Kelly and Martin a good cop/bad cop tandem
Posted: 08/20/2012 at 7:29 pm
By: Rachel Terlep
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Chuck Martin ND football coach (Photo Supplied)
Or maybe it’s Martin who’s the Murtaugh to Kelly’s Riggs.
It really all depends on who gets there first.
“We both want to be the ‘bad cop,’ so we usually are in a race to get there first so we can be the bad cop and kind of force the other guy’s hand to be the good cop,” said Martin, Notre Dame’s offensive coordinator.
Kelly and Martin — which could be the title of sitcom about a pair of whacky police officers — enjoyed a “good cop/bad cop” dynamic through Notre Dame’s pre-season camp.
Martin, who was appointed offensive coordinator in January after Charley Molnar left for UMass, admits he spent the majority of camp being rougher than Kelly as he’s adjusted to his role in the offense.
Kelly, who has been focused on spending more time interacting with his players, acts as a buffer to some of the offensive coordinator’s more colorful outbursts, Martin said.
“I think we play off each other pretty good, we’ve both been around long enough,” Martin said of his relationship with Kelly. “I think he’s probably been more of the ‘good cop’ this camp than I have. But when he has his moments where it looks like his head might explode out into Fourth of July fireworks, I don’t go up there and pile on it.”
Kelly and Martin first teamed up in 2000 at Grand Valley State. Kelly was the head coach and hired Martin as a defensive backs coach. When Kelly left for Central Michigan in 2004, Martin took over as a head coach/offensive coordinator hybrid.
The two joined forces again in 2010, when Kelly replaced Charlie Weis as head coach at Notre Dame and brought Martin along as the defensive backs coach.
Two years later, Martin was moved up ... to offensive coordinator.
Though he isn’t shy about his preference for the defensive side of the ball, Martin has had a unique opportunity to experience and appreciate both sides. He likens each side of the ball to contrasting styles of music.
“Defense, and being successful on defense, is completely different,” Martin said. “Defense is about disruption. They’re trying to do everything they can to disrupt you from timing to your schemes. I would say defense is like a rock concert. The louder, the crazier, the more jumping, hooting and hollering, the better the defense is.
“And offense is like an orchestra. You need 11 pieces not only doing their job, but they have to do it at the right time...(The quarterback) took a good drop and made a good throw, and you ran a good route, but it’s still not going to work because our timing’s off. On defense, if Louis Nix throws the center out the way and runs up the field, the corner could fall down and there’d be a guy wide open, but you sack the guy. That’s just defense.”
Despite his “rock n’ roll” defensive roots, Martin knows Kelly trusts him with the offense, namely helping narrow down the starting quarterback.
Martin knows the task at hand is no walk in the park.
“Finding a good quarterback is a constant struggle,” he said. “I’m a Bears fan. I’m 44 and I’ve seen 70 quarterbacks. They’re hard to find. It’s a tough position to play. Everyone’s looking for the next Tom Brady, but he’s not always out there.”
As Notre Dame homes in on Navy starting this week, Martin and Kelly will be homing in on the offense.
Martin’s already got a trick play up his sleeve, at least when it comes to outmaneuvering Kelly in the “good cop/bad cop” race.
“I’ve out-flanked him in practice,” Martin said, gesturing with his hands like he’s diagramming a running play. “I like to cheat up a little to where I’m almost right behind him, so if I want to unload, I can really get around him. It’s no fun being the second guy.”