Blue and Gold Illustrated

Sept. 29. 2014 Issue

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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Page 109 of 112

THE FIFTH QUARTER LOU SOMOGYI T here is a tra- dition at any s c h o o l o f hyping the new, even when the old was quite successful. Shortly after the retirement of Notre Dame icon Ara Par- seghian and the hiring of Dan Devine in De- c e m b e r 1 9 7 4 , a banner was unfurled at an Irish basketball game that read, "Ara was fine, but Dan's Devine." Several years later, "Faust Fever" en- gulfed the campus when Moeller High whirling dervish Gerry Faust replaced the less inspiring Devine. In the spring of 1997, Sports Illus- trated featured a huge spread on the positive energy new coach Bob Davie brought to the program while replac- ing the set-in-his-ways Lou Holtz, who had shepherded his own renais- sance with the Irish. This happens with coordinators, too, especially on defense. In the 32 seasons since 1983, Brian VanGorder became the 14th defensive coordinator at Notre Dame, which means the av- erage stay has been 2.3 years. B o b D i a c o ' s four-year reign ( 2 0 1 0 - 1 3 ) u n - der head coach B r i a n K e l l y, prior to accept- ing the UConn h e a d c o a c h - i n g p o s i t i o n , was almost like overstaying a welcome. S i n c e 1 9 9 9 , the "ND" acro- nym to many stood for No D e f e n s e , e s - pecially during the Charlie Weis era (2005-09). Under the Kelly/Diaco re- gime the past four years, though, only eight teams yielded fewer points per game than Notre Dame. Yet for all the progress and success, there was restlessness among the fan base, if not irritation, about Diaco's bend-but-don't break style and rigid "profiling" of players during recruit- ing. Even Kelly seemed to say so much last spring upon the hiring of SEC and NFL veteran VanGorder. "When I hired Bob to come here, we needed to build consistency and stabil- ity with our defense, and he's certainly answered the charge that I had given VanGorder Taking The Offensive On Defense Brian VanGorder (right) — shown with Greg Mattison, who served as Notre Dame's defensive coordinator from 1997‑2001 — has already made a positive impact for the Irish. PHOTO BY JOE RAYMOND

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