Charlie Weis must have played hooky the day the media consultant visited the football coaches convention and taught how to speak in politically correct platitudes, how to put a greater premium on image than integrity.
Ask Kansas University’s new football coach a question, and he answers it as honestly as he can. If he can’t, he might even tell you why he can’t.
Media consultants hate guys like that. They like more coachable coaches. Independent thinkers put them out of business.
Weis missed the false-humility tutorial as well.
Asked about recruiting needs, he said, “I wanted to address quarterback, but how’d I do? Not too bad.”
When discussion turned to the potential impact of having so much NFL blood on the coaching staff, Weis shot straight. (Defensive coordinator Dave Campo used to be the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, among other NFL jobs.)
“Let’s face it, every high school kid or junior college kid wants to play on Sundays,” Weis said. “They don’t go to college and say, ‘Well, I don’t want to play in the NFL. I just want to go play in college.’”
Somewhere, a media consultant who shakes your hand in just the right spot three times and uses your name every other second would love to get his manicured hands in the pocket of Charlie Weis: “Charlie, Charlie, Charlie, don’t you know the robotic response there, the one that requires you to cite the statistic about how few college players make it to the NFL?”
Instead, Weis said: “I think that really helps as a resource when these guys look and say, ‘Hey, they know how to get there.’”
Offensive line coach Tim Grunhard, who came to Weis’ staff from his post as head coach at Bishop Miege, is so well liked and respected he figures to do well recruiting the Kansas City metropolitan area. But he’ll bank on more than his contacts to land square-jawed studs such as himself, Weis predicts.
“OK, now you say he was coaching at a high school last year, well, he played for the Chiefs for over a decade,” Weis said. “Now you’re an offensive lineman, you’ve got a guy who played in the NFL for over a decade. That’s a big deal. He can show you how to get there.”
Young athletes dream. Their parents worry they do so at the expense of putting all their hopes on a long shot and don’t grow in a balanced way. Weis has that covered. With multiple dismissals, he showed a low tolerance for bad behavior.
“It wasn’t just academics,” Weis said. “We had over 30 kids on the honor roll, too. Did we have some people with severe academic issues? You bet we did. But there were other problems here as well. Look it, I’m a dad, right? My kid’s going to school here as a freshman. The last thing I want is to read about a kid having five dorm violations in one semester. You want your kid around that kid?”
Like basketball coach Bill Self, Weis believes in second chances but won’t sacrifice the program for the sake of any individual.
“Look it, I made mistakes when I was 18 years old,” Weis said. “I wasn’t completely innocent. I did it, OK? But there are extremes. Those extremes aren’t going to be part of the program.”
Jersey straight talk will be.