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Notre Dame spring moves

Notre Dame will open spring practice earlier than at any time Brian Kelly said he remembered in his college coaching career.

And when the Irish kick off their off-season work indoors because of frigid conditions Monday, there will be plenty of coaches and players in new places.

Kelly has new additions to his coaching staff. Brian VanGorder is taking over as defensive coordinator and Matt LaFleur as quarterbacks coach, New graduate assistants former Irish safety Kyle McCarthy and Mike Hiestand, the son of Notre Dame offensive line coach Harry Hiestand, are helping on defense and former NFL fullback Ryan Mahaffey is helping on offense.

Kelly reassigned members of his coaching staff, with the biggest changes coming on defense.

VanGorder will work with the inside linebackers, while also roaming around to the different units as he settles in with the program.

Bob Elliott, who worked with safeties his first two seasons, will handle outside linebackers, and Kerry Cooks, who coached cornerbacks last season, will be in charge of the entire secondary. Mike Elston will continue to work with the defensive linemen.

"What Brian likes to do is move around defensively," Kelly said during his Friday news conference. "It'll give Brian the opportunity to move around a little bit during practice and really have his hands in everything that's going on in particular in the back end of our defense.

"Our corners and our safeties will be very much involved in what we do defensively, not that they are not involved in every defense. They'll be very active in what we do defensively."

Kelly also changed where some of the defensive players will be in the spring.

The biggest change was shifting safety Matthias Farley, who started eight of 13 games last season, to cornerback. Farley's move to corner opens up space at a safety spot that includes Elijah Shumate, Max Redfield, Eilar Hardy, Nick Baratti and James Onwualu, who is moving over from receiver.

Farley will compete for playing time with returning starter KeiVarae Russell as well as Cole Luke in the spring, and the Irish will add Cody Riggs from Florida in the summer as a graduate transfer. Safety Devin Butler underwent shoulder surgery and will not participate in spring practices.

"We think he can be a very good player, especially a tackler, from an outside-in position," Kelly said of Farley.

The offensive changes were not as drastic as Mike Denbrock moves into the offensive coordinator role.

Denbrock will also coach the outside and slot receivers after handling just the outside receivers last season, and Tony Alford will go back to coaching only running backs instead of also working with slot receivers as he did last season. Scott Booker will continue to work with tight ends.

As for the offensive players, Amir Carlisle is listed as a running back and receiver, and Will Mahone, a running back last season, is listed as a receiver.

Kelly said getting the new coaches going has been fun for him leading up to spring practice, but he knows the big thing is putting the team together.

"Here's where we are, we're a talented football team but inexperienced in a number of areas," Kelly said. "It is our job to get those inexperienced players ready to play, and this is the time to do it."