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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Out with the old, in with the new as Weis era brings big changes to KU roster

The Jayhawks sing the Alma Mater before the band and the student section following the Spring Game on Saturday, April 28, 2012 at Kivisto Field.

The Jayhawks sing the Alma Mater before the band and the student section following the Spring Game on Saturday, April 28, 2012 at Kivisto Field.

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When the 2011 football season ended last November, 92 Kansas University football players expected to be back with the Jayhawks for spring football in 2012.

Only 75 were.

When KU coach Charlie Weis was hired to replace Turner Gill last December, he said the normal rate of attrition among college football programs with incoming coaches is anywhere from 10-15 players.

Chalk up the ability to do math as another one of Weis’ strengths. Since taking over the KU program, 20 of those 92 players who expected to be on the roster in 2012 are gone. What’s more, one-third of the names on the final 2011 roster — 20 who left plus 15 who graduated — were not listed on KU’s 82-man spring football roster.

“This is everywhere,” Weis said. “When people say, ‘So-and-so came in and 12 guys transferred,’ every other coach, when they go in, the same thing happens. The same thing happened my first year at Notre Dame. I went to Notre Dame, and I think 13 guys left in the first year. Some of them, I was very happy they left.”

The reasons for the departures at KU include everything from dismissal for disciplinary reasons to leaving for personal reasons and all scenarios in between.

In mid-January, Weis announced the dismissal of 10 players, which included one group — JaQwaylin Arps, Dexter McDonald, Darrian Miller, Adonis Saunders, Brock Berglund and Keeston Terry — that simply was asked to leave, another group — Jordan Webb, Tyrone Sellers and Tom Mabry — that reached a mutual decision to explore other opportunities, and one player — Travis Bodenstein — who elected to transfer.

Shortly after that, the roster shrank further when former tight end Brandon Olson left and Weis revealed that walk-ons Malcolm Walker, Chris McEnaney, Isaac Wright and Blake Abbott would not be back.

A couple of months later, after spring drills began, Weis removed five more players from the roster, as Collin Garrett, Julius Green and Chris Robinson all were kicked off for violating team rules and Tanner Gibas left for personal reasons. Defensive end Javonte Daniel is the only player no longer on the roster who disappeared without an official explanation.

Of course, 35 players disappearing from a football roster does not happen without the coaching staff replacing at least some of them. That, too, has happened at KU.

Three mid-year transfers — Dayne Crist, Jake Heaps and Justin McCay — already are here, and the other 24 members of Weis’ first recruiting class are expected to report to campus this summer. Add to that five names that did not appear on the roster last November — wide receiver Jon Jones, cornerback Jackson Long, defensive end McDouglas Archibong, tight end Scott Baron and linebacker Ricky Speer — and the final tally, at least for now, comes out to 35 gone and 32 in to replace them.

Many of those players, fifth-year seniors and true freshmen alike, will be counted on to contribute right away, which means when Aug. 2 rolls around, Weis and his coaching staff will have a lot of work to do to get the newcomers ready and just four weeks to do it.

Of that, Weis is very aware. And, as with everything else so far, he doesn’t appear to be worried.

“I think it forces you to have a fast track program for these guys coming in here so that you don’t try to do too much with them the day they walk in the door and get them confused,” he said. “You have to get them lined up and ready to go, but we have a gameplan in place. If you know anything about me, you know there is a plan in place. We’re not going to say, ‘Okay they’re coming in, let’s wing it now and see how it goes.’ I think we have a pretty good idea of how we are going to handle this.”

Exploring Kansas

Weis on Tuesday made the first two stops in what figures to be a whirlwind tour of the Sunflower State during the next couple of weeks.

Officially dubbed “The 2012 Kansas Football May Tour,” Weis and special guests from the KU athletic department and alumni association will meet fans across the state at luncheons and happy hours.

Tuesday, Weis and KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger were the featured guests at a luncheon at The United Wireless Arena in Dodge City early in the day and wrapped up the first leg of the tour at The Golf Club at Southwind in Garden City.

Here are the dates and locations for the rest of the tour:

Today — A luncheon at Smoky Hill Country Club in Hays, 11:30 a.m.

Today — A happy hour event at Salina Country Club, 5:30 to 7 p.m.

Thursday — A luncheon at Prairie Dunes Country Club in Hutchinson, 11:30 a.m.

Thursday — A happy hour event at Larry Bud’s Sports Bar & Grill in Wichita, 5:30 to 7 p.m.

May 22 — A happy hour event at Chatters Grill in Pittsburg, 5:30 to 7 p.m.

May 23 — A luncheon at the Capitol Plaza Hotel in Topeka, 11:30 a.m.

May 23 — A happy hour event at LiveStrong Sporting Park’s Member’s Club in Kansas City, Kan., from 5:30 to 7 p.m.

