The rumor mill has been in full force recently on the eventual replacement for Tyrone Willingham. "X coach has contacted Notre Dame" is always a good one. "I've heard X coach wants out of his current job" is another we love to hear. What we haven't heard is confirmation or anything truthful at this point. At least that was until late last night.
The New York Times reported last evening that former Irish player Tom Clements is set to meet with Irish officials today.
Clements is in his first season as offensive coordinator for the Buffalo Bills and has spent eight years in the NFL—mainly as a quarterback coach.
A look at Clements' bio mentions the development of Kordell Stewart and Elvis Grbac as well as resurrecting the career of Tommy Maddux. Clements also spent four seasons coaching under former Irish coach Lou Holtz as a quarterbacks coach from 1992-95.
Clements was an All-American at Notre Dame and a three-year starter. He also led the Irish to the 1973 National Championship.
If nothing else, Clements would understand the responsibility of the Notre Dame coaching job, but appears a little thin on experience.
Another Notre Dame grad continues to be mentioned in New England Patriots offensive coordinator Charlie Weis.
Weis has spent 15 seasons in the NFL and currently in his fifth season as the Patriots offensive coordinator.
Weis, 48, has three Super Bowl rings and has been considered instrumental in the development of Pro Bowl quarterback and Super Bowl MVP Tom Brady.
The Trenton, N. J. native hasn't spent much of his coaching career in the college ranks, but did spend four season coaching at the University of South Carolina.
Both Weis and Clements would be good candidates because they understand the Notre Dame environment. However, neither has been a head coach in either the college or pro game and that might be cause for concern.
While both Weis and Clements could end up being solid choices for Notre Dame, we don't think either would be considered the home run that many Irish fans anticipate or expected.
Remember, we are just looking at what we know at this point. Both candidates have been confirmed as contacted and neither has dismissed the idea publicly like so many others have.
We don't believe these two candidates are the only two left on the board, and we'll likely be hearing more names surface soon. Until then, these two names are the only two that have been confirmed as possible targets to replace Willingham. We expect new names to surface soon.