Courtesy of South Bend Tribune

Report: Bob Diaco to interview at Boston College


File this under the category of not unexpected, but still worth a worry. A report out of, the Rivals’ Boston College affiliate, is reporting that Notre Dame defensive coordinator Bob Diaco will interview for the Eagles head coaching job. Veteran scribe Mark Blaudschun, who has a great handle on the B.C. athletic department, thinks the interview will most likely happen on Monday.

The defensive coordinator of the No. 1 team in the country, and the architect of the nation’s top scoring defense, will always garner attention in the coaching market. And with a ton of high profile jobs still on the market, you have to expect a young, enthusiastic coach like Diaco to get some attention.

For reference, here’s a look at the open jobs on the market:

Boston College
Southern Miss
Western Michigan

At this point, you can likely cross off any non-AQ jobs for Diaco. With his star on the rise, there’s no reason for Diaco to take a stepping stone job like the one at UTEP, Southern Miss or Western Michigan, though Diaco spent the 2004 season coaching special teams and linebackers for the Broncos.

Diaco is the antithesis of the SEC, so you can all but cross off Arkansas, Auburn, or Tennessee from this list as well. While Colorado and Cal are intriguing options — Bladschun mentioned that Cal met with Diaco in Chicago this weekend — the academic profile at Berkeley is a good fit, but a coordinator moving to their first head coaching job with next to zero experience on the West Coast would be a daring hire by Sandy Barbour.

That leaves Boston College and Purdue, both places that should take a long look at Diaco. With Diaco’s roots in the Northeast, he’s got a great grasp of the area and has had success recruiting the East Coast for the Irish. While the Eagles’ role in the ACC isn’t necessarily the strongest, and Boston College’s facilities aren’t up-to-snuff when compared to the rest of college football’s elite, it’s certainly a great first head coaching job, and the academic and spiritual aspects are a great fit for Diaco.

Of course, any reports of an interview are a long way from Diaco getting hired. As a first time head coach, Diaco might not be ready to be a major program’s CEO, and a major media market like Boston might take some shots at a coach that doesn’t always come off as eloquent in his dealings with the press.

No time is a good time to lose a key assistant coach, and the month of prep before Notre Dame’s first national championship chance in 24 years certaintly is no exception. But Diaco is certainly worth of an extended look, and credit new Boston College athletic director Brad Bates for checking on the Irish’s dynamic defensive coordinator.

Even amidst chaos, Kelly expecting USC’s best

JuJu Smith-Schuster, Rocky Hayes, Blaise Taylor

USC head coach Steve Sarkisian was fired on Monday, with interim head coach Clay Helton taking the reins of the Trojan program during tumultuous times. Helton will be the fourth different USC head coach to face Notre Dame in as many years, illustrative of the chaos that’s shaken up Heritage Hall in the years since Pete Carroll left for the NFL.

All eyes are on the SC program, with heat on athletic director Pat Haden and the ensuing media circus that only Los Angeles can provide. But Brian Kelly doesn’t expect anything but their best when USC boards a plane to take on the Irish in South Bend.

While the majority of Notre Dame’s focus will be inward this week, Kelly did take the time on Sunday and Monday to talk with his team about the changes atop the Trojan program, and how they’ll likely impact the battle for the Jeweled Shillelagh.

“We talked about there would be an interim coach, and what that means,” Kelly said. “Teams come together under those circumstances and they’re going to play their very best. And I just reminded them of that.”

While nobody on this Notre Dame roster has experienced a coaching change, they’ve seen their share of scrutiny. The Irish managed to spring an upset not many saw coming against LSU last year in the Music City Bowl after a humiliating defeat against the Trojans and amidst the chaos of a quarterbacking controversy. And just last week, we saw Charlie Strong’s team spring an upset against arch rival Oklahoma when just about everybody left the Longhorns for dead.

“I think you look at the way Texas responded this past weekend with a lot of media scrutiny,” Kelly said Tuesday. “I expect USC to respond the same way, so we’re going to have to play extremely well.”

Outside of the head coaching departure, it’s difficult to know if there’ll be any significant difference between a team lead by Sarkisian or the one that Helton will lead into battle. The offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach has been at USC for six years, and has already held the title of interim head coach when he led the Trojans to a 2013 Las Vegas Bowl title after Lane Kiffin was fired and Ed Orgeron left the program after he wasn’t given the full time position.

Helton will likely call plays, a role he partially handled even when Sarkisian was on the sideline. The defense will still be run by Justin Wilcox. And more importantly, the game plan will be executed by a group of players that are among the most talented in the country.

“They have some of the finest athletes in the country. I’ve recruited a lot of them, and they have an immense amount of pride for their program and personal pride,” Kelly said. “So they will come out with that here at Notre Dame, there is no question about that.”

Irish add commitment from CB Donte Vaughn

Donte Vaughn

Notre Dame’s recruiting class grew on Monday. And in adding 6-foot-3 Memphis cornerback Donte Vaughn, it grew considerably.

The Irish added another jumbo-sized skill player in Vaughn, beating out a slew of SEC offers for the intriguing cover man. Vaughn picked Notre Dame over offers from Auburn, LSU, Miami, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Tennessee and Texas A&M among others.

He made the announcement on Monday, his 18th birthday:

It remains to be seen if Vaughn can run like a true cornerback. But his length certainly gives him a skill-set that doesn’t currently exist on the Notre Dame roster.

Interestingly enough, Vaughn’s commitment comes a cycle after Brian VanGorder made news by going after out-of-profile coverman Shaun Crawford, immediately offering the 5-foot-9 cornerback after taking over for Bob Diaco, who passed because of Crawford’s size. An ACL injury cut short Crawford’s freshman season before it got started, but not before Crawford already proved he’ll be a valuable piece of the Irish secondary for years to come.

Vaughn is another freaky athlete in a class that already features British Columbia’s Chase Claypool. With a safety depth chart that’s likely turning over quite a bit in the next two seasons, Vaughn can clearly shift over if that’s needed, though Notre Dame adding length like Vaughn clearly points to some of the shifting trends after Richard Sherman went from an average wide receiver to one of the best cornerbacks in football, and Vaughn will be asked to play on the outside.

Vaughn is the 15th member of Notre Dame’s 2016 signing class. He is the fifth defensive back, joining safeties D.J. Morgan, Jalen Elliott and Spencer Perry along with cornerback Julian Love. The Irish project to take one more.

With Notre Dame expecting another huge recruiting weekend with USC coming to town, it’ll be very interesting to see how the Irish staff close out this recruiting class.