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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

hbjayhawk 1 year, 10 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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mojayhawk 1 year, 10 months ago

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milwaukeeJAYHAWK 1 year, 10 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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Steve Reigle 1 year, 10 months ago

First years -

Glen Mason 1-10

Mark Mangino 2-10

Terry Allen 4-7 following a 10-2 year with Glen Mason as head coach

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dlphawk 1 year, 10 months ago

Mason was 4-7 in his last season, left for U of Minnesota and Allen took over. Mason was 10-2 prior to 4-7 season.

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Micky Baker 1 year, 10 months ago

Thanks Obama? This was way out there dude.

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hawk316 1 year, 10 months ago

Charlie Weis and staff have turned these players into a team that must be taken seriously by every opponent. Even if we fail to win any more games, this in and of itself is a huge accomplishment.

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Jim Erickson 1 year, 10 months ago

Keep the politics off this site. No matter who you vote for, you hurt their cause by injecting their name in a political manner when it doesn't belong.

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Lance Cheney 1 year, 10 months ago

I'm not sure if you're being serious with the Obama comment or not. I'm guessing/hoping you're just being funny. But if you are being serious, let me remind you that Obama was still president the last 2 football seasons as well...

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Steve Jacob 1 year, 10 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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Jack Jones 1 year, 10 months ago

Thanks - that's an observation that I often think we miss when we discuss, analyze, criticize, compliment this year's team , coaches, and players. LET'S FILL THE STADIUM next Saturday - they, and we deserve that.

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jhox 1 year, 10 months ago

I've been telling friends this for weeks. From top to bottom the Big 12 is better. The SEC has been better at the very top the past few years, but not as good as the Big 12 in the middle or at the bottom. It will make rebuilding no easy task. But I believe we'll be a much improved team next year with an improved quarterback situation. We've been competitive with 3 or 4 top 20 teams this season with absolutely no balance on offense. Brighter days are definitely ahead. Time to get on the bandwagon, all of you holdouts.

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parrothead8 1 year, 10 months ago

Um...no. Middle of the pack SEC teams are competitive with the to teams from every other conference, but middle of the pack Big 12 teams aren't generally competitive with top SEC teams. Missouri was one of the best teams in the Big 12 last year and they're a bottom-feeder in their new conference. The only reason they aren't THE bottom of their new conference is because of down years by usually good teams like Auburn and Tennessee.

KU is definitely improving, though, I'll agree with you on that. And I'm glad to see it, because they're more fun to watch now that they play hard for 60 minutes. (Or more than 60 minutes, as was the case yesterday!)

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vd 1 year, 10 months ago

And A$M was a bottom feeder last year in the Big 12. Did you watch that game yesterday?

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Lance Cheney 1 year, 10 months ago

Mizzoo is also terrible this year.

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Lonnie Ross Dillon 1 year, 10 months ago

And note they barely beat Tennessee :)

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yovoy 1 year, 10 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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doc1 1 year, 10 months ago

They will have K-State when they lose Snyder. KU will look great then

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Jack Jones 1 year, 10 months ago

A very accurate, as well as positive analysis of this year's team. Congratulations. I do not understand the purpose of the "I still see a team......".

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John Randall 1 year, 10 months ago

I guess you don't understand the purpose because you don't believe the truth should matter if you'd rather not hear it.

It is a damned shame that not even one of these games has panned out with a conference win, but the fact is that BigXII games are just too big a stretch, even with the effort and preparation we are seeing.
That will be less true this week, and even more so next year. I have to believe '13 will see these guys very near and quite possibly in the bowl picture, and even better in years to follow.

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Boouk 1 year, 10 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, 10 months ago

You think this team wouldn't have beaten TCU, Rice, nor NIU w/ Cummings? You think we wouldn't have beaten them with Sims & Pierson playing at 100%? You think we wouldn't have beaten those teams with ANY QB that could complete a little bit above average percentage of passes? You left Turzilli out of the WR discussion.

I'm not disagreeing with what you said; I'm only saying that many factors that don't involve the team getting screwed over by HCCW's decision to ride a horse that's essentially dead would've gotten us a number of wins.

