Business as usual won’t cut it for a Kansas University football team armed with squirt guns and facing one Big 12 nuclear offense after another the rest of the schedule.
Nothing conventional about the way Charlie Weis coached the first half of Saturday’s 56-16 loss to Kansas State in Manhattan.
One drive started with a fake punt and continued with a fake field goal, the two most memorable plays of a half that ended with Kansas trailing by just a touchdown. Innovative Weis play-calling kept the K-State defense off balance and quieted a crowd that made plenty of noise in Cat Town during pregame tailgating and in the second half.
See Dayne Crist fake the hand-off right, look right to pass, taking the defense with him, and then turning around to toss it to Tony Pierson, the team’s most exciting player. Touchdown.
If Weis can recruit the right horses and have the right quarterback under center, his feel for play-calling could lead to some exciting football. But the present doesn’t live in the land of “if.” The reality is this football team needs to live in the world of off-the-wall to have any shot of winning another game.
Here’s an idea: Script two completely different offensive game plans, one for each half. Different personnel. Different tempo. Different quarterbacks. A Dr. Jekyll half and a Mr. Hyde half. A pro-style offense one half, a wildcat or some other look the next. Whatever adjustments the opposing defensive coaches make at the half are rendered irrelevant, and confusion sets in.
Weis is a mad scientist of an offensive thinker with twice as many X’s and O’s running around his brain than the average offensive coordinator, enough to implement two, two, two game plans in one, a fresh breath of football for a season getting stale early.
Use Pierson, by far Weis’ favorite toy in his new playground and with good reason — he’s the team’s best athlete — in one way the first half, an entirely different way the next. Script as many plays as possible for both halves, regardless of the halftime score.
Sound crazy? No crazier than Matt Cassel performing so well in his one year working for Weis that he became a Pro Bowl selection. Now that’s crazy.
Let Crist work the first half, Christian Matthews, Michael Cummings or Turner Baty the second.
Charlie’s creativity won games late for Notre Dame with fake field goals, etc., when he had a defense that resembled the one that repeatedly was left in Collin Klein’s rear-view mirror Saturday. Now’s the time to get more creative than ever.