This was as big as it gets in February in South Bend.
You might have missed it but Charlie Weis just cut off a limb. That's the equivalent of what happened Friday when the master play caller gave up play calling at Notre Dame. In a stunning announcement Friday, the Notre Dame coach did just that.
"I'm going to try to cut the proverbial -- the figurative umbilical cord," he said.
The duties go to offensive coordinator Mike Haywood who previously had quotes around his job title, as in wink, wink. Yeah, but what do you really do Mike?
Imagine that, an offensive coordinator actually calling plays. I remember approaching Haywood before Weis' first season and delicately asking, "So what is it that you do if you don't call plays?"
Now he can proudly say that a guy with multiple Super Bowl rings just handed him the keys to the car.
"That means Mike will write the scripts and set iup on offense, tnad that means that all the offensive coaches now won't have to worry about the ever presence of the head coach breathing down their neck all the time."
While Weis spoke of umbilical cords and withdrawl, he admitted candidly, "This is really not the easiest thing."
But it had to be done. Notre Dame stunk on offense last season. As good as those Patriots teams were, ND had simply lost its mojo on offense -- as well as a lot of yards. The move shows a wisdom and maturity by Weis that we haven't seen during his gruff, know-it-all time in South Bend.
"I think that play calling is my greatest strength, OK? -- but I'm the head coach, and I think that when you're play callling on offense you might not necessarily be the best head coach," he said. "So what I'm trying to do is I'm trying to be a better head coach."
This is an outward admission that something is seriously wrong with the program. Weis feels an urgency for himself and for Notre Dame. He'd better deliver next year especially with a much friendlier schedule than '07.
Georgia' s Mark Richt did this a couple of years ago. He had been a master play caller at Florida State and kept the duties for his first few seasons at Georgia. Then, like Weis, he realized he had to run an entire program not just the offense. The Bulldogs' offense was better off for it. By the end of last season, Georgia arguably had the best team in the SEC.
Part of the epiphany occured when Weis traveled to New England to meet with Bill Belichick before the Patriots last regular-season game against the Giants. Weis suggested the meeting wasn't just X's and O's. The Hoodie probably gave Weis advice that went beyond how to throw the hitch pass.
Weis also made another curious announcement. Defensive assistant Bill Polian is being moved to speical teams coordinator with Weis as his assistant.
"I'm not going to put in the program under my bio "assistant special teams coach," if you don't mind," Weis said.
Weis will also make a pilgrimage to Virginia Tech to pick Frank Beamer's brain about special teams.
"I screwed that up last year," Weis said.
This all comes under the heading of: ego, less of it. Give Weis credit for seeing the big picture. If he needs to swallow hard and give away his baby (play calling) then so be it. He knows that if ND doesn't go to a bowl next season his job is in serious danger no matter how long his contract is.