Notre Dame does not have a game this week, but the Irish are preparing as if they do.
"This week we went through a dry run of a game week. Today was like your typical Thursday of game week, tomorrow is a typical Friday and Saturday they're going to go out there and go to the stadium. They're going to get taped up and put on full gear and go through pregame warmups and do everything but play the game," Charlie Weis said. "This week was the week where we were just trying to get everyone acclimated into a regular game week and that's coaches included."
And in a change from last year's schedule, Sunday will now be the players' day off.
"It's definitely going to be different this year than it was in the past. Because in the past Monday's been their day off, this year Sunday's going to be their day off. That's a big difference," Weis said. "Letting them sleep, because if you think about it if Monday's the day off you still have to go to class. So I think letting them sleep in and go to mass or go to service on Sunday. There really wasn't a day off in their schedule because on Sunday we'd bring them in in the afternoon and on Monday it's their day off but they're getting up early to go to class.
"When did they ever get a chance to sleep in or have so-called quality of life like a normal student would have? So now they have Sunday."
Weis did not just make this decision on a whim either; there was a lot of thought that went into it.
"I went and researched a bunch of schools in the country to see how they do it and a bunch of them were doing it that way," he said. "I asked some people to try to find out why they do it that way and it was all related to rest."
The head coach expects the change to go over well with the players, especially after 2007 when on some Sundays the team went full speed the day after playing a game.
"I think they're very appreciative to be able to sleep in like the rest of the free world on Sunday," said Weis. "Coaches will be in though in case you're wondering, but players will get a chance to sleep in."
Sunday won't be the only difference in the schedule this year as the staff made the decision to keep the tempo up during the week.
"We've decided this year to keep in at least one full speed team offense against defense everyday until Thursday," said Weis. "So that we can keep practicing the speed of the game so we don't fall into that pitfall of when you've got show teams, having a false sense of security because you know what they're doing schematically. But when you get to gameday it's at a lot different speed than you're practicing."
Now that he has given up playcalling duties and added the title of co-special teams coach to his title, Weis's workweek will be a little different as well.
"I'm going to be spending more time on Monday with Brian (Polian). I kind of did a dry run of this one this week so I kind of figured out how it worked out," he said. "I know what part of the day I'm with special teams, I know what part of the day I'm with offense, I know what part of the day I'm with defense."
As for the schedule of games in 2008, Weis again said that there are advantages and disadvantages to having an off week at the start of the season.
"There's pros and cons for both sides. For them, they'll have a game under their belts," he said. "For our sake we'll be fresher. Those are the two biggest, obvious advantages for the two teams."
The players have said that they'll be watching the other games this week as they wait for their chance next Saturday.
"I think everyone is antsy. I think everyone would rather be playing now, but what would have happened was if we started this week we would have just started training camp a week earlier," said Weis. "It still would be the same timeframe right here. I think that the people who benefit the most from us not having a game this week are the freshmen.
"The toughest couple of weeks for any of these kids coming in are the first couple of weeks where now you have 20 hours of football and a full day at school too."
Weis expects to check out some college games himself this weekend.
"I'm sure my kid will be watching, he's already informed me that college football is on tonight," the head coach said of his son Charlie Jr. "He said that college football was on so he was pretty fired up that the college football season was starting."
HAYWOOD HAS HEAD MAN'S CONFIDENCE: Weis said that he trusts offensive coordinator Michael Haywood completely when it comes to calling plays.
"We've been together now for three years. Calling a game on Saturday is just a culmination of work that really starts on Sunday. I think that anything that I interject into gameplans really has always taken place long before gameday," Weis said. "As long as you're confident with the calls that you've come up with during the week, which I believe that Michael is perfectly capable of handling that along with the offensive staff. We've been together for awhile if they have any questions during the week they come to me. I'll see something in practice I'll say, ‘Why would we do that? Why would we do this?'
"But at the end of the day when you have relationships where you've been together for awhile it's really not that big of a turnover. I think that Michael thinks a lot like I do. It's never going to be exactly the same that's why I have to let him do it. Not sit there and, ‘Do this, do this, do this do this.' You've got to let him do it because once you've rubber-stamped what's on the gameplan then whatever he calls, he calls."
Haywood has downplayed any idea that his role will be much different this year and refusing to get emotional about it, something that Weis is happy to see.
"I think that that's a very, very good attribute. When you're a playcaller when you call a play, unlike most people when you watch the game, when you call a play before they've even broken the huddle you've already gone through the scenarios in your head of what could happen on this playcall," said Weis. "Like it's a run, it's first and ten, it's a run. What's the worst that's going to happen? You're going to gain two yards and it's second and eight? What you're doing is you're anticipating your next playcall based on the call that you've given to them that hasn't even come out of the huddle yet.
"I think that any good playcaller is always one play ahead. You're never on the play you've called because you're going to watch that one, there's no since broadcasting it, you've already given that one. I think it's important to be ready for the next one."
Notre Dame does not expect to have too many problems adjusting to the new 40-second play clock.
"I got (Haywood) on the 40-second clock very early in camp, we got on the 40-second clock. Really, if you do your due diligence, the 40-second clock gives you a lot more time as a playcaller not a lot less time," said Weis. "Because if you think about it how many times are you waiting for a 25-second clock to go ahead and give a playcall in? With a 40-second clock, a lot of time you've given the playcall before it even gets to 25 seconds. Sometimes it'll be later, but more often than not personnel will already be sent in and the play will be being sent in before it even gets to 25."