Notre Dame Football: Brian Kelly Plans to Call Plays in 2014

Brian LeighFeatured ColumnistJanuary 14, 2014

ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 05:  Head coach Brian Kelly of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on the sidelines during play against the Arizona State Sun Devils at Cowboys Stadium on October 5, 2013 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

After losing offensive coordinator Chuck Martin, who accepted the head-coaching position at Miami (Ohio) in December, Brian Kelly will reassume play-calling duties for the Notre Dame offense next season, according to Lou Somogyi of 247Sports.

247Sports’ “On Campus” radio show with host Bill King (Sirius/XM Channel 91) had Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly as its guest on Tuesday morning from Indianapolis (where the American Football Coaches Association convention is held this week). The Irish head coach revealed that he will return to calling the plays for Notre Dame’s offense.


According to ESPN, Kelly has selected a new offensive coordinator: 

Notre Dame assistant Mike Denbrock will become the Fighting Irish's offensive coordinator, a source told on Tuesday.

Denbrock, the team's outside receivers coach, had held the "interim" offensive coordinator tag since Chuck Martin left Dec. 3 to become head coach at Miami (Ohio).

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Part of Kelly's decision has to do with the return of quarterback Everett Golson, who was readmitted to the university after being suspended for academic reasons this Fall. Kelly indicated that "he wanted to be more involved with the offense" now that Golson has returned.

The Irish offense took a small step back in 2013, ranking 24th in Football Outsiders' F/+ Ratings after checking in at No. 13 the season before. But with senior Tommy Rees taking snaps instead of Golson, the job Martin (and Kelly) did with that unit was still rather impressive.

Though Kelly will be calling the plays, he still plans on introducing a new offensive coordinator. Somogyi reports that Kelly has already made the decision on who that man will be, but won't reveal the name until a later date.

Rumored candidates include recently fired Michigan assistant Al Borges, current Buffalo head coach (and former Kelly coordinator) Jeff Quinn and interim coordinator Mike Denbrock. With Kelly's decision to call plays, Denbrock becomes an even likelier option to assume the duties full-time.

Still, Borges, Quinn or any other outside candidate could also be brought on as the new quarterbacks coach, which will be an important position moving forward. Redshirt freshman Malik Zaire and incoming prospect DeShone Kizer both have a lot of talent, but neither has played a down of college football.

Whoever takes over at QB coach will be tasked with developing them.

No word yet on when Kelly plans to announce any of these decisions. For now, all we know is that the coach will get back to his roots by calling plays in 2014.