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Notre Dame Football

Three Statements from Gerad Parker

February 22, 2023

It’s been 48 hours since Gerad Parker took the podium inside Notre Dame Stadium as Marcus Freeman’s newest offensive coordinator. 

The Kentucky native was impressive, bold and precise in his messaging while also adding a flavor of humor. One could see why Parker is successful on the recruiting trail, but also command a meeting room as his word carry weight while not being overly aggressive. 

Parker’s press conference is filled with good quotes and stories, but three hit home as they provided insight into what Notre Dame is getting at offensive coordinator. 

It was well documented that Parker was also at the Notre Dame hockey game with Freeman and Andy Ludwig as the Irish recruited Utah’s offensive coordinator. Parker admitted he wanted the job from the start, but it was his ability to put Notre Dame before himself that sticks out. 

Let’s face it, college football coaches have egos and it takes maturity to see the big picture, which Parker did. 

“As we went through the process together and things changed, the No. 1 thing is to do what's best for Notre Dame and Marcus Freeman. That's my job is to serve the message of the head coach and go through. You do that and you do that job well because that was the job that was called.

“When that transformed, you also want to be able to say, 'Hey, I'm not going to flinch at the opportunity to be the offensive coordinator here because of the work put in before this to put yourself in a position,' because as we're going to ask our players, 'When your number is called, be prepared,' right? And all I knew that I could control through the process was help feed the message of the head coach and get us to a great decision.” 

Parker then probably gave one of the most genuine statements of the day as he explained the process of staying ready if Freeman came to him and he was due to his diligence in staying prepared. 

It started with Parker making notes and staying sharp. Assuming he was in the meetings with Collin Klein and Ludwig, Parker likely gained insight on how he could make himself a better coach and an offense more productive. 

Sure, Ludwig could have easily accepted the job and Parker would remain tight ends coach, but that didn’t happen. And Parker was ready. 

“When my mind would drift late at night when I was wondering, I put notes in my phone. I'm sure he knew that if he knows me at all. So, I would constantly have things that I would put in and if those things were just things that I kept in my phone for next year or the year after the year after, so be it. 

“My phone is decorated with those and when you put those in, you always stay prepared because what a sin it would have been if Marcus Freeman calls my number to do an interview and I'm not ready. That's how I feel. That's how I felt about it and what a shame had I not been ready for this opportunity.”

Perhaps one of the most interesting pieces to Parker’s makeup is the fact he’s been part of completely different offenses. Parker has experience coaching in a pro-style system, which is vital to Freeman and Notre Dame, but he can also expand the offense based off his lessons in a traditional spread offense with tempo along with his West Coast influences. 

At West Virginia, Parker did call red zone plays and the final six games of the 2021 season. 

Should you expect to see Notre Dame go four and five wide with tempo for most of the 2023 season? No. But adding more pieces to the offense to make it more explosive is always the goal for any offensive coordinator. Parker’s background allows him to enhance the Irish offense and ideally get it to the next level. 

“My first job, we were pro-style with Coach (Jason) Simpson which was really good because I was coaching in a two-back offense. Then certainly to be able to flip the gears and go to Marshall and Doc Holliday was our head coach, we played spread and as fast as you could. We ran more plays around the country, led the country in passing, played fast, fast, fast. Didn't run it much.

“Came back to the West Coast style offense when we were at Purdue, which helped me, and I coached tight ends there. That was a different realm, an 11-personnel RPO approach through Coach Rahne, who's now at ODU at Penn State. 

“Then a little bit of variations and multiple things at West Virginia. So it's been good to be involved in all kinds of kinds, so to speak. I've been 10 personnel spread out, 11 personnel rocket and roll and go RPO. We've been in 12 pro-style, and then what we've done here. I hope that scope prepares us to be as multiple as we want to be here.”

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