Last Sunday, as part of KSHB 41 Action News’ weekly Sunday Night Sports Report series, Kansas University football coach Charlie Weis sat down with Jack Harry and talked about all things Jayhawks.
From the reasons he took the job to how far the Jayhawks have to go, Weis offered a candid look at both himself and the program during the brief interview. Although Weis and Harry shared a few laughs and tackled some lighter topics, one theme stood out and provided further proof that Weis came to KU to work hard and get things headed in the right direction.
“When you walk into a place that’s 2-10, you’re not looking for a silver lining,” Weis told Harry. “You’re looking, ‘OK, what are the problems, how are we gonna fix ’em?’ You really just gotta take a grind mentality, a workmanlike approach and say, ‘OK, what do we have to do, on and off the field, to fix the problems?’ And you just start fixing the problems.”
In a little more than six months, Weis has done a lot of that. From weeding out guys who did not fit his philosophies to dramatic improvements in the classroom, Weis has made his presence felt at KU. He also has made quite an impact with KU fans and done more than his share of the meet-and-greet type of stuff in communities large and small.
“Whether you like it or not, I think it’s a necessity. I really do,” he said. “Especially in a program that’s been down here for the last few years. Your fans are hungry for change and they want to see the change in a positive direction. (The fans) recognize who Charlie Weis is but they don’t know who Charlie Weis is. They’re two different things. So I think that going out there and them getting to know you and what you stand for and what your beliefs are kind of energizes them.”
Although Weis has admitted multiple times that there remains a long way to go, he reminded Harry last Sunday that there was concrete evidence out there that you can win at KU.
“It wasn’t like it was 20 years ago that this program won now,” Weis said. “It was a short time ago when they were winning back-to-back bowl games.”
Here are a few other highlights from the show:
Weis on KC quarterback Matt Cassel: “They got Matt Cassel and they got my boy Brady Quinn, too, now. Forget about (second-year pro Ricky) Stanzi for a second, because I don’t really know him, but two of my favorite quarterbacks are on the Chiefs. I’m a big fan of Matt Cassel. ... We won plenty of games with Matt at quarterback, and I believe the Chiefs can win plenty of games with Matt at quarterback again.”
On new Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning: “Peyton Manning hasn’t done too well against (Chiefs coach) Romeo (Crennel) now. I’m just saying. If there’s one guy in this league, other than Bill Belichick, who’s really done a nice job against Peyton Manning, it’s that Crennel guy.”
On hearing from KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger last December about the KU opening: “My wife and son and I kind of had the same reaction that everyone else had when you got that phone call from Dr. Zenger — ‘Kansas?’ It’s just like when I call a recruit and they say, ‘Where are you coach,’ and I say, ‘Kansas.’ (They go), ‘Kansas?’”
On where his largely negative national public image comes from: “It came from being from New Jersey. I blame everything on my parents. You know, you’re brought up in a certain spot and you get (stereotyped). But it’s not really important where it came from. The fact is, it is what it is. And I think that when (people) get to know you a little different, it really kind of opens their eyes, saying, ‘Hey, maybe we got something here.’”
On his health, after a long recovery from an incident that took place in September of 2008, when Weis was wiped out on the Notre Dame sideline during a game against Michigan: “I’ve never watched it, but I lost both my knees and my left hip. Now, I’m the bionic man; I’ve got all metal in me, but I haven’t felt this good in a long, long time.”