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Notre Dame Announces Official Coaching Changes

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It took nearly two months to solidify and officially announce the new coaching staff in South Bend, but late last week Brian Kelly and the university finally came through with the official changes.

There are a few new coaches, a couple subtle shifts of responsibilities, and one major shift of responsibility from defense to offense.

Details and discussion about the moves coming after the jump.


Chuck Martin- Offensive Coordinator & Quarterbacks Coach

Martin makes the big move of the offseason, dropping his recruiting coordinator title and switching from defense to offense. He was previously coaching the safeties.

Brian Kelly really stressed familiarity and being on the same page with Martin. There will be a lot of pressure on Martin and Kelly to sort through the quarterback battle and improve the offense in 2012.

Scott Booker- Tight Ends & Special Teams Coordinator

Booker moves from graduate assistant and will coach a position with good depth and possibly the offense's best player. In other words, he'll likely have the least amount of pressure on him in his first season on the staff.

Kelly talked about the special teams and how that area will be a group effort from all the coaches. Booker will be thrown into the fire in recruiting where he will be responsible for northern Florida and Georgia---two very competitive regions.

Harry Hiestand- Offensive Line & Running Game Coordinator

One of the new coaches, Hiestand comes over from the University of Tennessee where he coached for three seasons. Before that he was the O-line coach for the Chicago Bears for six seasons.

Kelly mentioned that there will be more zone blocking and mentioned that Hiestand came very-highly-thought-of from Kirk Ferentz. He will recruit in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and parts of the Midwest and northern regions of the South.

Mike Denbrock- Outside Receivers & Passing Game Coordinator

One of the more quiet members of the staff, Denbrock moves from tight ends to coaching the outside receivers and is now the passing game coordinator.

With these coaching changes it is curious to see how the receivers are being coached by two different people. It will be interesting to see just exactly who the outside receivers will be come spring time and into 2012.

Tony Alford- Slot Receivers, Running Backs & Recruiting Coordinator

Alford interviewed with the Green Bay Packers lately but will be staying in South Bend.

He'll stay with the wide receivers but coach the slot athletes, and also adds running backs (where he coached under Charlie Weis) and recruiting coordinator. It appears the rumors of Notre Dame running the ball more with the quarterback and especially on jet sweeps might be true with this combination of slot receivers/running backs coaching responsibilities.

Bob Diaco- Assistant Head Coach, Defensive Coordinator, & Linebackers

Diaco will stay with the linebackers but adds the somewhat-prestigious title of assistant head coach. Kelly said Diaco will be the face of the program when he is not in town---and why not?

Diaco is a rising star and has been pretty impressive so far at Notre Dame, but he'll have his work cut out for him this year replacing a handful of defenders.

Kerry Cooks- Co-Defensive Coordinator & Cornerbacks

Cooks stays with the corners but adds the co-DC title as well.

He'll have a lot of young and inexperienced players to work with this season, let's hope Cooks can make some progress at his position.

Mike Elston- Defensive Line

Elston drops the special teams coordinator title and will focus solely on the defensive line.

Kelly said he'll have to really focus all his efforts on the D-line because there is a lot of young talent there. That's probably not a bad thing I'd say.

Bob Elliot- Safeties

Elliot is one of the new coaches who comes from Iowa State where he coached the secondary for two seasons. He has a long career as a coach in the secondary at Iowa State, Iowa, Kansas State, San Diego State, and Ball State.

He will recruit in the Midwest west of the Mississippi and Southern California.

Other Moves:

Josh Reardon and Pat Welsh have been hired as graduate assistants. Reardon comes from Holy Cross where he coached outside linebackers last season, and Welsh from Grand Valley State where he was graduate assistant.

Former Irish receiver David Grimes have been hired as a defensive graduate assistant as the NCAA is now allowing 4 GA's per team now.