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Saturday, November 10, 2012

Keegan

Opinion: Weis not winning yet, but he gets his team ready

Kansas head coach Charlie Weis argues with game officials over a call on a Kansas punt during the second quarter on Saturday, Nov. 10, 2012 at Jones AT&T Stadium in Lubbock, Texas.

Kansas head coach Charlie Weis argues with game officials over a call on a Kansas punt during the second quarter on Saturday, Nov. 10, 2012 at Jones AT&T Stadium in Lubbock, Texas.

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Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Charlie Weis talks after 2OT loss to Texas Tech

KU coach Charlie Weis talks after his team's 41-34 double-overtime loss to Texas Tech on Nov. 10, 2012.

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Box score

KU-Texas Tech

— In 240 B.C., Greek astronomer Eratosthenes calculated the earth’s circumference, providing the first so-called proof that the earth is round.

Obviously, Eratosthenes never stood in the middle of the northwest Texas expanse of land that since 1890 has been known as Lubbock. Had he done so, Eratosthenes would have realized that regardless of what his instruments told him, the world is not round. It is flat.

This I discovered after flying into Lubbock on Saturday morning. You could see for miles and miles and miles in every direction, but two things you could not see, no matter how hard you tried, no matter how many times you squinted.

First, you could not see a change in elevation.

Second, you could not see any way Kansas University’s football team could make a game of it against 25th-ranked Texas Tech.

The Red Raiders have so much more tangible motivation. Each victory means a more prestigious bowl game. Kansas long ago dropped out of bowl contention.

Texas Tech brought the nation’s fourth-ranked passing offense into the day against a defense that doesn’t rush the passer very well and lacks speed in the secondary, a flaw exposed during Tyler Patmon’s long, long Saturday afternoon in Lubbock.

Kansas still hasn’t thrown a touchdown pass to a wide receiver, removing on nearly every down the mystery as to whether it will pass or run.

Tech has bigger, faster players on offense, bigger, faster, more agile players on defense.

Kansas brought a 20-game losing streak in games played outside of Lawrence into the game and took a 21-game streak out of it, but this one felt so much different from most of those.

The Red Raiders (7-3) defeated Kansas, 41-34, in two overtimes, in a game more entertaining than any the Jayhawks have played since the fourth-quarter comeback at home two seasons ago against Colorado.

How did an undermanned Kansas push Tech beyond regulation?

The Jayhawks came ready to play and Kansas head coach/offensive coordinator Charlie Weis, known throughout his NFL career as a quarterback guru, found the right play-calling rhythm to aid Tony Pierson (202 yards) and James Sims (127 yards) in leading a running game that compiled 390 yards.

Weis has made some questionable decisions in his first season at Kansas. He stayed too long with Notre Dame transfer Dayne Crist at quarterback when it was obvious to most of the rest of the free world that a change needed to be made. He passed too often in a loss to Rice, which didn’t stand a chance of slowing KU’s running game. The decision on a ridiculous fake field goal in Waco, Texas, should not have been left in the hands of anybody but the head coach.

A quicker decision on Crist and an earlier switch to a run-dominated offense, and Kansas easily could be 3-7 instead of 1-9. But a broader look at how this disappointing season is unfolding bodes well for better times lying ahead when better talent is developed.

Weis, even when making questionable moves and mounting losses, clearly knows how to motivate his players in a way that keeps them playing hard for him, keeps them believing they can play with anybody. This week, he trimmed the travel roster to 54 players, which undoubtedly infuriated the players not brought on the trip and brushed some of those who made the trip the wrong way. But it didn’t keep them from overachieving against a ranked team and almost winning. The change-up worked.

Weis seems to have a feel for how to sound the right note to keep the players from packing it in, for making them believe they are better football players than their physical tools would suggest.

After the second near miss (Texas being the first) to a ranked team in three weeks, Weis went off script again.

“The locker room is as disappointed as it’s ever been,” Weis said during his post-game interview. “The difference is, I’ve had a conversation with the coaches about let’s not wait until tomorrow to start picking these players up. Usually, you let them sulk for 24 hours. Not today. I told the coaches that before we even get on the bus, I want to make sure these guys know it’s time to go. We were extremely motivated in this game. And I think we’ll be even more motivated for next Saturday.”

A 6 p.m. kickoff against Iowa State (5-5, 2-5) awaits, a home game, a winnable game, a game Weis will have his players ready to play. It’s the most important quality a coach can bring to the job. Weis brings it.

Comments

Reuben_J_Cogburn 1 year, 5 months ago

Ran off Webb? Has to be a joke.

Wow.

That statement implies that Webb was worth keeping around. Ask Colorado how they feel about our "generosity."

Impressive comment, my friend.

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vd 1 year, 5 months ago

Gill said he wanted to build and recruit a strong running game offense. It took Weis (the offensive genius) only 5 games to understand. Would we have won more games if Crist had not been the starter? No ones knows. But IMO, had Weis not ran off Webb and made Crist compete for the job, we might have won more. We shouldn't read too much into yesterday's game. Tubberville said he was worried about his team's ability to maintain it's mental toughness. His team came into the game mentally and emotionally exhausted. They thought they could just throw their helmets on the field and win.

