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Replacing Tommy Rees: Tribune Staff Pick Their Next OC

By: Michael Blough | Writer | Twitter: @MichaelBlough12

Photo Credit: ESPN/ABC7

What some people thought might never happen, has happened. Last Friday Tommy Rees agreed to become the next offensive coordinator for the Alabama Crimson Tide. This, of course, became a hotbed for ridiculous takes on either side of the fence (whether you like or dislike him) and guess what! Nothing was solved! If you disliked him during his time here at Notre Dame, you probably still dislike him, and vice versa. I won't get into playing the blame game here in this article (if you are interested, just go on twitter), but we will look forward to the opportunity at hand, which is for Marcus Freeman to make this staff entirely his own and to set the precedent for what an Irish offense will look like in the future. In this article I asked some staffers here at The Irish Tribune to send me their favorite picks for the OC position (some of these were sent before or after the release of new information regarding the interest of some parties). So, lets get into it!

My Pick:

Photo Credit: Michael Reaves/Getty Images

In an effort to be different, I will choose someone not named Brian Johnson! When the position first was rumored to be open, a name I was seeing quite often was Josh Gattis. Clearly his stint at Miami, which by the way lasted less than a year, did not go well. But, I am still high on him as a play-caller. Gattis is by all accounts a very smart guy that has been a lot of places with most of his stints being in the Big 10. Gattis was the OC from 2019-2021 at Michigan, and also spent a few years prior as the Passing Game Coordinator/WR Coach at Penn State. Given the style of football that the Irish would like to play, I think Gattis would be a heck of a candidate! He runs a pro-style offense, which I think the Irish have all the pieces needed to run this effectively both now and in the future! Looking at his past, he often has been a wide receivers coach as well, which are duties currently handled by Chansi Stuckey. In my "perfect world" plan, this would leave the QB coach position open for someone like Brandon Streeter (previously at Clemson) who has developed some really good talent and is also relentless on the recruiting trail.

Mike Stacey: Writer

Tommy Rees is gone, and although I was hoping he would return this year, I think him leaving presents Notre Dame with a great opportunity. In recent years Notre Dame has lacked in quarterback recruiting and development, and although the recruiting has recently picked up, (Minchey, Carr, Hartman) we have yet to see the quarterback development come with it. I am less interested in having an X’s and O’s wizard at offensive coordinator and more interested in having a QB whisperer who can be a DOG on the recruiting trail. For these reasons, my ideal choice for OC would be Joe Brady. Joe was the Passing Game Coordinator & Receivers Coach for LSU in 2019. That team, lead by Joe Burrow, was arguably the greatest offense in college football history. After 2019 he had an unsuccessful stint with the Carolina Panthers as their Offensive Coordinator, but he has since been the quarterback coach with the Buffalo Bills and superstar QB Josh Allen. In my opinion, the experience that he has with big time quarterbacks and offenses makes up for his lackluster stint as a play caller on a bad NFL team. He is young, energetic, and knows what it takes to be part of a winning program. At the college level you don’t need to be the next boy genius to be successful. You need to be able to get top talent and develop that talent. Simplify the game plan and let the talent play loose, free, and without their brains getting in the way of their feet. I think Joe Brady can do that.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/John Bazemore

Nick Kremer: Editor

Marcus Freeman, just one year into his time at Notre Dame, is tasked with making the biggest hire of his head coaching career in picking his next Offensive Coordinator. Names like Andy Ludwig, Sean Lewis, Brian Johnson, and Jason Candle would all be great hires for the offense, but, if I get my pick, I am going with Joe Moorhead. Moorhead is currently the head coach at Akron. Akron had a rough year in 2022, but their passing attack was extremely impressive. Akron finished at 18th in the country in passing offense. Additionally, Moorhead's offense during his time as head coach at Mississippi State was very good against a difficult SEC schedule. His spread offense focuses on using multiple formations and tempo when needed. Moorhead coaches quarterbacks and is known to be a very good recruiter. The choice is a no-brainer in picking Joe Moorhead as the next Offensive Coordinator at Notre Dame.

Luciano Antonini: Founder of the Irish Tribune

You can’t find much of a better OC prospect than Eagles Brian Johnson. He has 4+ years of experience as a OC in college (Utah, Houston, Florida), 10+ years experience as QB coach in college (Above teams + Miss. St) and 2+ years experience as NFL QB coach for potential Super Bowl winning team. He’s also developed and recruited some great guys like Dak Prescott, Anthony Richardson, Kyle Pitts, and other notable QB’s/players. He has also been a coach of a team that appeared in 3 NY6 bowls (And won 2 of them by a lot): Florida (SEC school). The only other realistic target is Joe Brady, otherwise it doesn’t get much better than Brian Johnson. He’s got my pick!

Photo Credit: Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Liam Farrell: Writer

When Tommy decided to leave, the first person that popped up in my mind was Kliff Kingsbury. Kingsbury had success at the college level, especially in the area of developing quarterbacks into superstars with Mahomes and Manziel both excelling in college. However, Kingsbury is somewhere in the middle of Thailand right now and after being an NFL head coach, the role of an offensive coordinator at the college level might not be the most appealing. This then moved my thought process elsewhere, and with the rumors of Brian Johnson swirling for the last couple days, I was convinced this could be the perfect hire. Johnson, if interested in returning to the collegian level, has all the qualifications and the track record to be an excellent hire. Notre Dame will not only be competing with other colleges, but it is reported that Johnson is sought after by multiple NFL teams as well. In a perfect world, the prestige and talent on this year’s Notre Dame roster could entice any candidate to lead the offense in the 2023 season and beyond. The most important factor that I would take in selecting the offensive coordinator is the willingness to recruit. Although, with Marcus Freeman’s determination on the recruiting trail, I trust Freeman and co. will hire the best man for the job.

Liam Gaudet: Editor

It's no secret that the track record of production for quarterbacks under Brian Johnson is phenomenal. He has now orchestrated two of the best offenses, one being the Pitts-Trask connection at Florida which managed to best the elite defenses in the SEC that season scoring 44 against the Georgia Bulldogs as well as 46 against the Crimson Tide in the conference championship. Granted, he's always had the talent at his disposal and the potential in South Bend remains largely untapped. All this without mentioning the incredible job he has done with Jalen Hurts and the Eagles this season, leading them to the Superbowl with eye-popping numbers and efficiency at the quarterback position. Johnson has a myriad of experience coordinating pass-heavy offenses, which should aid the Irish as they have been severely inconsistent through the air. His ability to weaponize the tight end position, and experience with mobile quarterbacks seems to be the perfect fit for what the Irish offensive identity has been for the better part of a decade now, and the transition from Rees to Johnson would appear to be seamless. Under a Freeman regime that has put emphasis on recruiting elite talent, Johnson would certainly have the weapons to do exactly what he wants. This seems like an opportunity that Freeman would have a hard time passing up, and rightfully so. With Sam Hartman at the helm next season, and a steady flow of elite quarterback talent to follow, there are no bounds to what an offense led by Johnson could achieve.

1 comentario

10 feb 2023

Tribune once again killing it with the recent posts Go Irish

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