Completed chat with KU football beat writer Matt Tait

February 16, 2012

Matt Tait

Have a question about KU football? Then KU football beat writer Matt Tait is your guy. Matt will be answering reader questions starting at 1:30 p.m. Thursday.

This chat has already taken place. Read the transcript below.


Hey guys. This is Jesse Newell, online editor. I'm joined by KU football beat writer Matt Tait. Matt, do you have Linsanity?

Matt Tait

It's not a full-blown case yet, but I'm starting to feel the effects. Still trying to get over Tebowmania!


All right, let's get to some questions.


Did you ever have the feeling in the previous two seasons that KU had the talent but not the discipline? If that is the case, what can realistically be expected from the team next season with a new staff?

Matt Tait

Discipline was definitely the biggest problem, but I never really thought KU had the talent across the board to compete. They were missing players in key areas - QB, D-Line, WR, to name a few - and because of that the talent that they did have was usually hard to see.

I think this team has talent and I think it has more today than when the 2011 season ended. So that's a reason to be hopeful. Having said that, you can't underestimate the challenges that come with changing staff, changing offenses, changing defenses and all of that other stuff that goes into.

Bottom line: I expect to see an improved product in a bunch of areas and I don't think we'll have to witness the epic blowouts that became commonplace in the past two seasons.

Time will tell...


Hey, Matt--- Thanks for your continued great coverage of KU Football. Now that the new football schedule is out, what one game would you be looking forward to covering in 2012 and why? For me, I think the TCU game in Lawrence on Sept. 15th, could be interesting!

Thanks! KUFanSince1975

Matt Tait

Hey, thanks.

This may not be quite as cool since you took mine, but I'm with you in being pretty excited about that TCU game. For starters, it's the first Big 12 game of the season and the first ever Big 12 game for TCU. In addition, it's in Lawrence, KU should be 2-0 by that point and it's Charlie Weis' first home Big 12 game, as well.

Lots and lots of storylines make that one exciting.

I'm also pumped about going to West Virginia (it's always fun to see new places) and seeing what KU can do in Manhattan.

It's a tough, tough schedule, but it should be a fun ride.


I think there are a lot of us that would like to see the K State game end the season. Has there been any discussion as such?

Matt Tait

I heard that they explored that pretty hard this time around but couldn't make it happen for a whole bunch of reasons.... I'm not saying it will happen, but I would be surprised if there's not a push to make that game what the Missouri game used to be. Maybe not at Arrowhead, but definitely at the end of the season.

From the sound of it, the Big 12 was just happy to get a working schedule out this year with all of the obstacles that stood in the way. I think they're going to look at changing things around quite a bit for 2013 and I also heard that this year's format is not necessarily the baseline. What I mean by that is, just because KU is home vs. TCU this year and at Oklahoma doesn't mean they'll play at TCU and host OU next year.

I think the version that comes out in 2013 will be more of the baseline like we're used to, and hopefully it will have the KU-KSU game later in the year.


All I've read about the continuation of the Border Showdown seems to be involving basketball. Has Coach Weis made any statement regarding this issue?

Matt Tait

Not that I'm aware of, but, to me, that makes sense. He's never been a part of it and would not be able to speak from experience anyway.

I'm sure he would and does side with what athletic director Sheahon Zenger and hoops coach Bill Self feel is best regarding the Border War, and, as you know, they're both against scheduling it again any time soon.


It seems the backfield will be crowded. WIll Tevan Shaw or someone else be asked to move to the defensive side where we appear to be short on talent? Thanks

Matt Tait

I haven't heard that, but that doesn't mean it couldn't happen. Having said that, I think all of the backs that are in place are here to be running backs. Maybe you could see a guy like Tony Pierson moved to the slot or a guy like Tevin Shaw red-shirt his first season, but they're all talented backs with serious skills who should get a shot to earn playing time, at least initially.

