Notre Dame Fighting Irish Football fans that have been upset over the way the defense has played for the past few seasons- and especially after Saturday’s loss to Duke, got their wish as Brian VanGorder was fired as the defensive coordinator.
Brian Kelly announces Brian VanGorder has been relieved of his duties. Greg Hudson assumes responsibilities.— Michael Bertsch (@NDsidBertschy) September 25, 2016
Brian Kelly stated:
"I have the utmost respect for Brian as both a person and football coach, but our defense simply isn't it where it should be and I believe this change is necessary for the best interest of our program and our student-athletes.”
Although this seems like the obvious move, it is also a somewhat surprising one to many (including myself and the media). Brian Kelly has never fired an assistant coach at Notre Dame, and most of us believed he finally would- but at the end of the season.
Notre Dame has been historically bad on defense during Brian VanGorder’s time at Notre Dame. For being hailed as a “pressure” guy, Notre Dame has only recorded one sack this season and that was just this past game versus Duke.
The Notre Dame defense is allowing 33.5 points per game this season, and has looked miserable in form with no pressure on the quarterback, blown coverages, and missed tackle after missed tackle.
Notre Dame will now turn to defensive analyst, Greg Hudson to take over the defensive coordinator position for the remainder of the 2016 season. Brian Kelly spoke about Hudson:
"It's never easy to make a change on your staff, but I'm confident in Greg's ability to lead our defense. As a former player at Notre Dame and an experienced defensive coordinator, he not only understands the expectations necessary to compete at the highest level, but he'll bring a fresh perspective to our sideline, practice field and meeting rooms."
Hudson’s resume looks like this:
- Notre Dame grad 1990
- Notre Dame assistant 1993
- Cincinnati assisitant 1997-2000
- Minnesota defensive coordinator 2000-2004
- East Carolina defensive coordinator 2005-2009
- Florida State Assistant Head Coach & linebackers coach 2010-2012
- Purdue defensive coordinator 2013-2015
Hudson had this to say:
"Obviously, this is a difficult day for our coaching staff, but I'm excited and honored about the opportunity that Coach Kelly has afforded me. We've got to improve on defense, without a doubt, and I'm confident that we will. We have great student-athletes and a tremendous defensive coaching staff. I can't wait to get started with our group."
It is uncertain how much better the Notre Dame defense will be for the rest of the season, but it was VERY certain that Brian VanGorder was not going to improve as a coach, which meant that the teams performance was not going to get any better as well.