Thursday, March 23, 2023

Analysis: Parker’s next order of business and ND’s O-line pitch size

In the interval between Only Parker Revealed as Notre Dame’s choice as its new offensive coordinator on Wednesday and officially crowned on Saturday, the 42-year-old got off to a fast start on his No. 1 of business.

Finding someone to replace a legend.

Retired offensive line coach identification process of Harry Hiestand The replacement had already begun before Parker moved up the food chain from Irish tight ends coach to OC/tight ends coach. The head coach Marcus FreemanHowever, it required the departure of the offensive coordinator Tommy ReesThe successor has an important say in who should be next after Hiestand.

Former Parker and still-unofficial QBs coach Gino GuiduglI was added to the decision making process for the new O-line coach, the process itself was accelerated. According to one source, massive interest in the job has been narrowed down to a handful of potential candidates, with personal interviews likely to start as early as the weekend.



The end of the timeline is a little harder to predict, but one source said it would not be out of the realm of possibility for Hiestand’s successor to be identified by midweek. Or for the list to be expanded again a little before the final choice is made.

This, of course, would be followed by a protracted vetting process before the official notification was published.

Freeman and Parker will have a chance to publicly weigh in on the O-line recruiting process, Parker’s own recruiting journey and his and Freeman’s shared vision for the Irish offense moving forward at a press conference Monday morning (11 a.m. EST) that will be streamed live on YouTube.

Perhaps by then Guidugli’s hiring will be official and Freeman/Parker can address how he fits into the offensive partnership beyond coaching quarterbacks.

The offense that the new O-line coach will eventually tackle will have a lot more to do with the direction Freeman has set for the program, and in line with where Rees was tricking him, and less about what Parker was serving as the offensive coordinator at West. Virginia in the 2020-21 seasons before coming to ND.

Again, Monday should be a good time to tease out the details.

In gathering and scouting a list of offensive line coach candidates, keep in mind that there is a difference between those who are willing to listen and those who are willing to leave where they are. Philosophical alignment is a must.

“Recruitment and development are both very important in this role as well,” the longtime recruiting analyst. Tom Lemming football prep report is available. “But what you don’t want is someone who sees this job as a stepping stone to the NFL.”

Hiestand’s methods and work ethic – both in his six-year tenure (2012-17) under Brian Kelly and his second tour of duty, under Freeman, last season – permeated the entire culture and identity of Notre Dame football.


You could argue that she did too long Jeff Quinn years in between (2018-21), but Quinn’s flaw was not being technique-driven enough in his teaching.

When all is said and done, here’s our list, including some long shots:

Joe Rudolph (Virginia Tech)

Brian Callahan (Minnesota)

Ron Kruk (South Dakota)

Scott Huff (Washington)

Darrell Funk (BYU)

Cody Kennedy (Arkansas)

Matt Luke (Formerly of Georgia)

Chris Watt (GA at Notre Dame)

► Rudolph, 50, is the candidate who feels the most ideal. His recent seven-year elite developmental run at Wisconsin (2015-21) combined with ND’s brand and its developmental track record feels like an attractive dynamic on the recruiting trail.

He has experience as an offensive coordinator and has played in the NFL.

Oklahoma Bill Bednbaugh50 years old, has a similar atmosphere and a The Joe Moore Awardbut it seems much less realistic that he would want to make a move.

► Brian Callahan, 54, and Cody Kennedy, 33, are both on the rise and both are considered strong recruiters/developers.

“It doesn’t matter that Kennedy trained only in the South and was primarily recruited there,” Lemming said. “If you can recruit, you can recruit.”

► Scott Huff, 43, brings stability and not because it’s not wanted elsewhere. Beyond his assistant days at Arizona State, he spent 11 seasons at Boise State and the last six at Washington. He was the only assistant Kalen DeBoer retained when he took over the Washington program after the 2021 season.

► The recognition card downloads too quickly at times due to Brian Kelly’s 2014 hiring of defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder, in particular, but there’s something to be said for the staff’s built-in chemistry and philosophical common ground.

Darrell Funk, 58, crossed paths with Parker and Freeman. Ron Crook, 54, worked with Freeman, and mostly Guidugli, in Cincinnati. Watt, 32, obviously worked with Freeman, Parker and the 64-year-old Hiestand last season and played for Hiestand (2012-13) before embarking on an NFL career.

He’s probably the closest thing to a Hiestand back and yet he has one full year of head coaching experience (Tulane 2021) and four total, including three as a GA in two separate stints at Notre Dame.

That makes it a long shot at this point. The best case scenario for ND would be for him to continue in his current role.

► Of the available/intriguing coaches out of 2022, by choice or circumstance, Matt Luke stands out. The 46-year-old former Ole Miss coach spent the 2020 and 2021 seasons as Georgia’s offensive line coach, but left last season to spend more time with family.

But is he ready to return?

Whoever follows Hiestand this time inherits an All-American in lefty Joe Alt and one in a similar trajectory on the right B strikeLake Fisher as well as a wealth of interior O-line talent and plenty of depth.

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