I'm also cautioning others to not believe the hype about a QB at our U until they've seen him play a little bit. It's that ol' "Those that learn nothing from history..." chestnut.

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Dirk Medema 1 year, 10 months ago

"ANY QB that could complete a little bit above average percentage of passes?"

Ummm, Cummings was 40% in this game.

The benefit would have been that CW would/is not have been trusting the QB to win the game.

The good news is that this staff will continue workin with the team, so maybe the next "Turzilli" starts asserting themself earlier.

I'm guessing the players will be that much more focused in the off-season, and definitely not drinking and driving.

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Boouk 1 year, 10 months ago

Turzilli shows flashes and has good upside, but we can't consider him a Big 12 caliber WR yet. Cummings completion % is actually below 50%. I think Heaps will be good because the coaches said before the season started that he had the best mechanics and accuracy of all the QB's on KU's roster, and he'll obviously have a good running game which will help him a lot.

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LAJayhawk 1 year, 10 months ago

Um... Crist has a 48.7% completion percentage on the season. Cummings is currently 44.9%......

Don't get me wrong, I think it's clear Cummings is a better choice than Crist (and that's really our only two options this year), but don't get carried away. What would have helped in those early games WAY more is having Sims in the game. Having him the first 3 games likely would have won us the Rice game, and would have, at the very least, made us more competitive v. TCU.

But, at the end of the day, if this team had any kind of a passing game (and that means a better throwing QB than either Crist or Cummings, as well as better WRs), there's a very good chance this is a bowl team.

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Micky Baker 1 year, 10 months ago

You do know that Cummings numbers are not quite as good as Crist's were? You might want to rethink your statement now.

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90sHawk 1 year, 10 months ago

Crist had absolutely no mobility, and that is the biggest difference between him and Cummings.

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Micky Baker 1 year, 10 months ago

Except Cummings is a worse passer. The play that Cummings on Saturday wasn't just that he got the big play. It's that he made the right decision. He saw the opening and he took it but it was open because Sims and Pierson both were having big days. It was an excellent decision and a great play that was needed in a big way there, but there was nobody there to tackle him.

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Jeremy Hays 1 year, 10 months ago

Whoa!! Whoa!!

"I'm only saying that many factors that don't involve the team getting screwed over by HCCW's decision to ride a horse that's essentially dead would've gotten us a number of wins."

Ok, I like the way the team is playing but unlike many of you here, I think the situation that Dayne Crist faced was taunting and that many of you expected Huge plays. However, if you remember you have to catch it. DJ was out, Patterson looks slower, Pick hasn't seemed his relieable self since the injury at Rice. Turzilli is inconsistent at best early in the season. So I ask you (and I like the development of our RBs and don't want to disparge the work our WRs have done), with a loaded box because of our run heavy sets we still don't throw the ball at all... How can you say that Charlie screwed the team? He changed his offense to fit his personnel. It wasn't Cummings being better at Charlie's offense it was fitting the offense around him. And honestly, I think Crist could do almost all of what you see Cummings do minus maybe the one 22 yard run.

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VaJay 1 year, 10 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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Doug Roberts 1 year, 10 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!

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bville_hawk 1 year, 10 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.

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Dirk Medema 1 year, 10 months ago

Didn't CW say that h intends to be here 5 years, and then hand-off the program?

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Micky Baker 1 year, 10 months ago

No, I don't think that's what he said. That is what people speculated... but you know, why trust the people that they think know Weis while not trust those that do know him, right?

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KGphoto 1 year, 10 months ago

How do you respond to the concern that this may just be a quick stop for you?:

"It's going to be a quick stop. It's going to be five years. That's the quick stop. I'm going to be here for five years, because my wife and I had planned for me to be working at Florida for the next five years and then try to be put in a situation where we can walk away. … What we're going to do here is we're going to go try to turn this program into a perennial winning program and then try to have it where one of the guys on this coaching staff takes over."

http://deadspin.com/5868108/charlie-weis-will-give-kansas-five-years-then-hes-gone

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jhox 1 year, 10 months ago

Don't forget Coach Campo. Let's all pray he sticks around a few years.

