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Kelly turns over play-calling to Chuck Martin

Apr 14, 2013, 8:58 AM EDT

Chuck Martin

Amidst a thousand high school coaches, Brian Kelly revealed an interesting wrinkle about his own coaching staff this weekend. After being the primary play-caller for the offense in his three seasons at Notre Dame, those duties will be passed on to offensive coordinator Chuck Martin.

Martin, who spent last year running the offense after being the safeties coach and recruiting coordinator in his first two seasons, replaced Charley Molnar as the head of the offense, one of the boldest moves in a staff restructuring after two consecutive 8-5 seasons.

A season after Martin guided quarterback Everett Golson to an impressive rookie season, and the offense replaced the production of Michael Floyd and revitalized its running game, Martin has been given  more responsibility this spring, a move that’ll likely continue into the fall.

“He’s called all the plays in the spring. My sense is that will continue,” Kelly said after Saturday’s practice. “I have full confidence in his ability to play call and my expectations are that that’s the way it will go in the fall.”

Turning the reins of the offense over to an assistant is another step forward for Kelly and the Irish program. With starter Everett Golson the undisputed leader of the offense heading into his second season as the starter, there’s no four-man quarterback race to deal with or inexperienced signal-caller to get up to speed. Kelly’s ability to push the micro-details over to a coach like Martin allows the head coach to implement his vision, but empower his assistants to coordinate those efforts. That’s another step on the path to developing stability and an elite program.

“Look, the head coach is always responsible for the football. Those decisions will still be mine,” Kelly explained. “But relative to play calling, Chuck knows what I’m looking for. He had a lot of impact on our offense last year as well. I have the utmost confidence that we’ll continue to grow offensively because we’ve got a similar philosophy.”

  1. bernhtp - Apr 14, 2013 at 9:35 AM

    I assume Martin will stay up in the booth and send signals in via the red hat guys. This allows Kelly to pay less attention to his headset on offense and do more hands-on coaching.

    Speaking of signals, are there any regulations against this being more automated through technology? For example, Martin (and Diaco) directly controlling the display of a mobile, sideline monitor to show images that represents play signals. You would think this would cut off a few valuable seconds if permitted.

    • idratherbeinsouthbend - Apr 14, 2013 at 3:04 PM


      I’m not certain on this, but with most technology used during an actual content, the NCAA is very “hands on” with their rules to ensure that both teams have the same advantages. So, this would probably only be possible if both teams could use it and it could be used in any venue.

      I’d equate it to the headsets. If one team’s headset malfunctions, i believe that both teams have to stop using headsets until the problem is resolved.

      • idratherbeinsouthbend - Apr 14, 2013 at 3:05 PM

        *** “… during an actual contest”

  2. jerseyshorendfan1 - Apr 14, 2013 at 11:01 AM

    Why did Kelly tell us to “get used to it” when we ultimately didn’t have to?

    • idratherbeinsouthbend - Apr 14, 2013 at 3:05 PM

      He was just trying to piss off FNC111 :)

  3. chicagoirish23 - Apr 14, 2013 at 11:16 AM

    Didn’t Charlie do this with Haywood?

  4. fnc111 - Apr 14, 2013 at 11:26 AM

    Amen!!!!!! Praise the Lord!!!!!!! Perfect article on a Sunday. Chuck Martin is the man and for the first time since Kelly’s face was purple in September 2011 I’m excited about ND football on the offensive side of the ball. I’d get over my disappointment of losing the best skill set QB on the roster, GK, if Chuck uses Hendrix in some wildcat.

  5. 25kgold - Apr 14, 2013 at 1:51 PM

    I really believe that this offense is going to torch a lot of teams this year! With the receiving core we currently have (even without Neal), it’s going to be electric! BK will finally open up his playbook this year, with all of “HIS” players (Charlie Weis’ fingerprints can no longer be found on this team) I expect us to have many games already decided going into the 4Q! This is something that ND hasn’t been able to consistently do in a long long time; not since there was a coach named Holtz in South Bend. Can’t wait to see the faces on these haters when The Irish start lining up W’s again this year!

    Go Irish!

  6. nudeman - Apr 14, 2013 at 2:09 PM

    FTTNTHTYFS,IO (5 things that need to happen this year for success, in order)

    1. Golson MUST stay healthy.
    Any extended TR play means the offense will stink, to put it succinctly. A few series or a quarter here and there if EG is dinged … fine. But if EG goes down with a knee, shoulder, etc that puts his ass on the bench for 4-5 games or more, forget it. And as far as a “package” for Hendrix, whether wildcat or whatever, I’m not dying to see that. Two most overrated things in my lifetime are Y2K and the wildcat offense. Having said that, if he has to play I’d rather see him run the wildcat than drill LBs in the chest with perfect spirals.

    2. WR & RB need to emerge as studs.
    Best candidates are GAIII and TJ. I am highly skeptical of GAIII being anything more than serviceable, and I love TJ but not sure he’s an 80 catch/1000 yard guy. I don’t see Davaris being that either. Both are sort of nice possession guys. Realistically I doubt any frosh WRs make much of an impact, although there is some real talent there. Possible? Yes. Probable? No

    3. Nix and Tuitt need to remain Nix and Tuitt.
    Without them playing at a high level, ND is exposed at LB, especially against fast teams.

