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UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME MEDIA CONFERENCE
January 14, 2014
THE MODERATOR:¬† We'll get started here momentarily.¬† Coach Kelly will open with a few statements and then he'll turn it over to Coach VanGorder and after Coach VanGorder is done, we'll turn it over to you for some questions.¬† So at this time Coach Kelly, go right ahead.
BRIAN KELLY:¬† Thanks, Mike.¬† Pleased to take this opportunity to announce our new defensive coordinator, Brian VanGorder.¬† You know, in this process of hiring a staff, for me now going on 24 years, there are so many different things that you look for, but for me it was pretty simple.¬† The first thing I wanted in this position is a great teacher.¬† I think first and foremost when you're talking about the ability to bring together our defensive players, you need the ability to communicate and to teach, and Brian is one of the very best teachers, if not the best teacher, that I've ever been around, and I go way back with Brian.¬† So first and foremost he's a great teacher.¬† I think the second thing that stands out is he understands player development, and so anyone that I want to be around on a day‑to‑day basis has to understand the important principles of player development in bringing them along and really understanding how important it is to get those traits out of our players.¬† They're not ready made.¬† The players that we bring here to Notre Dame, we have develop them, and not just on the football field, but off the field as well.¬† Brian understands that.¬† His background coming with me, starting at Grand Valley State, but before that, being a high school coach makes him uniquely qualified to understand player development, being at the high school ranks, being in division II at Georgia Southern as a head football coach, being in the SEC, obviously being in the NFL, understanding player development was huge in the selection of the defensive coordinator here.
His experience, let's understand that.¬† We're at the University of Notre Dame.¬† We're playing for championships, and so the defensive coordinator needed to have that experience.¬† Brian has that national experience.¬† He's a two‑time Broyles Award winner for the finest assistant coach in the country.¬† So he has that resume, has that experience as a defensive coordinator in the SEC.¬† And he's also sharpened the iron in the NFL as well in building that experience.
He understands Notre Dame and understands the unique qualities that we have here and that you're shopping down a different aisle here at Notre Dame.¬† And he'll understand that and has understood that, you know, knowing Notre Dame just being up the road in Michigan and growing up in Michigan.¬† He knows about Notre Dame and the qualities that we have here.¬† And then finally, in putting together a staff, I wanted to be around people that I enjoy being around.¬† And Brian is the right fit for me and this staff.¬† And I think when you put all of those qualities together, this is an incredibly gifted teacher, educator and the defensive coordinator at Notre Dame and we're lucky to have him.¬† So with that, I want to introduce the new defensive coordinator here at Notre Dame, Brian VanGorder.
BRIAN VANGORDER:¬† Thank you, Brian.¬† And welcome, everyone.¬† It's a great crowd here today, and I'd like to start by thanking Brian and Jack and Father Jenkins for making this transition for me one that's been real enjoyable.¬† As I step into a new opportunity, I look forward to the many challenges that lie ahead as we evaluate right now our defense, and we finish out this recruiting season having spent time, a little bit of time anyway, with the staff.¬† It's a fine staff, and just really look forward to that part of it as we begin to develop here during the off season and schematically build our philosophy and what we want to do.
It's been really interesting in my career at my age and where I've been and thinking back, that when I entered college football after being a head high school coach for seven years down in South Florida, in 1989 I went to Grand Valley State, and Brian and I were together there.¬† And it's not just Brian and myself, but just a lot of guys that were a part of Grand Valley and then later going to Wayne State, and watching how our careers, you know, have kind of gone, really how lucky and blessed many of us have been.¬† But I've really enjoyed watching Brian and the success that he's had.¬† And the one thing I really look forward to are the already established standards and expectations here of Notre Dame and the football program, and certainly the enthusiasm that he has brought to Notre Dame and that I'm going to be a part of.¬† So really look forward to that culture, and for many years I've thought, as I admired Brian as he continually advanced, that maybe some day we'd get back together, and we had such a great time the first time around at Grand Valley, and I hope that we can do the same thing, and I'm sure we will here at Notre Dame.
So again, it's an honor to be here.¬† And at this point in time I'll open it up to any kind of questions you guys have.¬† That's it?
