Chip Long and Notre Dame have parted ways. With Brian Kelly now looking for a new OC, the future of ND hinges on who he hires. The rumor was Tommy Rees was going to be a lock for the job, then the rumors of Joe Moorhead started. Both coaches would likely bring vastly different results but only one is the right answer.
Moorhead was let go at Mississippi State after just two seasons. Before that he led a great offense at Penn State and also spent time at various other stops along the Northeast.
Moorhead has a proven record of running a great offense, getting the most out of his quarterback and recruiting in the Northeast. Mississippi State wasn’t a disaster, it just didn’t work out. Joe Moorhead gambled – as did Missississippi State – and it backfired. It wasn’t a good fit for either side.
Despite the failure, it shouldn’t be a reason Notre Dame doesn’t pursue him. Moorhead built Fordham into a contender that resulted in three straight trips to the playoff. He also turned Penn State into one of the best offensive teams in the country during his time there. Moorhead has proven he can recruit and coach at a high level. He would also be a great fit for Notre Dame.
Notre Dame may be in the Midwest, but they have a lot of ties on the East Coast. Recruiting in Ohio and Pennsylvania have always been a big deal for Notre Dame. New Jersey is also a place that Notre Dame could tap into some more with Joe Moorhead having experience out that way.
While recruiting and improved offensive play are great, this also fixes some immeditate needs.
Love it or hate it, Tommy Rees isn’t going anywhere with Brian Kelly around. Rees was rumored to be in serious contention for the OC job and it would likely be a disaster.
Rees is an intelligent coach and will one day be a great OC. The problem is his lack of experience in both coaching and with other coaches. Bryan Driskell had a great piece breaking down what Moorhead would be for Rees(here).
Basically that hits on all of my feelings with Rees. He needs more time to grow and learn before being handed the keys to the offense of a playoff caliber team.
Kelly going with Rees would also set Notre Dame back and would kick off the trend of Kelly hiring his friends all over again. Kelly blew up the coaching staff after going 4-8. Only when he was forced to fire his friends and his job was on the line did he pull the trigger. Notre Dame is too talented to set everything back to 2016 and blow this up all over again. Hiring Rees would just put this all back into motion.
Taking The Next Step
Moorhead would be a terrific hire for both immediate and long term future. His excellent record of running an offense combined with his recruiting could bolster Notre Dame immediately. Joe Moorhead would get the most out of Ian Book and could work with the hot and cold QB to get him to hit that elite level he has shown flashes of.
Most important would be the grooming of Tommy Rees. As I mentioned previously, Rees isn’t going anywhere. Letting Rees learn under another coach for a few seasons would get him more prepared to take over when his name is called. Rees has the tools to be a great coach, he just needs more time and experience to figure everything out.
Joe Moorhead may not be the difference of Notre Dame winning a title. However it would be a step in the right direction. He could build off what Chip Long started and elevate everyone around him. If Notre Dame wants to compete, they need to bring in an outstanding staff around Brian Kelly. Joe Moorhead is an important piece.
Started Saturday Tailgate in 2018. Covering all things college football and talking Notre Dame on Twitter.