Comments

machinegun 1 year, 11 months ago

Coach Weis is rapidly changing the culture of losing and those players who do not perform on and off the field will be gone. There is a psychology to sports that many people do not understand or appreciate. For 2 plus years our Hawks have taken the field with the wrong mindset for a football team that expects to win. Coach Weis knows all about this stuff and is changing that mindset on the fly.

The home games will be much more enjoyable for young and old alike so tell family and friends to get their tickets now.

Coach Weis and his staff have already demonstrated that they can recruit top talent. We will have a high powered offense putting up lots of points on the scoreboard. The defense will do a better job slowing down the top teams. Overall execution on both sides of the ball will be improved. I can really see us beating the crap out of Texas!

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RickGrimes 1 year, 11 months ago

This comment section thread is better than the article. And it was a good article.

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Lucas Town 1 year, 11 months ago

I am excited to see what the fall will bring, but due to the change in coaches and players I think we are fooling ourselves into thinking this will bring immediate W's. Look at Iowa St. Rhodes will be in his 4th year and they are a 6-6 to 7-5 team recently. Their situation is and was much better than what Weis has to fix. Synder at K-State also in his 4th year, probably a 7 to 8 win team this year, and their situation was better from Princ to Snyder than that of Gill to Weis. I will guess 3-9 or 4-8 this year. Everyone else will be better than they were last year, and if they aren't they will be better than us.

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John Fitzgerald 1 year, 11 months ago

"Add to that five names that did not appear on the roster last November — wide receiver Jon Jones, cornerback Jackson Long, defensive end McDouglas Archibong, tight end Scott Baron and linebacker Ricky Speer — and the final tally, at least for now, comes out to 35 gone and 32 in to replace them."

Does anyone know anything about these guys? I'm curious to know where they came from, what they're 'star' ratings were/are, and if they did good where they were at before. Seems like these are the only players we haven't heard anything about. Any information would be appreciated! Thanks!

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april28 1 year, 11 months ago

One more time at the trough....

If a school goes on any form of probation: kids are free to transfer. (USC, for instance)

If a coach changes at a school: kids are free to transfer. (Gill, Martin, etc.)

If the original school gives the kid approval: kid is free to transfer. (Oklahoma-McCay)

No sit-out year. No punishment to the kid.

This tilts the scale back a little to the student athlete without disrupting things too much. It covers most "unfair" situations for the student athlete, or special circumstances, yet doesn't allow willy-nilly transfers because a kid is 3rd on the depth chart.

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quigley 1 year, 11 months ago

I love the name "McDouglas Archibong"

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Ralster Jayhawk 1 year, 11 months ago

Just think of the monumental shift and major moves it has taken to go from "win thru Christ" to: "win thru Crist"...You go from a conceptual abstraction, to a measurable, quantifiable, reproducible on-field gridiron commodity. But that's still kind of an abstract point...hehe...

From North star/Morningstar/bright "guiding"star---> to "5-star".

A shift in "fundamental" philosophy...

From showering alot of Praise--->to a Heap of talent...

From the "reverent" burblings of Gilldrowning--->to the booming "reverberations" of Weis...

From "leading our flock" (to slaughter, week after week)--->to putting the Jayhawks on the attack with a sharp offensive mind/offensive unit.

From focusing on a great religion beginning with the execution of Christ--->to focusing on the sharp execution of Crist.

This "change" is good...(eventhough we havent played an official down yet!)

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Ralster Jayhawk 1 year, 11 months ago

watchgilldrown@libertyu.edu(lol!)

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flyingfinn 1 year, 11 months ago

Okay, I am not tyrying to defend the NCAA here because yes they do have their problems, but on the flip side there has to be some set of rules and someone to enforce them. Otherwise we have another professional football and basketball league where the rich schools dominate even more so than today. The NCAA is not the only bad guy here, there are many coaches and administartions that would run wild in trying to win at any cost and some one could argue try to do so today.

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Ralster Jayhawk 1 year, 11 months ago

Kind of riled up by this talk of the departing/transferring players...hey, this was Gill-belly-up's to screw up, and he did! Dont blame this inevitable fallout schizz on Weis. Those players are sufferring the fallout of their head coach's total and complete failure. Plus, in the spiritual sense, all that rubbish has got to have a very hollow ring to it (to these affected young men), eventhough that religion stuff may hold value and meaning in an abstract sense...a very, very abstract sense; and it wasnt ever supposed to be about religion/'thru christ', was it? It was supposed to be about winning football games. Ah, yes: the "devil" was in the football details: (work ethic, conditioning, speed, size, talent)--> those were the devils that felled Gill (how ironic, lol!) Really, ever since boys put on pads at age 10ish, and start playing in city leagues, it is about talent+ability...Say this slowly: We. Did. Not. Compete. Last. 2 years. Starter vs. bench vs. not even on the squad...common denominator=talent+speed=the currency of football at every level. Mention "size", but quickly realize that between 2 300-lb guys, the faster one or more talented one will always get picked first.

