As his days away from Cleveland increased, Mike Pettine found himself writing in the notebook he carries with him at all times more frequently.
That's the nature of a coach. As "critical" as vacation might be, the itch to get back to work always persists.
"It's as important for the coaches as it is the players to be able to step away and get energized," Pettine said. "It just sets up the excitement for when we come back."
Pettine sat down with ClevelandBrowns.com on Friday for an extensive question-and-answer session to preview his second training camp as Cleveland's head coach. It all gets started Thursday at the Browns facility in Berea.
Here's a sneak peek of what he had to say. We'll run the full thing Monday.
CB.com: How important was your time away from the facility after mini-camp came to a close?
Pettine: It's critical. It really is to be able to step away and it's true to refresh. I think most coaches, their vacations kind of follow the same cycle. The very beginning you're like 'oh, I got to get out of here.' It's like the last day of school. You get some time off. You usually have a trip planned right at the beginning to do something. It doesn't take long before thoughts of football start creeping back in. That's the way it typically is for me. I have a notebook with me at all times when I'm on vacation. When an idea pops in my head, I write it down. I think it's critical for any staff. I tell our guys that you have the vacation, take it. If you stay in town, then you're going to find yourself at the office. The next thing you know you're there for an hour, two hours, three hours and that defeats the purpose. That's important. It's important for the coaches as it is the players to be able to step away and get energized. It just sets up the excitement for when we come back.
CB.com: How different is the overall feeling in the building and for you personally heading into this training camp compared to last year?
Pettine: You just feel so much further ahead because you're now going through it the second time. It's just like anything. You don't necessarily get a dry run, but you get that first year where everything is a new experience. You've gone through it as an assistant. First draft as a head coach, first rookie camp as a head coach, first round of OTAs, first mandatory camp, now you're coming back and it's the first training camp and not being familiar with training camp here in Cleveland and being at the facility and all that anxiety of all that stuff coming together. It's so much more of a comfort level this year knowing that the defensive staff, especially, is established. Special teams, we feel real good about where we are. For an offensive staff, having some continuity retaining some guys from last year and knowing we covered a lot of ground offensively in the spring. I think there's kind of just that quiet sense of optimism heading into it. Virtually all of our guys are healthy and only a couple will be limited. Hopefully the players share it and I get the sense they do.
CB.com: Will there be a couple of specific things you do differently at this training camp? Will they be noticeable?
Pettine: For the most part, it will be patterned the same. There'll be some subtle things tweaked, the volume of repetitions ... Just the sequencing of days, what days are heavy workloads. It's very subtle, things the average fan won't notice. The practices will look essentially the same as they did a year ago, but there will be some subtle tweaks.