Friday, February 8, 2008
Haywood will handle Notre Dame's offensive play-calling next year
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis, who built
his coaching reputation as a play-caller while helping the New
England Patriots win three Super Bowls, won't be calling plays for
the Fighting Irish next season.
Offensive coordinator Mike Haywood will call plays so Weis,
coming off a dismal 3-9 season, can concentrate on his duties as
"I think that when you're play-calling on offense, you might
not necessarily be the best head coach. So what I'm trying to do is
I'm trying to be a better head coach," he said Friday.
Weis decided to move away from play-calling after meeting with
his old boss, Bill Belichick, before the Patriots played the New
York Giants in the regular-season finale Dec. 29. Weis said he
talked more with Belichick about how to be a better coach than
about X's and O's. He also consulted with others, but said he was
already leaning toward delegating the play-calling.
"I just felt that I had to, after this past season, figure out
a laundry list of things on and off the field that I wanted to make
better, and this was one of them," he said.
The move will give more freedom and responsibility to the
assistant coaches on offense, Weis said.
"It means that all the offensive coaches now won't have to
worry about the head coach breathing down their neck all the
time," he said. "When you have a number of good coaches sometimes
they get stymied or stifled a little bit when you have a very
domineering presence as head coach that's also involved in the
Weis also wants to be more approachable to players. The Irish
played more underclassmen last season and Weis was concerned some
were too worried about getting yelled at by him. He hopes they will
worry less when they get to know him better.
"You get it so that they know you better so if you yell at them
they know that it's not personal," he said.
On the defensive side, Weis said he will let defensive
coordinator Corwin Brown and newly hired Jon Tenuta, assistant head
coach for defense, work out how they will run the defense. Brown
will call the plays, Weis said.
Tenuta was defensive coordinator at Georgia Tech for six
seasons, where they ran a 4-3 defense. The Irish switched to a 3-4
defense in Brown's first season last year, but frequently used
four-man fronts. So what will the defense look like next season?
"I think the idiosyncrasies of what they'll do we'll start
worrying about on Feb. 18" when Tenuta starts, Weis said.
Tenuta will coach the linebackers next season, while Brown will
coach the defensive backs.
The only other change is that Brian Polian, who had coached
inside linebackers last season, will return to coaching special
teams, a position he held the previous two seasons. Weis will also
work with special teams.
Weis plans to meet with Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer, whose
teams are known for their special teams play, to find out why he is
"I know one thing: I've got to figure out a better way of
getting this special teams righted and I think he's done the best
job of anyone I know in college football with special teams," Weis
Weis also addressed several personnel issues. He said he hopes
starting nose tackle Pat Kuntz, not enrolled for spring semester
for what Kuntz has termed "personal reasons," and tight end Will
Yeatman, who was suspended from the team after he was arrested on
misdemeanor counts of drunken driving and criminal recklessness,
will play next season.