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Matt LaFleur to be named QB coach

Jan 23, 2014, 2:40 PM EDT

Robert Griffin III, Matt LaFleur AP

After having smoke around his name for quite some time, former Redskins quarterback coach Matt LaFleur will be named the new quarterback coach at Notre Dame. The news was first reported by the Washington Post.

LaFleur spent the past four seasons as the quarterback coach for the Redskins. He spent two years before that as an offensive assistant with the Houston Texans, working under Kyle Shanahan. He headed to Washington as the quarterback coach when Mike Shanahan was hired and has worked with Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins since they were both drafted in 2012. ┬áHe’s worked in the NFL since 2008.

LaFleur’s connections to Brian Kelly stem back to Central Michigan, where LaFleur was an assistant on Kelly’s staff. He was a quarterback at Saginaw Valley State, starring at the D-II level after transferring from Western Michigan, where he was a wide receiver. LaFleur will be the youngest coach on the Irish’s 10-man coaching staff.

While the Shanahan era ended in disaster this season in Washington, it’s hard to question the hire of an NFL position coach that guided Griffin to the NFL Rookie of the Year award. LaFleur also worked with Donovan McNabb and Rex Grossman.

The news isn’t official yet, with the vetting process at Notre Dame still going on. But Kelly hinted at having a coach in place over a week ago, and LaFleur is the type of hire that makes perfect sense and follows Kelly’s process almost down to a tee, blending pedigree with a personal connection to the head coach.

LaFleur was one of 10 assistants fired by the Redskins after Shanahan was relieved of his duties on December 30. While he’s spent most of his recent years in the NFL, LaFleur spent time at Ashland University, Northern Michigan and Saginaw Valley State, where he played against Kelly’s Grand Valley teams.

  1. dickasman - Jan 23, 2014 at 3:04 PM


  2. dickasman - Jan 23, 2014 at 3:06 PM

    This has got to be like the most longest offensive admin asst hiring process on record. Need binoculars or what?

    Also, are we still hiring a “OC” or we done?

  3. prancerbyanose - Jan 23, 2014 at 3:56 PM

    Any relation Pete LaFleur? (aka “Slugpiece”)

  4. oldschoollyons - Jan 23, 2014 at 6:22 PM

    As a former pro coach who has worked with high profile quarterbacks, LaFleur should appeal to recruits. In addition, he has apprenticed at the job (quarterbacks coach).

    Martin is a heckuva nice guy, and Kelly has made Golson his protege. But I’m not sure how much true expertise either of them has with quarterbacks. Maybe they didn’t want to mess with Golson’s throwing. But neither one taught him to grip the ball by the laces. Whitfield did that right away. That seems pretty basic.

    Kelly also has gone all in with Golson. His own reputation will rise or fall (not completely, but certainly some) with Golson’s success or mediocrity. Kelly has spent almost no time with Zaire. That’s why Malik was so upset when Martin left. His coaching contact was almost all with Martin. So now Malik and Kizer will have a real coach to work closely with. And it may encourage Barnett to want all the more to come to ND.

    Kelly clearly recognizes the importance of the quarterback to any scheme he will try to install. So his hiring a QB coach instead of an outside offensive coordinator may turn out to be a good move. (Or not. We’ll find out.)

  5. domerboyirish - Jan 23, 2014 at 6:36 PM

    Now this is a hire I like! Finally we get a guy that will be specific to the quarterbacks. He’s another guy with NFL ties that can appeal to recruits. He is young and an ex player. He can relate to the kids coming in.

    Now if we can just get an OC and let Kelly be a head coach I think we will be in a great position moving forward.

    • dickasman - Jan 23, 2014 at 8:41 PM



      • tucsonfan - Jan 24, 2014 at 1:06 AM

        FI NALLY! I am so sick of this guy’s stupid trash posts, garbage that reflects terribly on this board and on ND.

        Thank you, Keith.

      • domerboyirish - Jan 24, 2014 at 8:30 AM

        I didn’t get to read it but it must have been a real winner.

  6. irishpuma - Jan 23, 2014 at 10:00 PM

    Nice hire and as we have athletic QB’s in the mold of RG3 its great to get the coach that coached him to major success his rookie year.

    • domerboyirish - Jan 24, 2014 at 8:17 AM

      I really hate to wake up this morning and be the cynic but life recently has made me this way.

      Last I recall, wasn’t RGIII a Heisman Trophy winner? Wasn’t he pretty good BEFORE he arrived in Washington? You could argue that he has regressed while in the NFL.

      I don’t blame LaFleur for RGIII’s injuries, or failure to get along with Shannahan, however, he did work along side a talented young QB which can only help when it comes to the guys currently on the roster.

      • domerboyirish - Jan 24, 2014 at 12:41 PM

        So many thumbs down?!

        Please note, this is domerboyirish and not dickasman. They both start with a ‘d’ so I know that might be confusing for some people that don’t finish reading. One of us is an instant thumbs down. I get that. You figure out which is which

  7. mtflsmitty - Jan 24, 2014 at 7:59 AM

    I refrain from critical comments re BK’s scheme or game day decisions because I’m well aware that the game is vastly more complex than I appreciate. BK knows more than I ever will, and his decisions are infinitely more informed than mine could ever hope to be. However, the playing field for hiring asst coaches is probably a bit more level, and has similarities to hiring decisions in business.