Q.¬† What is it about your past experience coaching with Brian Kelly that you appreciate or that drew you to be in this position here?
BRIAN VANGORDER:¬† Hi, Pete.¬† Well, I think that, again, my first college experience with Brian, we went 11‑0 and we lost in the first round of the playoffs, and again, for my first time around in college football, was nothing but just great memories, and the three years that we spent together involved a lot of success and then it involved a head coach leaving and Brian becoming the head coach and then moving me into the defensive coordinator position.¬† So we just had‑‑ we worked really well together.¬† I think that our players reflected that as you watched them play.¬† And I just think that we have, you know, personalities that worked well together and anticipate that that's remained the same, and we'll enjoy that same kind of relationship here at Notre Dame.
Q.¬† If it's possible to answer this briefly, how would you evaluate the type of defense you intend to run here?
BRIAN VANGORDER:¬† Well, I think that's a good question, but at the same time it's kind of a hard question to answer, just because I've been a part of so much.¬† So I've got those things that kind of hold my philosophy together, but I think that my experience tells me to always do a good job evaluating the current talent, the current players and then make decisions that best play to their strengths.¬† So that's the process that we'll be in right now.¬† I think that no matter what you run schematically, the idea of our players' enthusiasm for what they're doing and their standards and expectations are relative to whatever we do, whether it's 4‑3, 3‑4, all those kinds of things that we like to talk about.
Q.¬† I guess my main question is why leave the NFL when you could have established yourself maybe a little bit more in that capacity?
BRIAN VANGORDER:¬† Well, I think that's a good question, and I think, you know, I think there's a lot of questions in regards to, you know, you look at my resume relative to that.¬† You know, I hear that all the time.¬† But I was very happy in Atlanta as the defensive coordinator with Mike Smith, and I just made a decision at that time to go back into the college game relative to what I considered a very, you know, a top program in the country, and an opportunity that, you know, my sons were going to be with me for at least six years, and that was kind of‑‑ obviously a very important thing at the time.¬† And so anyway, we decided to go ahead and make that move, and unfortunately that didn't work out, and then I'm with the New York Jets and now here.¬† So the decision was based on longevity.¬† It wasn't about what happened.¬† But there's no crystal ball to look into and know exactly what's going to happen, so you try to make good judgment based on the resume of a place or a person and trust that it's going to work out.¬† That one didn't, so‑‑
Q.¬† Obviously you're coming into a situation with a solid foundation.¬† What do you like about maybe the talent that you have seen so far here?
BRIAN VANGORDER:¬† Well, again, when I put the film on, I like‑‑ I like our players' intensity.¬† You can see their body language and enthusiasm.¬† They're all in, and so that's, again, that's the most important thing is you build scheme and all those things moving forward.¬† But that's what I like.¬† I like their enthusiasm and their commitment to excellence and they represent Notre Dame, so that's the way it should be.
Q.¬† Coach, in terms of your personality, how has it been going from the NFL to college to the NFL?¬† How have you adjusted your personality and how have you handled that dealing with those types of‑‑ different types of players?
BRIAN VANGORDER:¬† Yeah, good question.¬† I remember when I went into the NFL to Jacksonville, and a lot of people kind of wondered how will Brian do working into the NFL with his personality and with his style.¬† And I kind of avoided for a couple of years, I had a few calls of interest, and I kind of held off, but when I finally did it, I had a middle linebacker named Mike Peterson, and I was coming from Georgia and he was a Florida Gator.¬† So that kind of engaged some interesting conversation in itself.¬† I think he'd been in the league some nine years at the time, and I was out during‑‑ I was out amongst the guys during flex and I was clapping my hands and I was like, let's go, we're gonna do.¬† And he said, hey, rookie, this is a marathon.¬† And literally that's how the NFL players saw it was this 16‑game schedule and the four preseason games and he was going, hey, it's a long way before we get there.¬† So he kind of was telling me like, you know, slow down a little bit.¬† And that might have helped a little, but I really found that in the NFL, you know, you're just dealing with players that have more experience in the game so their overall intellect of the game is a little bit different, again, of the college player and again, it's really based on the experience that they've had.¬† But in both cases the idea of development which favors the college player, has always been my desire as a coach.¬† So it doesn't matter that he was a nine‑year veteran, I still was trying to work‑‑ might not have been as great of development to develop him into the best player I could on a Sunday, a Curtis Lofton, a rookie in the NFL, total development into a pro player.¬† And again, a college player, you know, feeding them the information and giving them all the things that physically are going to help them become the best that they can be is really ‑‑ there's even more room for that and it's more enjoyable for someone of my personality.¬† So you know, I'm looking forward to that.