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Micky Baker 1 year, 5 months ago

Some of the fans I used to think were smart, well, they aren't. Then there are some fans actually seeing that it's a team sport and that blaming Crist for the early struggles was at best, something without ethics would still be doing.

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Randy Maxwell 1 year, 5 months ago

IF Crist played yesterday KU wins. He can hand off just as well as Cummings and is 1000 times better throwing the ball. At least there is some threat of completing a pass if Crist is in there. Cummings has shown me nothing

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daverinoku 1 year, 5 months ago

I don't think I've seen anyone write about a possible long term benefit of Weis sticking with Crist: proving to big time recruits his loyalty and that they will get a fair shot. this applies to Jake Heaps too.

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machinegun 1 year, 5 months ago

When you have one win on your resume, sometimes you have to go for it and score the winning TD at the end of the game rather than settle for a tie and OT. Teams that have great records can afford to be conservative. We are desperate. Maybe Iowa State on Senior Day.

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Janet Scott 1 year, 5 months ago

Yes, the ISU game is winable, and the KU players will come to play. The real question is: will Memorial stadium be filled, or will it be barren? If KU is to ever turn the corner again in football and win on a sustained basis, the fans must visibly support the team. Will they? Flip a coin.

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NCFCHawk 1 year, 5 months ago

It is pretty impressive to think that everyone knows we are going to run and we are still able to do it consistently each game. To me that shows the heart of the OL and the coaching. I also am very impressed with the lack of penalties that we have had. To me that speaks loud and clear that we have good coaches. We can't be as bad as we were and get good overnight, it will take time but we are making progress. Not in the Win column but in the competitiveness of the team and the no quit attitude. I am very excited about next year's team already, yes, knowing we have an uproven QB and missing the Left side of a fantastic OL. Remember, enjoy the journey!!! Go 'Hawks!!!

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Jayhawker111 1 year, 5 months ago

You cannot run the ball without a passing game unless the offensive line is dominating.

The offensive line again played great.

The offensive line coach is to be commended!

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JHWKDW 1 year, 5 months ago

The thing that impresses the most with KU teams is they do not hurt themselves!

What I mean is they do not commit alot of penalties! And they look like they are coached well and know what to do in most situations! Coach Weis has got them on the right track!

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nostradavid 1 year, 5 months ago

Good story. The Jayhawks WERE ready for this game. I was impressed.

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Annette Lee 1 year, 5 months ago

We will lose the left side of a very good offensive line next year, I hope HCCW can fix that..

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LJ Whirled 1 year, 5 months ago

Charlie is the only thing that stands between this team an utter despair.

With a bunch of "athletes" who could barely hold up to South Dakota State, Weiss has these guys taking ranked, Big 12 teams to the wire. I don't see it being from athletic excellence, but from coaching acumen.

I'm not a big fan or critic, either way ... but I think Coach Weiss is the best thing about this program, and it would be a good idea to give him a chance to hang around until he has a collection of football players better than what KU handed to him.

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bville_hawk 1 year, 5 months ago

This team is slowly getting there. The progress is steady. Just stay the course and keep working.

Close losses this year will transform into close wins next season. I will gladly trade a double overtime loss this season for an extra victory next season. Closing out this season with consecutive wins is not out of the question either.

1

Doug Roberts 1 year, 5 months ago

Season tickets will be renewed next year. And hey, KU, how about something for my money, maybe a season ticket holder t-shirt or something??? Haven't had that since my first season tickets in '03. C'mon, show ME some love!

1

VaJay 1 year, 5 months ago

Can anyone imagine how dangerous this team will be if we can develop even a whiff of a threat that we can throw the ball???

On one hand, I am disappointed for our team that we haven't caught a break this season - one bad one after another to lose several close games. The heart the team has shown in spite of this incredible string of bad luck is amazing. They come out fighting every game as if they have a shot at a bowl game, looking nothing like a team that has won one game.

On the other hand I am as enthused as I was 6 months ago, knowing that this team HAS turned the corner. While it has not done so yet in the W/L column, the team has competed head to head with top teams in the country (now including away from home).

Next season - watch out, we will be coming to play from game 1 onwards.

Rock Chalk!

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Boouk 1 year, 5 months ago

You have to think that if Jake Heaps was this team's QB we would of beat Rice, NIU, OSU, Texas, TTU, and maybe even TCU, even with a bad, unreliable WR group outside of Kale Pick.

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yovoy 1 year, 5 months ago

When I look at this team, I don't see a ton of talent, but I see bits and pieces of talent laying around. I see players working as a unit, picking each other up. I see a team that doesn't quit. I see a team that looks like the near-miss KUFB teams c. '05 and '06. I see a bunch of coaches that are working harder than most coaches have to, that are getting more out of their players than other coaches do, but I still see a team that has only won one game.

That said, our coaches have to LOVE coaching this team.

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Lonnie Ross Dillon 1 year, 5 months ago

And note they barely beat Tennessee :)

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Steve Jacob 1 year, 5 months ago

KU's biggest problem is the Big 12 is it too deep, top to bottom. At least Missouri gets to play Kentucky and Tennessee.

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hbjayhawk 1 year, 5 months ago

I hope KU fans don't forget what mangino and Allen year 1 looked like. We are way ahead of those starts...I can't wait for next year. Today affirmed that KU football has hope. Thanks Obama

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