As we've seen time and time again, the running back position is definitely one spot where you can't have too much depth, but I do agree with you in that it's hard to envision a way for Bourbon, Sims, Pierson, Cox and Shaw to all get meaningful carries in 2012 if they're all healthy.

That's going to be one of the more interesting situations to follow this spring...


What freshman (red shirt or true) will have a chance to start or have a starter type role?

Matt Tait


True freshmen:
Cornerback Greg Allen
Linebacker Schyler Miles
Wide Receiver Tre Parmalee

Red-shirt freshmen:
Defensive lineman Ben Goodman
Offensive linemen Dylan Admire, Luke Luhrsen, Damon Martin

That's just to name a few. And that doesn't even include all of the juco guys that Weis brought in on signing day. There will be a lot of new faces out there this fall. The good news for fans is this: They will have names on their jerseys!!!


Two questions, take either one or both:
1) Terry criticized Weis for his demeanor towards the players ("dog cussing"). Have you seen any other players unhappy with Weis or questioning their commitment to the program because of him/the staff?
2) The rip on the staff thus far (namely Campo and Weis) is that they have little recent success in college coaching and have not shown the ability to 'coach kids up'. Have you seen anything that would assuage this worry or is it something that's to be determined?

Matt Tait

1. The guys who didn't like it are gone. The guys who are still here expect it and don't seem to have any problem with it. Many of them grew up playing for coaches like that and a few of them were here when Mark Mangino was still the coach.

2. Not yet. It's still way to early to tell how good these guys are at developing players, but they've all coached some of the best who have ever played the game so I'm going to guess that they're solid in that department and choose to wait and see.


From what you know about the upcoming recruiting class for KU, do you think that Weis as enough talent on the team to finish the season with 6 to 7 wins?

Matt Tait

I do. They've upgraded in a lot of key areas, most notably quarterback, which can make all the difference in the world.

Having said that, I'm not expecting 6 or 7 wins. Not at all. In fact, KU will have to get a whole bunch of breaks and have just about everything go right in order to approach that number of wins.

You never know what can happen, though, and it's going to be fun to see how it all shakes out.


Time for a few more ...


Who do you think will be the kick returners on ST? Patterson on punts and DJ on kicks as usual, or do you see someone new (Pierson) stepping in and assuming the role?

Matt Tait

I have questions about how much Patterson and Beshears will be used as wideouts so I think they'll be locked into those roles you mentioned.

But it would not surprise me at all to see someone else in the mix there to challenge them and give KU some diversity. Maybe Pierson and maybe even a guy like Parmalee or Shaw.

Another area that will be interesting to track.


Love this username.


This may be way too early to tell, but what is your prediction as to which players have breakout seasons this year?

I'm going with McDougald on D and whoever plays TE on O.

Matt Tait

Not a bad call... Lots of options at tight end but Charles Brooks the guy from a junior college in Arizona could be your answer there.

My picks - at least right now - are: Victor Simmons on defense (safety) and Taylor Cox on offense (running back).

Matt Tait

And I agree with our moderator... nice user name.


Hello Matt,
With the entry of West Virginia and TCU into the Big 12/10, how much credibility does that add to our football conference?

Matt Tait

It depends on how you look at it but those schools have quite a few BCS berths between them where A&M and Mizzou had one... or is it none? A&M went to the Sugar Bowl in 98 but I can't remember if that was the BCS era or not.

Anyway, both A&M and Mizzou have solid programs, but if you have to replace them I think the Big 12 found two great options.

TCU is growing its program and will only get better and WVU is a solid program with great tradition in a new part of the country for the Big 12.

Great pick-ups. The conference should continue to be one of the premiere football leagues in America year in and year out.


OK last one. Ending on a serious note.


Who would you rather go on a date with? Tim Tebow or Scarlett Johansson?

Matt Tait

Wow. That is serious!!!

