Reports indicate that Jim Harbaugh has once again turned to the collegiate ranks for a new addition to his coaching staff, this time he poached a coach from the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
As per insights from Matt Zenitz of 247Sports, the Los Angeles Chargers are set to enlist Chris O’Leary as their safeties coach. O’Leary has dedicated the past six seasons to Notre Dame, notably serving as a defensive backs/safeties coach since 2021.
Beginning his coaching journey as a graduate assistant at Georgia State in 2015 and 2016, O’Leary, a former Indiana State wide receiver, transitioned to coaching safeties at Florida Tech for a season before making his mark in South Bend.
Under the leadership of Brian Kelly and Marcus Freeman, Notre Dame has amassed an impressive 63 victories over the past six seasons. Notably, the Fighting Irish boasted the seventh-best defense in the FBS, conceding just 15.9 points per game last season.
During the 2023 season, Xavier Watts flourished under O’Leary’s guidance, earning All-American honors. Watts, who clinched the Bronko Nagurski Award, showcased his prowess with 137 tackles, seven interceptions, and a touchdown from a recovered fumble.
O’Leary’s expertise will now be directed towards a Chargers’ safety corps led by Derwin James. James, a three-time Pro Bowl selection, showcased his versatility in his fifth NFL season, tallying 125 tackles, two sacks, two fumble recoveries, and an interception.
Despite the individual prowess, the Chargers struggled defensively, finishing 28th in total defense with a high tally of passing yards conceded. Following a disappointing first-round playoff exit, head coach Brandon Staley was relieved of his duties, leaving room for change.
Harbaugh, fresh from leading Michigan to a national championship, is making moves by bringing in defensive coordinator Jesse Minter to assume a similar role within the Chargers’ setup.
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