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 head coach.
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 offense."
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 so successful.
"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 said.
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.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press