If I were interested in learning the ins and outs of the quarterback position, I'd be tempted to pick Tebow. However, since we have Charlie Weis in town now, I'm good there. Thank goodness.

That means I gotta go with Scarlett Jo........ EEEEEASSSSSILLLLLY!!!!

Someone must've got some inside information there and found out about my soft spot for Ms. Johansson. We gotta find a way to incorporate pictures into this chat!


We'll work on that.

Anyways, thanks Matt for being here, and thanks to everyone out there for hitting us up with good questions.

Matt Tait

Thank you, Mr. Moderator.

Scheduling conflict next week means we'll have to take a week off, but we'll be back on March 1 with another edition of "30 for Thursday" and we might even open it up to some March Madness chatter.

It's almost that time, folks. Thanks for the great questions. Talk to you all soon!


Micah Mandy Haase 9 years, 2 months ago

I think since Matt, Jesse have to travel to all the away games, we should "sponser" a beat writer if we live in one of the towns KU comes to play. I live here in Norman, Ok and I would tailgate with Matt or Jesse when they have to come to town. That way they can cut down on all the McD's and Sonics they have to frequent.

Rock CHalk!!!!

Micky Baker 9 years, 2 months ago

There is a 7-11 I stop at in Norman every time I drive through just to take a crap. They even know me there, not by the first name, but by the KU Fan that stops here to take a crap every time he drives through.

Micah Mandy Haase 9 years, 2 months ago

That's pretty funny... I get quit a bit of razzing for always wearing KU stuff but never stops me from talking a big game!!!

ahpersecoachingexperience 9 years, 2 months ago

I have a little room at my, eh-hem, "place" if the hawks ever play an Arizona Penal League game.

9 years, 2 months ago

Good call on the Sugar Bowl for aTm, Matt. That was the first year for the BCS games, and also the season the Ags pulled the surprising upset in the Big 12 Championship game in St. Louis against the otherwise National Championship Game-bound Wildcats.

Andy Tweedy 9 years, 2 months ago

I see plenty of mention about how the TE position could be a pleasant surprise next year, but nobody talks about Jimmy Mundine any more. Everyone said what a best he was going to be last year, and now nothing? Did I miss something? Did he transfer?

Jayhawker111 9 years, 2 months ago

Jimmy Mundine is stll here and he is a stud.

They should throw him the ball 15 times a game --he is that good.

Review the catch he made against Iowa state --that is determination.

All he needs is playing time.....he has the skills!

colreader 9 years, 2 months ago

Early on in the chat they were talking about looking forward to the TCU game on Sept 15. Four team members were arrested in a drug sting, and possibly more are involved.

That will definitely affect their performance in our game with them.

vd 9 years, 2 months ago

Parmalee is going to contribute? I read he is the fifth best receiver in the state. Are our wide outs that bad?

gardenjay 9 years, 2 months ago

I really doubt with his accolades that he is fifth best in the state. Maybe not as good as dorian green-beckham, but who is? If he's not up to par, I'm sure they're feeding him beef right now to make him par.

This is going to be a good year.

Bangkok_Jayhawk 9 years, 2 months ago

I don't know about Parmalee either... I bet he is good but Beshears and Patterson have the speedy little receiver department pretty well covered. Unless one of them is moving to nickel?

Speedy little guys can do great things on the field, but in most cases you don't have the luxury to have more than one at a time. Blocking is important and the smaller you are, the harder it is to block. (usually)

Bangkok_Jayhawk 9 years, 2 months ago

Matt Tait...

You have destroyed me. You didn't answer my depth chart question. With everything I have done for you, this is how you repay me? All of these months of message board loyalty, quality analysis, and support for your columns and what did it get me? Nothing...

I'm going to go try to pick up the pieces of my shattered life now.

ozzzy 9 years, 2 months ago

Maybe this will help you pick up the pieces. A good article by Rock Chalk Talk. This site is great for KU football info. We have added a few players since this was written, but still a good article.

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