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Notre Dame Football: L.O.S.E. (Let’s Obliterate Season Expectations) — California Golden Bears Week


From: Pat Rick

To: Project W.I.N. Distribution List <>

Sent: Mon 9/12/2022 08:00 AM

Subject: Today’s Regular Project Meeting CANCELED


Happy Monday, team!

I just wanted to shoot everyone a quick note to explain why I just canceled our weekly recurring meeting for this morning. As most of you know, we’ve had some pretty critical obstacles to success and opportunities for improvement pop up over the weekend, and so leadership thinks it best if we cancel the Project W.I.N. meeting for today and instead set up an URGENT leadership connect to align on how best to address this weekend’s incidents and how to proceed with the project in a strategically-sound and cost-effective manner.

For all Project W.I.N. team members, please use the time we’re giving you back in your Monday to follow up on the various outstanding items noted in the attached deck, which will suffice for this week’s updates.

I also encourage you all to consider a potential project team staff members-only meeting to work through some of the culture and attitude adjustments you think would be beneficial to the future of this project and this enterprise as a whole. I cannot and will not TELL you to do that, but God knows it couldn’t hurt (looking at you, the 6 project captains selected before this project began).

Leadership will meet this morning to iron out an action-oriented go-forward plan, and we will be in touch with further direction once that’s completed.

Thanks for all your hard work to-date, and we’re confident that this will only be a minor speed bump in a wildly successful journey to reaching our long-term goals as a team and company!


Pat Rick

Project W.I.N. Program Director

One Foot Down (Great Place to Write Certified — 2022)


Oof, okay that was a bit painful to write up and send. Saturday was such a shit-show, I’m sure the meeting this morning is going to be a doozy. I still can’t believe they already came up with a new project and new project acronym for said new project — wild priorities here.

Alright, time to lead/mediate/try not to get yelled at too much on this “Project L.O.S.E.” call. What a way to start our week!

*presses “Join Call” button*

Hello, everyone! How’s everyone doing this morning?

*that question is met with a collection of extremely short/mumbled answers, silent grimaces/shrugs, and one guy who’s been at the company for 20+ years rolling his eyes so hard it looked like he was trying to summon the spirits of ND coaches of old to possess his body and provide sage advice on what to do*

Alright, well I know a lot of folks have packed schedules for today and had to move things around to make this meeting, so we should probably make the most of the hour we have here.

We pulled together a special deck for this meeting, to ensure we cover everything that happened this past weekend and how to approach the coming week, as it’s obviously a critical next handful of days for the life of this project. So let’s dive into it.

Can everyone see my screen?

*silence, except for one person who appears to say yes to their muted microphone and one other person who sounds like they’re either driving in their car, taking a walk in a wind tunnel, or possibly skydiving?*

Okay great!

Okay, so we’ve dubbed this emergency project — green-lighted to address the issues of Project W.I.N. — Project L.O.S.E.

We’ll get into what that means in just a second, but first I just wanted to show you the agenda for the call. We’ve got a lot of topics to work through, so I’m going to ask that you try to hold your questions for the end of each slide, when I’ll open the floor for all questions, concerns, and comments.

Okay great!

So just really quick: you all should be pretty familiar with Project W.I.N. by now, and thus this new project to help turn around the latest results of Project W.I.N. has been named Project L.O.S.E.

Here’s a very simple definition, in case you need further elaboration on what this project is all about.

Now, moving right along — this slide just shows the basic process that this project within a project will use. It’s extremely similar to the Project W.I.N. process, as we wanted to leverage a lot of the same tactics and materials while also finding a way to address the underlying issues.

So, the main difference here in this L.O.S.E. process plan is that instead of determining What’s Important Now as our deliverable each week, Project L.O.S.E. will instead focus on Obliterating Season Expectations in order to level-set and set the team up for success going forward, with clear, simple, and attainable goals that should serve as a better guiding light than the loftier and frankly unrealistic objectives we’d originally established for the project team.

So, with all that said, let’s take a look at Last Week’s Results and talk through how we got here and why Project L.O.S.E. is necessary.

