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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Peer pressure: Weis names captains early, hoping to stem off-field woes

From left to right: Kansas University quarterback Dayne Crist, left tackle Tanner Hawkinson and defensive end Toben Opurum will be counted on to lead their teammates on and off the field as KU’s 2012 team captains, coach Charlie Weis announced Tuesday, April 24, 2012.

From left to right: Kansas University quarterback Dayne Crist, left tackle Tanner Hawkinson and defensive end Toben Opurum will be counted on to lead their teammates on and off the field as KU’s 2012 team captains, coach Charlie Weis announced Tuesday, April 24, 2012.

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Most seasons and at most schools, college football teams select their captains in August, a few weeks after players report to preseason camp.

Not this year. At least not at Kansas University under coach Charlie Weis.

Because of a multitude of factors — including the team’s transitional nature and the Jayhawks’ genuine need for structure — Weis had his players vote for captains on Monday. Prior to Tuesday’s practice, he revealed that senior quarterback Dayne Crist, senior offensive lineman Tanner Hawkinson and senior defensive end Toben Opurum had been selected by their peers to lead the 2012 Jayhawks.

“I couldn’t have hand-picked three players any better than that,” Weis said after Tuesday’s practice.

In addition to the three permanent captains — one more than Weis expected because the vote between Crist and Hawkinson for offensive captain was “too close to call” — a special-teams player will serve as a fourth captain each week during the regular season. Weis said the fourth captain would earn his spot by standing out during the previous week’s game.

Picking captains during the spring caught some Jayhawks by surprise and came in the wake of Weis’ dismissal of two KU players for their role in an alleged altercation at a bar over the weekend. The incident, along with others like it, opened Weis’ eyes to just how much his new team needed to be held accountable by someone other than the head coach.

“I think it’s really important to have some leadership on the team that’s been documented,” Weis said. “These are the guys I’m turning to when there’s a problem, because they will be the immediate intermediaries between me and the team.”

Each of the captains said he believed his responsibilities stretched beyond the gridiron.

“First and foremost, we’ve been having a lot of off-the-field issues,” Opurum said. “And I think that’s one of the things that needs to be immediately addressed. ... We need to make better decisions as a team.”

Added Crist: “I think that’s the biggest emphasis that the captains want to make sure we work on, limiting mistakes off the field, because that’s hurt our team quite a bit so far.”

With spring drills set to wrap with Saturday’s spring game, the rest of the offseason will be a busy time for Weis and his coaching staff.

“Now’s the time I need the leadership,” he said. “I don’t need it in June. I need it now. I need it in May, when the coaches are on the road recruiting. I need it now, when I’m flying from place to place to speak at lunches and dinners. I need veteran guidance for these players to make sure there’s somebody there saying, ‘Hey, don’t do that,’ and, ‘Why would you do this?’”

Weis insists that the recent dismissals were not made to bring an iron-fisted approach to Kansas football.

“It isn’t like I go out on Saturday night looking to see what people are doing,” he said. “I’m not trying to be a drill sergeant here. I’m just trying to make practical decisions based on how people act on and off the field. That’s all.”

The first-year KU coach also made it abundantly clear that he was not about to waste his chance to lay down the law.

“I think you get one opportunity to set it right,” Weis said. “It’s a common philosophy with coaches that it’s always easier to loosen up on a team after it’s been rigid than it is to tighten up on a team after it’s been loose. I think if you start loose, you have no chance.”

Crist and Hawkinson are both first-time captains, while Opurum, a captain in 2011, was selected for the second time.

Crist, who has been in town for less than four months, said he was honored by the news.

“It’s great knowing that your team supports you,” he said. “But at the same, time it’s just a title. I’ll be the same guy, and I’ll come to work the same way that I had been prior to being named a captain.”

Gibas gone?

After going through most of offseason conditioning and being seen around the KU football complex earlier this year, sophomore long snapper Tanner Gibas has been taken off the KU roster. Asked what happened, Weis said Tuesday that it was a personal thing on Gibas’ part, and that was all he could say.

Gibas appeared in all 12 games during 2011 and significantly upgraded KU’s special teams.