And when you think about a 17, 18, 19‑year‑old kid becoming a 22, 23‑year‑old player and the growth that he can have over those years, it's vital that we do the right things and provide that for him, and I really enjoy that.
Q.¬† Just throughout your career whether it was your playing days at Wayne State, high school coaching, college coaching, pros, what are maybe some of the biggest influences on your coaching style and your philosophy that's gotten you to where you are today?
BRIAN VANGORDER:¬† Yeah.¬† Well, I think a lot of, you know, what I represented as a coach when you talk about the integrity of our profession and stuff came from my college Coach Dick Lowry, you know, who is a Hall of Fame coach, but he recruited me out of high school, and I had him at Wayne State University, and his staff really reflected all of those things as a youngster, as a player, and I've tried to stay close to all of those things.
As I moved on, kind of interesting, but when I became the head coach at Wayne State University, I spent a bunch of time down at University of Michigan, and Cam Cameron was the offensive coordinator then.¬† Les Miles was the offensive line coach, and I really was diligent in terms of learning offense.¬† When I became a head coach, I wanted to learn more about offense, and that growth there was, you know, really tremendous for me during that time.¬† And then I spent some great time down at Ohio State with Fred Pagac at the time, and Fred later went to the NFL and picked up a lot of things philosophically that we began to do, but I really think that when I left the University of Georgia and went to the NFL with Jack Del Rio and Mike Smith, I think, you know, they opened the door to so much more respective to the game and the intellectual part of the game.
You know, so whatever it's been now, seven eight years, over the last seven, eight years the growth in that area I think was a good combination for my personality and probably the most important years for me professionally.
Q.¬† And you mentioned sort of in your opening at this point in your career.¬† How do you sort of define this point in your career?¬† Do you sort of look at yourself as more of a college coach moving forward?
BRIAN VANGORDER: ¬†You know, I've always just considered myself a coach, and you know, Brian mentioned I started as a high school coach in a Division II, 1AA into Division I, into the NFL, went back to college, back to the NFL.¬† So you know, I'm a football coach.¬† What's important to me now is the people that I work with that the culture is one that is comfortable, that is shares some of the things of who I am; the culture is right, the standards and expectations are in line, and the mission is clear, you know.¬† That's really what I'm looking for, so the opportunity to be here with Brian and to be at Notre Dame just makes it all that much more special.
Q.¬† Hey, I'm curious, your year with Rex Ryan what you were able to glean from that, and do you feel like there are concepts that you can pull from that experience that will help you as a college coach?
BRIAN VANGORDER:¬† Oh, absolutely.¬† You know, I think this last year in, you know, deciding to go back into the NFL and catch on with Rex has been a real blessing for me.¬† You know, Rex is different than the coaches and different than myself in terms of his approach and, you know, how he sees the game and ultimately schematically how he works and coaches a game.¬† And I think it was invaluable for me, who is really tied in to, again, some core things to really open my eyes again to somebody that's really unique in the business.¬† He's very natural in who he is.¬† I think he sees the game, again, differently and therefore he's created some things from a schematic standpoint that are problematic for offensive coaches.¬† A lot of them just, you know, they don't like the idea of running their offense against Rex because it is‑‑ it's challenging.¬† So it was interesting because all the years as a coordinator and now going back to a linebacker coach to watch Rex install and talk his defense and how my mind was always working in respects to, okay, when I'm a coordinator again, how many I going to take these things that Rex is doing that I really like and incorporate them into the solid system that I've been a part of for so many years.¬† So I was already, you know, thinking ahead and planning ahead in respects to the many things that I'll take from the New York Jets and from Rex.¬† So it was a great influence.