As you can see on this slide, a lot happened last weekend. A lot of the biggest pieces of this fall into the Opportunities for Improvement side of this graphic, but we think it’s important to also go into detail about any and all positives we can glean and build on from Saturday, and so we will start there just to ensure we all align on the aspects of Project W.I.N. we should carry forward instead of tossing out with this reset of expectations.

Firstly, junior tight end Michael Mayer continues to be a force, and we will certainly want to keep tapping into his core competencies in the balance of the year. He was limited in production by Ohio State last week, which we’re sure was a big objective of theirs heading into that match-up. But last week, Mayer returned to being the rock star NFL-caliber tight end he is, snagging 8 passes for 103 yards and an impressively-strong but ultimately meaningless touchdown late in the game, making it look much closer than the game really was down the stretch.

Marshall v Notre Dame Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Meanwhile, we also saw sophomore wide receiver Lorenzo Styles Jr. put his talents more on full display, which was encouraging after a very quiet performance in Columbus besides his 54-yard catch-and-run on the first play from scrimmage there. Styles had 7 receptions for 69 yards against the Marshall Thundering Herd, while also managing a 22-yard run and notching a 27-yard return on a kickoff.

Moving to special teams, punter Jon Sot continues to be one of this team’s early MVPs, which would be a sad thing to say if we weren’t already just extremely sad about this past weekend anyway.

Sot had a very busy and productive game against OSU in the opener, and this weekend he had to punt less but still was very strong when he had the opportunity to show off his leg, downing all four of his punts inside the 20-yard-line while averaging 42 yards per and notching a long punt of 61 yards. He’s now punted 12 times through 2 games and is averaging 45 yards per punt and has landed 58% of his kicks inside the 20. This Hahvahd kid can PLAY!

NCAA Football: Notre Dame at Ohio State Adam Cairns-USA TODAY Sports

Other small special teams positives: getting a couple decent kickoff returns from Styles and Tyree, and Brandon Joseph actually choosing to return a punt and getting a solid 15 yards out of it. Also, Blake Grupe’s onside kick with 14 seconds to play was absolutely GORGEOUS. The Irish somehow failed to recover it, but you can’t do it any better than that as the kicker — good to know that’s in Grupe’s bag of tricks for the remainder of the season, as it may be needed, knowing this offense.

That was mainly it from the offensive and special teams sides of things. Defensively, it wasn’t exactly a banner day either and thus I don’t want to toot their horns too much, but I do think the defense has played well enough in both games for the team to be 2-0 right now. On Saturday, Al Golden’s group was solid throughout and only gave up 19 points, with 7 of Marshall’s total coming on a pick-six. And I think the secondary largely continues to impress, as they seem to still be pretty stout in pass coverage and reliable in tackling ball carries who’ve made it to the second level, with TaRiq Bracy and Brandon Joseph standing out yet again.

To go quickly back to the offensive side of the ball, I’m going to stretch a bit and shout-out a few of Tyler Buchner’s throws and Drew Pyne’s final drive (once the game was essentially already wrapped up in favor of Marshall, but still). Buchner of course has not been sparkling through two weeks, but he started against OSU very strongly and I do think he made a few throws this past Saturday that made me turn to my buddy Prison Mike and say, “That was a GREAT throw.” Unfortunately, consistency is the biggest issue there, so Buchner hasn’t been able to string together enough of those throws to make us believe he can deliver them when needed. But it’s clear he’s capable of doing it, which I think still sets him apart as the best option the Irish have (when healthy).

NCAA Football: Marshall at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Pyne’s final drive was pretty nice — with the offense obviously being gifted a blocked punt by Bo Bauer (which was also a positive, but I unfortunately forgot to add it to the slide) — going 32 yards in 7 plays (or 38 in 6, after Pyne was sacked on 1st down), with Pyne running for 13 yards, hitting Styles for 11 yards, and then tossing a couple short passes to Mayer to get the team into the end zone with 14 seconds to go. With Buchner’s status looking doubtful for the foreseeable future, Irish fans need to embrace that Pyne is about to be in the driver’s seat, warts and all. Here’s to hoping he can consistently tap into that last drive more so than his first appearance in the game, when he entered for an injured Buchner and proceeded to throw an incomplete pass and then a pretty bad and telegraphed interception to ice the game.

