Readers and members of Irish Breakdown knew this was coming, but more and more domestic journalists are learning what we have known for some time, and what has been reported on Irish Breakdown for weeks, that Harry hiestand will return to Notre Dame as the next offensive line coach.
Hiestand and Notre Dame have been working on a contract for weeks, and IB sources say all obstacles have been cleared and the former Irish lineman will be the Irish lineman again.
Of course, Hiestand was Notre Dame’s offensive line coach from 2012 to 2017, and during that time the program became known as O-Line U for its success in producing elite lines and NFL draft pick.
Notre Dame won the 2017 Joe Moore Award, which recognizes the country’s best offensive line, in Hiestand’s final season at South Bend. It could be argued that Notre Dame also had the best offensive line in the country in 2015, two years before this award was created. Of course, this award is named after a former Irish coach, who was part of Notre Dame’s last championship team (1988) and also had a legendary career in Pittsburgh.
Over Hiestand’s six seasons at Notre Dame, he developed four players who went on to become NFL 1st round picks (Zack Martin, Ronnie stanley, Quenton Nelson, Mike McGlinchey), including three that were among the top 10 NFL Draft picks. Notre Dame also had second and third draft picks during that tenure, and three other players Hiestand recruited and coached for at least one season were drafted in the second (Liam Eichenberg, Aaron Banks) and third round (Robert hainsey) one year ago.
Notre Dame’s offenses averaged 204.1 rushing yards per game during Hiestand’s tenure (minus sacks, team runs), up from 191.8 in the four years since his departure and 142 , 7 in the four years preceding his arrival.
Notre Dame’s offense has also averaged 5.83 yards per carry (minus sacks, team runs) over its six seasons, up from 5.41 in the four years since its start and 4.74 in the four years preceding his arrival.
The Notre Dame team in 2015 set a modern program record for yards per game (7.0). In 2017, Notre Dame’s 6.25 yards per carry also set a modern program record.
Despite an emerging tale of his recruiting passions, Hiestand has landed the best classes year after year. He even recruited a player in Jerry tillery who ultimately became a first-round pick on the defensive line. Tillery, of course, was first recruited from Notre Dame as an attacking tackle.
In order for Notre Dame to become a national title contender, a major step has been to bring her offensive line back to levels it had during much of Hiestand’s tenure. The program has grown in other ways since he started, but the line has steadily retreated. The Head Coach Marcus Freeman and offensive coordinator Tommy rees convincing Hiestand to come back gives the program a chance to get his line where it needs to be.
It’s a big blow for both coaches. For Freeman, that gives him one of the best and most respected names in the business. For Rees, more concretely, it gives him an offensive line coach who will certainly be able to improve the physique and production of the running game.
It is the first, and arguably the most important, big domino of coaches to fall in love with Notre-Dame this offseason. This is the first step towards Freeman building the kind of top-down elite personnel his predecessor was never able to build.
Hiestand and Rees clearly have a relationship. The former was the coach of the offensive line for the last two seasons of Rees’ career, including overseeing the line which only saw Rees sacked 8 times in 2013. They also worked together in 2017 when Hiestand was the offensive line coach and Rees was in. his first season as a quarterback coach.
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Content of the Irish breakdown
The alignment of Notre-Dame 2021
Notre Dame 2021 Schedule
Ranking of signatories 2022 – Offense
Ranking of signatories 2022 – Defense
Large Notre Dame 2023 class board
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