Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly has fired defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder after four games and is replacing him with defensive analyst Greg Hudson.

Kelly announced the move Sunday morning, saying it was “difficult” to fire VanGorder.

This is a difficult decision,” said Kelly, per the program’s website. “I have the utmost respect for Brian as both a person and football coach, but our defense simply isn’t it where it should be and I believe this change is necessary for the best interest of our program and our student-athletes.”

Kelly then discussed how Hudson is expected to make an impact.

“It’s never easy to make a change on your staff, but I’m confident in Greg’s ability to lead our defense. As a former player at Notre Dame and an experienced defensive coordinator, he not only understands the expectations necessary to compete at the highest level, but he’ll bring a fresh perspective to our sideline, practice field and meeting rooms.”

This move flies in the face of Kelly’s post-game comments after the Fighting Irish were beaten Saturday by Duke. Kelly said that coaching had “nothing to do” with the loss (more on that here).

It was a ridiculous statement that did not represent reality.

Notre Dame’s defense has been atrocious all season long, allowing an average of 33.5 points and 454 yards per game. Coaching has a lot to do with such undisciplined play, and the move Sunday proves this point all the more.

If the Irish can tighten things up defensively, then DeShone Kizer (who has been outstanding for the most part) and his offense will have a chance to finish games pounding the rock instead of fighting from behind.

At 1-3 on the season, this move was appropriate. Now we’ll see if it makes any difference at all.

Up next for the Fighting Irish is a date with Syracuse, which as a 2-2 record through four games.