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Originally published October 23, 2012 at 02:11p.m., updated October 24, 2012 at 12:13a.m.

Weis shakes up starters, gives Cummings nod at quarterback against Texas

Kansas quarterback Michael Cummings is swarmed by Oklahoma defenders Tony Jefferson (1) Corey Nelson (7) and Chuka Ndulue (98) during the first quarter on Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012 at Memorial Stadium in Norman.

Kansas quarterback Michael Cummings is swarmed by Oklahoma defenders Tony Jefferson (1) Corey Nelson (7) and Chuka Ndulue (98) during the first quarter on Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012 at Memorial Stadium in Norman.

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Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Charlie Weis

Kansas coach Charlie Weis talks to reporters on Oct. 23, 2012, four days before his team's game against Texas.

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Kansas University football coach Charlie Weis on Tuesday removed the “or” between the names of his two starting quarterbacks.

Red-shirt freshman Michael Cummings will start against Texas this weekend and former starter and fifth-year senior Dayne Crist will back him up.

“We’re gonna start Michael and we’ll see where it goes,” said Weis, choosing not to tip his hand about whether Crist would play at all. “At this point, when you’re 1-6 and things haven’t gone real well, I think you owe it to your team to see what you got.”

Saturday’s game against Texas — 11 a.m. at Memorial Stadium — will mark the second straight start for Cummings, and the move seems to be an indication that Weis has begun to look toward the future.

“My job is to make sure I get our football team in an upward spiral, not a downward spiral,” Weis said. “If the status quo doesn’t show any improvement, then you have to find some way to make improvements, and this is one of the ways.”

As the weeks have gone by, the list of ways to shake things up has become longer. Younger players have been given extended looks in practice or extra playing time in games, offensive and defensive schemes have been altered to accommodate the new faces, and KU’s head coach has become willing to do whatever it takes to keep his team competitive on Saturdays.

“We know what we have to do,” Weis said. “We have to coach the heck out of the guys we have and we have to go get more players. It’s really a very simple process.”

It’s not just quarterback where things have changed. On this week’s depth chart alone, four starting positions are up for grabs. Two of those have been a work in progress throughout the season, as offensive linemen Randall Dent, Gavin Howard and Aslam Sterling have rotated in and out of the right guard and right tackle spots.

But there’s real change taking place in a couple of other spots, where red-shirt freshman Damon Martin has elevated himself as a threat to Duane Zlatnik at left guard and Jimmay Mundine and Trent Smiley have joined Mike Ragone as possible starters at tight end. Chris Omigie now is listed as a first-string wide receiver, as well.

“Our coaching staff doesn’t just sit there and play people because they’re entitled,” Weis said. “I think we try our best to get our team in the best position to win.”

Martin logged extended snaps at Oklahoma and impressed his coaches.

“He always had strength,” Weis said of the 6-3, 295-pound guard. “But he didn’t play to his strength. It’s one thing when you have strength, but then you play like a slug. But when you start figuring it out mentally, then you play to your strength.”

Omigie also earned his spot based on his performance last week.

“Each guy is unique,” Weis said. “Every position is different, but there are guys that we see getting better and better and better that we think can help us. Some of the young guys that we’ve seen in practice every day, the Greg Allens, the Tevin Shaws, the Tyree Williams and the Nas Moores, they get better every day, too. But they’re in a position where the dividends with those guys will be paid down the line.”

Weis went into great detail Tuesday about what he believed it would take to move things forward. He’s happy that his team has been competitive in most games this season and that he can count on his guys to play hard from start to finish each time out. Now, he says, it’s time for the next couple of steps.

The search for talent never is far from Weis’ mind. When asked Tuesday what he was looking for in recruiting, KU’s first-year coach painted a clear picture.

“Guys that want to come to Kansas,” he said. “Not the guys that (say), ‘Well, I have 93 offers.’ Who cares? Do you want to come to Kansas? Do you want to be a part of this? Do you want to be a part of the reason why they went from not very good to good?”

He continued his mock conversation: “‘You say you want to play, right? Well, if you can’t play here, where are you playing?’ You’d be surprised how quickly you can get ’em on your side.”

When asked what positions he was looking for, Weis ruled out quarterback, but made it clear that a talent upgrade across the board was needed.

