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Notre Dame’s promotion of Gerad Parker official, ending dramatic week


Notre Dame has made official its promotion of former tight ends coach Gerad Parker to offensive coordinator. The Saturday morning announcement puts a bow on a tumultuous process.

“I am excited to announce Gerad as our new offensive coordinator,” Irish head coach Marcus Freeman said in a statement. “I know firsthand the person, teacher, recruiter and innovative football mind he is. I look forward to watching our offense flourish under Gerad’s leadership and direction.”

Parker’s promotion comes after just one season as Notre Dame’s tight ends coach, following two years as the co-offensive coordinator at West Virginia. He was not fully in charge of the offense there, both working in concert with Graham Harrell and working under head coach Neal Brown, a coach known for staying quite involved with his offenses.

Those offenses struggled, for the most part, but their best stretch came in six games to close the 2021 season when Brown turned over the play calling to Parker. The Mountaineers had averaged 20.8 points per game up to that point against FBS competition. That number jumped to 25.3 in Paker’s six games truly at the helm, perhaps most notably scoring 38 points and gaining 492 yards against a top-25 Iowa State team that gave up 20.5 points and 309.6 yards per game that season.

West Virginia was 2-4 when Brown ceded more control to Parker, with one of those wins coming against FCS-level Long Island University. The Mountaineers closed the regular season 4-2, including 3-0 in one-score games.

Per Irish Illustrated’s Tim Prister, Parker dictated red-zone play calls the entire season, notable given West Virginia turned 66 percent of its red-zone possessions into touchdowns. For context, that ranked No. 37 in the country, tied with Notre Dame. In that trio of one-score games while Parker led the offense more unilaterally, the Mountaineers scored touchdowns on 10 of their 12 red-zone trips, successfully kicking field goals on the other two. While there is a sample size note to be included here, that 83.3 percent conversion rate would have ranked No. 1 in the country in each of the last three seasons.

It remains difficult to fully remove Brown’s influence from the West Virginia offensive success, or lack thereof, during Parker’s two years. After all, Brown is 22-25 in Morgantown and very firmly on a hot seat after failing to win more than six games in any of his four seasons there. In Parker’s two seasons, the offenses neither under nor overperformed vastly compared to preseason expectations.

West Virginia SP+ ranking in 2020 preseason: No. 77 in the country with a value of 26.4West Virginia SP+ ranking in 2020 postseason: No. 72 in the country with a value of 27.6

West Virginia SP+ ranking in 2021 preseason: No. 68 in the country with a value of 29.0West Virginia SP+ ranking in 2021 postseason: No. 75 in the country with a value of 27.7

Both years featured relatively balanced offenses, albeit also struggling ones, as evidenced by both those rankings and Brown’s overall record.

2020: 44.4 percent rush attempts, 55.6 percent dropbacks (sacks adjusted).4.6 yards per rush, 6.2 yards per dropback.

2021: 46.1 percent rush attempts, 53.9 percent dropbacks (sacks adjusted).3.9 yards per rush, 6.0 yards per dropback.

Wednesday reports indicate Notre Dame has also hired Gino Guidugli as its quarterbacks coach, though the school has not officially announced that just yet. An outside hire may take more time to go through the official background process, as has often been the case in South Bend for the last 21 years. Guidugli spent the last two seasons calling plays at Cincinnati before moving to Wisconsin two months ago with former Bearcats head coach Luke Fickell.

Notre Dame also has to find an offensive line coach to replace Harry Hiestand after he retired following Tommy Rees’s departure for Alabama, currently the only opening on Freeman’s second coaching staff.

2005 Raceland HS Wide Receivers/Defensive Backs
2006 Raceland HS Wide Receivers/Defensive Backs
2007 Kentucky Graduate Assistant
2008 UT Martin Running Backs
2009 UT Martin Wide Receivers
2010 UT Martin Wide Receivers/Passing Game Coordinator/Recruiting Coordinator
2011 Marshall Wide Receivers
2012 Marshall Wide Receivers
2013 Purdue Tight Ends/Recruiting Coordinator
2014 Purdue Tight Ends/Recruiting Coordinator
2015 Purdue Wide Receivers/Recruiting Coordinator
2016 Purdue Wide Receivers/Recruiting Coordinator
2016 Purdue Interim Head Coach
2017 Cincinnati Running Backs
2017 Duke Offense Operations Assistant
2018 Duke Wide Receivers
2019 Penn State Wide Receivers/Passing Game Coordinator
2020 West Virginia Offensive Coordinator/Wide Receivers
2021 West Virginia Offensive Coordinator/Wide Receivers
2022 Notre Dame Tight Ends

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