Notre Dame coordinator interviewed by Ravens

Colletto leading candidate to be offensive line coach

February 02, 1999|By Mike Preston | Mike Preston,SUN STAFF

Ravens coach Brian Billick interviewed Notre Dame offensive coordinator Jim Colletto at the team's Owings Mills complex yesterday, and Colletto is the leading candidate to become the Ravens' new offensive line coach.

Colletto, 54, spent most of yesterday in meetings with Billick and was spotted several times walking around the team's training facility. There has been speculation that Colletto is looking for a new job after having a major disagreement with Fighting Irish coach Bob Davie last season.

"I've known Jim for 25 years. He is clearly one of the top offensive line coaches I've known," said Billick, who has hired a number of former coordinators as assistants. "He is a tremendous technician and a great motivator with the players. He understands the bigger picture."

Billick has just two openings remaining, offensive line and defensive line coach.

Colletto directed a Notre Dame offense that averaged 27.3 points last season and outscored the opposition 94-26 in the third quarter. The Irish averaged 212.5 yards rushing and 169.9 passing yards. Colletto has been Notre Dame's offensive coordinator the past two seasons.

During Colletto's first season, his offense set school single-season records for pass attempts (317) and completions (190). Colletto also has 11 years of experience as a head coach, having coached at Purdue from 1991 through 1996 and Cal State Fullerton from 1975 through 1979. Colletto also has been the offensive coordinator at Ohio State and Arizona State. The Ravens are expected to make a decision on Colletto by Thursday.

If he is hired by the Ravens, he'll have a major challenge. The offensive line was the biggest disappointment in the club's 6-10 season and two of its starters are unrestricted free agents in center Wally Williams and offensive tackle Orlando Brown.

According to Ozzie Newsome, the Ravens' vice president of player personnel, the team has yet to speak with Tom Condon, the agent for both Williams and Brown. Newsome said he expects to meet with Billick next week about the two players, but confirmed that he already has begun talks with unrestricted free-agent defensive tackle James Jones.

Jones is considered one of the leaders on defense and was sixth on the team in tackles with 75, including 5 1/2 sacks.

Newsome said the Ravens will make tendered, one-year offers to team restricted free agents Donny Brady, a cornerback/safety; cornerback DeRon Jenkins; tight end A. J. Ofodile; and wide receiver James Roe.

Only Jenkins was a starter last season. The minimum salary for these players is expected to be around $500,000 for next season.

Pub Date: 2/02/99

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