Berglund still searching

Former KU quarterback Brock Berglund, who suited up for a couple of practices and was dismissed from the team by Weis after missing a mandatory team meeting in January, has not picked a new school.

According to a recent update from the Associated Press, Berglund has talked to at least one coach from every major conference and will begin taking official visits this weekend. His first visit will be to Ole Miss, with UCLA, UNLV, Miami (Fla.) and Utah to follow. The report said Berglund, 6-foot-4, 220 pounds, also visited Liberty, where former KU coach Turner Gill is now the head coach.

Comments

kureader 2 years, 5 months ago

Good decision by Weis ... obviously, not his first rodeo. Impressive group of captains, too.

ahpersecoachingexperience 2 years, 5 months ago

If BB goes to Liberty I will personally fly every single poster to a game just so we can boo non stop for 60 minutes.

nuleafjhawk 2 years, 5 months ago

Lol !!

As bad as I want to NOT like you - I still do. Are you married? If so, I'll bet your wife kicks her own butt every day, but still cooks dinner for you every night.

And - I'll go to that Liberty game !!!

Danny Hernandez 2 years, 5 months ago

I'd hate leaving Miami to Liberty for a Saturday but if you're picking up the tab, count me in

KGphoto 2 years, 5 months ago

I'm guessing he lines up three hats. Fakes the Utah hat, then fakes the Liberty hat. Then turns around, pulls down his pants and sports a UCLA tattoo on his arse.

Chris Bailey 2 years, 5 months ago

Yep! I'm in too! I like the tatoo comment as well! I'd guess it would be a tramp stamp though!

JayDocMD 2 years, 5 months ago

I truly laughed out loud at the thought of a "Liberty Football" tramp stamp

Tony Bandle 2 years, 5 months ago

I will rent a limo and pick you gentlemen up at the airport and take us all to the game. One proviso...I will not wait for the game to start. I will start booing as the Liberty team comes out for warm-ups!! :)

Ron Prichard 2 years, 5 months ago

Like nuleaf, I have to give credit where credit is due. That was absolutely hilarious. I'm in for the game, too. Nothing like gratuitous booing at a religious university sporting event.

Randy Bombardier 2 years, 5 months ago

My heart skipped a beat as I had not read the end of the article and thought you were talking about Bourban. Glad you aren't. I wouldn't waste my time with what you propose. Send the money it would cost to the program to keep something like the past two years from ever happening again.

bville_hawk 2 years, 5 months ago

All right! A Message Board road trip on ahperse. Where do we sign up?

texashawk10 2 years, 5 months ago

Turner's still influencing these boards, one of the ads I saw on here was to get an online degree from Liberty.

TheGiftedOne 2 years, 5 months ago

I'm in... I work at a liquor store so I'll bring the booze.

rockchalk_dpu 2 years, 5 months ago

The headline for this article directly contradicts the actual selection process. Weis did not name these players captains, the team voted on them and he simply made the announcement to the media.

baldwinjhawk 2 years, 5 months ago

Well yes and and no. The team voted, but Crist and Opurum were so close Weis chose to name both.

akgjenkintown 2 years, 5 months ago

Crist and Hawkinson were "too close to call". Make you wonder if Charlie want Crist as his offensive captain all along. The defense votes for their captain and Opurum was the clear cut choice.

KGphoto 2 years, 5 months ago

If anything he nudged Hawk into the mix.

JayDocMD 2 years, 5 months ago

If that's the case I think it was a smart move. Probably important for team chemistry to have an offensive captain who has been through "The Gill Years"

vd 2 years, 5 months ago

Hawk had 30 votes, Crist had 20. CW wanted his boy to be captain. Like the Simpsons episode when Homer was elected class president, but the principal counted the ballots.

Tony Bandle 2 years, 5 months ago

He allowed the team to vote, thus he directed the process.

Al Martin 2 years, 5 months ago

Nope. It clearly states that Weis had the elections now as opposed to in August, because he wants leadership now. The headline was about the timing, not the election process.

John Randall 2 years, 5 months ago

The decision Weiss made was to have the team make the selections now, instead of later in the pre-season. It's a good decision, as the need for leadership has been obvious all spring.

Dillon Davis 2 years, 5 months ago

Gibas was a huge upgrade at LS. That blows

Dirk Medema 2 years, 5 months ago

I really stinks to loose Gibas. Even as a freshman, he was a huge upgrade on ST.

