Ordinarily, when play-calling duties change hands, folks have to go research what's coming next. For Notre Dame, with Brian Kelly assuming the play-calling, no digging is required.
Kelly called plays for his first three seasons at Notre Dame, took a year off and now he is back at it. Irish fans know exactly what they are getting—a high-level play-caller who is itching to watch the offense continue to improve.
Following the departure of 2013 play-caller and new Miami of Ohio head coach Chuck Martin, the South Bend Tribune's Eric Hansen reported that Kelly would be retaking the team's play-calling duties in 2014.
The head coach stopped just short of calling last season frustrating, but did point out that he was pleased with the quarterback situation and wanted to be more involved.
Kelly is a guy who can push the offensive limits when given the right tools. With Tony Pike, Mardy Gilyard, Armon Binns and Isaiah Pead in Cincinnati, Kelly threw the ball around the yard, challenged defenses with the run and made life miserable for defensive coordinators and their players.
Entering 2014, the Irish have the same type of weapons on their roster and Kelly is looking to prosper.
DaVaris Daniels, out for the spring due to academic reasons, returns to pace a loaded group of pass-catchers. As TJ Jones moves to the next level, the young guns who showed up in 2013 will be back to provide capable options. Corey Robinson, Chris Brown, William Fuller, CJ Prosise and James Onwualu all got to see action and will be quality targets down the field for an offense that should take the steps toward being more high-octane.
On the ground, expect Kelly to continue to use the one-two punch of the bruiser Cam McDaniel and the talented Tarean Folston.
Even with new pieces along the offensive line, expect Kelly to find success running the ball. He's going to spread teams out, play the numbers game in the box and, as opponents adjust to play the team's plethora of receivers, use Folston and McDaniel to gash teams with the run.
And, of course, there is Everett Golson.
Kelly's first run calling plays for Golson was about keeping the training wheels on and protecting his young quarterback from getting over his skis. With a more mature Golson, a Golson who has plenty to prove and a strong command of the offense, Kelly will work the plays to maximize the talent.
For Notre Dame fans, that means look for the zone read—a concept that was useless in 2013 thanks to the quarterback situation—to make a triumphant return.
Golson's a sound pocket operator, but his athleticism expands the playbook and will tie the offense together in a way that should cause problems for defenses.
Everyone, from Notre Dame fans to the college football world as a whole, knows what the Irish are getting with Kelly taking back the play-calling duties. Between the receivers, Golson and Kelly, 2014 should be a year when the Irish offense looks the way folks have been expecting it to since the head coach was hired away from Cincinnati.