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Irish fire Minter after torching

Mike Gilloon | Wednesday, January 17, 2007

After surrendering 42 points to LSU in this month’s Sugar Bowl, it appears the Irish are set to change defensive coordinators.

The South Bend Tribune reported Jan. 13 that New York Jets defensive backs coach Corwin Brown will be named Notre Dame’s defensive coordinator, replacing the fired Rick Minter.

The paper also reported that quarterbacks coach Peter Vaas had been let go along with Minter, and that Notre Dame director of personnel development Ron Powlus will take over as quarterbacks coach.

University officials declined to comment on the reported coaching moves.

This is not the first time that Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis has worked with Brown. Weis was an assistant with New England when Brown was drafted by the Patriots out of the University of Michigan in 1993. The two both moved to the New York Jets in 1997 and worked together until 1999, when Brown joined the Detroit Lions.

Brown joined the Jets in 2004 and was a holdover during the team’s transition from head coaches Herman Edwards to Eric Mangini.

Under Brown’s tutelage in New York this season, Jets safety Kerry Rhodes developed into one of the AFC’s premier defensive backs.

In his second year, Rhodes had 98 tackles – including 75 solo – in 16 regular season games, four interceptions and nine passes defended. In two years in the league, Rhodes has 203 tackles, six sacks and five interceptions.

As a unit, the Jets secondary surrendered 201.4 yards per game in 2006. A year earlier, the Brown-led unit was second in the NFL, allowing an AFC-loe 172.2 yards per game.

Brown, 36, received a degree in English from Michigan in 1993 and first coached at Virginia, where he led the Cavaliers special teams. He is a graduate of Chicago’s Julian High School, a Public League school on the city’s south side.

During his playing days in the NFL, Brown had three interceptions. Two came in his final season as a pro, while he had the other in 1998 with the Jets. In college Brown also had three picks – one in each of his final three seasons.

This will be the first college coaching job for Powlus, a former Notre Dame quarterback. He will help coach Notre Dame freshman quarterback Jimmy Clausen, who many analysts say is the most hyped Irish recruit since Powlus arrived on campus in the fall of 1993.

Powlus finished his Notre Dame career with 20 school records, including marks in total offense (7,479 yards), passing yards (7,602), completions (558) and pass attempts (969) – all of which were broken by outgoing Irish quarterback Brady Quinn.