Okay, with all of the above covered, we now have a responsibility to discuss the VARIOUS opportunities for improvement that became extremely evident on Saturday.

We’ll start on the offensive side of the ball — Buchner might not have been great, but he also continued to have opposing players in his face way too quickly on passing downs, and the veteran Irish line continued to get manhandled at the point of attack, unable to clear any space for ND ball carriers. This was at least understandable against OSU’s bevy of 5-star talent, but the fact that MARSHALL was owning the ND line — especially on the interior where Notre Dame boasts three seniors/grad students with tons of starting experience — was simply unacceptable.

We all know Harry Hiestand can recruit and develop guys to form pretty darn strong offensive lines, but there’s no question he hasn’t done enough with this group and needs to rethink his starting personnel. Lugg and Correll being older guys you can trust makes sense in theory, but when you can’t actually trust them, why are they considered the best options? Are the young guys like Rocco Spindler and Andrew Kristofic really that far behind them?? Also, Blake Fisher certainly has a very promising future in this sport, but he’s absolutely not played up to his hype level so far this season. I’m not sure if he or anyone else mentioned above has been battling any injuries recently or what, but he’s been beaten on the edge numerous times now and Joe Alt seems to be the only guy mostly holding up his end of the bargain.

NCAA Football: Fiesta Bowl-Oklahoma State at Notre Dame South Bend Tribune-USA TODAY Sports

Staying on offense, it’s the coldest take ever for me to point out that the receivers have given the team NOTHING aside from Michael Mayer and now a bit from Lorenzo Styles. Those two guys managed to account for 71% of the team’s receptions on Saturday along with 78% of the receiving yards. No one else is getting any separation, and it’s starting to get really odd to not see more of guys like Eli Raridon or anything at all from Tobias Merriweather and Holden Staes. Could some of these guys maybe have injuries we don’t know about? Because otherwise, what justification is there at this point for continuing to give tons of reps to older receivers who aren’t doing anything?

And we mainly discussed it above, but Tyler Buchner may have had some really nice throws on the day, but he had a lot more that were very much not nice. He’s consistently missing on the few deep balls where ND receivers actually have the DBs beat, and of course that pick-six in the 4th quarter was a back-breaking, stupid throw that more or less clinched Marshall’s win. Drew Pyne’s pick wasn’t much better, but just had the benefit of being on the other end of the field and not on an out-route that set up an easy return TD.

Marshall v Notre Dame Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Buchner getting hurt in the 4th quarter, surprisingly enough, is a huge negative despite what I just talked about above. Because for as inconsistent and erratic as he’s been throwing the ball, he’s likely still the best option at QB for this team, and so losing him for any significant time will only hamper this squad further in turning things around. Drew Pyne won’t bring the same running threat as Buchner and yet will likely make similar mistakes running the offense, so this injury and the time Buchner will miss (as of writing this, no word has officially been stated on it but there are rumors he could miss a decent chunk of this season with something related to his tendon or maybe his clavicle) could be super bad for the team’s ability to salvage this season.

One last thought about the offense: I don’t think it’s a wild thought anymore to question Tommy Rees’s long-term viability as offensive coordinator. What we saw again this past Saturday, in terms of play-calling decisions and choices on personnel, was pretty indefensible. 15 points scored until the final minute of the game at home against Marshall is embarrassing, to say the least, and if Rees doesn’t make some major changes and learn how to adapt and evolve his offense, it makes no sense to retain him.

He was supposedly going to finally have the autonomy to do what he wasn’t allowed to do under Brian Kelly, and although I don’t miss Brian Kelly in the slightest, this offense somehow seems less competent than a Brian Kelly offense, which we obviously never loved considering its inability to produce against elite defenses.

