Weis to Call Plays...For Now

Offensive coordinator Michael Haywood suffered a death in his family on Friday and will be heading back to Houston on Wednesday. Charlie Weis will call the plays and handle the offense for Notre Dame this week, but he would not address anything past the Navy game.

The ‘why' may never be explained, but the ‘what' it is all that really matters.

Charlie Weis will handle the offense and call plays for Notre Dame this week against Navy. Offensive coordinator Mike Haywood suffered a death in his family last weekend and will spend a couple of days away from the team.

"On Friday of last week, Coach Haywood came to me and a family member of his had passed away sooner than expected after a long illness," Weis said. "We had come up with a plan that we would discuss on Sunday what we would do this week. After discussing it on Sunday afternoon what we decided we would do is he's going to fly out of here tomorrow to go back to Houston to attend the funeral back there in Houston. In his absence for this week, I'm going to take over the offense."

It is not yet known whether he will return to South Bend or just meet the squad in Baltimore, but Haywood will rejoin the team before the game and is expected to coach from the box.

"Anytime things like this happen I give my guys carte blanche to do whatever they want to do," Weis said. "As coaches by nature, what you're trying to do is miss as little as you possibly can. It's almost like I have to force him to go."

Weis did not feel it was his place to say who the family member was and would not speculate on any changes to his role with the offense past this week.

"Michael and I had anticipated that being the first question and we said, let's just get through Navy," he said. "I want to give him his time and he really needs a little time here. He's here and he's gotten it out, but I think that having gone through death during football season myself at one time, you show up for the game, but you're kind of in a fog. You're there, but you're kind of not there at the same time. So we both decided let's just get through this week.

"We said that we wouldn't even talk about it until after we got through this game and through this week. They're the logical questions to ask, but we decided not even to go there. Let's just try to get through this week and get through the Navy game."

The head coach would not address a question about whether he would have taken over if Haywood had not suffered a death in the family.

"But he did. Let's not go there," Weis said. "What if we won by 40? I'd still be running the offense this week. It wouldn't have made a difference, I'd still be doing the same thing."

Weis' increase in participation began on Monday.

"I've been involved with the game plans, with Michael in there of course, but I've been involved with all of the stuff as of Monday morning as far as the game plan, the installation, the implementation," he said. "I'll run the offense this week and call the plays for the Navy game."

After shaking the practice schedule up following the loss to Pittsburgh failed to work, Weis is hoping that this change will.

"It was already quite drastic of change for them yesterday when all of a sudden I'm running the meetings and I'm calling the plays and I'm doing those things," Weis said. "When you're not the same people, it's quite different.

"My personality is different than the offensive staff and Michael's. How I call things are different, how I run things are slightly different. We all know the same stuff, but just how we do it is different… Now, instead of the coordinator running the offense, it's the head coach. Well, you can imagine the attention for detail, not just for the quarterback but every position, you can imagine the attention for detail would automatically, just naturally, go up."

The Notre Dame offense will get the game plan sooner than it usually does and the staff is hoping that will help too.

"The guys will know very early in the week what we're going to call in the game," Weis said. "Players can start visualizing, ‘Here's what we're going to do and here's what's going to happen.' That's probably the only major difference. It's not the plays, it's just probably the presentation."

Weis has admitted that quarterback Jimmy Clausen has forced some balls to try to make plays that were not there. Against the Midshipmen, who play a ball-control game and try to limit possessions, turnovers could be a major problem for Notre Dame, but the coach is confident in his quarterback.

"I don't think he'll be pressing this week," he said. "I don't think he'll be pressing this week."

But another major problem with the offense has been running the ball and Notre Dame may not get the chance to focus on fixing that this week.

"Now you're going against a team that statistically, if you look at the stats, they're a lot better against the run than they are against the pass," Weis said. "Just like you're telling the players to take what the defense gives you, as a playcaller, you have to also take what the defense gives you."

Weis will coach the running backs on Thursday in Haywood's absence and while he admitted that he did give thought to coaching from the box, as of now he plans to be on the sidelines.


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