“Every (position),” he said. “Tell me who the best player is at a position (and) we’re interested. ... Recruiting is the lifeline. Development of your own players and recruiting, that’s it. It’s not a question of whether or not we know what to do X’s and O’s. ... sometimes you better go get some Jimmys and Joes. It might help you just a tad.”

Weis has not lost his optimism about the future, and there is evidence that tomorrow could be better than today. Cummings is the starting quarterback of the present, but a longshot to hold the position next season, thanks to the presence — and steady improvement — of BYU transfer Jake Heaps.

“Michael sees Jake (at practice) every Sunday,” Weis said. “(Our other quarterbacks) know they have their work cut out if they’re gonna beat him out.”

Another player who gives the Jayhawks hope but has been sidelined this season is wide receiver Justin McCay, a transfer from Oklahoma. McCay applied for immediate eligibility before the season but was turned down twice. Weis said the uncertainty impacted McCay’s performance in the spring but added that McCay looked much better now.

“A drastic improvement,” Weis said. “I was a little concerned in the spring because, to me, he looked just a little bit like another guy.”

Weis also said Heaps and McCay had developed a strong bond while waiting their turns.

“I mean, they’re tied at the hip,” Weis said. “They’re two really good players.”

Whether it’s players that are here and are improving or guys who have yet to arrive, Weis has a precise view of what he believes the future of Kansas football will look like. And believe it or not, what has taken place so far this season is a part of it. However, in order to get there quicker, Weis outlined a couple of things his team could accomplish during the final five games of 2012 that would fast-track the progress.

“We still have to go win a conference game,” Weis said. “The other thing that I really think would be important for us is to go beat someone on the road. I don’t know if we’re gonna do either one of those things the way we played last week. But I know they’re gonna play hard for 60 minutes for five games, even if things go bad. ... At the end of the year, they have to be better football players than they are now. They can’t be stagnant.”

Patterson still iffy

Senior wide receiver Daymond Patterson remains questionable for this weekend’s game because of a head injury that forced him to miss last week’s game at Oklahoma.

“Head injuries are not something you mess with,” Weis said. “If he meets with the doctors and he’s still woozy or has headaches, what am I gonna say, ‘No, you don’t have a headache.’ That’s not something you play with.”

Mangino eyeing return?

In a recent telephone interview with The Oklahoman, former KU coach Mark Mangino said he still has “the desire to win,” but that his perspective on coaching and life changed last year, when his wife, Mary Jane, was diagnosed with breast cancer.

“My family comes before the game,” Mangino said from his home in Naples, Fla. “It’s helped me get things in perspective, too. She’s joked with me, ‘Winning and losing football games isn’t really a matter of life or death is it?’ I said, ‘No, it’s not. It’s not.’”

With her final treatment out of the way and a favorable prognosis for her future, Mary Jane has given her husband a suggestion.

“Go find a coaching job,” said Mangino, repeating Mary Jane’s words. “So we’ll see what happens. I don’t know where it will be. Could be anywhere.”

In the nearly three years since he resigned under pressure at Kansas after posting a 50-48 record in eight seasons, Mangino has kept his distance from Lawrence.

“I have had no contact with anybody in the program since I left,” he told The Oklahoman. “Do I follow them? I wouldn’t say I go out of my way to follow the team, but I do have a place in my heart for the kids on the team that played for me or were recruited by me. I would love to see them have some success. ... I have no ill-will toward the football program or the players at Kansas.”

Comments

Jackster 1 year, 5 months ago

This may not be the appropriate forum for this comment, but I felt it was important to throw this out there. We all agree that KU needs to improve on the recruiting front as we continue to go forward and build a great football tradition. I know a kid, who currently is ranked #13 in the US in the 2014 class in his position (depending on the source...Rivals, Max Preps, ESPN, etc...it varies widely...); His grandfather played for KU in the late 50's; he plays for a high school team that is currently undefeated and ranked in the top 15 in the US; he is a solid 6'5"/235 lbs and bleeds KU: he lives within 5 hours of the KU campus; (loves KU basketball...attended the summer bball camp lead by Coach Self..which sold him on KU overall) and has full ride offers from every SEC school but two. Only OSU and TX, from the Big 12, have recruited him. Here is the the big bummer....He, and his grandfather, have written letters to KU expressing his desire to play football there (with supporting video) with no reply after 4 months. I am sure many of you might say he is only a junior in high school so it can wait until his senior year, however, he has made his choice, so he does not need to worry about the recruiting process in his senior season, I think it was a miss for KU. The SEC folks know how and when to swoop in and get the guys they want early....and it works for them.

