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Monday, August 30, 2010
Getting used to new stadium part of job

By Mike Reiss

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Patriots coach Bill Belichick answered questions from reporters today before the team’s afternoon practice, and while there wasn’t much hard news to digest, one topic of note was the acclimation to new stadiums.

The Patriots visit the New Meadowlands Stadium on Thursday in the preseason finale, and then will return to the facility for a Week 2 matchup against the Jets.

Belichick touched on some of the things he looks for when working in a new facility for the first time:

1. Field conditions.

2. Footing.

3. Placement of lights for the returners.

4. Wind patterns.

5. Coaches press box and the time needed to get to the locker room at halftime.

6. Placement of the 40-second clock.

Meanwhile, Belichick noted that the team is in the process of adapting to changes at Gillette Stadium, with a new playing surface and new scoreboards.

The team is planning to practice in the stadium Tuesday.

“It’s definitely different, a contrast from where we were at with the old field at the end of the [2009] season,” he said. “Newer. Thicker. Softer. We’ve only been on it a couple of times – two games and one practice, so I think we’re still getting adjusted to it as well. It’s definitely a softer surface than what we had before.”

Belichick said that has affected the footing and cutting, although he doesn’t think the change is “dramatic”.

“The scoreboards, that’s a little different too. It’s great for the fans; it’s a little more distracting for the players on the field – the brightness and all that,” he said. “We’re still getting acclimated to it a little bit.”