While nothing should be considered confirmed until it's released publicly by the Notre Dame sports information department, we feel we have a pretty good idea of who will fill many of the vacant slots on new Irish coach Charlie Weis' staff. If what we hear is true, this would be an outstanding start for Weis and the new era of Notre Dame football.
We feel strongly that the new Notre Dame offensive line coach will be John Latina. Latina recently coached at Ole Miss under former Rebel head coach David Cutcliffe. Latina had agreed to coach the offensive line at South Carolina under new coach Steve Spurrier before changing his mind and joining the Irish staff. Latina is widely considered one of the best line coaches in the country.
We also feel strongly that the new defensive line coach will be Jerome "Jappy" Oliver. Oliver most recently coached defensive line with former Irish coach Lou Holtz at South Carolina, and spent eight seasons coaching defensive line at Air Force prior to accepting the job at South Carolina. Oliver is widely known as an outstanding defensive line coach in coaching circles.
Another former South Carolina coach also appears to be headed to Notre Dame. Former Irish defensive coordinator Rick Minter is said to be joining Weis' staff as the defensive coordinator. Minter coached two seasons at Notre Dame under Lou Holtz before taking a head coaching position at Cincinnati.
Former Ole Miss head coach David Cutcliffe is also rumored to be joining the Irish staff. Many expect Cutcliffe to coach the quarterbacks at Notre Dame, but his position on the staff remains a mystery at this point. Cutcliffe has won a National Championship at Tennessee as an offensive coordinator and his credited with the development of both Eli and Peyton Manning into to top NFL picks.
Also rumored to be joining the staff is special teams specialist Richard Bisaccia. Bisaccia coached with Weis while both were at South Carolina in the late 80s and is said to be a good friend of Charlie Weis. Bisaccia also coached with Cutcliffe and Latina at Ole Miss, and also served as the recruiting coordinator at Clemson before joining the Ole Miss staff.
We've also heard four more names linked with vacant Notre Dame positions on Weis' staff, but we've not been able to confirm these names as hired through various sources. We do believe all four are likely candidates for the remaining positions, however.
Former Irish player Michael Haywood is also said to be mulling over an offer to become the Notre Dame offensive coordinator. Haywood's current position is coaching running backs, special teams and serves as the Longhorns' recruiting coordinator. Haywood played mainly defensive back for Notre Dame during the 80s and is considered a fantastic recruiter. We've heard Haywood will likely accept the position after Texas finishes their season.
We've also heard current Wisconsin assistant coach Rob Ianello will interview with Weis after Wisconsin closes their season. Ianello is considered a strong recruiter and has spent most of his career coaching wide receivers and tight ends.
The Irish have struggled in the defensive backfield recently so a veteran coach is a must for the secondary. We've heard Bill Lewis is the likely candidate for the defensive backs position. Lewis has vast experience coaching defensive backs, and has served as a head coach for Wyoming, Georgia Tech and East Carolina in his career as well as spending eight seasons as defensive coordinator for the Georgia Bulldogs.
The final name we've been hearing is Brian Polian. Polian serves as running backs coach and recruiting coordinator at Central Florida under George O'Leary. Polian is the son of Indianapolis Colts President Bill Polian, and coached at Buffalo before taking the position at Central Florida.
While none of these names have been confirmed by the Notre Dame sports information department, we do feel strongly that many of these coaches, if not all, will be joining the Weis staff after their seasons have concluded. We do expect many of them to be named shortly.