Blue and Gold Illustrated

Sept. 19, 2020

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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Page 16 of 55 SEPT. 19, 2020 17 BY ANDREW MENTOCK I n a cramped coaches office be- neath the gymnasium bleachers at old Saint Joseph High School, student football coach Charlie Weis Jr. watched opponent game tape on an old box television. Play after play, he'd jot down formations, worrisome matchups and player ten- dencies, all by hand. Connected to the boys' locker room, the office often stunk of teenage body odor. The carpet was dotted with stains, mice scurried through the walls and, on occasion, across the floors. It was a sharp juxtaposition to Charlie Weis Sr.'s pristine football offices at Notre Dame, located across the street after a brisk walk to the other side of campus. Yet in the fall of 2007, a 14-year-old Weis Jr. chose to spend his time dur- ing lunch and after school in the Saint Joseph coaches office. While his father instilled in him a love and admiration for the game, the high school is where he first dipped a toe into the coaching waters and contributed to the week- to-week success of a football program. "It was just a positive experience to start and get to see what the coaching world was like, getting to do the film breakdowns and all that," Weis Jr. said. "It definitely led me to really want to [coach], and it was an en- couraging experience." That fall, Weis Sr. struggled in his third season at Notre Dame — finish- ing 3-9 — but Weis Jr. encountered success on the high school sidelines while Saint Joseph made a run to the state championship game for the first time in more than a decade. Today, much of the work Weis Jr. did would be streamlined by the video re- view and performance analysis tools Hudl offers. The video hosting service technically launched in 2006 in Lincoln, Neb., but it took several years before it was used by countless high school coaches throughout the United States. And who needed Hudl when Weis Jr. was on staff? "Us coaches would gather as much information as we could," said Ben Downey, the Saint Joseph defensive coordinator at the time. "But if there was something really specific that we needed someone to look at — some- thing that the Hudl program would do easily — Charlie was the guy that we could completely count on to go find something about a guy's stance, or what happens when a guy lines up at this position or when they motion like this." Weis Jr. would then turn over a de- tailed scouting report that often in- cluded extra insights the other coaches hadn't thought to ask from him. As he dreamt of one day becoming the youngest head coach in college football, the coaching experience he gained in high school served as a Pop Warner-like introduction to the analysis he'd do as his career pro- gressed. But those weren't the only lessons he'd learn. Weis Jr. spent five formative years growing up in South Bend — "that's about the longest I was anywhere," he notes — and still considers it home. PHOTO COURTESY NOTRE DAME ATHLETICS HOMECOMING Charlie Weis Jr.'s young coaching career to come full circle at Notre Dame Stadium

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