Hart For The Game

New Notre Dame defensive line coach Randy Hart was introduced to the media on Monday. Hart turns 61 next week, but has the energy of a much younger coach and wants his players to display a similar amount of excitement.

Randy Hart never thought about quitting coaching even after new Washington head coach Steve Sarkisian did not retain him after 21 years as the defensive line coach in Seattle.

"At my age, retirement was not an option," said Hart. "Marv Levy, I think said, ‘When it is time that you shouldn't be coaching anymore, you'll know.' I don't know that right now."

So Hart was noticeably excited when he was introduced to the media on Monday evening as Notre Dame's new defensive line coach.

"You're looking at a very lucky man. I'm tremendously happy to be here, excited to be a part of Notre Dame football and obviously, the name of the game is to win," he said. "We want to sharpen our swords silently, do as good as we can at getting the guys to get to our way of thinking. Effort, intensity, attack. Getting ourselves up the field, getting after some people and hopefully bringing victories to Notre Dame. It's going to be a fun time."

Hart oozes excitement and wants his players to be the same way.

"If you can't get excited about playing this game there is something wrong with you, there is something wrong with you. Don't do it, don't do it, if you can't get excited and go," he said. "I'm talking practice. You're going to play like you practice so don't go out there and lallygag around practice, it will come out in the game that you're a lallygagger.

"There's no greater game than the game of football. It's 22 guys at one time going out there in organized chaos. To be the most excited 11 people is the most fun."

Hart will be more concerned with effort than scheme.

"I hope we can outwork people. I'm not real smart, I've grown accustomed to that certainly being labeled at an early age," he joked. "As a result of that, I would like to work, we want to outwork as many folks as we can and certainly outplay them.

"There's always more in the tank than most players will give. As a result, we want to try to let them learn a little bit about themselves and let them figure out that there's more in that tank. They've got to give the effort, they've got to get up and get after it."

He learned his simple philosophy as a young coach working under Woody Hayes and Earle Bruce.

"It's not a complicated game. Defensive football is strike, disengage, pursue and tackle, no matter if you play a 3-4, 4-3," said Hart. "If your guys will strike a blow, get off the block, pursue the football and tackle you're going to win. So let's not make it complicated."

Hart's goal is to have players moving at full speed even if that results in a few mistakes.

"I'm a ready-fire-aim guy," he said. "If you give me a choice between being lethargic and always right or ready-fire-aim and make something happen, we're going to try and make something happen. That can probably be good and bad I suppose."

Hart said that he has admired both Corwin Brown and Jon Tenuta.

"I'm excited to work with [Brown]. Certainly, Jon Tenuta is a guy I'm excited to work with too. I've observed him at other places he's been," said Hart. "His defenses have always been exciting, they've always been attacking, they've always been physical and that excites me, that's what we want to get to."

Hart understands that one of the reasons that he was brought to South Bend is to mentor Bryant Young, who joined the staff as a graduate assistant after 14 years in the NFL. Hart has heard good things about Young from his most prized pupil, Steve Emtman.

"He said, ‘Coach, I've got to tell you, you're going to work not only with the best player that I've ever been around, but the best person I've been around,'" Hart recalled. "First of all, if you know Steve, there's nobody better at playing or a better person than him. It's the first time in my life he admitted that there was somebody better than him."

Hart admitted that there was a point in his career when he had head coaching aspirations, but is comfortable with his current role.

"In my younger days I did, but I think I'm too much off the handle," he laughed. "The patience that it takes to be a head football coach, to deal with as many things as they have to deal with at this point in time as the game has involved with societal issues and problems and good things and bad things, I think I'm better off being a position coach."

Hart believes that there is room for improvement on the Irish defensive line.

"We've got to grow up, we're some young players," he said. "To put as young a player as we put on the field last year with mixed results is expected. To think you're going to come out of high school football and become instant starters as a freshman at an end line position, that's hard. And we had Ethan Johnson do that last year, which was pretty exciting. To be as young as he was and even sit out his senior year [of high school], I thought he did a remarkable job."

Hart did not want to single Johnson out from the rest of his group.

"I'm excited to coach them because I think there is some ability here," he said. "There's some guys that want to be good and there's some guys that have the experience that will allow them now to draw on past experiences. Hopefully we can show them the way."

He is also excited to get out on the recruiting trail.

"Recruiting is fun," he said. "I've not aged, I'm still 24 years old as you can tell because everybody I work with is 18 to 23."

Hart believes that while the job of a coach is to mold boys into young men, he also thinks that he can learn a lot from the younger generations.

"The idea of being old school is not bad, but old school that listens is better," he said.

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