NEW YORK – Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said he had found his next defensive coordinator after Saturday’s 29-16 victory over Rutgers in the Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium.
But the coach couldn’t say who it is because the contracts were still being finalized.
That didn’t stop news from leaking out that the Irish will hire New York Jets linebackers coach Brian VanGorder to replace Bob Diaco, who left to become head coach at Connecticut.
NFL.com and CBS Sports reported Saturday night that VanGorder, 54, will come to Notre Dame.
VanGorder was Aubrun’s defensive coordinator in 2012 before he came to the Jets, and before that spent four seasons as the Atlanta Falcons defensive coordinator.
VanGorder is a Michigan native and was on the staff with Kelly from 1989-91 at Grand Valley State. When Kelly became the head coach at Grand Valley in 1992, VanGorder became the head coach at Wayne State.
Kelly suspended running back George Atkinson III and backup cornerback Jalen Brown hours before kickoff of the Pinstripe Bowl for violation of team rules.
Atkinson, who was second on the team in rushing with 555 yards, gave some insight of why he didn’t play before the game. The junior posted on his Twitter account: For those of you who are wondering I was suspended from today’s game for texting friends and family during team meal, as i did all season.
Atkinson’s post was quickly deleted. The running back had submitted paperwork to the NFL to be evaluated for the draft.
I haven’t made that decision, Kelly said of whether Atkinson’s future with the team is in jeopardy because of the suspension.
Brown, a junior, played in two games this season.
Martin gets MVP
Irish left tackle Zack Martin had a rare honor for a lineman when he was named MVP of the Pinstripe Bowl.
It’s a great honor, said Martin, who has started a school-record 52 straight games. They had to choose someone, so they chose me, I guess.
Notre Dame freshman Max Redfield made his first start against the Knights, marking the 19th different player to start on defense for the Irish this season. He had one tackle.