"Before, everything was so complicated, we had so many different things in terms of reads," tailback Theo Riddick said on Friday. "He makes it so simple, you're not even thinking while you're playing, almost. It makes you feel like you're in high school again."
Oddly enough, though, Martin simplified things to better take advantage of his players' intellects. When he made the unusual switch from secondary coach to offensive coordinator following Charley Molnar's departure for Massachusetts last December, Martin didn't just want his players doing what they told him to do. He wanted them to understand why they were being told to do it.
"I think it starts with the offensive staff being on the same page all the time, and walking out to the practice field with a plan, whether it's a good plan or a bad plan, [and making] sure the kids understand the plan and why we're doing the things we're doing," Martin said. "It becomes simpler for these guys when you're not going with the military 'You do this because I'm the coach.' ... If you tell them what to do, hey, shut up and do it, they'll shut up and do it because that's how they're wired. But they'll think it's simpler when they understand why you're doing it.
"[You tell your players] 'OK, we're running this route versus this coverage, and here's why we're going to do it, and this is why it's going to be successful.' And then they look at it -- and we're fortunate at Notre Dame we've got some very, very, very intellectual kids that want to know the whys. Everett [Golson] doesn't want to just see a new route and say, 'OK, I'll run it, Coach.' ... I think getting our kids to understand the whys and not so much the hows has been a big benefit, and something that they take a lot of comfort in."
Tackle Zack Martin said Chuck Martin "brought a lot of balance to our offense," by emphasizing the run game, but that the new feel to the offense and the staff has made a big difference, too.
"I think they're more organized, starting on Monday when we get our game plan," Zack Martin said. "We're not changing plays at the last minute."
Irish receiver T.J. Jones agreed, and said having a consistent, reliable game plan makes the offense more effective.
"I'd say it's more fluent of an offense," Jones said. "We know what plays we're going to call, what schemes we're going to use, and that we're going to stick to the scheme. So he's made it easier on everybody."