Lemming Praises Notre Dame's Decision To Hire Mike Mickens

Bryan Driskell

Notre Dame completed its coaching staff by hiring former Cincinnati cornerbacks coach Mike Mickens. The all-time leader in interceptions as a player at Cincinnati, Mickens is being tasked with replacing former Notre Dame All-American Todd Lyght, who coached the Irish corners the last five seasons.

The Godfather of recruiting, Tom Lemming of the Lemming Report, believes Notre Dame made a strong hire to replace Lyght. Lemming praised Mickens as a coach and recruiter.

“I really like the hire and think he’ll be a great fit for the Irish,” Lemming told Irish Breakdown. “He’s an Ohio guy, who has particularly had success in the Cincinnati/Dayton area, which has a lot of talented ballplayers. From the people I’ve talked to in the business, he’s a very well-rounded and respected coach.”

Mickens is just 32 years old, but he’s already built up a strong reputation as a recruiter, with a background in key Notre Dame hotbeds.

“He definitely puts in the time with regards to recruiting,” Lemming noted. “Some coaches will blow off the recruiting side and just focus on the X&O's portion. He's done a great job of building rapport with recruits and their families.”

During his six seasons as a FBS assistant coach - all working with cornerbacks - Mickens has developed two true freshmen into All-Conference players. In 2019, freshman cornerback Ahmad Gardner was named a Freshman All-American, and Pro Football Focus named him a third-team All-American.

Lemming noted how fundamentally sound the Cincinnati players are on film. He also believes Mickens has the pedigree to quickly develop into a top coach.

“I think it was extremely beneficial to learn under two great coaches at Cincinnati,” explained Lemming. “[Head coach Luke] Fickell and defensive coordinator [Marcus] Freeman are two of the premier up and coming coaches in college football. A lot of people were after both of them this off-season.”

Notre Dame fans will learn very early on what kind of coach Mickens is. He has a talented, but very young and inexperienced group of cornerbacks. If he can get them to play at a high level in 2020 fans will know head coach Brian Kelly hired a rising star.

Comments (5)
T_RICCIO
T_RICCIO

Great stuff - TY

No. 1-3
Irishfan11
Irishfan11

Sounds like an excellent hire!

DosLeprechauna
DosLeprechauna

On your podcast you mentioned how much you like the fact that there were clear improvements in young players he coached from one year to the next.. imagine what he’s going to be able to do with higher level talent?! Could this be as much of an impact hire as our current DC?

1 Reply

Bryan Driskell
Bryan Driskell

Editor

Well we will see if it's that kind of impact. Lyght was good coach as well, but at times I think Lyght was more of an NFL style coach. He was so advanced that I think sometimes it was harder for guys to really adapt to it all. It's not a knock, just an observation, and I think Lyght did a lot of really good things.

But Mickens will be more of a pure college coach. He was a grinder who had to get everything out of his ability, whereas Lyght was an incredibly gifted player. We've seen over the years former elite players sometimes have a harder time relating to guys who aren't also elite. Mickens was a grinder as a player and I think that is something a young group of corners really needs, a back to basics type of approach.


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