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Hiestand named OL coach and run game coordinator

Jan 25, 2012, 12:29 PM EDT

Harry Hiestand, Frank Omiyale, Roberto Garza

After having his name surface a few weeks ago, Harry Hiestand has officially been named to the Irish coaching staff, replacing Ed Warinner as both offensive line coach and run game coordinator. Hiestand is a 29-year coaching veteran that’s spent significant time in both the NFL and collegiate ranks.

After spending the last two seasons in Tennessee, Hiestand returns to the Midwest, where he spent four years coaching the Chicago Bears offensive line, and eight years in the Big Ten with Illinois.

“Harry is one of the best offensive line coaches in college football, and we are fortunate to have him on our staff,” Irish head coach¬†Brian Kelly¬†said in a statement. “When I was searching to fill this position, I asked some of the most respected offensive line coaches in football whom they would recommend and Harry’s name was routinely mentioned as one of the best. His history of developing NFL-caliber offensive linemen speaks for itself, and I know our linemen will learn a lot from him.”

We’ve already spent significant time discussing Hiestand, whose strong reputation might have dimishe thanks to the incredibly raw talent he was given these past two seasons in Tennessee. In his two seasons in Knoxville, the Vols failed to crack the top 100 in rushing offense, though they finished 30th and 50th in passing offense while making gigantic strides protecting the passer, jumping from 116th in the country in Hiestand’s first season (giving up 41 sacks), to 34th (giving up 18 sacks — one fewer than the Irish offensive line).

Of course, qualifying those statistics is important. As Notre Dame published in their official release, Hiestand’s 2010 offensive line was one of the most inexperienced in football, returning only three total starts to the entire line while forcing three true freshmen into the starting lineup. Still, the Volunteers had a 1,000 yard rusher in Tauren Poole, only the 16th in Tennessee’s history, who tied for the SEC lead with six 100-yard games. Hiestand saw his freshmen turn into sophomores in 2011, but still coached one of only seven offensive lines in D-I football that didn’t play a senior.

As for his fit in the spread offense, some have wondered how Hiestand’s blocking philosophies will mesh with Kelly’s principles, namely spending more time zone blocking than Hiestand has done in the past. In quotes released by, Hiestand addressed those concerns quickly.

“The fundamentals of line play are critical no matter what type of offensive system you are in,” Hiestand said. “Blocking people is about leverage. Blocking people is about getting your helmet where it belongs and getting your pads below someone else’s pads and knocking them off the ball. Being fundamentally sound fits any system. We are going to work on being fundamentally sound. We are going to work on blocking people for the duration of the play.”

Even better, for those looking to play the “return to glory” card, Hiestand also mentioned his connection to former Irish offensive line coach Joe Moore, the legendary teacher who is the gold standard at Notre Dame.

“He had a tremendous impact on me,” Hiestand said of Moore. “Joe was one of those people who you either gravitated to him or not–and there was no in between. I was one of those who gravitated to him, and he taught me a lot about offensive line play. Most of the things I teach have been influenced by what Joe taught. Once that started and we spent that much time together, then I became very close with him as he went back and was coaching high school. He and his wife, Fran, and his family–I was able to be a part of him up until his death.”

Hiestand officially finalizes the changes on the Irish coaching staff. For those looking for a quick look at what’s happened since the bowl game, here’s a quick breakdown of the staff changes:

2011 to 2012 — Coaching Changes
HC: Brian Kelly (unchanged)
OC: Charley Molnar to Chuck Martin
OL/RG: Ed Warinner to Harry Hiestand
RB: Tim Hinton to Tony Alford or Scott Booker
WR: Tony Alford or Scott Booker
TE: Mike Denbrock (unchanged)
DC: Bob Diaco to Diaco and Kerry Cooks (Cooks named co-DC while Diaco adds Asst. HC)
DL: Mike Elston (unchanged)
LB: Bob Diaco (unchanged)
CB: Kerry Cooks (adds co-DC)
S: Chuck Martin to Bobby Elliott

  1. nudeman - Jan 25, 2012 at 12:57 PM

    Yawn ……………….

