Decker Tossing & Turning

Changes in the Notre Dame coaching staff this week has left many questions unanswered. 2012 verbal pledge and OL prospect Taylor Decker had more questions than most as he considered his future with or without the Irish.

Forgive Taylor Decker if he's got a few things on his mind. Since Monday, Decker's life has taken several twists and turns as Notre Dame goes through changes on its coaching staff.

How are things going for the 6-foot-8, 300-pound offensive lineman from Vandalia (Ohio) Butler High School?

"I'm doing pretty well actually," Decker told IrishEyes.com on Wednesday night. "Yesterday and the day before were a little stressful as well as today. But I got a lot of questions answered and talked with my family, and today was definitely better than yesterday."

While Decker knew of one Irish staff change and heard rumors of another, the end results of Monday took him a bit by surprise.

"I knew Coach (Charley) Molnar was leaving prior to coach (Tim) Hinton and coach (Ed) Warinner," Decker explained. I fully understand a coach wanting to better their position as coach Molnar did by becoming the head coach at UMass. I had heard the rumors of coach Hinton leaving but nothing had happened and as far as I was concerned he was still coaching at Notre Dame. However, I had heard the rumors."

But things soon changed on the second day of the New Year.

"Then on Monday, I received a text message telling me the coaches had left," Decker said. "This was the first I had heard of it and I had no idea about coach Warinner leaving. Up to then I still looked at coach Hinton as a coach at Notre Dame. It was surprising, definitely surprising."

Decker heard about the changes from an outside source, but Notre Dame attempted first contact.

"Notre Dame contacted me first," said Decker. "However, I was in school and not able to answer the phone when coach (Chuck) Martin called. But they did contact me first. Before I called them back I (first) spoke with my parents and high school coach, because I wanted to work things out before I called.

"I talked with my coach a lot during the day just to pick his brain about things, because he's sent a lot of kids to schools over the years.

"I then spoke with my dad a lot. I've talked with my dad a ton these past couple of days about everything."

When did Decker get a chance to speak with the Irish?

"I called coach Martin on Monday night," said Decker. "He asked what my thoughts were on things and I told him my concerns and was 100% upfront and completely honest with him on everything. It wasn't a really long conversation but that pretty much what it was."

Relationships, old and new

One of the many concerns for Decker came from the relationships he'd build over the past year.

"All the coaches I had contact with and the coaches I expected to be influenced by heavily, and was (already) influenced by heavily, were gone," explained Decker. "Three of the five offensive coaches were all of a sudden gone, especially with the line coach leaving was the biggest thing.

"I had gotten to know him (Warinner) really well. I had known coach Hinton really well throughout the recruiting process. So both of the guys I knew really well and that were my main contacts were gone. So I kind of panicked and I didn't really know who to talk to about it, or ask questions to about it."

After the surprises of Monday, Decker found Tuesday to be one of the hardest days of his life.

"Tuesday was probably the most stressful day," said Decker. "That is when I had time to think about all the questions I had, and all the things I was thinking about. I was trying to think about every scenario and what to do about it. I had so many questions that needed to be answered, and things I wanted to talk with my parents about. At that point I really had time to think about the situation."

Despite the talks with his coach and parents, Decker found his mind racing at times.

"I can honestly say I've lost sleep over all of this," said Decker. "I was up two hours past when I normally go to bed, and both yesterday and today I was up at like four o'clock, pretty much tossing and turning just thinking about things. It's really stressful because this is the biggest decision so far in my life and there is so much that goes into it."

What advice has his high school coach given him?

"Coach (Greg) Bush has told me that when I'm considering things, to give it time to think about it and then talk with my parents," said Decker. "He's a straight shooter and he'll tell me if it's smart or not smart and he's been a good resource for me."

And the advice his parents have given him about things?

"My parents have been great," said Decker. "They are not trying to sway me one way or another. They are just supporting me and providing me with answers if I ask a question. They want me to be happy with the decision I'm making, and want me to make the best decision for me and don't make it for other people or because of what other people are saying. If you let that happen you're not going to have the experience you want to have. They are trying to get me to make the decision that is best for me and have been great supporting me and talking with me."

Staying grounded at an early age

Decker understands why things can change as quickly as they can.

"I've learned that things can change in an instant. As I said, I heard (rumors) about coach Hinton leaving," Decker explained. "I fully understand coaches have families to support and have goals they want to reach. Everyone in life wants to excel and get promotions and I fully respect people who want to better themselves. But these types of things can change a lot of things."

With his mind still churning Decker received a visit Wednesday at his school from Irish recruiting coordinator Chuck Martin. How did the visit go?

"The visit was great and he answered my questions," said Decker. "It was the first time I really had a chance to sit down and ask questions. He explained the direction things are going in the program and it was kind of a stress reliever. He also cleared up a lot of things I was thinking, because it's easy to think about the worst case scenario."

While Decker has received answers to many of his questions, he's still not ready to reaffirm his pledge to the Irish.

"Right now I'm looking at whether I want to reevaluate my decision or stick with my commitment," said Decker. "I just want to make the right decision and make sure my mind is clear when I make the call one way or the other."

Decker knows Irish fans are on the edge of their seats awaiting word about his status. IrishEyes.com fully expects Decker to have things settled before the weekend.


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