The AP article on BB was classic. He's not just gonna fall for any flashy weightroom this time. He's doing his research to make sure it's a good fit. ... but it doesn't make a difference what O they run, because he can play any O. It will be interesting to see who is most desperate.

Andy Tweedy 2 years, 5 months ago

Link please...sounds like something I'd like to read.

FELONY 2 years, 5 months ago

"This time around, Berglund feels more educated about the recruiting process. When he was at Valor Christian High School in Highlands Ranch, Colo., Berglund was easily impressed -- by a weight room, practice facility or a campus.

Now, the 19-year-old is making more of a business decision: Does the coach's style fit his game? Is it a stable environment? Does it feel right?"

http://espn.go.com/college-football/story/_/id/7837324/quarterback-brock-berglund-weighs-options-release-university-kansas

oldalum 2 years, 5 months ago

I noticed that the article said he had been in contact with all those schools, but nowhere did it say that they had contacted him. I wonder if he's just shopping himself, hoping to catch on somewhere.

Jim Jackson 2 years, 5 months ago

Wasn't Justin Mckay putting in his appeal yesterday? Any news on that?

april28 2 years, 5 months ago

I think that the original article on this stated that KU would hear back by May 2, assuming that they filed the appeal. I'm actually a little shocked that it would move that fast but lets keep our fingers crossed.

KGphoto 2 years, 5 months ago

Fitting, a guy named Hawk is captain.

TobO, Hawk and The Passion of Crist.

It's gonna be a good year.

KGphoto 2 years, 5 months ago

Does anybody know (have a link?) what the uniforms will look like this season. Please tell me it's not those hideous practice unis with the stripes down the side and the marshmallow numbers.

JayHok 2 years, 5 months ago

Have a John Calipari team come to town, put ticket holding KU fans on the roof of Allen Fieldhouse during the game, away from James Naismith court, and tell me the score at the end of the game. Then come back and tell me with a straight face putting fans around the playing surface at Memorial Stadium has anything to do with cosmetics.

texashawk10 2 years, 5 months ago

The ones with the stripe are the practice unis and have been for several years. I know the player names are going back on the jerseys, but I don't remember about the crimson stripe on the helmet. Weis talked about the changes in the uniforms earlier this spring, but I don't remember which article it was in.

april28 2 years, 5 months ago

I do think that some sort of fresh start with the uni's would be a good idea. A poster earlier in the year had an avatar with the best-looking KU helmet that I've ever seen - maybe they are working on something. Frankly, it would be a little disappointing to see this team come out in the Turner G. uni's again.

Ron Prichard 2 years, 5 months ago

A while back someone posted a link to some sample helmets for all of the Big 12 and Big 10 teams. I think it was just some designer's dream, but they were awesome. Every team had a new look but keeping with their school image. KU was an oversized jayhawk on one side of the helmet only. Pretty cool. Some were simple, like KState flipping to a purple helmet with silver powercat. It made for a totally differnet look. Really cool designs. I wish I could remember where to find the link. Maybe someone else knows...

2 years, 5 months ago

Here is a link to the helmet Gill was planning on switching us to for this coming season:

http://cn1.kaboodle.com/hi/img/b/0/0/a6/f/AAAAC5V6TbcAAAAAAKb-hw.jpg?v=1263577995000

Ron Prichard 2 years, 5 months ago

A while back someone posted a link to some sample helmets for all of the Big 12 and Big 10 teams. I think it was just some designer's dream, but they were awesome. Every team had a new look but keeping with their school image. KU was an oversized jayhawk on one side of the helmet only. Pretty cool. Some were simple, like KState flipping to a purple helmet with silver powercat. It made for a totally differnet look. Really cool designs. I wish I could remember where to find the link. Maybe someone else knows...

number1jayhawker 2 years, 5 months ago

I actually like the jerseys with the stripes down the side.

KjayhawkprideU 2 years, 5 months ago

Great article Matt but I wish everyone would stop wasting their breath on Brock, he wasted KU's money and time. We should not have to waste our time thinking about what he is doing. On a plus side I like reading your articles keep up the good work.

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