After a day or so of conflicting reports about the future of Notre Dame assistant coach Mike Denbrock, sources have confirmed that he is leaving the Notre Dame Fighting Irish to become the offensive coordinator for the Cincinnati Bearcats and new head coach Luke Fickell.
So, after all of that... the reports were pretty dead on. Denbrock is out, and now Notre Dame will be entering the new year looking to fill a couple of jobs.
Some people will have mixed feeling about this- so let’s get it out on the table.
- He was the play-caller in 2016.
- He helped develop guys like Will Fuller and Michael Floyd. Legends.
- He was most likely Notre Dame’s best recruiter- especially on the west coast.
- He was basically demoted moving forward. Kelly to call plays in 2017.
So, if you are wondering why he would leave Notre Dame for a similar role at Cincinnati (which isn’t a Power 5 school) you need only look at that last bullet point. Mike Denbrock, if he were to stay at Notre Dame, would only be a wide receiver’s coach in 2017. That isn’t exactly what we may consider “career development.” He’s taking a step-up by taking over as the offensive coordinator at Cincinnati. Keep in mind, Fickell has always been a defensive coach during his career despite a stint as the head coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes. Denbrock will most likely have almost complete control on how their offense operates.
Denbrock’s departure opens the door for yet another coordinator position to be filled. A name that should be followed very closely is the former head coach of the Oregon Ducks, Mark Helfrich. His name has been mentioned as a possible offensive coordinator for the Irish.
Heard @BruceFeldmanCFB mention this on his podcast, but notion of Mark Helfrich as a target for ND’s next OC/QB coach is interesting.— Irish Illustrated (@PeteSampson_) December 29, 2016
While he very well may be a possibility, he was most recently seen at a bowl practice for the Tennessee Volunteers.
Ex-Oregon coach Mark Helfrich seen at today's Tennessee bowl practice via /r/CFB https://t.co/LBQtabmlYh— NCAA Football News (@ncaableachers) December 30, 2016
Brian Kelly can always tap longtime disciple, Jeff Quinn to fill that role and look elsewhere for a tight ends coach. At any rate, the Irish have a few spots to fill, and I’m sure names will start appearing from thin air as the weeks roll on towards signing day.