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Ralster Jayhawk 1 year, 5 months ago

I am reminded of the prevailing mood and focus of when Mangino was let go and Turner Gill was hired: the focus seemed to be on the off-field stuff with Mangino, coupled with the fact his final team either seriously underachieved, or got exposed by the tougher "south away" schedule. The thought on Turner Gill can best be described as 'well, he wont be derisive & insulting like Mangino was...', and regarding football, well maybe Gill was an "up and comer, and had BigXII ties". KU wasnt looking for a name coach, and there is speculation about Lew's exact motives for the whole entire Mangino/Gill saga.------------------------------>Now ffwd to the "feeling" when Gill was fired: The gridiron results and the press conferences painted a very different feel. This was a sharp contrast from the Orange Bowl season. So, in all frankness, the expectation level was raised by very real gridiron success, and Gill clearly was not the one to return the program to that level. So Zenger wanted to find a more "proven" commodity. Someone with recruiting ability. The NFL ties and success helps. Very key would be the staff assembled. Much more information about Gill's loss of control over the program had surfaced by then, involving very poor academics (50+Fs) and off field issues for a few players. The conditioning condemnation by Gill's own players was a painful bullet that explained the 2nd half meltdowns under Gill. Enter Charlie Weis. Instant name recognition. Cleans house. Lays down the law, regarding academic and performance expectations. Finds very little talent spread out over the 3 phases of the game. Very competent staff assembled. Highly rigorous repetitions, conditioning, and coaching going on now, but it takes time to change a culture. Recruits with size, speed, and talent needed. And depth must be built. Nickel-pkgs MUST be as sharp as starters, as right when you need a key 3rd down stop, their performance can hinge the entire game. Every single aspect of the game is needing attention, and it all comes back to solid recruiting over the next 2yrs+solid coaching. We need kids+kids that have experience in Weis's ways & expectations. Lets give a real coaching staff the 3-5yr chance they deserve. No choice really, as buyouts are not fiscally feasible, but that is a negative angle. Do not feel trapped by anything right now but Father Time. We need 2-3yrs of solid, core-building recruiting. The W's will come. Everybody sees Weis is laying the foundations correctly. The all-important offensive chemistry will come...maybe next year. Only then will you see Weis's expertise truly shine on the next level. Hope for a W maybe this yr, but all this big-pix stuff I am saying here will come later, at various stages. RCJH. We can DO THIS on the gridiron. Keep fightin'.

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Geekinout 1 year, 5 months ago

Was watching the pathetic Longhorn Network yesterday.. First if the coaches want to see how they are planning for KU turn it to that channel. Second, it was funny and yet interesting to hear how Mac and the other coaches aren't taking this one lightly. Either they realize if they lost this one a lot of of them will be out of a job or they know we have the talent to pull of the upset considering the many other factors going into this game. Either way, KU is on the ropes and a win here would do wonders for the future of the program. UT's run defense has been horrible this year, I hope KU's coaches can capatolize, control, and dictate the game.

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bjejayhawk69 1 year, 5 months ago

Crist - Seems like a great guy and good leader but unforunately he is simply immobile and inacurate. Not a good combo for any QB. I think the problem is Weis has been too loyal to him. He should have started a change to Cummings about 4 weeks ago. Is Cummings the answer - who knows yet but Crist has not and at this point isn't ever going to get it done. It can only be good to give Cummings a chance since he does have some legs which gives you more options offensively and is just as accurate or more accurate than Crist. I am disappointed Baty is not even a factor though. You would think if he had any potential he would at least be given a look.

Keitzman is a joke. He can't hide any of his bias. He only has any ratings because he refuses to give up his time slot to Petro who is light years better. Petro has more national guests in an hour than Ketizman gets in a month. His only guests are Mitch Holthus, Jack Harry and Jim Colbert.

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IlBastardo 1 year, 5 months ago

OK kugrad93. I'm giving you the opportunity to publicly apologize on behalf of yourself and every other Lew Perkins disciple for years of throwing up the "Have you noticed that he's still unemployed?" nonsense as point one of your party line. Apologize to the fans for insulting their intelligence and wasting their time, and apologize to the man, who is the only reason we're talking about football right now, who has been through something that would leave you wishing your only problem in life was being barked at by an alpha male football coach. If you think I'm not really asking this and that I'll let it die, you're mistaken.