Q.¬† Your style with players, college players, how would you describe it?¬† Is are you loud?¬† Are you laid back?¬† Somewhere in between?
BRIAN VANGORDER:¬† You know, I've always likened, you know, coaching especially college players, you know, similar to, you know, raising kids.¬† And my own kids, I think that, you know, again, high standards and expectations bring about intense moments, and you know, the players will get that with me when it's called for.¬† When it's time to do business, it's time to do business.¬† My expectations are that people are dialed in and focused on the task at hand.
But you know, when it's time to have fun, it's time to have fun, and I think, you know, you have to do that.¬† And you know, we want to drive them hard, but we really want them to know while we're doing that that we care about them, and that's why including in the NFL against the run.¬† I think this last year with the Jets.¬† They were 28 the year before against the rush, and I think this year‑‑ well, I know this year at least rush average per carry, we led the NFL, and for the most part we were way ahead at one point in time.¬† So I think that part of it for me is all about, you know, your toughness.¬† There's something about when a team can run the ball on you in our game, there's something about the toughness factor that affects me and how I feel about it.
Now, the other part of me knows that as the passing game has grown, it's obvious that that's the first place where explosive plays and scoring is going to happen fast.¬† So you know, normally you don't feel that fast progression in the run game as much as a quick 60‑yard pass will equal score.¬† So you gotta stop explosive plays through the air.¬† That's imperative.¬† I think in today's game, you know, your ability to mix your coverages, your looks and all those things have become more and more important and then the pressure part of it that you spoke of, again, that's‑‑ I like pressure.¬† But that's relative to so many things and a lot of times people don't understand that.¬† But that starts with when we pressure them, we're going to play man coverage and behind it.¬† Who's in the man coverage.¬† Is that a strength for a particular player, or what's the matchup in that situation.¬† So again, ideally I'd like to think of myself as a coach that likes pressure, but first and foremost, again, I want to find the strengths and play to those strengths of a player and we'll find out what that is, you know, at Notre Dame.¬† Not a very good answer, was it.
Q.¬† How much contact‑‑ have you stayed in constant contact with Coach Kelly through the years and did your conversations ever get as serious as these conversations got?
BRIAN VANGORDER:¬† Well, no.¬† No, no.¬† Our conversations have never involved a job opportunity with Brian, but certainly we've shared time together, and I would say probably less and less over the last five, six years because we've both been, you know, evolving in rather high‑profile jobs and, you know, both very busy, but we've never hesitated to pick up the phone, whether it's a question about something in football or it was a job question, you know, and consideration.¬† So I think we've always maintained a real healthy respect for one another and certainly a desire to talk over any issues in our careers relative to being colleagues.
Q.¬† And how often have you been to Notre Dame in the past?
BRIAN VANGORDER:¬† Well, interestingly I was here a couple of times with the Atlanta Falcons working out players, and the interesting part of it was when we were at Grand Valley after our second year, Tom Beck, who was the head coach, he came to Notre Dame as a running back coach, and Brian and the staff, we all came down here for a spring practice and spent the day, and I remember how incredible it was, you know, and how excited Tom was.¬† So I'll never forget that day.¬† You know, I've been here three or four times.¬† It's just a great place.¬† You feel it when you walk in.
Q.¬† Any advantages?¬† I know you don't want to say that there are coming from the NFL, but coaching on that level, obviously the highest level, are there any advantages to be derived in coming to the college game?
BRIAN VANGORDER:¬† Oh, I think so.¬† I think so.¬† I mean again, in all fairness, you know, you think about our college job description, and we all know that includes a lot of recruiting and time on the road.¬† And you think in the NFL, you don't do that.¬† You come to work and at 8:00 you put the film on and you start quality controlling and studying football, you know, until 4 or 5:00, and so that's your life.¬† So you just‑‑ you get to dissect and digest.¬† So it gives you the opportunity, I think, to really develop in the game differently.¬† It prepares you for a lot of things.
That's in general, you know.¬† Again, it still comes back to what a coach can take in and how fast he can grasp concepts and such.¬† But it at least offers, I think, the opportunity to learn more about our game.¬† Again, it doesn't guarantee anything, but I think the opportunity is there.
