Blue and Gold Illustrated

Oct.10, 2016

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

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Page 18 of 55 OCT. 10, 2016 19 BY LOU SOMOGYI F rom head coach Brian Kelly's perspective, all Notre Dame coaches, staff and players are on audition for the rest of the 2016 football season after a dismal 1‑3 start. In the case of Greg Hudson, en‑ trusted to coordinate the Fighting Irish defense after the Sept. 25 ouster of Brian VanGorder, Kelly even used a musical analogy. "We'll write the music, and he'll be the lead singer … if that makes any sense," Kelly said of Hudson's new role. "He's going to be out front, but he just got here." In other words, the defense will have Kelly's fingerprints on it, with an emphasis on more simplification and less personnel packaging. As the season progresses, Hudson's role is likely to expand, but in the early stages it will be more about uplifting his troops' morale. "Greg has been empowered to bring the energy, the enthusiasm, the passion, the morale, the camarade‑ rie," Kelly said Sept. 27, four days be‑ fore the Syracuse game. "I need those things from Greg. I'll worry about the implementation, the scheme. I'll take care of that for him right now. "As he gets more comfortable with what we have and what our system is about, then he will be much more involved in what we do." Few personnel movements in Notre Dame football go undetected, but the arrival of Hudson last sum‑ mer was as under the radar as they come. Fired as Purdue's defensive coor‑ dinator at the end of a 2‑10 season last year, Hudson was seen at a Notre Dame practice last spring as a visitor after having been in coaching for a quarter century. A few months later, Kelly brought Hudson aboard as one of two new defensive analysts. "Any time that you can bring on experienced coaches to your staff, I'm going to look to do that," Kelly said of adding to Notre Dame's sup‑ port staff. "Greg was available to work here in that capacity, and we jumped at it." The hiring of former Notre Dame All‑American defensive back Jeff Burris (1990‑93) as the other defen‑ sive analyst was a little more pub‑ licized, overshadowing Hudson's hiring. Recruited in head coach Gerry Faust's final Notre Dame class in 1985, Hudson saw action in 1986 and 1987 as a backup linebacker/ special teams contributor, but he did not play as a senior, and eventually joined the baseball team as a catcher. "He loves Notre Dame, knows Notre Dame," Kelly said of Hudson. "He's got great spirit on the defen‑ sive side of the ball, and bringing him here, we're looking for some more experience and brain power and we got that. "I thought Greg was the perfect fit to bring that energy level up to where I want to see it." Hudson's dossier is replete with connections to Notre Dame: • He was a graduate assistant on head coach Lou Holtz's 1993 team that finished 11‑1 and No. 2 in the country. • From 1994‑96, he was the offen‑ sive line coach for Skip Holtz, Lou's son, at Connecticut. The two reunited at East Carolina from 2005‑09 when Hudson was the younger Holtz's de‑ fensive coordinator and linebackers coach during a successful five sea‑ sons with the Pirates. • From 1997‑2000, Hudson served under head coach Rick Minter — Notre Dame's defensive coordinator in 1992‑93 and 2005‑06 — in various roles at Cincinnati, starting on of‑ fense before moving to defense and being promoted to assistant head coach. Under head coach Glen Mason, Hudson was a recruiting coordinator and defensive coordinator at Min‑ nesota from 2001‑04, highlighted by a 10‑3 season in 2003 before rejoining Holtz. Hired by new Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher in 2010, Hudson was an assistant head coach and line‑ backers coach the next three seasons with the Seminoles, which included an 18‑14 Champs Sports Bowl victory over the Irish in 2011. When Darrell Hazell was named Purdue's head coach in 2013, he se‑ lected Hudson as his defensive coor‑ dinator. Unfortunately, a 6‑30 record from 2013‑15 while the Boilermakers finished 95th, 83rd and 111th in total defense led to the firing of Hudson and other staff members at the end of 2015. Because he was with the Notre Dame team through August camp, Hudson has an idea of the personnel, but most of his job description has had him involved in the film room. "This will be a new relationship that he'll be building with the defen‑ sive players," Kelly said. "We want to keep terminology effectively the same, but you'll see some certain tweaks that I feel like are necessary and some things that I know that as a group, that we will collectively come to an agreement in our best interests." Hudson and everyone else on that side of the ball will be counted on to hit the right notes on a defense that has been off key several years. ✦ The NEW Voice Notre Dame graduate Greg Hudson takes over as defensive coordinator Hudson is a 25-year coaching veteran with 13 years of experience as a defensive coordinator. PHOTO BY BILL PANZICA

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