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ROB IANELLO: Ianello leaves Alvarez in Wisconsin

Bobby Griffin | Friday, April 22, 2005

Rob Ianello came to Notre Dame with one heck of a pedigree.

Joining the Irish as the wide receivers coach and the recruiting coordinator for the start of the 2005 season, Ianello has already worked with an established coach in Wisconsin’s Barry Alvarez.

Ianello spent the last two seasons with the Badgers, coaching tight ends under Alvarez – the winningest football coach in Wisconsin history.

“My time with Coach Alvarez was great, it was a great background for me,” Ianello said. “[Working with Alvarez] enlightened me to some things about coming to Notre Dame prior to myself coming here.”

Just a few months into his new job, Ianello has already expressed how much he enjoys working with Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis.

“It’s been a very valuable experience,” Ianello said. “It has been very positive.”

It was difficult for Ianello to compare the two coaches, as both have unique ways of running a team.

“Everybody has their own way of doing things,” he said. “Both guys have had incredible success [in doing things] their way, and we’ll have that kind of success here.”

Last season, Ianello helped the Badgers to a 9-3 record and an appearance in the Outback Bowl.

The Irish could use that type of success following two subpar years under Tyrone Willingham.

Before joining Wisconsin, Ianello spent six seasons as wide receivers coach at Arizona.

Ianello expects much out of a talented group of Irish receivers including Rhema McKnight, Maurice Stovall, Matt Shelton and Jeff Samardzija.

With the maturation of Brady Quinn under Weis, those expectations might not be hard to fulfill.

“As a group, I’m really pleased [with] where we are mentally,” Ianello said. “We are learning what to do. Now the next step is learning how to do it.”

McKnight led the Irish in 2004 with 42 receptions for 610 yards and two touchdowns. Shelton, coming off an ACL injury, was second on the team with 20 receptions for 515 yards and six scores.

Ianello spoke about improvement he’s seen this spring.

“We have a veteran group, when you have a veteran group of guys that have played a lot then there are some things that hopefully come naturally,” he said.

Notre Dame fans will have the opportunity to see how well the receivers are coming along under Ianello Saturday at the Blue-Gold game.

And if the coach’s success at Wisconsin is any indicator of what is to come for Notre Dame, the Irish have a bright future.