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Notre Dame Football: W.I.N. (What’s Important Now) — Toledo Week

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It’s the first meeting after a long weekend that went by way too fast — should be thrilling!!!

Alright, pull yourself together, ya dingus — you have to run this next meeting. Try not to make it too obvious how much drinking you did this weekend.

*Dry-heaves from the thought of alcohol*

*Clicks “Join Call” button*

Goooood morning! How’s everyone doing, how was the long weekend?

Oh yeah, the long ones always seem to fly by the fastest, that’s so true Sharon.

Dave, did you take the wife and kids up to your lake house? Yeah? Oh that’s awesome, glad to hear it was good weather. Not much more of that left this year, amiright?

Oh yeah, mine was pretty low-key — saw some friends, watched some football, got outside a bit. It was pretty relaxing. Yep exactly, haha!

Alright let’s see, do we have everybody on? I’m not sure if anyone is still on PTO, let’s see here...yeah I think just about everyone who accepted the invite is here, except...ope, there he is.

Hey John! Oh you’re on mute. There ya go...yeah no worries, we were just about to get started, you haven’t missed anything yet.

Alright well let’s dive in, there’s a lot to cover and it’s a short week, so I want to make sure we get through this efficiently and get everyone back to knocking down milestones!

Can everyone see my screen?

Awesome, well here’s the agenda for today, pretty typical lineup.

We’ll start with a refresher on what W.I.N. is, followed by our typical review of last week’s results, then do our favorite thing and hand out Team Member of the Week awards. After that, we’ll run through the scorecard, talk about some new competitive insights we’ve got, and then finish with W.I.N. and if we have time for questions, handle those then.

Sound good? Okay, here we go.

So like I said earlier, these next two slides are just a refresher on what W.I.N. is and the weekly process it entails. Hopefully for most of you this is very familiar.

Okay cool, if there aren’t any questions on any of that, I’ll move on to our review of last week’s results.

So here’s a summary of last week’s performance...

My apologies for the text-heavy, eyesore of a slide here. Because of the long weekend we had to pull these slides together pretty quickly and didn’t have a ton of time for formatting.

As you’ll see, the main takeaway from last week is that we won, but there is A LOT, both positive and negative, that was accomplished.

On the positive side, Jack Coan’s performance as opening night starter was just about as good as any of us could have expected, as the Wisconsin grad transfer went 26-for-35 passing the ball with 366 yards and 4 touchdowns while tossing 1 interception. He was efficient, productive, and accurate, with maybe the only real complaint being that he shorted a couple deep balls where the Irish had a step on the Seminoles.

Meanwhile on defense, Kyle Hamilton once again proved just how unbelievably elite he is, both as a player and as an athlete.

Might as well start calling him Roy Kent, because with his instincts, length, and speed, “he’s here, he’s there, he’s every-fucking-where” out there at safety.

Jonathan Doerer was not only absolute money, but he was absolute money in the clutch, kicking the walk-off winner in OT. So that was pretty freakin’ spectacular.

Meanwhile, Kevin Austin showed us why there’s been so much hype about him in practice, snagging 4 passes for 91 yards and a huge 3rd quarter TD catch thanks to a gorgeous pass from Coan.

The defense collapsed in the second half and showed plenty of weaknesses throughout, but Isaiah Foskey had a nice start to his tenure as a starting defensive end, notching 2 sacks and 8 total tackles.

Nice games were also turned in by Kyren “Bellyman” Williams and Michael Mayer, both of whom weren’t able to provide their absolute best performances for varying reasons (Bellyman didn’t have much blocking to work with on the ground, Mayer apparently forgot his hands in South Bend), but who still came up big overall.

Mayer dropped 2 or 3 passes he NEEDED to make, but still had 9 catches for 120 yards and the game’s first touchdown, and Bellyman did his damage as a receiver since he couldn’t as a runner, catching 6 balls for 83 yards and a touchdown.

On the downside, Marcus Freeman’s defense really fell apart down the stretch after a really aggressive and stifling start. Freeman switched to a 3-man front mid-3rd quarter and FSU really took advantage of that during their dramatic comeback, though we should note that in overtime the Irish had a 4-man front, and that certainly got the job done there. The Irish also looked pretty rough overall once McKenzie Milton came in and started picking them apart with his arm, which doesn’t bode super well for the back end of the Irish defense.

Which reminds me — the big learning from this past week is to not hit the opposing QB so hard their helmet comes off if their backup is a guy who’s going to be more effective and inspiring for his teammates. I say we run that new rule up the flagpole this week and see if anyone salutes — thoughts?

NCAA Football: Notre Dame at Florida State Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports

Other headwinds included the referees’ lack of understanding as to what constitutes roughing vs. running into the kicker, serious injuries to Paul Moala and Kevin Bauman and what’s hopefully just a strain for Blake Fisher, and Brian Kelly’s joke about executing his entire team, which got really overblown online but also just wasn’t very clever or funny and was more so just weird. I’ll have more on that later in the meeting.

Any questions on any of that? You’ll notice I had the analytics team put together a couple charts there on the right, just to really convey the numbers here.

