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Notre Dame Football

Brian Mason Will Leave Notre Dame for the Indianapolis Colts

March 3, 2023
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Per multiple sources, Notre Dame special teams coordinator Brian Mason is expected to leave the program after just one season for the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts, which has been his dream job as he grew up in nearby Zionsville (Ind.) 

Mason's time was short in South Bend, but very productive as the Irish boasted one of the top special teams units in the country in 2022. 

Notre Dame blocked seven punts last fall, which led to many headlines as the Irish had blocked just six punts combined in the previous 10 seasons. The Irish special teams also finished No. 6 in the FEI Efficiency Rankings. For perspective, Notre Dame had finished in the top 15 in FEI Efficiency just once in 15 years. 

Perhaps the most significant accomplishment of Mason’s tenure was where Notre Dame finished in field position as they ranked in the top 10 for the first time since the metric was first tracked 15 years ago. 

The average starting field position for the Irish offense was their own 33.4 yard line, which was No. 1 in the country. On the flip side, the average starting position for Notre Dame’s opponents was their own 26.1 yard line (No. 5). The net starting field position was +7.3 and that was good for No. 2 in the nation. Notre Dame went 9-2 when winning the field position battle and 0-2 when opponents won the metric. 

Mason also wasn’t bashful to highlight the success of his players in early December. 

“The last five years, we were never in the top 25 which certainly was an underachievement,” said Mason. “This year we finished the regular season sixth in the country.”

While some coaches might not give 100 percent of special teams, Mason gave 150 percent and it was evident during his introductory press conference last February. 

“I really believe in order for the program to be successful, for special teams to be successful, the culture of the program, the mentality of the football program and the top fundamentals of the football program are going to be taught and developed within special teams, which will allow you to be a fundamentally sound football team,” explained Mason. “It'll allow for your culture to help be developed and put on film through special teams and allow you to be really successful in the football game by winning the battle of field position and generating explosive plays. That's kind of how I've always taught and coached through things.” 

The decision to leave Notre Dame and Marcus Freeman’s staff likely wasn’t an easy one as this was the fourth time the two crossed paths. In fact, we’re told that if this was any other NFL job, Mason likely wouldn’t have left Notre Dame as the Colts offered him the same contract as he currently had with the Irish. 

"I first worked with him at Kent State and then Purdue and then Cincinnati,” said Mason. “He was actually somebody that put me in touch with Luke Fickell, who got me that connection to get hired by him. But you could just tell even early on and early in his coaching career when I worked with him at Kent State that he was going to be a star.

“There's something special about the way he communicates. He's got natural leadership to him, the way he relates to players, recruits, you could just tell he was going to be a really successful football coach. Obviously, as he's gotten more and more experienced, he's gotten even better."

The Mason File
2006-07: Denison Student Assistant
2009-11: Bluffton Defensive Line
2012: Kent State Graduate Assistant
2013-14: Purdue Graduate Assistant
2015-16: Ohio State Graduate Assistant
2017: Cincinnati Director of Recruiting
2018-21: Cincinnati Special Teams Coordinator
2022: Notre Dame Special Teams Coordinator

Imperial Notre Dame Fighting Irish 2'8" x 3'10" Area Rug

 
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