If the strength coach is every new head coach’s most important hire, a close second (especially for defensive head coaches) is the offensive coordinator role.
At the time of his introductor presser at Vanderbilt, Clark Leah shared; “I want to assure everyone that as a defensive coordinator, I’ve been dying to focus on offense for a while, because that stresses me out. There will be time and energy put into finding the right coordinator.”
That time has come, as it appears Lea has some interviews lined up this week.
According to Vandy’s 247 site, Lea is interviewing Cincinnati offensive coordinator / tight ends coach Mike Denbrock for that position on staff.
Adam Rittenberg adds that Denbrock will interview tomorrow.
While Lea joined the staff Notre Dame staff in 2017, Denbrock was in South Bend just prior to that, spending 2010-16 with the Irish in various capacities on offense, including the 2014 season as Brian Kelly’s offensive coordinator. In 2015 and 2016 he moved to assistant head coach / wide receivers coach and left for the offensive play calling job with Luke Fickell prior to the 2017 season.
Denbrock is a veteran offensive coach with experience spanning from Grand Valley (D-II – MI) to Stanford, to Washington along with two stops at Notre Dame.
It’s rare to see a coordinator with college play calling experience on both sides of the ball, but Denbrock has just that. He spent the 1992-95 seasons at Grand Valley State as the offensive coordinator before moving to defensive coordinator for the 1996-98 seasons. Both of those stints as a Division II play caller were under Brian Kelly, who was the head coach at GVSU from 1991-2003.
In that intro presser, in addition to talking generically about getting the balls to playmakers in space, Lea also noted that “the way you win games in the fourth quarter is with a powerful running game.”
Denbrock’s Bearcats have been one of the nation’s best rushing teams, and also rank in the top 30 in scoring, total offense, and explosive plays of 10, 20, 30 and 40 yards as well. Quarterback Desmond Ridder also brought home AAC Player of the Year honors.
As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.
Correction: Denbrock will interview Wednesday but is in Nashville now.
— Adam Rittenberg (@ESPNRittenberg) January 13, 2021