Football: Team signs Frank Verducci as new offensive line coach
Dan Murphy | Thursday, January 15, 2009
Notre Dame announced yesterday that veteran Frank Verducci will be taking over as the new offensive line coach for the Irish.
Verducci, who as coached for several colleges and NFL teams in the past 27 years, will replace former line coach John Latina who resigned after four years with the Irish.
Verducci comes to South Bend from the Cleveland Browns where he served as an assistant offensive coach for two years under Romeo Crennel. Crennel and Irish coach Charlie Weis know each other well from their days as coordinators with the New England Patriots.
“Frank provides an excellent background on both the offensive line and run game in general from two perspectives, having coached several years in professional football and at the Div. I level,” Weis said.
Verducci has been in the NFL for the past decade with the Cincinnati Bengals, Dallas Cowboys and the Buffalo Bills before joining the Browns. During that time he worked primarily with offensive linemen and tight ends.
He has also coached at many major college programs, most notably the ten years he spent at Iowa before leaving for the NFL. In that time, the Iowa offense averaged 170 rush yards per game, including three seasons during which the Hawkeyes rushed for over 200 yards per game.
Notre Dame is hopeful that Verducci can rejuvenate an Irish run game that has been dormant in the past few years. This season, the team averaged only 109 yards per game. In 2007, that number dipped down to 75 yards per game, which was 115th out of 119 FBS schools.
Along with help in the trenches, Verducci is also expected to help on the recruiting trail. He was a recruiting coordinator during part of his career with the Hawkeyes and is known for roping in big talented players.
“In addition, the name Verducci in New Jersey high school football is legendary as both his father and uncle were coaching icons,” Weis said. “This should aid our recruiting efforts in New Jersey and in the Northeast.”
Verducci grew up in New Jersey and played fullback at U.S. Merchant Marine Academy before earning his degree from Seton Hall in 1980. The new coach was not available for comment, but is expected to speak with the media along with other new Irish coaches once all vacancies are filled.
Notre Dame is currently in the process of interviewing for a defensive line coach and an offensive coordinator. Former coordinator Mike Haywood announced the day before the Hawai’i Bowl that he would be leaving to take over as head coach at Miami (Ohio).
Haywood coached the Irish for five seasons and also played for the blue-and-gold during the mid-1980s.
“I tell guys all the time what a great opportunity it is to be a ‘Double Domer,'” he said. “Not many guys have the opportunity to walk through the tunnel for nine years at Notre Dame.”
Jappy Oliver spent four years as a coach in South Bend and announced last week that he would be leaving to pursue other coaching opportunities.