Diaco happy to be at Notre Dame

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Diaco happy to be at Notre Dame

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Bob Diaco believes several coaching jobs are available but insists hes not involved in the conversation for any of them.

Notre Dames assistant head coachdefensive coordinator said in a media session on Monday afternoon he isnt in direct contact with any schools about coaching vacancies -- Wisconsin included.

Media reports have linked Diaco, 39, to interviews for openings at Temple, Cal and Boston College, where he reportedly was a finalist.

But Diaco, who recently received the Broyles Award for being the nations top assistant coach, said hes happy to be part of Brian Kellys staff and is focused on the teams Jan. 7 matchup against Alabama in the BCS Championship Game in Miami.

I really believe I have the best assistant coaching job in America, Diaco said. I love who I work for. I love where I work. I dont want to change who I work for and I dont want to change where I work. The commitment to the players and the daily process, and the focus on that, now shifts to Alabama. Because its already in our DNA to work that way, that just doesnt go away. You still stay focused.

Were focused on our preparation for Alabama and the national championship game. And I feel like I love the job that I have.

Diacos defense ranks as the best in the nation in a number of categories.

Notre Dame heads into its 13th game having yielded just 10.3 points per game, which is first among FBS schools. The Irish also lead the nation in red-zone touchdowns allowed percentage, points allowed per red zone trip, fewest rushing touchdowns, total red-zone TDs allowed, and so on.

He attributes it to talented, intelligent players who are dedicated and focused and a cut above the rest. Diaco also believes the dynamic between he and Kelly, who previously hired him at Cincinnati and Central Michigan, is a key component.

Its Batman-Robin, Diaco said. Obviously, hes Batman. Its the best. I know what hes thinking before hes thinking it. Im on it. He doesnt have to come talk to me. He does, and he can, and he knows Im not going to be sensitive about it.

Diaco is serving in his first season as Kellys assistant head coach. He won the Broyles Award this season and was nominated in 2011. Earlier this month, Kelly said he wasnt surprised when he heard news Diaco is being courted --- at the time it was Boston College --- because of his coaching ability.

Hes the finest defensive coordinator in the country, Kelly said. Bob is a bright football coach. We have conversations about it. All I could tell you is that it doesnt surprise me that hes a part of it.

Diaco hasnt denied it, either. The attention, he admits, is flattering. But it wont be a distraction when it comes to Notre Dames upcoming title game.

Its an honor to be in the conversation, Diaco said. Im very proud of that and Im honored by it. So, I dont hide or run from it either, but it hasnt been a problem to manage any of that.

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Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks host Lightning tonight on CSN

Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks host Lightning tonight on CSN

Watch as the Blackhawks take on the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight on CSN and streaming live on CSNChicago.com. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live. Then stick around after the final buzzer to watch Blackhawks Postgame Live for highlights and analysis.

Click here to watch the game or download the NBC Sports App, your home for live streaming coverage of the Blackhawks.

Five Things to Watch:

1. Grab the first goal.

The Blackhawks have scored the game's first goal in seven of the last eight games, and of those seven, they've won six of them. Meanwhile, the Lightning have scored the first goal only 17 times in 48 games this season, and are 12-5-1 in those games. They're 9-17-4 when they allow the first goal, so getting out to a lead first will be important against a struggling Lightning team looking for signs of life.

2. Will the floodgates open for Jonathan Toews?

After a four-point game in a 4-2 win over Vancouver, the Blackhawks captain matched his point total over his previous nine games. He's up to 26 points on the season, which is now fifth among Chicago forwards. When Toews has offensive droughts, they usually last longer than they should. But when he gets hot, he gets extremely hot. Perhaps we'll see the floodgates open offensively.

3. A chance for the team lead in scoring.

With an empty-net goal on Sunday, Marian Hossa tied Artem Anisimov for the team-lead with 18 goals. Artemi Panarin is right behind with 17, and Patrick Kane isn't far either at 15. The Blackhawks had four 20-goal scorers last season, and haven't had more than that since the 2013-14 season. They're definitely on pace to hit four, but could they surprass that? Richard Panik, who scored another goal Sunday as well, is fifth with 11 goals while Ryan Hartman has 10. Toews is at eight, but a flurry after a drought could make things interesting.

4. The triplets reunited?

In an effort to jumpstart a struggling offense, Lightning coach Jon Cooper reunited the triplets line of Tyler Johnson, Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Palat that was so successful during their 2015 playoff run in their latest game, a 5-3 loss to Arizona. It's unclear whether they will begin tonight's game on the same line, but if not, it's worth watching throughout the game whether they do. The Blackhawks have been coming at opponents in waves lately, so Cooper could look to separate the three to distribute the scoring.

5. Take advantage on special teams.

The Lightning have racked up the fifth-most penalty minutes in the league, and own a bottom-10 penalty kill unit at 80.1 percent. The Blackhawks are the second-least penalized team, and have converted on 17.9 percent of their power plays, which sits at 16th. But they haven't scored one on the man advantage in five straight games, going 0-for-9 during that span. Here's a chance to change that.

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

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