Brian Kelly’s Secret Weapon
Last year, Mike Sanford was BSU’s Offensive Coordinator. This year he’s moved on to Notre Dame and he’s not missing a beat. At only 33, Sandford has been chosen to ‘wake up the echoes’ of the Notre Dame offense. ESPN The Magazine takes a look at his sudden rise to prominence. The article reveals that Mike’s dad worked as the Irish Quarterback’s coach in 1997-1998. The former ball boy had to quickly develop backup quarterback Deshone Kizer when starter Malik Zaire was injured during the Virginia Game.
Kizer showed promise in last Saturday night’s loss to Clemson at Death Valley. Sanford credits his own experience as a backup in helping him deal with the challenges of coaching quarterbacks. From the ESPN Article:
“But perhaps the most difficult lesson Sanford learned — how to handle quarterbacks — came during his own playing days. As a junior at Penn High School, outside South Bend, he worked tirelessly to be QB1. The job went to someone else. Instead of sulking, Sanford took the opportunity to better his game in practice and observe from the sidelines before returning to California when his dad was hired by the Chargers. He played well enough as a senior at Los Alamitos High to sign with Boise State, where he was eventually passed over again as a senior in 2004, when then-head coach Dan Hawkins anointed sophomore Jared Zabransky the starter.
“He was devastated,” says Sanford’s father, who is now the head coach at Indiana State, three and a half hours south of ND. “But he had seen through the course of my career those kinds of decisions. So we just encouraged him to be a great teammate.”
Sanford’s future looks bright as the Irish offense continues to grow under his leadership. Perhaps next year he’ll be looking to hire his own offensive coordinator.