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Annette Lee 1 year, 10 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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tical523 1 year, 10 months ago

They say that Damon Martini is a stud, sounds as if he has the potential to be next years Duane Zlatnik. Also, I believe after a year of coaching and practice Sterling will be moved to left tackle and I believe he will be very good.

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jhox 1 year, 10 months ago

As good as the offensive line has been blocking, they've not been very good pass blocking. There is room for upgrade on the offensive line.

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tical523 1 year, 10 months ago

. . . .Martin that is, he is definitely tougher than a martini.

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Jonathan Allison 1 year, 10 months ago

we're losing Marrongelli, Zlatnik, and Hawkinson. Leaving huge holes to fill. But looking at the roster, Coach Grunhard has the big bodies to fill those holes. Sterling should develop into a leader on the O-Line, and we've got some solid back-ups this year that have gotten no credit whatesoever. I hate to lose the seniors, but I think the staff is prepared for this.

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nostradavid 1 year, 10 months ago

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

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Jayhawker111 1 year, 10 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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NCFCHawk 1 year, 10 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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Micky Baker 1 year, 10 months ago

I agree. The fans owe it to the team. The team is the only one that has to really suffer these close losses, at least more than we do. But I'm not seeing the quit in them that we saw last year. I'm seeing heart and work ethic and the things that it takes to build a program.

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90sHawk 1 year, 10 months ago

I see Saturday's night game against ISU as a great opportunity to create a loud, raucous environment. It's very winnable for us, and the fight and effort these guys are bringing on a weekly basis should make this a must see. I'll certainly be there and can't wait.

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machinegun 1 year, 10 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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Jonathan Allison 1 year, 10 months ago

Think about it this way. If Weis had gone for it on fourth down and failed, this board would be calling for his head right now.

No, instead he trusted his team, the kicker came through, and we had it all but wrapped up in 1OT, but couldn't make the tackle, and Coach Weis showed that he believes in his players, and they are playing their hearts out for him.

He absolutely made the right call by going for the tie.

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machinegun 1 year, 10 months ago

My point was that sometimes you have to go for it especially when the season is slipping away. I could make the same point about the field goal at the end of the 2ndQ. We were still behind rather than being tied going into the locker room.

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David Robinett 1 year, 10 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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Phil Leister 1 year, 10 months ago

You're an idiot. You think Crist scrambles for 50 yards on 4th down like Cummings did?

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KGphoto 1 year, 10 months ago

Cummings didn't turn it over yesterday. Dayne can't do that.

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Micky Baker 1 year, 10 months ago

Yeah, whose mommy told you that? Because, who threw the INTs last week and the week before. Time to stop drinking. I'm not joking either. QUIT DRINKING.

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Micky Baker 1 year, 10 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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Reuben_J_Cogburn 1 year, 10 months ago

Not blaming Crist single-handedly for every loss.

But the guy was a liability. And a team may be able to survive with a left tackle or slot receiver being sub-par, but the quarterback cannot be.

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vd 1 year, 10 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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90sHawk 1 year, 10 months ago

The last part of your comment about Tech being exhausted totally screws the KU players of all the credit they deserve for going toe to toe with a ranked team on the road. I think that is sad. I don't care what you speculate about Tech's mental state, and of course you did not interview every one of their players before the game to find out, to discredit a KU football team who came to play on Saturday when they have absolutely nothing to play for but personal pride is too much.

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Micky Baker 1 year, 10 months ago

KU did wear them down though. Especially their D-Line. Or O-line manhandled them for most of the game.

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bville_hawk 1 year, 10 months ago

I don't think it is fair to say that Weis "ran off Webb." I think it was more a case of Weis telling Webb that he could stay but he probably wouldn't see the field much, or he could transfer.

Webb chose to transfer because he wanted to be in a situation where he could play. He made a good choice in going to CU.

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Reuben_J_Cogburn 1 year, 10 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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