So Weis comes in and recognizes several players previously here simply will not/cannot meet his performance requirements. They are gone. This business is about winning, too. Tell me the NFL is any different? Ask Todd Haley. Ask Mike Ditka. Ask Romeo Crennel (about his Cleveland experience). Ask Charlie Weis (about NDame)...And, now, just watch him in action at KU...(and for comparison's sake, watch GillFlounder at Liberty...). Tell me Bill Self is running the Basketball program any differently? Just shows you whats at stake.

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Tony Bandle 1 year, 11 months ago

Establishing a football program is kind of like constructing a building:

  • first, you clear the site of all debris and hazardous material -second, you dig out and install a deep foundation and all supplemental utilites -then you construction a sturdy frame that wll last for a long, long time -finally you supplement the interior and exterior to make an environment both workable and attractive.

It appears Charlie has pretty much finished up the demolition stage and is well into the excavation portion of the project.

As building owners, we all need to show patience, but it will be fun to see our program rise out of the ground!!

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KGphoto 1 year, 11 months ago

"Weis on Tuesday made the first two stops in what figures to be a whirlwind tour of the Sunflower State during the next couple of weeks."

I see what you did there Matt.

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Sayers44 1 year, 11 months ago

What percentage of Division I athletic scholarships are multi-year?

The answer: zero.

There are no NCAA Division I athletic scholarships that go longer than a single year at a time.

Players are exploited. They can be cut after any season—and not just because of failing academic standards or breaking school rules.

Players can be cut for injuries, for not playing well or even merely having the bad luck of being around when a coaching change occurs (and since many coaches like to bring in “their guys,” that doesn’t always leave room for previous team members to remain on scholarship).

More than 75 schools are asking to override a plan approved in October to allow multi-year athletic scholarships rather than the one-year renewable awards schools currently provide.

"The NCAA and presidents step up with this legislation and then the universities want to vote it down. They say, `We don't have enough money,' and then the coach gets a $2 million raise,"

The one-year renewable scholarship, with a limit of five years of athletic aid, has been in place since 1973. And while the National Letter of Intent signed by most top recruits includes that caveat, some athletes say coaches on the recruiting trail routinely make more grandiose promises they know they can't fulfill.

Think about all of the hardship of these KU players mentioned in this article - having to transfer or losing their scholarship. It is not a pretty picture. At the same time Weis draws a $3,000,000 salary that is guaranteed for 5 years....

There is a lot wrong with NCAA athletics and changed need to be made in favor of the Student - Athlete..

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Ralster Jayhawk 1 year, 11 months ago

Bring in "your" guys, coach them up so they execute your system, and compete!! Exactly what we need.

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Kip Reiserer 1 year, 11 months ago

I must have missed the dismissal of Darrian Miller back in January. Where did he get picked up?

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nuleafjhawk 1 year, 11 months ago

“The same thing happened my first year at Notre Dame. I went to Notre Dame, and I think 13 guys left in the first year. Some of them, I was very happy they left.”

Ha! This made me laugh out loud. The more I hear about Weis, the more I like him.

He kind of reminds me (with the things he says) of Bum Phillips of the Houston Oilers back in the 80's.

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jaydee909 1 year, 11 months ago

Matt, you left out Coach Weis and Dr. Zenger will be in Hays at the Smoky Hill Country today at 11:30 for a luncheon. Can't forget Dr. Zenger's hometown for a few years in his teens.

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Fortesque Beagleton 1 year, 11 months ago

"If you know anything about me, you know there is a plan in place. We’re not going to say, ‘Okay they’re coming in, let’s wing it now and see how it goes.’"

What a breath of fresh air.

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Dirk Medema 1 year, 11 months ago

Wow! A third of the team turned over.

Do we know anything about Jon Jones, Jackson Long, McDouglas Archibong, Scott Baron and Ricky Speer? Are they walk-ons for now or part of the next wave of 5th year players?

Jackson Long - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hePvsc... (Smart with a good nose for the ball.) McDouglas Archibong - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q5Tw3C... (Determined) Scott Baron is a RS from SoCal

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Bangkok_Jayhawk 1 year, 11 months ago

And by the way... Screw the NCAA for the McCay ruling. I don't care if it is old news... I'm still pissed!

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Bangkok_Jayhawk 1 year, 11 months ago

Sad to see several of the guys go. Garrett, Terry, Gibas, and Miller to name a few. That being said, a good football team demands chemistry and also demands that guys buy into the system. If losing those guys is what it takes then so be it.

I'm optimistic that Kansas football will be fun to watch again.

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