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.”