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dstnku34 1 year, 5 months ago

I should've chosen an earlier game when I got those free survey tix. I think the fan base is calling the shots now, not Weis. I think if last year's sharp attendance drop toward the end of the season hadn't happened, Dayne still plays. That's speculation, but I can't seem to arrive at any other reason why Cummings starts over Crist when Crist's numbers are better, despite the TOs. If you want to "see what you have", start Blake Jablonski. Just don't try to tell me Cummings gives KU a better chance to win. There's no evidence for it. Feelings aren't knowledge. Rock Chalk.

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Hammertoe 1 year, 5 months ago

The Greatest Coach in the History of Athletics in the State of Kansas is Bill S (ynder)!

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MartyrMangino 1 year, 5 months ago

Luck, health, and happiness to you and your family Coach Mangino! Thank you for the good times.

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hotrodm 1 year, 5 months ago

Did anyone listen to 810 am radio yesterday on the Kevin ( K-State ) Keitzmen show. He was really bashing Charlie Weis. Keitzman stated that Weis was selling out his players when Charlie said he knew the X's and O's but needed more Jimmie"s and Joe"s. I think Weis needs to listen to Keitzmen's show from yesterday and call and straighten Keitzman out. Keitzman also said that Bill Snyder would never throw his players under the bus like Charlie was doing. Keitzmen used this show as an anti KU, pro K-State segment with recurits. It's time for Charlie Weis to call this loud mouth out for the idiot he is. I know Charlie Weis would make Keitzman look like a real idiot if he would confront Keitzman on the air.

1

Ralster Jayhawk 1 year, 5 months ago

Will be interesting for Cummings to get the reps and start. I hope for the best for Cummings. I also am extremely sad for Crist. He was the offseason "face" for our football team, and basically personified the hope a lot of us wished upon the program. The lack of success is definitely multifactorial-->not all on Crist. All I can offer is thanks to Crist for coming to try to help us. He could be going to a bowl game if he went to that college in Minnesota or Wisconsin, but chose KU.

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okiedave 1 year, 5 months ago

Okay, now we have learned that Weis has not given our back up quarterback the same opportunity to learn the offense that Crist has had. Cummings should have had the same opportunity to learn and run the offense that Crist has had. Now I understand why Weis has been promoting Crist as the better quarterback "by far". Good Grief Weis, what kind of coaching is that?

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Dirk Medema 1 year, 5 months ago

It's not just the QB that has to be told what package of plays are in the game plan for tis week, but the entire team. And then the entire team practces those plays during the week so that they are better prepared to execute those plays during the game.

Does that help????????????????????

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vd 1 year, 5 months ago

One of the reasons for Crist being the starter is his knowledge of the offense. Now we learn he has to be told which plays he will run in the game. Please explain this to me????????????????????

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Reuben_J_Cogburn 1 year, 5 months ago

This needed to happen.

Regardless of the results from here on out, Crist needs to remain sidelined. Unless of course Cummings gets injured. But I'm going to hope Baty gets a shot if that becomes the case. One thing I don't think Weis has elaborated on thoroughly enough is the Baty situation. I understand he hasn't been as good in practice as the other two, and he may be inexperienced.

But the kid is a gamer. He knows how to win; in high school and then JUCO national championship for God's sake. Right now, I'm less concerned with how well the starting quarterback "knows the system," and more concerned with putting someone on the field who doesn't fall apart from nerves and fear.

Memorizing the playbook, signals, audibles and reads is fantastic. But do we have someone with the intangibles to get the job done on the field?

I hate to keep going back to the old comparison of Reesing, but that is truly what we need right now. The guy could barely grip the ball, couldn't throw a spiral, had to move between his own linemen to generate a "window," and didn't know the playbook from his butt when we threw him in against Colorado in 2006, down 15. But he knew how to win. Not to mention, he had the right combination of Little Man Syndrome and a chip on his shoulder to handle the pressures of the field.

Crist has all the right stuff, minus two very big college quarterback assets. Mobility, obviously for one. And confidence. He doesn't have the confidence necessary to sling the damn ball and fight back against the odds. That's what we're lacking.