Defensively, for as “decent” as Al Golden’s group was, they still managed to really get beaten at every level by Clint Trickett’s Thundering Herd offense — especially up front. Marshall tore up the vaunted Irish front seven to the tune of 219 rushing yards (163 for Khalan Laborn), and although Marshall QB Henry Colombi was sacked three times on the day, the defensive line and linebackers really looked bad for most of the game and weren’t coming up with any big plays when it mattered most.

Somehow, some way, this group STILL has no forced turnovers after two full games, which is scarily bad.

Considering the defense was supposed to carry this team and now we know the offense is much worse than expected, it’s unacceptable how “just okay” the defense has been in terms of making big plays. The defensive ends have not gotten to the QB or even managed to keep containment on most plays, and the linebackers have looked slow, lost, sluggish, and at times just bad.

Okay, we need to move on in the deck, but the last negative to mention here is the recovery of Grupe’s onside kick. It didn’t really matter, but to waste such a beautiful onside kick by NOT falling on it when it’d already gone ten yards and could easily have been recovered was embarrassing. The devil has been in the details at times for this team, and that’s certainly a detail that needs to be executed on in the future.

Okay, let’s quickly take a look at our Project L.O.S.E. scorecard.

I’ll let you all read these offline, but I just want to shout out Michael, Lorenzo, Chris, the DBs, and myself for hitting green on our initial action items for this new project. There’s a lot of red and yellow here for a number of team members to get figured out, though, so let’s keep working as a team to create clear action plans to achieve these objectives and get us back on track for this coming weekend!

Okay, really quick, here are the team members we plan on recognizing in an email to the greater Project W.I.N. team this week:

Again, it wasn’t a very successful weekend for us, but we feel it’s as important now as ever to give some TLC to team morale and celebrate some small successes. We need the team to rethink a lot of things and make changes, but want to ensure they stay engaged and passionate about the ultimate goals here.

So, congrats to Michael, Lorenzo, Jon, Brandon, DJ, TaRiq, Howard, and Jack, as well as Tyler’s legs. They’ll all be receiving Chipotle gift cards in their inboxes later today.

One final thing before we move on to this week’s competition — I just wanted to review some stray observations from my side as I took in all the action on Saturday.

Key quotes from the day included a small child next to me randomly exclaiming “There’s a banana!” and making me really confused until I realized he was watching a student in a banana costume on the jumbotron, and then a guy in front of me saying “Let gravity do its work” about an old-ish woman walking down the stairs backwards, very slowly, I assume because either she has some medical reason to do so or is afraid of heights or something. Lots of wild things being spoken in section 106 last weekend.

Other observations from the home opener experience:

  • My fellow 2013 alum Prison Mike and I walked around campus for a bit prior to tailgating, just because we often don’t get to do that on game days when we come back, instead typically going straight to the drinking in the parking lots. It was lovely to wander around campus while drinking Miller High Life tallboys, and especially fun to visit our old stomping grounds on North Quad outside Stanford Hall. We took a quick break in walking to sip on our cans of the Champagne of Beers outside Haggar Hall, with the quad largely deserted and any passersby really confused why we were just drinking outside that random building. Shout out to Haggar Hall, the place where we used to tell our friends there was free pizza so we could watch them wander into the entrance from our Stanford windows only to wander back out, confused and pizza-less
  • At the game itself, Prison Mike and I got tickets right on the aisle at the edge of our row, as I always prefer that instead of being in the middle of a row. And the seat would have been really nice, if not for how wildly busy the aisles/stairs were in our section. I understand it was a hot and sunny game and so people needed to stay hydrated, etc., but it just felt like an absurd amount of people constantly walking up and down those stairs, including during basically every important play of the game, causing Mike and I to have to strain to even catch parts of those plays. My request: ND needs to institute a rule similar to what I’ve seen at hockey games, where fans are held at the section entrance until a break in the action. Otherwise these people who need to go to the concession stand 8 times a game are just ruining the experience for everyone else
  • I see the Notre Dame Stadium music experience hasn’t evolved in any way since last year, using the same song with a creepy little girl voice saying something followed by some techno music for EVERY. SINGLE. THIRD. DOWN. ON. DEFENSE. I wouldn’t mind it if they mixed it up occasionally, but it’s a really weird choice to stick with for every instance of that situation over multiple years of football.
  • Finally, I want to give a big shout-out to the fully-grown adult man in the section next to us, just a few rows up, who was apparently so hot that he felt the need to air out his belly for an extended period of time around halftime. He was also wearing a t-shirt that said “I enjoy Busch Latte” that looked like it was designed on CustomInk. I do not understand what was going through that man’s mind but I think he might be my hero. Maybe he just misses Bellyman and was trying to execute a solid tribute. Who knows?