    4. A surprise key contribution from a frosh would be nice.
    Best candidates are Vanderdoes and Redfield. How great would the DL looks if Vanderdoes makes an impact and Day steps up? Day was pretty damn good last year and should be even better in 2013.

    5. Obligatory plea for Ishaq to finally “get it”.
    There are four guaranteed rites of every Spring: 1) pitchers and catchers reporting; 2) the azaleas in bloom at Augusta; and 3) Taxes; 4) wondering if the light has gone on for this guy. Uh, Dude? Your time is now. Confidence factor this will happen: 35%

    • bernhtp - Apr 14, 2013 at 2:52 PM

      1. I frankly like Hendrix over Rees, at least for an extended Gholsten outage. His turnover rate is no worse than Rees and at least he has an arm and can run the read option.

      2. Carlisle is a complete stud if he can stay healthy. Mike Frank (ISD) and his partner were shocked about how noticeably faster Amir was than everyone else. His hands are good, making his the versatile back and slot receiver we saw from Theo. Daniels will be good, maybe very good. BTW, did you see the crazy catch Corey Robinson made in practice yesterday? He may be a surprise. Other frosh – Bryant Folston – may step up. We have an enormous amount of talent at different stages of development. A couple will step up and become stars, especially if Golson gets it going.

      3. Correct, we need more Nix and Tuitt – the core of the defense. However, I don’t expect to get exposed at LB the way that you appear to. While the loss of Manti is huge, everyone else is back and developing and we have great talent in Smith coming in.

      4. Safety is a tough spot to materially contribute to as a freshman. I expect Redfield to be mostly used in the two-deep, spot situations, and special teams. I bet Bryant and Jaylon Smith contribute. Vanderdoes will by the second half of the season.

      5. Ishaq appears to be progressing according to reports. He will still play behind Shembo at OLB but will also see time at DE. I think we will see an improved Ishaq more often, but won’t see a sudden transformation to the Incredible Hulk.

    • idratherbeinsouthbend - Apr 14, 2013 at 3:10 PM

      thumbs down for 39 letter acronyms and thumbs up for “Gholsten” references.

      I’d take a more general approach to this “five things” idea….and i would argue that there is a ton of evidence to support this….

      1) Healthy QB
      2) Solid front 7
      3) Turnovers (or a lack thereof)
      4) Limit big plays (talking to you guys in the secondary!)
      5) Turnovers (or a lack thereof) – it’s THAT important.

      • nudeman - Apr 14, 2013 at 9:40 PM

        Turnovers … hah, didn’t even think of that. That was such a root canal going into last year and I openly questioned whether BK could fix that or not. He fixed it in spades, and that was an unmentioned secret to the success of 2012.

        As for the rest of the stuff … Gholsten needs to stay healthy.
        If that and nothing else happens that’s been mentioned here, they’re an automatic 10 win team

        As for Hendrix vs. TR, like choosing between the flu and shingles.

    • irishfbfan1 - Apr 15, 2013 at 6:51 PM


      Nice post! I agree on everything but would like to add that we need someone to emerge as a game breaker on special teams, especially punt returns. We need this phase of the game so bad that in fact it would turn a lot of those close games into blowouts like they should be. It is the very thing that is keeping us from getting to that level we are wanting to obtain. Good teams have good offenses and good defenses. Great teams have good offenses , great defenses, and great special teams!

  7. 11thstreetmafia - Apr 14, 2013 at 2:17 PM

    Who cares what you guys think? Every time there’s an ND, I have sift through your retardedcomments. Btw, go to hell

    • nudeman - Apr 14, 2013 at 2:56 PM

      “Every time there’s an ND I have sift through yourretarded comments”.
      Very well worded.

      On the proverbial 10 pt troll scale I’d rate this about a 2.31.
      Nothing terrible clever; and no discernible point. just a flaming mass, like a MIG fighter jet going down over Hanoi, circa 1968.

      • bernhtp - Apr 14, 2013 at 5:12 PM

        You neglected to quote the “Btw, go to hell” part. That ultra-clever comment must garner an additional .01 on a theologically-sensitive Notre Dame board, right?

      • papadec - Apr 14, 2013 at 6:13 PM

        nude & bern – haters be haters, trolls be trolls – they’re good for a chuckle or two. I consider them a barometer, of sorts – the better ND does, the more they show up, & the nastier they get. Success breeds contempt.

      • nudeman - Apr 14, 2013 at 9:43 PM

        I actually did notice the “go to hell” angle. Actually kinda’ liked it, for some sophomoric reason.
        Not clever but spunky.

        And yes … that was the diff between 2.30 and 2.31.

  8. ndrocks2 - Apr 14, 2013 at 8:34 PM

    When was the last time Martin was an OC calling plays at a D1 program?

  9. 1historian - Apr 15, 2013 at 11:52 AM

    Keith’s comment “That’s another step on the path to developing stability and an elite program.”

    Well said.

    IMO we’ll have to recruit 2 QBs this year. Rees’ eligibility will be exhausted and I am told that Hendrix is in pre-med and will probably be admitted to med school somewhere, so why should he give that up to stand on the sidelines for another season?

    Happy income tax day to one and all!!

    137 and a wakeup!!!

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