Bears Firing Harry Hiestand Should Impact Notre Dame’s OC Search

If Notre Dame is truly conducting a search for an offensive coordinator and hasn’t already settled on Tommy Rees as the successor to Chip Long, the Bears’ decision to part ways with offensive line coach Harry Hiestand should impact their search.  No, Notre Dame shouldn’t look to make Hiestand their new offensive coordinator, but they should pull out every stop to get him back on the staff, and that could impact what they do at OC.

The Bears fired Hiestand along with several other offensive coaches on Tuesday while retaining their head coach and the general manager who made the eggregious error of trading up in the draft to take Mitch Trubisky when he could have had either Deshaun Watson or Patrick Mahomes without trading any assets.  Yeah, that guy still amazingly has a job while the offensive line coach got canned.  Sorry for any Bears fans reading, but this sums up how poorly the Bears organization is run perfectly.

But I digress.  Let’s forget about how bad Ryan Pace is at his job GMing the Bears and focus on how this can – and should – impact Notre Dame.

Before Hiestand left Notre Dame for the NFL, he was one of the best offensive line coaches in all of college football.  He produced a Joe Moore Award winning unit in 2017 and developed NFL stars like Zach Martin, Ronnie Stanley, Quenton Nelson, and Mike McGlinchey.  He turned Notre Dame into Offensive Line U.  The grind of college coaching got to him though and he wanted to go back to the NFL.

Since he’s left Notre Dame, the Irish offensive line has been okay, but has clearly regressed.  Arguments can be made for where that fault lies.  Offensive line coach Jeff Quinn is the obvious first place to look, but he isn’t the coach that was let go before the bowl game.  That was Chip Long who was rumored to be jettisoned so quickly after the season in large part due to his relationship with the players and other coaches.

Long’s departure opened up two roles on the staff – offensive coordinator and tight ends coach.  And this is where is could all come together for Notre Dame if Hiestand would entertain a return to South Bend where his family still lives.  Notre Dame should put on the full court press to get Hiestand back on the staff to take up his old role as offensive line coach and move Jeff Quinn over to tight end’s coach.

In this scenario, most Notre Dame fans who are not sold on Tommy Rees as offensive coordinator (count me firmly in that group), could be onboard with Rees as OC if it meant Hiestand coaching the offensive line and Quinn coaching the tight ends.  Notre Dame could even elevate Lance Taylor to running game coordinator and have split duties ala LSU this year.

Another possible scenario here could be moving Quinn to an analyst role again – if he were open to it – and still conducting a full time search for an offensive coordinator.

All of this, of course, hinges on Hiestand being interested in returning to Notre Dame.  If he is, Brian Kelly would be absolutely foolish not to do everything he can to make it happen.  Remember though, Hiestand left Notre Dame in the first place because he just wanted to coach offensive linemen and didn’t want to be on the road all year long recruiting.  That was only two years ago so who knows if Hiestand’s return to the NFL has changed that.

Ironically, for as much as Hiestand just wanted to coach, he was a pretty good recruiter during his time at Notre Dame.  That is one area where Quinn, however, has actually been an upgrade.  Since taking over for Hiestand, Quinn has been dynamite on the recruiting trail with back to back ridiculous offensive line hauls and the makings of another elite group in 2021.  That is why keeping Quinn on staff would be important in this scenario.

There’s a lot of moving parts involved here, but at a bare minimum, Brian Kelly should be on the phone with Hiestand in the near future, if he hasn’t been already.  If another NFL teams doesn’t come calling, another college team would gladly scoop him up in hurry.  Notre Dame’s last offensive coordinator helped engineer an offense that scored a lot of points, but apparently didn’t get along with everyone.  We know Notre Dame wouldn’t have to worry about that with Hiestand.

I’ve been in the “look outside the program” for the next OC boat since news broke of Chip Long’s departure, but if Notre Dame can get back Harry and keep the rest of the staff together, they should do all they can to make that happen.

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  1. Hiestand isn’t coming back. He still wants to pursue his NFL dream
    Keep an eye on John Tunsil as TE coach plus was a great recruiter at UGA.

  2. You mean offsides Eichenberg? He cost this team a lot killing drives with penalties in critical situations.

  3. Liam Eichenberg feels differently.

    He is a captain.

    Just ask Liam about Hiestand.

    And while it is only whispered in corridors, a contributing factor in the departures of both Long and Hiestand is more similar than it looks to the untrained eye.

    And for those commenting on offensive coordinators, just ask your self.

    Is being an offensive coordinator a science or an art?

    1. You mean “False start” Eichenberg ? Liam is a 20 yr old kid while Harry is a 61 yr old veteran coach with plenty left to offer.
      Give me a break with the office politics. Not everyone gets along at the office but, you learn, adapt and if it doesn’t work out
      you move along. Things change, coaches and players come and go for one reason or another. I’m hoping Kelly gets some new
      people on board and the team can improve on a pretty good 2019 season.

  4. Bring Harry Back, not gaining 1 yard on 3rd downs with the talent on the OL is embarrassing. There were times in the season where they should have dominated on the OL and didn’t, which falls down to coaching. Brian Kelly needs to get this guy back.

  5. I only got a chance to watch the last 10 minutes of the bowl game due to family commitment. I was wondering how Lenzy did and looked and was wondering if Keys played? I didnt see him out there but again only saw part of the 4th quarter.

      1. I guess the anonymous internet cowards are also ignorant about basic football stats.

        “Dislike” away idiots, but the facts are facts: only three ND WRs appear in the box score as recording a reception: Claypool, Finke, and Lenzy.

        Since the above-mentioned idiots and cowards probably don’t know how to look facts up, here goes:;/g/11h847wg_q;6;/m/012hfxch;dt;fp;1;;

        Don’t like facts, sounds familiar!

    1. It’s different now, Pete.

      Lenzy is more confident, less hesitant.

      He was too light last year.
      Too injured early this year, and that frustrated him.

      But now he has confidence, and a little edge, approaching swagger.

      I just hope the fans leave him alone and CEASE and #$%^&(*)! DESIST with the Ismail comparisons, That is both an assault on reality, and a
      grave disservice to both Braden and Raghib.

      But Braden Lenzy is now on the brink, he is poised to break through in ’20. It’s all up to him..

  6. wasn’t Hiestand’s departure to NFL related to needing additional years to cross a threshold for his NFL pension?

  7. First, Patrick Mahomes and Deshawn Watson wouldn’t have taken the Bears to the playoffs this season. Not with that offensive line that killed the Bears the whole season.

    Second, the Bears loss, can be the Irish gain. It would be great to see Hiestand back, especially working with the offensive line. The offensive line may have up to four starters returning. On the other hand, Tony Jones Jr has declared for the draft. I assume Notre Dame will spread the carries among the current group of backs. I agree that C’Bo Flemister should be given more of a chance next season. Hopefully ND can coach one of the current backs to be just as effective picking up blitzes and catching passes out of the backfield. That will be sorely missed with Jones’s departure.

    1. The Texans Offensive Line is atrocious and Watson still has gotten the Texans to the playoffs. The Texans line would have still been at the bottom of the barrel without the trade for Tunsil at the beginning of the season.

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