The Notre Dame Fighting Irish have a solid coaching staff for 2019, and we want to talk about them all. One Foot Down’s coach profile series will take a look at every single one of them, and hopefully we all learn a little bit more about these guys, and Notre Dame’s chances for the upcoming season.
Todd Lyght, Cornerbacks
Todd Lyght is a legendary figure on the campus of Notre Dame. Lyght played for the Irish during some of their most remarkable years under head coach Lou Holtz. From 1987 to 1990, Lyght wore the Golden helmet — and was one of the best to ever do it. He won a national championship in 1988 and was a consensus All-American in 1989 and 1990. Lyght was drafted #5 overall in the 1991 NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Rams, and played 12 years in the league. In 1999 he won a Super Bowl with the then St. Louis Rams.
Path to Notre Dame
Nine years after he hung up the cleats, Lyght joined the Oregon Ducks as an intern, and then landed a job as an assistant DB coach with the Philadelphia Eagles. Lyght accepted a job as the defensive backs coach for the Vanderbilt Commodores in 2015, but after only 3 weeks on the job, he resigned and accepted an offer to coach at Notre Dame.
The Irish finished the 2014 season with the 84th ranked pass efficiency defense. In Lyght’s 4 years at Notre Dame, he has helped the Irish improve and excel in that ranking:
- 2015 — 57th
- 2016 — 79th
- 2017 — 46th
- 2018 — 6th
While Lyght was KeiVarae Russell’s coach in 2015, it has been the development of Julian Love from a freshman starter in 2016 to a key member of the New York Giants’ 2019 NFL Draft class.
Job for 2019
Lyght got a ton of help last year with the hiring of Terry Joseph as the safeties coach. Lyght was able to focus on the corners — which were struggling with injuries. His frontline of Love and Troy Pride Jr. was solid, but he lost Shaun Crawford before the season at nickel, and had to quickly develop freshmen TaRiq Bracy and Houston Griffith. Veteran Donte Vaughn struggled with injuries all season and was ineffective against the Pittsburgh Panthers and Clemson Tigers.
Love is gone, and Pride will have to anchor a talented group that still has a lot to prove. Fall camp is going to be extremely important for Lyght as he should have back a healthy Crawford and Vaughn. Will Crawford be able to take over once again at the nickel? Will there be a battle between Vaughn and Griffith for the boundary side? This is what Lyght must sort out.