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Notre Dame

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New roles for Notre Dame, Rutgers assistant coaches

– Notre Dame and Rutgers have had to get used to new voices leading into Saturday’s Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium.

The No. 25 Irish have interim offensive and defensive coordinators, and the Scarlet Knights have an interim defensive coordinator.

“Less yelling,” Notre Dame receiver TJ Jones said Thursday as to what having a new offensive coordinator has been like.

The Irish lost offensive coordinator Chuck Martin on Dec. 3 when he became the head coach at Miami (Ohio) and defensive coordinator Bob Diaco took over at Connecticut on Dec. 11.

Notre Dame moved Mike Denbrock, the team’s outside receivers coach and passing game coordinator, to offensive coordinator and Kerry Cooks, the team’s cornerbacks coach and co-defensive coordinator, to defensive coordinator.

Rutgers special teams coordinator Joe Rossi took over as defensive coordinator for Dave Cohen, who was fired Dec. 8. All three assistant coaches said they are concerned only about Saturday’s game and are not treating their interim roles as auditions for next season.

“Any of that other stuff about grooming and the expectation of will I remain in this role, will I not remain in this role is not even on my mind,” Cooks said.

Denbrock said one of the changes for him has been bringing a plan to Kelly for the head coach to give his final approval or changes to.

“I’ve kind of just taken one step to the left or the right, or whichever direction you would call it, and kind of take information from all the other guys from the offensive staff (to Kelly),” Denbrock said. “I’ve just tried to present the different ideas that we’ve had and present them to Brian and let him decide where he wants to go with it.”

And while the coaches are doing different things professionally, they all said they were not trying to reinvent their units.

“You’ve got to work within the scheme and the things that are already in place,” Rossi said. “When you get in that type of situation, you have to look at what you have been doing and try to do it better and try to it in a way that can help you win a bowl game.”

tkrausz@jg.net

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