Okay, now let’s turn the page and look ahead to the competition to focus on this week, the California Golden Bears!

Here’s a quick overview for your reference:

I’ll spare you having to hear me read all this off the slide to you, but I just want to emphasize a couple key points:

1. I had no idea Cal claims 5 national titles, many of them right around the Knute Rockne years.

2. Clearly they never ran into Rockne or the Irish in any of those “championship” seasons, though, as they’re 0-4 against the Irish all-time.

3. Cal has some really fun alumni/former students, including: William “She Bangs” Hung; the founders of AskJeeves, MySpace, the first aerobics classes, and the parent company for Hot Pockets; the actors who played Beaver in Leave It To Beaver and Chunk in The Goonies; the author of Holes; and the guy who coined the term “blog,” and thus likely made it possible for me to be here today typing all this nonsense for you.

4. Cal has a very fun list of teams they’ve never beaten, including the Hawaii All-Stars, Fleet City USNTDC (CA), Del Monte Pre-Flight (CA), Alameda Coast Guard (CA), and Carlisle Indian School (PA).

Speaking of Carlisle Indian School, I just want to take a quick detour to discuss that program. I’ve noticed them over the past couple years constantly popping up as a team a lot of programs played a few times back in the day and never defeated, and so I decided to double-click and do some targeted research on these guys.

What I found is that Carlisle Indian School was A PROBLEM for a lot of top college football programs. Just take a look at their records against these big-name teams:

Unfortunately, further research into the school itself showed me that Carlisle Indian School was probably not something to be celebrated or revered, as it was a boarding school focused on assimilating Native Americans into mainstream Euro-American culture. It was founded under government authority by Lieutenant Richard Henry Pratt in 1879, and Pratt’s motto was literally, “Kill the Indian, save the man” as his school model focused on essentially stripping Native Americans of their culture (oftentimes using corporal punishment — considered acceptable at the time as a way of disciplining kids — on students exhibiting “Native behavior”) because Pratt believed Native Americans were equal to European-Americans but just needed to “Americanize” themselves to advance and thrive in society.

With that said, that weird and pretty messed-up school was apparently pretty darn good at football (except against Notre Dame, who won their lone match-up with the school).

Alright, moving right along to this Cal roster — the most important thing to know, as you all surely can guess, is how many great names they have.

And BOY do I have good news for you! Cal’s roster is LOADED.

Trond Grizzell? Champion Johnson?? Ieremia Ieremia???

It’s absolutely nuts that I can justifiably rank names like Kaleb Elarms-Orr, Evan McLurkin, Beaux Tagaloa, and Bastian Swinney comfortably outside the top 5-7 names. Raymond Woodie III and Mayze Bryant falling at 21 and 20 is nuts. What a collection of names.

Also shout out to Miles Williams and Myles Williams, two guys on the same team in the same secondary group with essentially the same name. I’m sure that never gets confusing.

Okay, so let’s dive a bit deeper — what should we know about this California football team?

First and foremost, the Golden Bears have a pretty darn good defense they’ll be bringing to Saturday’s clash with Tommy Rees’s hapless offense. Defensive Coordinator Peter Sirmon leads a group that includes some really talented linebackers, such as his son Jackson Sirmon (the team’s leading tackler with 17 tackles...also has 1 PD and 1 FF this year; he transferred in from Washington), Oluwafemi Oladejo (16 tackles, 1 PD), and Myles Jernigan (9 tackles, 0.5 sacks).