Q.¬† It appears that you've always tended to‑‑ you've always preferred to coach from the side line as a coordinator?
BRIAN VANGORDER:¬† Yes.
Q.¬† Why is that, and will you continue to do that?
BRIAN VANGORDER:¬† I don't know.¬† That's just what I did from the beginning, you know.¬† Maybe when I started there, you know, maybe the press box couldn't fit.¬† But I don't know.¬† But that's just kind of the way it's been.¬† And for the most part, when I was a younger coach, I was the more maybe emotional coach and a little bit more out spoken and such and felt like, you know, as the leader of a group, that I needed to be there, you know, with them.¬† I don't know how I feel about that now.¬† I don't know.¬† I don't know how I'd feel up in a booth looking down on a game, you know, because it's just not been a part of what I've ever done.
Q.¬† Ever spent any time in the booth in any capacity?
BRIAN VANGORDER:¬† You know, I did one year when I went back‑‑ when I went to the Atlanta Falcons, I was a linebacker coach and I was upstairs that year.¬† That's the only time.
Q.¬† How has the game changed being in the NFL and back and forth.¬† How is the college game different from back then do you think?
BRIAN VANGORDER:¬† I think there's‑‑ I would say today that there's more of the quarterback running game.¬† It's more widespread.¬† Now, you know, when I went into the SEC, for instance, Coach Holtz was at South Carolina, and we were seeing a lot of what we are seeing today from South Carolina.¬† So it wasn't‑‑ it wasn't new to us, you know, or new to me in respects to it.¬† And then as‑‑ then that kind of, you know, wild cat series started taking off and defensively we were trying to, you know, kind of catch up with some of that that was going on.¬† And that's kind of what you're seeing more of, you know, that wildcat series, but now it's a quarterback that can run the ball with the threat of the pass, and it just has‑‑ it's changed the numbers.¬† It's changed the numbers in terms of how we see it as a defensive coach, and it naturally creates problems.¬† Now, we've been seeing it grow in the NFL, so you know, in the NFL the coaches are having to deal with it, even though you're just not going to see it as much because of the contact on the quarterback.¬† You won't see anybody just live with that.
So that's changed.¬† Kind of almost a single‑wing kind of idea.¬† I hate to call it that because the passing game often can be very effective.¬† But I think that's changed somewhat you know, the passing game when I was in the SEC when I went in Eli Manning was the quarterback at Ole Miss and Cutler was at Vanderbilt and Lorenz Don at Kentucky, all NFL guys.¬† So you know, a good passing game.¬† You know, I was seeing that years ago, but I just think this more, this what everybody terms as a spread offense with the quarterback's ability to run the ball is, you know, it's changed.
And really, I should say this in respect to all defensive coaches, I think that the tempo game has changed how we see defense and how we evaluate a defensive staff, because you know, we're seeing ourselves now defend some 85, 90 plays in games, you know.¬† And so that's changed.¬† And you know, if you're a defensive coach and your offense is no huddle, you better get ready for that.¬† So you gotta plan way ahead in respects to, you know, the depth of your team and all those things that make sense for success.
Q.¬† When you came to Auburn after spending all those years with the Falcons, was there anything you noticed about, specifically about your coaching style or maybe even your recruiting style that had been colored because you had spent those years in the NFL and sort of knew, you know, what it took to make it in the NFL?
BRIAN VANGORDER:¬† Um.
Q.¬† Like specifically when you went to coach up a player was there anything specific that you said, hey, this worked in the NFL, this is something‑‑
BRIAN VANGORDER:¬† No, not really, you know.¬† You know, because I'm all about‑‑ I love evaluation of players, and I love looking at a player and really finding out what that player can do and then finding ways within the knowledge of scheme to, you know, to take advantage of that.¬† As far as the recruiting goes, I think that, you know, the resume and the experience was a great asset for me to, you know, to talk to guys, and they know that they're going to get NFL terminology and language and a system of the NFL.¬† And you know, I found that to be extremely positive.¬† So no, I didn't feel anything in regards to that.
Q.¬† I know it's still really early on in your violation of players, but a guy like Jalen Smith, the kind of talent he has, have you seen anything out of him already on film that you're excited about?
