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What Happens if Notre Dame Moves on From Gerad Parker? Evaluating the Options

Written by Connor D'Aquila ⏐ Writer ⏐ Twitter/X: @ConnorDaquilaIT

Photo by The Irish Tribune


Rumors have swirled about offensive coordinator Gerad Parker’s future with Notre Dame. Some have said that a shift in responsibilities has already begun, but nothing is official on that front. No matter the situation behind the scenes, it has been clear in recent weeks that offensive performance is not up to par. Watching the fourth quarter at Clemson was especially frustrating, as the offense completely stagnated in the most important stage of the game. Not all of the blame can fall on Parker, but at the end of the day, his play-calling and gameplan are not working. Should the Irish decide to move on, there are a number of great options available. We will evaluate potential alternatives below.





Chip Kelly

A recent name to enter the fold, it has been reported that Kelly will be fired by UCLA after this season. Although an older name, Kelly is a long-time major name in the college coaching sphere who also carries an NFL pedigree. Making his name at Oregon, he proved an ability to produce in a major way with an option-heavy spread offense. From 2010 to 2012, Oregon averaged a whopping 530 yards and 47.5 points per game, en route to a New Year’s Six bowl every year. He is respected throughout the game and has had a fair amount of success at UCLA, but was never able to get them over the top. Whether he would be open to an assistant coaching job is questionable, but this would be the big-name splash hire that many have hoped for.


Sean Lewis

In a shocking move, Colorado head coach Deion Sanders made the decision to demote Sean Lewis just a couple of weeks ago. Lewis was formerly the head coach at Kent State, where he turned a struggling program around and saw tremendous offensive success. He was considered a major up-and-comer in coaching spheres, and some were surprised to see him leave Kent State for an assistant position. At Kent, his impact was immediate with his first season carrying an 11.2 points per game and 108.4 yards per game improvement over the prior year. The program would only rise from there, and by 2021, they were playing in only their third bowl game ever. At Colorado, the offense initially looked solid, posting some huge numbers behind quarterback Shadeur Sanders. As they began to struggle, however, Sanders decided to take away play-calling duties in a move some believe was premature. Today, the offense is averaging 384.6 yards and 30.7 points per game. He doesn’t have the most experience calling plays, but this could be a great young hire.





Brennan Marion

Marion has engineered an incredible season in his first year at UNLV. The Rebels sit at 8-2 with a chance to win the Mountain West, much of which can be attributed to Marion. His “go-go offense” has made him one of the hottest young names in football, and it has led UNLV to an impressive 36.4 points per game, 421.6 total yards per game, and 195.7 rushing yards per game. Especially for a school like Notre Dame that likes to prioritize the run game, Marion would be a very interesting hire. Being so young, with limited high-level experience, there is always a chance he doesn’t pan out. That being said, he also has the chance to be a home run addition to the staff.


Joe Moorhead

Moorhead was once a fast riser in college football, making a major name for himself at Penn State, but poor head coaching ability has put a bit of a damper on his career. Currently the head man at Akron, the Zips sit at 2-9 and show few signs of life. A quick look at his offensive coordinating history makes it clear, however, that Moorhead can certainly call plays and put out a great offensive product. In his first year at Penn State, the Nittany Lions posted school records in total yards and passing yards while tying their highest points total. After finishing 100th in scoring offense in 2015, Penn State finished seventh over his two seasons, and he took home Offensive Coordinator of the Year in both seasons. He also spent two seasons at Oregon, which had more mixed results, but the Ducks reached conference championships in both years, meaning he was definitely doing something right. This would be a safer hire, but not a bad one at all.


Mike Shanahan

James Madison has been the story of college football this year, posting a 10-0 record in just their second season at the FBS level. Behind this is Mike Shanahan (not the famous one), who has led the offense to 433.2 yards per game and 34.3 points per game. In his first season in 2021, the Dukes posted program records in passing yards, passing average, and passing touchdowns, and the success has carried over to the FBS. He has worked his way up the ladder at JMU and appears poised for a major jump. This would have the potential to be a huge hire for any program, and I hope ND would consider Shanahan if they were to part ways with Parker.


In-House Options

Quarterbacks coach Gino Guidugli would be the most obvious consideration on the current staff, given his stint as OC with Cincinnati under Luke Fickell. The Bearcats were solid in his one season, putting up 29.2 points per game and 372.2 yards per game. He was planning to follow Coach Fickell to Wisconsin as pass game coordinator after the season, but jumped on the ND opportunity when he got it. There is a limited sample size to consider here, and it is also tough to evaluate an offense that had just lost Desmond Ridder, but there is potential here. No matter what, Coach Gudugli has proven he can develop quarterbacks, but I would be reluctant to bring on another unproven coordinator. Deland McCullough is another coach who would fall into this category. He has been very successful in his time here and elsewhere, and he could look to make a jump soon. Having no experience as a coordinator, however, this would be a very risky move.





Ultimately, we have little clarity on where Gerad Parker will find himself next season, and this is purely hypothetical. If the recent performance does continue, though, I would hope a change gets made, and there are a lot of good options available.



1 Comment


Guest
Nov 20, 2023

I think Freeman is going to ride with Parker but bring in an experienced elite analyst or offensive coordinator and pair him up with Parker like what Ogeron did at Lsu. Of course he had Joe Burrough and 5 star receivers

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