Along with that crew, Cal has a pretty strong secondary, despite losing All-American corner Elijah Hicks to the NFL (Hicks, if you remember, was committed to Notre Dame in the 2017 class before decommitting and signing with Cal). Safeties Daniel Scott and Craig Woodson have combined for 17 tackles, 2 PD, and 1 INT TD (Woodson), while a host of solid cover corners like Isaiah Young (8 tackles, 1 INT), Collin Gamble (7 tackles, 1 PD), and Lu-Magia Hearns III (6 tackles, 2 PD; had 10 PD in 2021) will make life difficult for an Irish receiving corps already struggling enough on their own.

NCAA Football: UC - Davis at California Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Utah transfer DE Xavier Carlton leads the team in sacks so far with 2.5 on the year, and will be joined by guys like NT Ricky Correia (6 tackles), DEs Ethan Saunders and Nate Burrell, and OLBs Braxton Croteau and Odua Isibor in providing a pass rush in conjunction with the linebackers.

Overall, Sirmon’s group is currently ranked 24th in SP+ and is tied for 29th in scoring defense, having not allowed more than 14 points to-date this season. Of course, their opponents have been UC Davis and UNLV, so it’s not like they’ve shut down any great offenses yet.

Stanford v California Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images

But anyone who watched ND play last weekend and also saw Tyler Buchner go down should know that Notre Dame’s offense clearly doesn’t qualify as great either, so it should be a pretty good match-up.

On the other side of the ball, the Irish defense should have it a bit easier. Cal’s offense under coordinator Bill Musgrave is ranked 118th in SP+ right now, as they’ve only averaged 3.6 yards per carry and have only rushed for 1 TD against an FCS program (UC Davis) and UNLV. However, if you remove sacks from that stat their yards per carry improves to 4.8, and RB Jaydn Ott is averaging 6.5 yards per carry so far this season, so if the Irish defense isn’t careful he could certainly find similar success as Khalan Laborn (although Ott is likely not as talented as the former FSU RB).

Their QB is Jack Plummer, a guy you may remember as Purdue’s starter against the Irish last year, when he threw for 187 yards and a touchdown on 25/36 passing. He’s a capable-enough passer who’s managed 546 yards and 4 TDs on 69% completion so far this year, but he’s also already thrown 2 interceptions against inferior defenses, so it’s very possible ND finally forces its first turnover of the year on Saturday.

UNLV Rebels against the California Golden Bears Photo by Ray Chavez/MediaNews Group/The Mercury News via Getty Images

Plummer has a couple nice targets to throw to, led by wide receivers Jeremiah Hunter and J. Michael Sturdivant. Hunter is a 6’2” junior who’s reeled in 11 balls for 157 yards and a score so far this season, while Sturdivant is a 6’3” freshman who’s started his career in fine fashion with 10 catches and 104 yards.

Other names to note are WR Mavin Anderson (7 catches, 60 yards, 1 TD) and TE Keleki Latu (6 catches, 59 yards), as well as Ott, who’s got 5 catches for 42 yards and 2 receiving touchdowns to go along with his strong rushing average.

My final two points on Cal’s squad:

  1. Their kicker is named Dario Longhetto, which is an awesome name. He appears to be pretty solid (4/5 FG, 6/6 XP) but fairly untested from long distance (3/3 from less than 40 yards out, 12 from 40+ with a long of 41), so hopefully the Irish defense is a bit stingier this weekend and forces him to prove his leg from further away
  2. It kind of goes without saying, but I’m going to say it anyway: despite last weekend, the Irish are still favored by two scores at 12.5 points, and they certainly have a sizable talent advantage on paper. Of course, we saw a similar, if not larger advantage last week and how that went, so who truly knows how this will go, especially with Buchner very likely not able to go. So it should be really interesting to see if last weekend was the reality check the team needed to make some wholesale changes, or if they’ll continue to dig themselves into a hole and set us all up for a very long season.

Okay, last but not least, let’s quickly cover what I’ve outlined for this project as the key goals and guiding principles for this week’s Project L.O.S.E. initiatives.