BRIAN VANGORDER:¬† You know, again, it's too early for me to really comment on that.¬† I am looking at some specifics, but it's too early right now.¬† I'm trying to get an overall feel for the guys.¬† I'm trying to learn their names and do some of that.¬† But you know, it's probably too early and not fair to anybody to make any kind of comment in regards to that.
Q.¬† Regarding just getting back into the recruiting aspect of the business, there are a lot of coaches huffing for the NFL because they want to get away from the recruiting.¬† What was your experience like and has there been anything defined for you yet, whether it's geographically or what your territory might be?
BRIAN VANGORDER:¬† No, not yet.¬† You know, we're at the end of the recruiting, so a lot of things are in place right now, too.¬† So I don't think there's a real need for that, you know, at this time.¬† But I think that Notre Dame will be a special place to recruit.¬† I think that the type of student athlete that automatically has an interest in Notre Dame may be, you know, profiled a little bit different.¬† And I certainly look‑‑ I look forward to that.
But having five children myself and having three of them in college, I certainly know what's going on there.¬† So you know, as a coach in recruiting, you know, you're trying to‑‑ for a set of parents and for a youngster, to try to help them, you know, see what's really real about all of this, and try to paint a picture for them three, four, five years down the road, and I enjoy doing that, you know, with parents and with the high school kids.¬† And that's how I found myself kind of, you know, working it.¬† It's just adding some experience and hopefully a little wisdom in respects to having kids in that situation who are athletes and such, and it's interesting you say about coaches getting away from college, but really, there's a lot of NFL coaches now that have gone back to college.
So you know, again, coaches are coaches.¬† You just enjoy coaching.¬† And that's how most of us, you know, will see it.¬† But I see recruiting as exciting, not as something negative.
Q.¬† And just to follow up on your role having been mainly on the sideline, have you expressed that you would prefer to be on the sideline as the coordinator?
BRIAN VANGORDER:¬† No.¬† We've not talked about anything like that.¬† It's just too early for‑‑ too early for that.
Q.¬† Do you just believe your personality is maybe better suited to be on the field with the players in the midst of the action?
BRIAN VANGORDER:¬† Maybe.¬† Maybe.¬† But you know, my mind tells me let's do a thorough evaluation of everything and then let's make the best decisions for Notre Dame football.¬† We'll see what that equals.
Q.¬† In regard to having experience installing defenses in the NFL and installing defenses in college, do you have a general set plan in the spring when you say, okay, day one this, day two this or do you just kind of see how the players pick it up and then go from there?
BRIAN VANGORDER:¬† Yeah.¬† Definitely, Sean.¬† One of the things, when I went into the NFL, Jack Del Rio and Mike Smith, John Fox before them, Brian Billick before them, that was kind of their football family.¬† That was all a spinoff of Bill Walsh, and so how you quality control and you build a yearly calendar, man, we had it right down to the amount of reps that we were going to get during an OTA and then all the situational football things that were already done for the year, all the way through training camp, and that's kind of how I'm built as I look at it.¬† And again, it's another great way just to make sure that you cover all your bases in respects to the game, and you know, when a particular situation comes up, everybody's comfortable knowing that hey we've done that, we've worked that and we understand that as coaches and players.¬† So it's a part of the game I really, really enjoy.¬† So yeah, but again, we've gotta do some evaluation right now.¬† Coaches, personnel, and then Sean, we can set that kind of thing up.¬† But yeah, it'll be day one of spring ball right through the end and then right into training camp in terms of having it all setup, installs, the whole thing.
Q.¬† I was wondering during the interview process did Brian talk to you at all about your background with linebackers considering Notre Dame there aren't many inside linebackers returning next year?
BRIAN VANGORDER:¬† No.¬† No.¬† We didn't really talk about that.
Q.¬† And your two head coaching experiences what have you drawn from that and how has that molded you as a coordinator?
