During his first few months in town, Kansas University football coach Charlie Weis made it clear that he was a big fan of college basketball. So toss him into the group of Jayhawks ecstatic about KU coach Bill Self’s run to the Final Four.
“This has been a great month for Kansas athletics,” Weis said at a news conference Tuesday. “With the men’s hoops team going to the Final Four, how exciting is that? Kudos to coach Self and the staff and the team, and good luck.”
This weekend’s match-up with Ohio State brings a little deja vu for Weis. It was the Buckeyes who came to Allen Fieldhouse the day after Weis was introduced as KU’s new football coach, and Weis sat courtside for the showdown between top-15 teams. The Jayhawks knocked off No. 2-ranked Ohio State that day, and since that time, Weis has attended several other men’s games and has taken to the KU basketball culture.
“I would love to not be the football coach on Saturday (night) about 7:40 and be hanging out on Mass Street,” Weis said. “Just watching (the downtown celebration) on video after (last week’s win against North Carolina) was pretty fun to watch. I hope there’s more fun yet to come.”
Weis also kicked off his pre-spring news conference Tuesday with some props for a pair of KU women’s teams.
“(Carolyn Davis) gets hurt, the team looks like it’s gonna go in the tank and things aren’t going very well and then they make the tournament and the next thing you know, they’re making noise, they’re doing damage and making it to the Sweet 16,” said Weis, giving props to the women’s basketball team. “And, last but not least, you can’t forget about the women’s track team, finishing second in the country (in indoor track) with two national champs. So before we even get started with football, I think it’s important to realize that football’s just one part of the big picture here.”
McCay ruling any day?
KU officials continue to wait for word on the status of Oklahoma transfer Justin McCay, a wide receiver from Bishop Miege High who is seeking a waiver from the NCAA that would allow him to be eligible to play for the Jayhawks this fall.
Weis said the final word on the 6-foot-2, 215-pound sophomore could come down any day.
“The caseworker in charge of Justin told us yesterday that his case is going to be presented before the caseworker leaves the office on Thursday,” Weis said. “There’s a chance we could hear something this week. Once they have all of the information, which they have, now it’s presented and they say yes or no. It’s not like they have a month-long tribunal. They hear the information and they make a decision. So I’m hoping to hear something this week, and I’m hoping for this month to continue being good.”
Heaps backup for now
Although he will not be eligible to play in games this fall because of NCAA transfer rules, sophomore quarterback Jake Heaps will be used plenty this spring.
As of today, Heaps is listed as the back-up to starter Dayne Crist, and Weis said Heaps, who transferred to KU from BYU last December, was “leaps and bounds ahead of the other quarterbacks in the program.”
“It’s not close,” said Weis, referring to Heaps’ clear hold on the second-string job. “Right now, I’m using Heaps in the spring as if he’s getting ready to play. Because when we get to the summertime I can’t do that anymore.”
Two change positions
As of Tuesday, only two players had changed positions this offseason, and one of them was not that big of a change.
Sophomore Michael Reynolds, who played defensive end as a true freshman, officially has been moved to linebacker in KU’s new 4-3 base defense.
“In this league, you need to get fast guys that can play in space,” Weis said. “And one thing about that kid is he is very fast. I don’t know if he can play dead, but I know one thing, he can run.”
Sophomore Brian Maura, 6-3, 205, also switched jobs, moving from wide receiver to safety.
Four limited this spring
Weis said Tuesday that running back Brandon Bourbon, defensive linemen John Williams and Kevin Young and Maura all would be limited this spring. Each will participate in drills, but contact will be limited, and Weis said he did not want to rush any of them back too soon.
“Those four guys will be in red jerseys, along with the quarterbacks,” Weis said. “None of them are out for the spring.”
Weis said Bourbon, Williams and Young were “way, way ahead of where we thought they would be,” as they recover from injuries that kept them out during the final portion of last season.