With a little over two weeks until spring practice, Notre Dame’s extended football staff is coming into focus. With zero turnover among the full-time assistant coaches, news is beginning to trickle in that Brian Kelly has added some additional staffers to the program.
FootballScoop.com reported that the Irish have added former Southern special teams coordinator Marty Biagi to the coaching staff. He’ll serve as a special teams analyst for the Irish after coordinating the special teams for Southern, where he was a finalist for the 2014 FootballScoop Special Teams Coordinator of the Year.
Biagi wasn’t even technically eligible for the award but was added to the nominees anyway with a ridiculous 2014 season, just part of a special teams juggernaut he’d had a hand in building at Southern:
Biagi is not eligible for the overall FootballScoop Special Teams Coordinator of the Year award as it is strictly an FBS award, but Biagi’s work with the Southern special teams was so impactful they deserved mention among the finalists. Southern notched an incredible eight special teams touchdowns this year, as three separate players returned kickoffs for a total of four touchdowns, returned three punts for touchdowns and blocked a punt for a score. The eight special teams scored are believed to be an FCS record. The Jaguars have notched a total of 14 special teams touchdowns in the past three seasons.
Notre Dame’s special teams took a huge step forward in 2015, impressive work considering the Irish were breaking in a first-year punter, kicker and return man. Biagi will certainly bring more fresh eyes to the conversation in the coaching room, assisting Scott Booker as the Irish hope to take another step forward.
In addition to Biagi, CoachingSearch.com reports that Central Arkansas linebackers coach Harland Bower is coming to South Bend to join the Irish staff on the defensive side of the ball. Bower has a connection to both Kelly and defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder, spending part of his collegiate career playing for both.
Bower could potentially fill the vacancy former Irish captain Maurice Crum left after he took a full-time position coaching in the secondary at Indiana State. Crum served as a Graduate Assistant last year for the Irish, working with Todd Lyght in the secondary. Bower has spent time at Rutgers and Troy on his way up the ladder.
Notre Dame hasn’t confirmed the hires, as the standard extended HR process continues. Expect that to change when Kelly addresses the media before the start of spring practice.