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It Will Take More than a Ferrari: Why the Irish MUST Retain Al Golden

By Liam Farrell|Senior Staff Writer|Twitter/X: @LiamFarrell_IT

Via The Irish Tribune


SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Coming up on a disappointing loss to Clemson, the Irish have the entire BYE week to analyze what changes must occur within the program. While there might be massive movement from the coaching side of things on the offensive side of the ball, the same cannot be said about the defensive coaches. Notre Dame defensive coordinator, Al Golden, has been an extremely great hire since being brought on to oversee the Irish defense in 2022. Golden, who has ample college head coaching experience, along with NFL position group experience, has led an Irish defense that is at the top of most defensive categories in the nation. With that being said, Golden will be a popular commodity around the NFL for defensive coordinator positions; however, the Irish cannot afford for the 54 year old coordinator to depart from South Bend. Let's take a look at the possible outlook for this Notre Dame defense.





Head Coaching Experience and A Possible Replacement


Al Golden loves the University of Notre Dame. Before Brian Kelly got hired to be Notre Dame's head coach, Golden was one of the final candidates that Jack Swarbrick and the panel were considering. Obviously, the job went to Kelly, so Golden had a good tenure at the University of Miami before transitioning into being a linebackers coach in the NFL. Golden left the Cincinnati Bengals organization, who had just made it to the Super Bowl, to come back and be the DC at one of his favorite universities, Notre Dame. Golden provided experience to new head coach, Marcus Freeman, who had never been a head coach before in his professional career. Golden aided Freeman and provided much needed expertise during the beginning months of Freeman's new position.


While helping out the newly minted head coach, Golden has also done a phenomenal job orchestrating a top rated defense in his past two years. This was on full display when Golden stopped the USC offense from doing anything a couple weeks ago, along with holding #1 Ohio State to only 17 points. Golden's achievements have not gone unnoticed, and he has been rumored to look at potential NFL jobs. These rumblings have also been felt by Marcus Freeman, who has hinted at Golden's potential departure. During his weekly presser, Freeman discussed cornerback's coach Mike Mickens, and how he could be a defensive coordinator very soon. Mickens, who has totally changed the outlook on the Notre Dame secondary, is very comparable to Ohio State OC, Brian Hartline. Both are elite recruiters, who can also develop their players into first round talent, as Hartline has done with numerous Buckeye WR, and Mickens has done with Sauce Gardner.





Why the Irish Must Keep Golden


While Mickens might leave if not promoted, Golden is too valuable to this Notre Dame football team. The Irish elevated from within on the offensive side of the ball and fans have seen how successful that experiment as been. While Notre Dame elevated Clark Lea after Mike Elko went to Texas A&M, I believe the promotion of Mickens would not lead to nearly the same success. Golden has produced great schemes against the nation's best teams and have limited them to low amounts of points. Even in the Clemson game this past weekend, the defense got 5 straight stops on Clemson's last possessions and forced a turnover when the game looked to be over. Golden has put Notre Dame in spots to succeed in every game he's coached. While Sam Hartman jokes that he has to buy Golden a Ferrari, Notre Dame must spend the big bucks to keep Golden around in 2024.


Wrap Up


Notre Dame must keep Al Golden for the 2024 season. In a season that starts out on the road against Texas A&M, stability and experience are two of the most important factors. Knowing this, the Irish need to keep their defensive coordinator on their sideline. What do you think Notre Dame should do? If Golden walks, do the Irish promote from within? Or do they go out of their way to find an established DC? Let me know below!

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