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DAVID CUTCLIFFE: QB expert coached Mannings to No. 1 pick

Pat Leonard | Friday, April 22, 2005

Having Charlie Weis as a head coach already has given Irish quarterback Brady Quinn a noticeable advantage in understanding the signal-caller position and the team’s new offense.

So Quinn can only imagine what David Cutcliffe will add.

Cutcliffe, Notre Dame’s new assistant head coach of offense and quarterbacks coach, is currently recovering from a March 9 triple-bypass surgery to remove blockage revealed in a routine stress exam. In the meantime, Weis is keeping Cutcliffe updated on the progress this spring.

“We send him tapes [of practice] from each week that he gets to watch because it kind of keeps him in the mix,” Weis said. “Rather than him feeling like he’s not part of it, it makes him feel like he’s part of it.”

Once Cutcliffe fully recovers, he will return to South Bend from his home in Mississippi to provide expertise in the position that will prove vital to the success of Notre Dame’s season come the fall of 2005.

A head coach for six seasons at the University of Mississippi (1999-2004), Cutcliffe guided the Rebels to a 44-29 record.

Prior to his stint with the Rebels, Cutcliffe spent 17 seasons on the Tennessee staff, beginning a trend of developing high quality college-level talent into NFL-caliber players.

Cutcliffe has coached eight players who became first-round NFL draft picks, including Ole Miss quarterback Eli Manning (New York Giants) and Ole Miss running back Deuce McAllister (New Orleans Saints).

At Tennessee, Cutcliffe was the mentor when Eli’s brother Peyton Manning set 42 records and became the SEC’s all-time leading passer. Cutcliffe also coached future NFL quarterbacks Tee Martin and Heath Shuler.As offensive coordinator at Tennessee from 1993-98), Cutcliffe’s unit led the SEC in offense three times.

Weis spoke with Cutcliffe Tuesday morning and said the assistant coach was in good spirits.

“His workouts – his rehabs – have now been extended,” Weis said. “Each thing that was one minute at one time is now five to ten minutes, and he felt good that his stamina has been much better. And he said he’s … felt better now for over a week.”

Cutcliffe could not be reached for comment.