    • idratherbeinsouthbend - Jan 25, 2012 at 1:05 PM

      right, yawn, because it’s not an exciting story about recruits or a flashy name added to the coaching list (like, for example, Dave Campo). But it’s a good hire.

      • nudeman - Jan 25, 2012 at 4:39 PM

        Well … yes, right.

        This is like a Presidential candidate getting excited about carrying Rhode Island.
        Not saying Keith shouldn’t report this.
        But you must admit there are a few more interesting things we’re all hoping to get updates on.

      • tedlinko - Jan 28, 2012 at 1:29 PM

        Actually, that sounds like exactly what you’re saying (or at least implying). Otherwise why did you bother posting? if it isn’t interesting to you, just don’t read it.There’s plenty else on the internet to keep you busy until there’s some recruiting news.

    • gtizzo - Jan 25, 2012 at 7:31 PM

      I agree there are things we want to hear more like “Darby pledges to ND”. This is also important as Keith pointed out there could be more rushing in the Irish offense next season. Solid offensive line coach goes a long way towards the Irish actually running the ball inside the 20 versus passing into tight coverage with inaccurate QB’s…just a thought.

      • jimbasil - Jan 26, 2012 at 11:22 AM

        Running inside the 20 ill behooves Kelly (it sends a message of very little confidence in the Oline and his RB’s). He’d rather throw into tight coverage when the game is on the line or when ND really needs to score for the lead or game momentum change than to give into game tried and true game pilosophy (hence the C. Weis syndrome of being smarter than the rest). FSU – Tulsa. I doubt much will change unless he allows Martin complete control in calling the O. If you think this is wrong headed, first remember who he had throwing the ball.

  2. idratherbeinsouthbend - Jan 25, 2012 at 1:03 PM

    I think this is a good hire. Everywhere this guy has coached he has produced quality running games, with the exception of Tennessee. And to be honest, with the Tennessee recruiting classes and SEC defenses, I’m not sure anyone could have succeeded at that position.

    The only thing that could be a bit challenging is seeing his ground pound mentality fit into BK’s spread offense.

  3. irish2011 - Jan 25, 2012 at 1:25 PM

    That’s funny nudeman that’s what I do when I read your comments … Yawn

  4. nudeman - Jan 25, 2012 at 4:10 PM

    One has to be impressed with how quickly ND made this happen.

  5. fields2 - Jan 25, 2012 at 4:41 PM

    love this staff.

  6. 9irish - Jan 25, 2012 at 10:08 PM

    I don’t know…just like all of these recruits, I don’t have a clue right now but time will tell. Coaches know other coaches, so if Kelly believes in the guy then I’ll buy it.

    I think things are shaping up pretty well…but we’ll have to see.

    Go Irish

  7. idratherbeinsouthbend - Jan 26, 2012 at 2:05 AM

    2012 wins? Care to venture a guess?

    • 9irish - Jan 26, 2012 at 3:44 PM

      That’s pretty cool how you do those polls. I’m pretty much in the 10-2 camp (they’ll probably beat somebody that they probably shouldn’t and one of those losses will go against a scrub…seems to be a pattern) we shall see…great teams pop up unexpectedly all the time, and we are due.

      Go Irish

      • nudeman - Jan 26, 2012 at 4:08 PM

        I voted 10-2 I think
        That assumes Golson or Kiel takes the snaps this year
        If it’s “you-know-who”, all bets off

      • 9irish - Jan 26, 2012 at 7:48 PM

        oh yeah…if they don’t figure out that QB mess and stick with it, I might be in the 6-6 camp.

      • idratherbeinsouthbend - Jan 26, 2012 at 11:06 PM

        You guys really think Kiel has a horse in the race? I wouldn’t bet one way or the other, and while we have seen nothing on Golson either, i don’t see an 18 year old kid starting for BK unless its a necessity.

      • 9irish - Jan 27, 2012 at 5:32 AM

        No, I wouldn’t say that. Afterall, I hope not, because all these other guy would be hanging in the wind if Kiel starts (and I doubt that). Rees was definitely a stop gap guy that did a hell of a good job…but they just have this log jam at QB that is going to determine alot over the next few years.

