Notre Dame Football: Changes Start With a New Defensive Coordinator

Dan ScofieldAnalyst INovember 9, 2010

Just nine games into his young, Irish career, Bob Diaco is already feeling the heat.

And just like his predecessors, including the likes of Jon Tenuta, Corwin Brown and Rick Minter, Diaco's head is being called for.

Notre Dame is no longer known for its grueling, hard-nosed defense like it was back decades ago. Gone are the days of hustle, effort and sound tackling and as of late, the present day includes inconsistency, frustration and a whole lot of nothing to show for the defense's "production."

As of late, South Bend is where defensive coordinators go to die. Coming in with high expectations and great potential, these coordinators are constantly revolved out the door as if they were short-term girlfriends that never developed into anything more than a phase gone terribly wrong.

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Diaco's defenses performed well enough to win at Cincinnati. With Brian Kelly taking the job at Notre Dame, it was only fitting to welcome Diaco to South Bend with open arms, no matter how unqualified he may have been for the position at one of the most prolific football programs in the history of the game.

Now, sitting nine games in, Notre Dame finds themselves sitting at an ugly 4-5 record. Shredded by both the Navy and Tulsa offenses the past two weeks, Diaco now has some questions to answer.

Why is this defense so terrible?

We all know this unit has its limitations and question marks all over the field. The secondary depth, the lack of elite pass rushers and of course, Brian Smith at the linebacker position. However, there is enough talent on the defensive depth chart in order to field an at least average defense in terms of numbers.

Kelly is the mind behind the offense. Just like Charlie Weis, everyone knows he is better off focusing on that side of the football and handing over the defense to his coordinator and assistants. However, putting that much responsibility in Diaco's hands was mistake No. 1 for Kelly at Notre Dame.

It may be hard for him to do, but Kelly must ship him out at the end of the year. After all, it's Kelly that will be under the spotlight and take the heat after yet another abysmal and disappointing season for the Irish.

If he wants to take a step forward, he must take action, and that begins with his staff. Diaco will be a good coach elsewhere, but his bill does not fit what it takes in South Bend thus far in his young career.

Who would be a suitable replacement? It's hard to put a finger on a select few, but Irish fans will tell you that they would drool over the idea of getting an experienced defensive coordinator with the college resume.

In the end, the call is up to Kelly. 

Will he ship out the dead weight, or move on putting faith in such a disappointing leader with his entire defense?