With a week left to prepare for his first NFL game as an offensive coordinator against the New England Patriots on Monday night, Alex Van Pelt was asked if he's nervous.
"Sure absolutely," Van Pelt said after his first practice as the team's new play caller. "I don't think anyone in my position wouldn't be nervous, but I'm also excited."
Excited because Van Pelt has been calling plays in his head ever since he's been a quarterback. Whether it was on the sidelines watching Jim Kelly execute Buffalo's K-Gun, calling plays for the Frankfurt Galaxy of NFL Europe or observing the men who came before him, Van Pelt has been ready.
Of course that doesn't mean that what had to be organized in the span of a day and a half did not keep him busy this weekend.
"It's been hectic," he said. "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 isn't planning any scheme changes with the offense, primarily because he was one of the offense's architects. Where the change will come is in his preferences on game day.
"I think if you have the same offense and you have three different guys call it, it's going to look completely different," said Van Pelt. "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."
And that approach has the players excited about the offense's potential despite the short time frame between the staff change and Week 1.
"It's enough time," said Lee Evans. "It's enough time because the plays haven't changed now. It's still executing the same plays, but the offense is going to look different. So, going into Monday night I'm going to be excited to play."
"I know he's very excited about this opportunity we have ahead of us and it's going to be a lot of work," said Trent Edwards. "But there's no reason why we can't do it."
Van Pelt wasn't going to reveal what changes he has in mind in how the offense is called. However, when asked if the scheme was going to be simplified in any way the Bills new offensive coordinator didn't rule it out.
"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," he said. "If that's simplifying it and we're efficient then that's effective."
One change that is certain is where Van Pelt will be on game day. Previously as quarterbacks coach Van Pelt was standing on the sideline relaying the plays in to Trent Edwards helmet on the radio. But now as the coordinator he'll be upstairs in the booth.
"I think it's just better for me to be up there in an atmosphere away from everything. You can see it so much better upstairs. When I called it in Germany I felt really comfortable up there," said Van Pelt. "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."
Edwards believes the new path of the play call will be a seamless transition after going through it for the first time Sunday.
"Very comfortable," said Edwards after practice. "Ryan is calling the plays in my helmet now and Alex is telling Ryan the play and it's a little bit different hearing his voice obviously, but I'm comfortable. I'm with him probably more than anyone else in this organization and he's my right hand man. Now that he's in my helmet I feel very comfortable and I feel he sees the game the same way I do so it's nice to have a guy in your helmet saying those things to you."
Van Pelt admitted he will lean heavily on run game coordinator Eric Studesville during the week for the best run plays for the game plan and he'll speak with him and offensive line coach Sean Kugler on what's working and not working in between series during games with the ground game.
Though Van Pelt knows time is short between now and when the lights go on getting them to buy in has to happen right away. Based on the response from the players it's clear he made a good first impression.
"We don't have long," Van Pelt said. "Talking to them (Sunday) 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."