Some of you may not agree with all of the above, but I think we can all agree that more of the same isn’t going to work. The status quo needs to be destroyed and it’s time for Marcus Freeman and his staff, along with the players, to really make some moves in terms of righting the ship.

So, here are the 6 things I think they should do this week/weekend:

1. Open up the depth chart. Besides Michael Mayer and Jon Sot and maybe Brandon Joseph, I think no one else’s positions should be “safe” and this week in practice needs to be everyone re-earning or newly-earning spots in the rotation. This team looked complacent/sluggish in the home opener, when they should have been pissed off that Marshall was kicking their asses up and down the field.

Let the young guns at linebacker, receiver, offensive line, etc. get more than a fair shot at displacing the entrenched veterans, because if what we saw on Saturday was what you get with “experienced guys who know the system” then what’s the point of valuing that at all? Might as well let the more talented and inexperienced dudes play with an edge, make some mistakes, and learn on the job to set them up for success in future seasons.

NCAA Football: Notre Dame at Stanford Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

2. Tommy Rees has reached the end of the rope in terms of our patience, and I think it’s time that Freeman at the very least demands that Rees starts taking input from other offensive coaches in terms of the game plan and play-calling. Gerad Parker was co-offensive coordinator at West Virginia last year, so he would be a nice place to start.

But hell, even having Deland McCullough, Harry Hiestand, and Chansi Stuckey give their thoughts to Tommy — both on who they think should be playing more, what kinds of plays should be run more with this team and especially with Pyne now at QB, etc. — could insert enough unique viewpoints that maybe the offense becomes less predictable and more successful.

3. There’s no excuse for how average the defensive line has looked. They’re supposed to be the deepest and most talented position group on the team, and at best they’ve done a nice job corralling opposing offenses and at their worst they’ve been absolutely steamrolled by Marshall’s rushing attack while not getting nearly enough pressure on the Marshall QB.

They need a reality check, with some really tough practices to bring them all down to earth, and then they need some inspiration/fires being lit underneath them to get them ready to tear some heads off on Saturday. It’s time for Al Washington to earn those paychecks.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: APR 23 Notre Dame Spring Game Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

4. This is kind of covered by #1, but it’s especially important for the offensive line so I’m repeating it with that group specifically in mind. That group has been downright bad this season, and it makes no sense to keep starting older, veteran guys when their experience does nothing to stop them from making mistakes and getting bullied by opponents. Let the young guys run with the 1st team and see who clicks.

5. Related to #2, the offensive strategy needs to be tossed in the trash and rebuilt in a simple, straightforward way to simply get the ball into the hands of the most talented guys as much as possible.

That means Michael Mayer, Chris Tyree, and Lorenzo Styles Jr. Sprinkle in some Audric Estime and maybe some attempts to get the ball to Eli Raridon, Holden Staes, and/or Tobias Merriweather, and quit trying to be cute with the play-calling. Create opportunities for those guys to simply get into open space with the ball in their hands. Period.

NCAA Football: Notre Dame at Ohio State Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

6. The team and staff rightfully need to make tons of changes and review plenty of issues this week in order to correct them. But if they want to salvage this season at all, they also then need to move on and move forward. They stunk last weekend, but they don’t have to stink all year. Adapt that “Be A Goldfish” mindset from Ted Lasso and go crack some skulls on Saturday.

Alright, so that’s everything we had for this meeting today. Any questions, comments, or concerns?

*blank stares*

Okay excellent, well we are officially at time and I know everyone has other meetings to get to, so thank you for making the time for this today, as we certainly need to address these issues but this will hopefully drive us toward even greater long-term success once Project L.O.S.E. has been completed as a part of Project W.I.N.

Sometimes you’ve gotta tear it all down before you can build it back up, and sometimes that enables you to build it back up even better. Let’s go do that, we got this!

Alright thanks y’all, as always I will send the link to the deck out after this so you may peruse it at your leisure. Have a great rest of your Monday!

*clicks “End Call” button*

What a start to the week. Time for my third cup of coffee and 5 days of wishing it were the weekend once again.