Not saying Baty has these things, but this late in a disastrous season, why not test every asset you have at your disposal. Let the kid take shot. If nothing else, you either deny or confirm Heaps' starting role next year.

We literally have nothing to lose.

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texashawk10 1 year, 5 months ago

In order for KU to win, they will have to be at least +2 in turnovers AND be at least +10 in points off turnovers to win a game this season which they have yet to do this season.

SDSU: +3 in turnovers and +7 in points off turnovers

Rice: equal in turnovers and +4 in points off turnovers

TCU: +2 in turnovers and -4 in points off turnovers

NIU: +1 in turnovers and +7 in points off turnovers

KSU: -5 in turnovers and -21 in points off turnovers

OSU: +1 in turnovers and equal in points off turnovers

OU: -2 in turnovers and -14 in points off turnovers

That boils down to KU being equal in turnover margin despite only losing the turnover battle twice this year and KU being -21 in points off turnovers. Perhaps the most telling stat is that KU has forced 15 turnovers on the year, but has only scored off 5 of those turnovers for 27 points. KU is flat out not making opponents pay for their turnovers and that is just as big a factor in KU being 1-6 instead of 4-3 or even 5-2 as anything else this season. If KU can win the turnover battle AND convert those turnovers into points, then KU can win some games. I'd be willing to bet that turnovers and converting off those turnovers has played a prominent role in most of the major upsets in college football over the past few years and throughout history.

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hbjayhawk 1 year, 5 months ago

I'm glad race wasn't a factor in this decision.

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Michael Pannacciulli 1 year, 5 months ago

Sad fall forCrist. Had pretty high hopes for him this year...

1

IlBastardo 1 year, 5 months ago

KUSports is the fairest, funnest place on the world wide web.

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KGphoto 1 year, 5 months ago

Things I want to see from/for Cummings on Saturday:

MC unspooling a 65 yard rope to a streaking Turzilli early in the game, it'll go a long way toward keeping Texas on a leash defensively. Plus I just want to see MC's arm. : )

50-100 yards on the ground. He can do it and we know it makes it harder to cover WRs. Not just the read-option running, but taking off when you see some space, a la Collin Klein. Look for it, and don't hesitate to take what they give.

A QB draw on 2nd and long. (see, more running)

The same flea-flicker thing we did to start the Rice game, but with MC. This could be the Turzilli rocket I mention above.

Rollouts to buy him time. We saw he can throw on the run. Get him out there.

To always know where Kale Pick is. He somehow breaks so wide open, at least once a game, that you wonder if the defense knew he was eligible.

And finally, to WIN!!

Rock Chalk MC!

2

oldbaldguy 1 year, 5 months ago

this saturday I am going to be out confirming the zero on my deer rifle. the first game was the last game i watched. good luck next year.

2

Boouk 1 year, 5 months ago

Not that Cummings is the answer at QB, but this was an easy choice.

0

Jayhawk470 1 year, 5 months ago

The season is lost anyway. At this late date, what does it matter who starts against Texas?

0

Terran Woolley 1 year, 5 months ago

Agree 702. It's no longer about winning or losing, it is about building for the future. Go out, have fun, and COMPETE. Just see what happens. No shame in that.

0

Jayhawker111 1 year, 5 months ago

Crist should never see the field again....

Crist is ranked 125 out of 126 in quarterback rating....

It does not take a rocket scientist to see that he has not done the job on the field.

Move on to Cummings and let's not use the playbook as an excuse.

Cummings has been to every practice and he should know all the plays.

If Cummings cannot perform then go to the walk-on and see what he has to offer.

I believe the walk-on #17 is now third team QB ahead of Baty.

Let's look to the future and Crist is not part of the future.

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702Hawk 1 year, 5 months ago

I like Mike. Give Texas hell. And remember that you have nothing to lose so go out there and have fun. Rock Chalk

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Jonathan Allison 1 year, 5 months ago

Week after week I find myself still looking forward to the next football game.

I think that we're going to get at least one more win before the end of the season.

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justinryman 1 year, 5 months ago

Can't complain about this. I'm sure coach had hisreason to wait and that's fine. I haven't been to one practice or film session to know any better.

I like it, just hope it sparks the team as a whole.

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Lucas Town 1 year, 5 months ago

Nice to see that Weis waited so long to admit there needed to be a change. Good luck on Saturday QBMC.

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