Blue and Gold Illustrated

February 2017

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

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28 FEBRUARY 2017 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED Long was the tight ends and full‑ backs coach at Illinois from 2010‑11. His first coaching job was as a gradu‑ ate assistant at Louisville (2006‑07), working with the quarterbacks and receivers. He then moved to Arkan‑ sas, where he was a graduate as‑ sistant working with the tight ends from 2008‑09. "Chip has experience coaching at almost every position on the of‑ fensive side of the ball," Kelly said. "He's worked for and learned from some of the most respected offensive minds in college football — Bobby Petrino, Mike Norvell and Jeff Brohm — to name a few." In mid‑December, Long reportedly received interest from Ole Miss for the Rebels' offensive coordinator job. Just as importantly, Long has a stel‑ lar reputation as a recruiter. He was recognized as one of the nation's top 25 recruiters by Rivals in 2015. Rivals listed Long as one of the best recruit‑ ers in the Pac‑12 Conference from 2012‑14. Long was the lead recruiter for Arizona State wide receiver Jaelen Strong, who earned 2014 All‑Amer‑ ica honors and was a third‑round selection by the Houston Texans in 2015. Long also nabbed four‑star run‑ ning back Jason Lewis from Vir‑ ginia and four‑star safety Jay Jay Wilson during his time with the Sun Devils. ✦ Notre Dame's offense will undergo a significant change this offseason. Gone is former offensive coordinator Mike Sanford, plus associate head coach and play caller Mike Denbrock. Making his arrival is new offensive coordinator Chip Long, who will assume full control of the Notre Dame offense. Head coach Brian Kelly will still be heavily involved in the offense, but for the first time since 2013 the Irish will have one man in charge of coordinating the offense and calling the plays. Do not expect Notre Dame's 2017 offense to look like what was on the field from 2014-16. There are four primary areas where Long's background will have the biggest impact: 1. Increased tempo: For the past five seasons, Long has been part of an offense that liked to push the tempo. During that stretch — which includes a season at Memphis and four at Arizona State — those offenses averaged 1,024.6 plays per season and 77.6 plays per game. Notre Dame averaged just 880 plays per season and 68.8 plays per game in that time. Notre Dame averaged 434.0 yards per game over the last five seasons. If it averaged the same number of plays per game as Long's offenses, its average would jump to 484.4 yards per game. Pushing the tempo not only benefits numbers, it puts more pressure on defenses, which now must defend more plays each game and play at a faster pace. It also forces defenses to be more basic in their defensive structures and alignments. 2. Formational versatility: Notre Dame spent the vast majority of the 2015 and 2016 seasons in its "11" personnel, which has one running back, one tight end and three receivers on the field. Long's offenses certainly made use of that personnel grouping and the formations that go with it, but it was just part of what they did. Under Long and Michael Norvell — the head coach at Memphis and former offensive coordinator at Arizona State — the personnel groupings, forma- tions and motions were more diverse. 3. Spread the ball around: Ever since Kelly gave up play-calling duties following the 2012 season, the Notre Dame pass game has become overly reliant on wide receivers. Notre Dame's backs and tight ends averaged just 57 receptions for 619 yards and 4.8 touchdowns per season over the last four campaigns. In the three years (2010-12) with Kelly calling plays at Notre Dame, his backs and tight ends averaged 102 catches, 1,134 yards and 6.3 touchdowns per season. Long's background is similar, with tight ends and backs averaging 88 catches, 928.4 yards and 11.2 touchdowns per season. Expect to see production from those positions increase in 2017. 4. More screens: Part of the production drop at running back and with the slot receivers is due to Notre Dame's de-emphasis of the screen game. The number of screens called by Notre Dame coaches decreased each of the last three seasons. Long's offense relies more on screens to backs, receivers and tight ends. Greater emphasis on the screen game will likely lower Notre Dame's yard per play average, but it is expected to create a more efficient offense. — Bryan Driskell Rivals recognized Long as one of the nation's top 25 recruiters in 2015. PHOTO COURTESY ARIZONA STATE Chip Long's Impact On The Irish Offense

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