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Football: Warriner leaves KU to lead O-line

Michael Bryan | Tuesday, January 19, 2010

After directing explosive offenses the last three years as the offensive coordinator at Kansas, veteran coach Ed Warriner joins Brian Kelly’s staff for next season coaching the offensive line. While Warriner has never previously coached with Kelly, when he saw an opportunity to come to South Bend, he went right after it.

“It was an interesting process, because obviously the one thing that had to happen was that someone like [former Cincinnati offensive line coach] Jeff Quinn left the Cincinnati staff and became head coach at Buffalo,” Warriner said. “The day I saw that, I said ‘There’s going to be a job open at Notre Dame with Coach Kelly, and I’m interested.’ I was very interested.”

Warriner said his personal background had much to do with his interest in eventually working at Notre Dame.

“Being that I’m from the Midwest and my wife and I have raised our family Catholic and so forth, this place has a lot of very, very high interest,” Warriner said. “I immediately aggressively pursued contact with Coach Kelly.”

Warriner brings 26 years of coaching experience to the Irish and has coached offensive lines in 13 of the past 18 seasons. He has coached the lines at Army, Air Force, Kansas and Illinois, and he said his experience working with the spread offense in Lawrence and many different types of offenses throughout his career gave him a strong résumé.

“The offense I ran at Kansas had a lot of similarities to [Kelly’s]. I think that was intriguing to him too, that we had a lot of success there just like they did at Cincinnati,” Warriner said. “Football is teaching and coaching fundamentals relative to what system you’re in, and the advantage I have of coaching a lot of different systems and a lot of different places and a lot of different kids is anything we want to do offensively, I’ll have some kind of perspective on that, and the different issues each kid has.

“We’ll be able to find ways to make them better.”

With the Jayhawks, Warriner’s offenses had great success, averaging 35.3 points per game from 2007-2009. Under his guidance, Kansas quarterback Todd Reesing led the Big 12 in total offense his senior season and as a result, Warriner was one of three finalists for the American Football Coaches Association Assistant Coach of the Year Award.

“When I was out there looking for offensive line coaches, believe me, there was a long list that that had a great interest in coming here to Notre Dame,” Kelly said. “Ed stood out with his personality, his quality traits, his reputation in the profession and then the diversity he brings relative to coaching different systems.”

Warriner will have to deal with the losses of veteran leaders Sam Young and Eric Olsen to his new unit, but does return experienced starters in rising junior Trevor Robinson and fifth-year seniors Dan Wenger and Chris Stewart.

“Once I have some time on a weekend once we finish up recruiting, I’ll have some time to go over some tape and make some evaluations,” Warriner said of his new personnel.

In recruiting talent for the future, Warriner said he will be in charge of many of the same geographic territories he recruited at Kansas and years before. Those will mostly include Ohio, Kansas City and St. Louis.

While he has coached in a similar system the past three seasons, Warriner said he looks forward to learning from Kelly’s version of the spread while also utilizing his years of experience.

“There’s tons of things I’ll be able to learn and I think I’ll be able to make some strong contributions as well,” Warriner said. “I’m familiar though with being in the shotgun, being with three or four wide receivers on the field and not necessarily being concerned with a number of runs and passes but what’s the best way to score points.”