Irish Eyes thought it would be nice to use some of our connections with the network to talk with some of the people who've worked closely with some of the assistant coaches that have recently been hired by Charlie Weis to coach on Notre Dame's coaching staff.
We spoke with Chuck Rounsaville from Ole Miss Spirit on Scout.com to get his thoughts on Notre Dame's new quarterback coach David Cutcliffe and offensive line coach John Latina.
Rounsaville thinks the Irish hired two outstanding coaches
"As a person, you won't find any better," said Rounsaville about former Ole Miss head coach David Cutcliffe. "He's a spiritual person. He's an honorable man. He's fair, maybe to a fault. He cares deeply about his players. I don't think I could find a single character flaw he has. He's a tremendous guy."
Cucliffe spent seven seasons at Ole Miss as the head coach and Rounsaville says the Rebels were his team, but he let his assistant coaches coach as well.
"We ran his offense," Rounsaville said. "Through the years he was here, he got out of it more and more as he became more and more comfortable with the assistants running his offense. He's was hands-on when he needed to be. He was involved in coaching, but he let his assistants coach as well."
We asked Rounsaville what he thought of Cutcliffe as a recruiter.
"Very good recruiter," he said. "He was the closer. He's relentless in his recruiting. He's a tremendous recruiter. He relates well to young people. They instantly realize that he cares about their futures as not only athletes, but as citizens and students. He's very good with parents. His character shows when he goes into a home."
Cutlciffe made a name for himself at Tennessee as an offensive coordinator before taking the Ole Miss job, but it's as a quarterback coach that he's had the most success.
"His track record is impeccable," Rounsaville said. "When you start thinking about Peyton Manning, Eli Manning, Tee Martin, Andy Kelley—they all stay in touch with him so that tells you something. Todd Helton is one of Cutcliffe's best friends."
Also joining the Notre Dame staff is offensive line coach John Latina. Latina spent six seasons at Ole Miss, and the last five as offensive coordinator as well as offensive line coach.
"Coach Latina is a guy who puts offensive linemen in the (professional ranks)," Rounsaville said of Latina. "It's technique, it's hard work, it's being driven and committed. He's a tremendous guy.
"I've been around eight offensive line coaches since I've been doing the Ole Miss Spirt and he's right at the top. Until this year, we've led the SEC in fewest sacks allowed every year he was here. We had good rushing games, and his kids go to the NFL."
We asked Rounsaville if Latina's offensive lines were more geared towards pass blocking or run blocking.
"We had to protect Eli," Rounsaville said. "That had to be their No. 1 priority so it was a situation where guys pass blocked better, but they were competitent run blockers as well. Eli's senior year, we ran the ball very effectively, and that's one of the reasons Eli was as effective as he was."
We also asked our expert how effective Latina was on the recruiting trail while at Ole Miss.
"He never recruited here," Rounsaville said. "He was offensive coordinator and Cutcliffe didn't make his coordinators go on the road. They made phone calls. Latina would call all offensive line prospects, and when they were here, he was definitely hands-on with them.
"In terms of evaluation and relating to kids when they got on campus for their official visits, he was very good. I have no basis for how he'd be on the road because he didn't have a territory."We also spoke with Clendon Ross and Bill Frisbe of Inside Texas to get some information on the new offensive coordinator Michael Haywood.
"He's was really instrumental in Texas' recruiting efforts in the last few years," said Clendon Ross of Haywood. "He took over the recruiting coordinator position this past year. He's extremely organized. He's very talented in coordinating the effort. When he took over, under the previous recruiting coordinator, Texas wasn't nearly as effective in recruiting together as a staff."He was part of the group of coaches that is responsible for getting Ryan Perriloux's commitment if it holds. He's been very strong for Texas as a recruiter, and really is very organized in everything he does.
"He's going to give Notre Dame the ability to recruit the Texas and Louisiana area. I think that should give them inroads in that area because he knows all the coaches in those areas."
Bill Frisbe from Inside Texas gave us his thoughts on Haywood as a coach as he's followed Haywood and Texas as a beat writer for Inside Texas.
"I wish folks could see how Cedric Benson was before Michael Haywood compared to how he was after Michael Haywood," Frisbe said. "He brought so much attention to detail that Benson didn't have. It's unfair to Benson because the guy coaching Benson had only two years of high school coaching and no collegiate coaching when he was hired by Mack Brown.
"Haywood came in and taught him the proper angles, dictating the flow of the safeties to finishing strong and taking the proper first step. He really made Benson a much better player."
Frisbe said Haywood is all about discipline while on the field.
"On the field he's kind of a drill sargeant," said Frisbe. "He's tough, but off the field the players love him. I think the players respect him because he's someone that brings some toughness to the ground game, yet he's a guy who's very personable off the field."
Frisbe gives Haywood much of the credit for helping the Texas running game become a force in the BIG 12.
"The running backs became much more disciplined under Haywood," he said. "They finish every play, they finish hard. In terms of blocking, that's been one of the most improved areas. Texas needed to become a more physical team in the BIG 12, and we didn't see that until Michael Haywood got there."
We also asked Frisbe his impression of Haywood as a recruiter.
"He was only here for two years," Frisbe admitted. "He had a fantastic relationship with the Texas high school coaches because he's a Houston (Texas) native. When he was at LSU, he still recruited the East Texas area. There's no doubt in my mind that he'll do well because he has those connections."
It sounds like all three coaches we looked at are keepers according to our experts. We'll see if we can find out some more about the remaining members of the staff this week.