Chicago Sun-Times
with Mark Lazerus

Irish defensive coordinator Bob Diaco sure to be a hot commodity

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Bob Diaco has only addressed the media twice this season -- once during Media Day back in August, and once during Notre Dame's bye week -- and that's just the way he likes it. He's clearly not big on talking about himself. So perhaps it's no surprise that Irish coach Brian Kelly said Tuesday that he and Diaco haven't spent much time talking about the future, even as Diaco's name gets bandied about as the annual head coaching carousel gets ready to start spinning.

"I want to provide all of my coaches an opportunity, if it advances their career to a leadership position," Kelly said. "We want to be able to give them that opportunity. But quite frankly we don't spend much time talking about it. You know Bob, he doesn't want to talk about it. And he didn't come to Notre Dame to be the head coach somewhere else. He came to Notre Dame to help win a national championship. We've got a lot of work left. But if the right situation comes for Bob and he comes to me and asks me to give him advice on it, I certainly will."

Diaco surely will be a hot commodity after developing the Notre Dame defense into the nation's top scoring defense this season, his third as coordinator (he came over with Kelly from Cincinnati, where he was defensive coordinator for one season). He also was promoted to assistant head coach this season, and Kelly made it sound like Diaco is ready to run his own program should he decide the time is right.

"I think he clearly understands that it's more than just fielding a team on Saturday," Kelly said. "He did before he got here. That's why he's been with me. But I just think he has a great sense of Notre Dame and what Notre Dame means and how important it is that it's not just about football. I think any great head coach is going to have to have more than just an understanding of Xs and Os. You've got to understand the players, and you've got to understand the university and how to work within that entire setting. I think Bob really knows that well."

Russell cleared
Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said that freshman cornerback KeiVarae Russell, who suffered a head injury on Saturday at Boston College, was cleared to return to practice on Tuesday.

"He was cleared today to participate," Kelly said. "He passed a number of his tests -- the software test was the last hurdle for any concussions, and he passed. And he'll practice today."

The computer test Kelly mentioned is the one that quarterback Everett Golson had failed after his concussion against Stanford, which delayed his return by a day. Golson didn't play the following Saturday against BYU, but Kelly expects that Russell will be available.

Senior moment
Saturday's game against Wake Forest will be the final home game for many Irish players, but Kelly wants to keep them focused on football, not on sentimentality.

"Yes, it is your last home game, but we've got a lot in front of us," Kelly said. "What you'll remember the most is whether you win the game, not that it's your last home game. So make sure that you keep the distractions to a minimum. And if there's any emotion, let that be after the game."

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This page contains a single entry by Mark Lazerus published on November 13, 2012 5:57 PM.

Irish defense gets a boost from Irish defense was the previous entry in this blog.

Notre Dame's Lewis-Moore ready for his senior moment is the next entry in this blog.

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