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DC VanGorder focuses on evaluating Irish players

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 14, 2014 at 4:57 pm •  Published: January 14, 2014

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — New Notre Dame defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder said Tuesday he won't decide on what type of defensive scheme he plans to run until he has time to evaluate the talent the Fighting Irish have.

"My experience tells me to always do a good job evaluating the current talent, the current players and then make decisions that best play to their strengths. So that's the process that we'll be in right now," the veteran coach said at a news conference Tuesday.

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly officially announced Monday that VanGorder would be his defensive coordinator, although it was widely reported last month. He replaces Bob Diaco, who left to become head coach at Connecticut. Notre Dame ran a 3-4 defense under Diaco, but was in a 4-3 scheme about half the time.

Two years ago when he was introduced as the defensive coordinator at Auburn, VanGorder described himself as a "4-3 guy." But Kelly, who didn't take any questions at the news conference, has said before the hire that he was looking for a coordinator who would keep the Irish in a base 3-4 defense that can switch into a 4-3.

VanGorder spent the past year as linebacker coach for the New York Jets, who run a base 3-4 formation but use some unorthodox schemes to try to pressure the quarterback. VanGorder said as he listened this past season to Jets coach Rex Ryan talk about his defensive schemes he would think about how they would fit into his system.

"My mind was always working in respects to, 'OK, when I'm a coordinator again, how am I going to take these things that Rex is doing that I really like and incorporate them into the solid system that I've been a part of for so many years,'" he said.

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