Replacing one of the country’s best offensive line coaches was always going to be difficult for Notre Dame. Irish coach Brian Kelly will count on familiarity and continuity to be the differences in doing so, promoting offensive analyst Jeff Quinn to offensive line coach Tuesday.
Quinn has been with Notre Dame for three years to date, having previously worked with Kelly for two decades from Grand Valley State to Central Michigan to Cincinnati.
“[Quinn] has an accomplished track record of not only identifying but also developing outstanding offensive linemen,” Kelly said in a statement. “Jeff also understands the high standard of offensive line play at Notre Dame, having been part of the offensive staff the last few years. He will continue to develop the culture necessary to produce college football’s top offensive line.”
Obviously, that offensive line is due to regress in 2018, with coach Harry Hiestand taking the job with the Chicago Bears and two first-round draft picks, left guard Quenton Nelson and left tackle Mike McGlinchey, headed to the NFL, as well. Nonetheless, the unit returns four starters and has a talent pool rivaled by few programs in the country.
“There’s a tremendous legacy of coaching the offensive line at Notre Dame, from Brian Boulac to Merv Johnson to Joe Moore to Harry Hiestand,” Quinn said. “As each of these men will tell you, the focus of this job has been and always will be about the best interests of the players in the offensive line room, both on and off the field.”
Quinn and Kelly parted ways when the latter took the Irish coaching job. Quinn was all set to join the Notre Dame staff then, but Buffalo offered him a head coaching opportunity. He went 20-36 in four-plus seasons with the Bulls, highlighted by an 8-5 showing in 2013, finishing second in the eastern division of the MAC.
Throughout his 20 years with Kelly, from 1989 to 2009, Quinn always had a hand in the offensive line, holding offensive coordinator duties throughout that stretch, as well.