BRIAN VANGORDER:¬† Well, that's a very interesting question.¬† You know, I took the head job at Wayne State University.¬† Probably one of the most valuable things that I did because we had a program that actually the president at the time had tried to drop football at Wayne State.¬† So it was a fund raising program, and we were competing with 11 scholarships, and I believe that everybody else had like 36 at the time.¬† And I didn't have any full‑time coaches.¬† So I had like‑‑ what did we call them then, restricted earnings.¬† But it was a blast, and you had to learn how to really manage a game, and games for the most part that you were miss matched in terms of personnel, and you had to really build a certain pride about who we were and what we represented to over achieve and we were able to do that at Wayne State.¬† I think we had the first winning season in some 20‑some years there since the football program had been cut.¬† And I love those guys.¬† Those guys were like really, really special.¬† We had an unbelievable thing going on, but I really learned how to manage a game, which is kind of funny, because then it's get it into the fourth quarter, get it into the fourth quarter and give ourselves a chance to win.¬† Funny, you get into the NFL and somewhere around 50 percent of the games come down to the last drive of the fourth quarter.¬† So the management of game and such is so critical, and I learned that a long time ago.
Georgia Southern was a completely different deal, and I gained a total respect for the idea of really what it takes.¬† So a lot of coaches think, hey, I'll take that job and I'll turn that thing and it'll‑‑ in some cases, maybe there's some truth to that, but when you take a place like Georgia Southern, it was a triple option team, and say, we're going to go pro style and the pieces of position profiles just don't‑‑ they don't fit, they don't work, man, you talk about a transition that's nearly impossible.¬† And but to go through something like that and a group of kids and the coaches like‑‑ I know people say, we stuck together.¬† Well, I'm telling you this group stuck together, and they were great coaches.¬† Those coaches are in the NFL, some of them now.¬† I had a great coaching staff, and I know that some people were really disappointed in that event.¬† I'm not as I look back on it.¬† It's another opportunity to learn and, you know, hey, it's an event that you gain experience through and you either choose to learn from it or you despise it.¬† And I've always chosen to learn from all those kinds of things.
Q.¬† You talked about coming here as an assistant with the Falcons and all the other stops.¬† Just curious being a Midwest kid what were your memories of Notre Dame just growing up on TV and maybe even coming over here?
BRIAN VANGORDER:¬† Well, I remember‑‑ the thing I remember first of all was when Coach Holtz was here and Tony Rice and Jerome Bettis, and you know, the National Championship group.¬† That's kind of what I really, you know, his style of offense, you know.¬† I remember when Rick Minter was here.¬† I remember spending a lot of time with Rick and some of the things that he was doing as a defensive coordinator.¬† Ron Cooper.¬† And I remember the offensive and defensive lines were really impressive when I would watch Notre Dame, especially the offensive line.
You know, but seeing touchdown Jesus over the stadium and the golden dome, and you know, again, all the legendary coaches with Knute Rockne and right up through era and Lou at the time doing what he was doing.¬† And the fight song.¬† There's just so many, you know.¬† It's hard to‑‑ you grew up knowing it was a special‑‑ a special, special place.¬† Different than the other places.
Q.¬† Going back a couple weeks, just curious how did seeing the Pinstripe Bowl kind of help sell you making the move here?
BRIAN VANGORDER:¬† Seeing the Pinstripe Bowl?
Q.¬† They were at the Jets facility when they were in New York.¬† Did you get to spend some time around the program?
BRIAN VANGORDER:¬† No.¬† I did not.¬† According to NCAA and NFL agreement we couldn't watch practice or do any of that.
Q.¬† And obviously your relationship and history with Coach Kelly pretty well documented.¬† Just curious what your relationship or past is like with my other members on the staff.
BRIAN VANGORDER:¬† Well, you know, Paul long El, the strength coach was one of my best friends in college.¬† We played college football together.¬† You know, Mike Denbrock came to Grand Valley after I left.¬† So I'd still go back over there and see Mike.¬† I met Mike Elston when he was at University of Michigan.¬† So you know, I've met those guys in the past and been around them.¬† I met Cary Woods many years ago and through our mutual friends and such.¬† So we know of each other.¬† You know, it's not unfamiliar grounds.¬† But a lot of work there, you know, in terms of developing our relationships in the football world.
THE MODERATOR:¬† All right.¬† Thank you, everybody.
BRIAN VANGORDER:¬† Thank you.¬† Thanks again for being here.
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