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Job makes Van Pelt Bills' man in motion ALEX VAN PELT: "I think the biggest thing is making (the players) feel comfortable with what we're going to call and why we're going to call it."

On Alex Van Pelt's first day as offensive coordinator, he had to come up with a plan to beat Bill Belichick.

On the second day, he was summoned to the owner's place.

On the third day, he had to sell himself to Terrell Owens and the rest of the players on offense.

Talk about hitting the ground running.

"It's been hectic," Van Pelt said Sunday after his first practice as the Buffalo Bills' offensive coordinator. "It was a surprise, but we don't have time to dwell on it. We've just got to move forward and get ready for the big game on Monday night, and that's the approach we've taken. Just let it sink in briefly and get to work."

Van Pelt has been very busy since replacing Turk Schonert, who was fired last Friday. After head coach Dick Jauron announced Van Pelt would take over the offense, Van Pelt went right to work getting adjusted to his new job.

On Saturday, Van Pelt, Jauron, running back coach/running game coordinator Eric Studesville and Chief Operating Officer/General Manager Russ Brandon flew to Detroit for a meeting with Bills owner Ralph C. Wilson Jr.
The purpose was to discuss the coaching change and the direction of the offense under Van Pelt.

Jauron believes everyone came away from the meeting feeling good about where the offense was headed.

"I felt like [Wilson] was pretty comfortable before we got there," Jauron said. "He's known Alex for a long time, but he hasn't known him as his offensive coordinator. He wanted to talk to him, he wanted to talk to Eric and he wanted to talk to me and Russ. It was really a good day."

Van Pelt said there won't be any drastic changes on offense as far as the scheme. He is well-versed in the no-huddle after watching Jim Kelly operate the K-Gun.

The key for Van Pelt, however, is getting the no-huddle to function more efficiently.

Jauron was concerned about the offense's productivity this preseason, but Schonert said in an interview Friday with a local television station that Jauron fired him because the offense wasn't simplified enough.

Schonert was even harsher toward Jauron, saying he wanted "a Pop Warner offense."

"We had too many formations, too many plays," Schonert told WIVB-TV. "I didn't simplify it to his liking. He limited me in formations, and limited me in plays. He's been on my back all offseason."

Van Pelt isn't planning any major schematic changes on offense, but there will be a different approach to how he does things.

He wouldn't say that means simplifying the offense, but he didn't rule it out either.

"We want to be efficient no matter what we do and I think the best way for us to do that is to make it easy for the players and let them play fast and with confidence," said Van Pelt, who intends to seek input from Studesville and the rest of the offensive coaching staff in formulating his weekly game plans. "If that's simplifying it, and we're efficient, then that's effective."

One difference between Van Pelt and Schonert will be the play calling. Van Pelt last called plays in 2005, while serving as quarterback coach for the Frankfurt Galaxy of NFL Europe.

But his experience with the no-huddle has helped shape his own philosophy on how to run an offense.

"I think if you have the same offense and you have three different guys call it, it's going to look completely different," he said. "It's just the personality that it takes on is the guy calling the plays. I don't think you have to change the plays. I think they're all good plays. We're running the same thing that a lot of other people run in this league . . . it's just how you call it that makes you a little bit different."

In another departure from Schonert, Van Pelt will work from the press box on game days.

Last year, it was Van Pelt's job to relay Schonert's plays to Edwards. Now that task will fall to backup quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.

"I think it's just better for me to be up there in an atmosphere away from everything," Van Pelt said. "You can see it so much better upstairs. When I called it in Germany I felt really comfortable up there. You do take some of the communication out where you have to put it through somebody else and that guy is going to be Ryan Fitzpatrick. It'll be a similar voice that we hear in our room all week and we talk the same language and Ryan will pass it on to Trent and that will allow me to go upstairs and remove myself from the sideline and focus on the field."

With a week to prepare for the season opener at New England, Van Pelt admitted to being nervous but also excited about the task in front of him.

He met with the players before practice for the first time Sunday to talk about his plans for the offense, and the response was favorable. One of his biggest challenges will be to get the players to buy into him.

The sooner, the better, as far as Van Pelt is concerned.

"We don't have long," he said. "Talking to them I want them to be open with me and communicate back with us as a staff with what they like and what they don't like. I think the biggest thing is making them feel comfortable with what we're going to call and why we're going to call it. And I think if they feel good about it then they'll go out and execute."

Edwards is confident the players will adapt to Van Pelt's coaching style.

"I feel like we have coachable players and that's what you need in this situation," Edwards said. "We have guys that want to win and that comes from being coachable, and I think we have the players in place that are willing to listen to a new voice, and we need to do that fast. We need to be able to listen to new things, and that's kind of what we're doing right now."

Wide receiver Terrell Owens isn't sure what to expect from his new offensive coordinator, but said it's up to the players to do their part for him to be successful.

"I think we have enough capable guys and I think everybody will take accountability for what they do out there on the football field and go accordingly," Owens said.


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