    It seems that personal connection to BK trumps all other criteria, at least as initial litmus. If BK is only going to seriously consider guys from his past then the talent pool narrows considerably. He has to be missing out on a lot of talent. Head coaches need to be excellent administrators, as well as strategists between the lines. I suspect Weis failed so badly because he lacked the ability to run an entire team. Maybe hiring from inside the family is how BK achieves the cohesiveness required. But it seems to me if coaching or playing in MI in the ’90s is the critical filter, a ton of creativity, new thinking, innovation – not to mention important recruiting relationships – are left on the table.

    • domerboyirish - Jan 24, 2014 at 8:18 AM

      Well said

    • ndgoldandblue - Jan 24, 2014 at 12:32 PM

      I agree. Nice post, and definitely an idea that should be pointed out to all interested parties. As a fanbase, we should also remember that, when we gripe about certain aspects of the team not performing up to a satisfactory level, we should remember that Kelly tends to hire assistants that he has previously worked with (either coach to coach or coach to player) in some capacity.

      So far, the Hiestand hire appears to be Kelly’s best so far, and Hiestand is the only coach (prior to this offseason) that Kelly has brought in from outside the program. I’m glad he didn’t promote from within with the def. coordinator and QB coach positions. Hopefully, both of those guys will make as good of an impact as Hiestand has on the o-line.

    • ndnapa - Jan 24, 2014 at 12:47 PM

      I think Kelly is a brilliant administrator and a superb strategist. If you look at his choice of replacements when an asst/coordinator leaves- the replacement is far superior to the former. His 2nd round of appointments has been exceptional, eg Hiestand, Van Gorder, LaFleur. And each of them were not only well-acquainted with Kelly, but also were veterans of the NFL-the top echelon of the coaching profession.

      It’s pretty amazing how Kelly has set up his staff. He has been very even-handed about keeping all of his coaches happy, including getting them competitive salaries. But what he is especially adept at is keeping the essential coaches in place while the non-essentials look to further their careers. The only coach who really left for a parallel situation was Warriner, IIRC. At the time, Hiestand was getting pillaged in Knoxville, but Kelly didn’t hesitate in nabbing him, although they had not worked together. Now, ND’s OL love Harry and he has proven to be unexpectedly excellent as a recruiter.

      Diaco was not a good recruiter and he is being replaced by a much more effective recruiter, and I believe, a much better coordinator. Alford is a great recruiter, and he is still here and thriving. Elliot is happy with his place in life and in the defensive backfield. Cooks is an up-and-comer who is being smartly promoted. Same with Elston.

      He’s smart to look first at guys he has a history with, IMO. Those guys have also excelled since they first met.

  8. paulhargis53 - Jan 24, 2014 at 8:36 AM

    I get sick of the trolls too. Never adding anything of value in the comments.

    We are here to talk ND football.

    12-0 next year!

    • domerboyirish - Jan 24, 2014 at 9:02 AM

      Somebody hacked Paul’s account…

  9. paulhargis53 - Jan 24, 2014 at 10:16 AM

    Nope, that’s pure sarcasm on my part.

    • domerboyirish - Jan 24, 2014 at 11:57 AM

      uhhh, I figured that one out all by myself…

    • italianirish - Jan 24, 2014 at 12:00 PM

      You know it’s a good joke when you have to explain it. Keep it up Paul!

  10. paulhargis53 - Jan 24, 2014 at 12:07 PM

    No, the joke is that any of you still respond to me.

    • domerboyirish - Jan 24, 2014 at 12:44 PM

      I’ll respond to you for any serious football discussion. Unfortunately many posts on this site typically degrade so quickly that I usually tune out.

  11. irishdog80 - Jan 24, 2014 at 4:30 PM

    Look at all the losses during the Kelly era and you will see that our opponent either had a much more talented QB than us or their QB flat outplayed our QB. The 2011 season was the most glaring with Daniels of USF, Denard at Michigan, Barkley at USC, Luck at Stanford and EJ at FSU all outplaying our QB at critical junctures in each game.

    This hire can only help Golson, Zaire and Kizer reach their potential and lead to many more victories.

    Go Irish!

  12. mayesdays - Jan 24, 2014 at 8:01 PM

    Looks like the Irish get a DT commit tonight, Pete Mokwuah from NY. he is 6’5 305. Anyone know anything about this kid? A must needed DT so awesome to see!

  13. jem5b - Jan 24, 2014 at 8:56 PM

    Mokwuah is a Staten Island kid. Had been committed to Ruptures(see Lou Holtz).
    Not a ton of offers, and NY both the city and state are not known for their football prowess.

  14. mediocrebob - Jan 24, 2014 at 9:12 PM

    And yeargins leaves

  15. fnc111 - Jan 24, 2014 at 9:16 PM


  16. jem5b - Jan 24, 2014 at 9:51 PM

    Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) University School four-star linebacker Richard Yeargin III has decommitted from Notre Dame.

  17. fnc111 - Jan 24, 2014 at 9:54 PM

    Time to start recruiting the Midwest and Northeast more. Almost always, the decommits come from western or southern based children like RY.

  18. mayesdays - Jan 24, 2014 at 10:05 PM

    From what I’ve read his decommitted wasn’t a surprise. By no means is it a good thing, but now sign Cage or Sawyer as well. DT is more important in my opinion. We shall see. It always gets interesting with ND and national signing day.

    • 1historian - Jan 26, 2014 at 8:30 AM

      10 days to go. How many will we steal from other programs, how many will be stolen from us?

      How many more scholarships do we have to offer?

      • irishpuma - Jan 28, 2014 at 2:27 AM

        3 -4 spots

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