Notre Dame and offensive coordinator Chip Long have parted ways after three seasons. The 36-year-old Long isn’t leaving to take another job but it’s been reported as a “mutual parting of ways”. Is it ever really “mutual” if someone leaves a good position without a job lined-up? Doubtful. The interesting part is that the Irish (10-2) were in the top 50 nationally in virtually every offensive category this season. The No. 13 ranking in scoring offense is the best of the Brian Kelly Era. The No. 47 ranking in total offense, however, is a drop of 15 spots from last season and 20 spots from 2017.
Why might this have happened after just three seasons and so much success by the offense? Great question and it has to come down to friction between Kelly and Long. Long term there’s talk of Tom Rees at the helm. He interviewed recently for Northwestern’s OC job but didn’t get it. What Rees doesn’t have going for him is experience as an OC and playcaller. Does that really matter though? I’m sure it would make people feel better, but he isn’t new to football.
Overall, in the NFL and in college, there are younger coaches getting opportunities where experience has been a prerequisite. Rees may be a good fit long term, and it’s likely he will get a shot in the short term. Who makes the most sense to call plays in the Camping World Bowl? I think we should let Notre Dame fans on Twitter vote who gets to call the plays, or better yet, just let Ian Book make all the calls a la Terry Bradshaw back in the day with the Steelers. All joking aside, it’ll likely be Rees. It’s not a playoff game.
There’s really nothing on the line other than a win or a loss and they already have 10 wins this year. This is the kind of game where you can essentially give an unproven guy like Rees a shot to call plays. Aside from testing a new playcaller, what’s the biggest thing the Irish can get out of playing in the Camping World Bowl? Little bit of momentum into the off-season, but other than that, they can only hurt themselves. A loss would, once again, be embarrassing. Let’s close the book on 2019 and get ready for 2020, and no better way to do that than a win over Iowa State.