Okay, let’s move forward and take a quick peek at the scorecard and review the status of our action items.

You’ll notice there are a lot of new items we’ve recently added here. I’m not going to read them all, but please take a minute to review these and let me know if you have any questions. Really the big action items of fixing the defense and teaching this offensive line to run block are the most critical to our project W.I.N. timeline, so let’s really try to tackle those this week, okay guys? Think outside the box if you have to, but honestly these seem like pretty straightforward things we just need to execute on — errr — that we just need to get done.

Otherwise, everything else is either yellow or green, so we should feel pretty good. We completed a number of things this week, so that’s always good to see — great work on those items, Kyle, Jon, and Kevin! And Allison, great work especially on getting a BK reaction to a certain Dirty Dancing video we all know and love.

Alright, so now let’s quickly recognize our team members of the week. As you all know, our weekly winners receive Chipotle gift cards, so congratulations to these three heroes...

*clicks multiple times as the slide runs through all the custom animation it has for the “big reveal” here*

Congrats to Jack, Kyle, and Jon! Really well-deserved, I hope you know how much we appreciate all the effort you guys have been putting into this project. Thank you so much and keep it up — Chipotle gift cards are in the mail!

Cool, well we are already more than halfway through our meeting time so let’s quickly move forward to our competitive overview, this week looking at the Toledo Rockets.

A lot of this you guys probably already know, but a couple key things to point out here:

  • Toledo’s coach is named Jason Candle...I hopefully don’t need to wax poetic here to inspire you guys to come up with some great puns using his name in the comments...I assume a name like that will light the fire inside you and you won’t want to hide it under a bushel, no
  • Their mascots Rocky and Rocksy are, according to Toledo’s website, “not dating, not married, and not brother and sister. They are just the best of pals who love The University of Toledo.” So there ya go, I guess
  • Toledo and ND have never played before, so that’s kind of fun
  • Toledo’s stadium is named the Glass Bowl, which is fantastic and I don’t think it’s earth-shattering for me to be transparent here and say I assume you all will come up with some good puns in the comments about this as well. Let me be clear — y’all should definitely do that
  • Toledo’s most important alumnus, in my opinion, has gotta be Fredric J. Baur, who invented the Pringles can. What a legend!!!

Okay I know we went through that fast, but we need to keep moving. Let me know offline if you have any questions on any of that information and we can circle back.

Okay so just high-level, here are the most important strategic insights to know about Toledo. They’ve got a two-QB thing going too, so if you got sick of that during the FSU matchup, buckle up for more!

Secondly, these guys on Jason Candle’s team clearly understand the importance of special teams, considering they returned not one but TWO blocked punts for touchdowns in their season-opening rout of Norfolk State. Also, their kicker — in a limited amount of chances, but still — looks to be quite an accurate kicker, so unfortunately it probably won’t be a repeat of the FSU kid from last week.

Jonathan Jones, former Irish LB, is one of Toledo’s best defensive guys, so be sure to look out for him. And then just know that after one game, Toledo has one of the most productive offenses in the country and a handful of pretty talented skill guys who could be dangerous if neglected by the ND defense.

So, with all that said, what’s important NOW???

We are basically at time so I’ll move quickly, but essentially this MACtion matchup gives the Irish the chance to really “find themselves” in a lot of position areas where they struggled against Florida State — especially on defense and on the offensive line. Marcus Freeman’s got a lot of adjustments to make after how quickly FSU erased that 38-20 lead ND had in the 3rd quarter, and he’d probably be well-served to give a few other/younger guys a shot at positions like linebacker (Prince Kollie) and the safety spot opposite Kyle Hamilton (KJ Wallace, Khari Gee, Justin Walters).

On that note, the Irish would really benefit from blowing Toledo out and doing so early on with crisper and more mental-mistake-free play, allowing the starters to get into a confident groove and enabling all the super-young offensive skill guys to get some reps. Tyler Buchner, Lorenzo Styles Jr., Deion Colzie, Audric Estime/Logan Diggs, etc. would all benefit from some early-season PT, without question.

Finally, Brian Kelly should probably run any new comedic material by the PR staff before taking it on live TV...it’s clear he’s not always the best judge of his own one-liners.

Alright, I went through a ton of material there super-fast...any questions about any of it?

*crickets*

Okay, well that’s all I had for today, you guys. Thanks for calling in and for all your participation, and as always I’m sending you all the link to this deck in case you need it for reference!

Also, just as a PSA before we all hang up — HR has informed me that due to some comments made on Sunday night, there will be a mandatory “Office Jokes: Sensitivity and Offensive Humor in the Workplace” training that we all will need to take by end-of-week. So I’ll be sure to send that link out once I’ve got it — please take it seriously!

Okay everyone have a great week, talk soon!

*Clicks “End Call” button*

I wonder if I can get away with declining the invites for my next three meetings and just take a nap...otherwise I might legitimately have to consider executing my whole team.

Shit, probably shouldn’t have said that. Oh well, I’ll just play it off as quoting an old USC coach.

*sets status to “Do Not Disturb” and then lies down for a nap*