Bob Elliott, a special assistant to Notre Dame Fighting Irish coach Brian Kelly, is interviewing to become the next safeties coach for the Nebraska Cornhuskers.
The Omaha World-Herald reported that Elliott interviewed today with Huskers coach Mike Riley. Bob Diaco, who coached alongside Elliott with the Iowa Hawkeyes and with the Irish, is pushing Elliott for the job. Diaco is the Cornhuskers’ newest defensive coordinator.
Elliott taught the Irish safeties group in 2012 and 2013, and outside linebackers group the following year. In 2013, the Irish secondary ranked 15th in the Football Bowl Subdivision in fewest passing yards allowed per game, 16th in passing yards allowed per completion and 17th in passing yards allowed per attempt. The prior year - which included a 12-0 regular season and trip to the BCS National Championship game - the secondary fared even better. It ranked second in fewest pass yards per completion, sixth for fewest touchdown passes, 13th in fewest pass yards per attempt and 16th in pass efficiency.
As special assistant, Elliott was involved in player personnel decisions, analytics, defensive strategy, game planning and on-campus recruiting. He was perhaps best known for devising a system to beat option offenses. The Irish beat the Georgia Tech Yellowjackets and Navy Midshipmen in 2015 and the Army Black Knights last year following Elliott’s tutelage.
In an October 2015 interview, Kelly said he was pleased with Elliott’s effort.
“We have established something that is a base way of playing the option teams. It's something we can carry with us and something that can be repeatable. If we won by one point that would have been fine with me. Now we have a system in place that we can come back to each and every year."
In his 38-year coaching career, Elliott coached defense for the Irish, Iowa State Cyclones, San Diego State Aztecs, Kansas State Wildcats, Iowa Hawkeyes, Ball State Cardinals and Kent State Golden Flashes.
Elliott is a study in resilience, having survived a rare form of blood cancer and a bone marrow transplant in 1998. He subsequently suffered kidney failure in 2012. The 63-year-old is the son of former Michigan head coach and Iowa athletics director Bump Elliott. Bob and his wife, Joey, have two children: Grant and Jessica.
Sports Illustrated’s Pete Thamel wrote an in-depth piece on Elliott in the run up to the national championship that is worth a read.