      • 9irish - Jan 27, 2012 at 5:39 AM

        PS: When I said Rees did a hell of a good job, I mean he played his best. sometimes that was more than enough..other times, not so much. Some bad luck in there, too.

  8. domer77 - Jan 26, 2012 at 10:18 AM


    Yawn??????? What…no go “F” yourself Hiestand? You are indeed slipping in your daily punishment to all comers. Guess your loading up for signing day, huh?

    Hey, here’s an idea, since you have taken to leveling criticism at Keith on almost a daily basis, why don’t you create a syndicated column of your own. That way, your plagiaristic tendencies can be exposed to all and you will be off of this site on a permanent basis. We all win.

    In the now infamous words of one George Costanza, “My work is done.”

    • nudeman - Jan 26, 2012 at 10:45 AM


      You have anything to add on ND football?

      Tapping foot now, sipping coffee, waiting for you to log back in as UAW or Goat.


      Your stuf is so-o-o-o tired

      • domer77 - Jan 26, 2012 at 11:24 AM


        I am no more “goat” or “UAW” than you are an alumnus of Notre Dame. We do share one common thread and hence your tired attempt to lump all 3 together. But, you know already what that is, don’t you. Now, go do something productive today. You will feel better about yourself. After all, nowhere else to go but up.

        Go Irish

      • nudeman - Jan 26, 2012 at 11:28 AM


        Got anything to add on ND football?

        It would be a first for you, you tired, urine soaked old lady

      • 9lirish - Jan 26, 2012 at 11:34 AM

        The fearsome threesomes stuff is so tired? there is something about a kettle and a pot in all this….

        What would you call your “contributions” then Nude? Let me summarize your pathetic existence on this website:

        1. You are a wannabe Domer
        2. 4,697 posts re: Tommy Rees sucking
        3. 378 posts re: Keith Arnold sucking
        4. 10,456 posts telling an 18 year old to “go F yourself”
        5. 125,763 posts of regurgitating information from other blogs
        6. 783,321 posts of nothing substantive

        All in all a stellar showing in my book!! ND football and society as a whole is greatly indebted to you sir –

        for this I send you a virtual GOLD star – painted with the actual helmet paint (and not the old paint either)!!!!

      • nudeman - Jan 26, 2012 at 11:49 AM

        You don’t really deserve a response but I’ll do it anyway. Slow day.

        Wannabe Domer? Not really. Couldn’t afford it, but things worked out fine. Guys like you though make me glad I didn’t go there. Insufferable.
        Rees: Never once said he “sucks”. I don’t write that way. Always try to say he’s a good kid, etc. But like 99% of them other posters here, I don’t think he’s a good D-I college QB. I’m sorry – do you disagree?
        Keith: Never said Keith “sucks”. I love his site. Like others here have also said though, I just wish he’d put more info out there.
        F Bombs: Have used F Bombs no more than 3-4 times. Sorry.
        Regurgitating from other blogs: Occasionally if I find something worthwhile from another blog, I’ll post it. Many people have said “thanks” to me. For example, I was the first to post here that Gunner was wavering at LSU. Found that elsewhere. If Keith wrote more material I wouldn’t bother. And that’s not a criticism of Keith. I think his plate is full and he does more than just this blog.
        Non substantive posts: Just curious, how would you describe UAW/domer/goat’s posts? Because I’ve never once seen “them” post s single thing on ND football. Not once.

        I’d really like to see an answer to that last one.

      • nudeman - Jan 26, 2012 at 8:17 PM

        So … can I get an answer?
        UAW/goat/77domerasswipe … substantive?

  9. larrynamesauthor - Jan 26, 2012 at 11:37 AM

    This is a great hire. Football game are won and lost in the trenches. It’s an old adage, but it’s still true. Since he left the Bears, their offensive line has been worse than suspect. The Irish have the talent on the O-line. Now they have someone who knows what to do with that talent.

  10. andy44teg - Jan 26, 2012 at 12:01 PM

    Just heard Schiano is leaving Rutgers to go to the Tampa Bay Bucs. Hope we can swing some of those pledges our way! A guy like J.J. Denman would be a nice O-Lineman to swing to ND.

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