Mike Haywood will leave Notre Dame to be head coach at Miami of Ohio. Beyond loyalty to his alma mater, this type of opportunity brought Mike Haywood to ND. The title "Offensive Coordinator" was an important entry for an already impressive resume.
Funny, I count myself among those who thought he might be fired at the end of this year. The offensive play-calling was suspect in the last seven games of the season. He did not go for the jugular against North Carolina and Syracuse. The play-calling in the Pitt overtimes befuddled me. Overall, his offense was not aggressive and not effective.
To his credit, Heywood developed or helped to develop Kevin Faulk, LaBrandon Toefield, Domanick Davis, Rondell Mealey, and Cecil Collins at LSU. As the running backs coach at Texas, he coached 2004 Doak Walker award winner Cedric Benson. He also worked with and helped develop Ramonce Taylor and Selvin Young.
At Notre Dame, Darius Walker was a 1,000-yard rusher under his tutelage. But, player development particularly on the offensive side of the ball has been suspect for most of his tenure. The fact he is not only the offensive coordinator but also the running backs coach for a team that has never developed a consistent running game was a concern.
Coach Haywood is a gifted recruiter. Mack Brown made him his recruiting coordinator during Haywood’s last year at Texas. That Texas recruiting class included Colt McCoy, Jermichael Finley, Jamaal Charles, Quan Cosby, Roy Miller, and Rodderick Muckleroy. Haywood has been part of an Irish staff that has re-energized the Irish recruiting machine. This group of coaches has elevated Notre Dame back into some analysts’ Top-10 rankings.
As an alum and former football player, Mike Haywood could give recruits the straight scoop on the demands of playing for a school with high academic standards. If Ron Powlus remains with the staff, he may have to fill that role.
The question is whether his proficiency in recruiting was enough to keep him employed as ND's Offensive Coordinator?
I do wish Coach Haywood success, but I still believe that Miami of Ohio did Coach Weis a favor.