take another few steps in the right direction.

        But having an OC that requires BK to take over the offense again feels too much like going back. Back to 9-4 type years, or worse.

        I don’t have any particular names in mind. I don’t follow other teams close enough to be intimately familiar with their assistants. But there has to be some up and coming OC that already has some decent experience that wants to prove themselves out there.

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  12. Brian 4 months ago

    I’m so tired of the BK & Tom(my) Rees bromance. I would rather they hire Charlie Weis Jr. Its time to get back to having a decided schematic advantage over the opponent.

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  13. BC 4 months ago

    You absolutely cannot make Rees the OC. If that happens, my optimism in what the 2020 season could become takes a sharp decline.

    Go find someone who has actually been in a successful offense at the college or pro level. We don’t need a less efficient/less explosive version of the same offense we’ve already been getting for the past 10 years. This offense has shown an inability to score points against good teams/defenses. It’s time for an upgrade.

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