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Saturday, September 1, 2012

Together again: Dayne Crist, Charlie Weis fired up for final fling

Kansas head coach Charlie Weis goes over a play with quarterback Dayne Crist during the first half of the Spring Game on Saturday, April 28, 2012 at Kivisto Field.

Kansas head coach Charlie Weis goes over a play with quarterback Dayne Crist during the first half of the Spring Game on Saturday, April 28, 2012 at Kivisto Field.

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Kansas head coach Charlie Weis goes over a play with quarterback Dayne Crist during the first half of the Spring Game on Saturday, April 28, 2012 at Kivisto Field.

During his four seasons at Notre Dame, Kansas University quarterback Dayne Crist threw for 2,300 yards and 16 touchdowns in 10 starts.

So this whole leader-of-the-team thing is not exactly new for Crist, KU’s prized offseason acquisition who became a team captain in four months and the face of the franchise overnight.

Throughout his career, and even after two knee injuries, the 6-foot-4, 235-pound pro-style QB controlled the huddle, took the heat, stared down defenses and did what he expected he always would. Then one day that all stopped. Benched after starting the season opener last September, Crist quickly became a Notre Dame castoff and went through his final season forced to wonder if he ever would play a meaningful snap again.

An unexpected reunion with the man who brought him to Notre Dame, in the most improbable of places, gave him that chance. And tonight, when Crist leads the new-look Jayhawks onto the field for the 6:06 p.m. season opener against South Dakota State at Memorial Stadium, he’ll do so as a changed man.

“At the point that I’m at, this being my last year no matter what, you’ve kind of got a different sense of urgency,” Crist said. “You realize this is all you have left. You cherish this time.... I haven’t been this happy or this excited in a very long time.”

The last start of Crist’s Fighting Irish career came nearly a year ago. Since that day in South Bend, Ind., nearly everything the former five-star prospect knew disappeared. New role, new teammates, new zip code, new colors, new hope. Even though it has been 363 days since his last start, Crist said it seemed much longer.

“Forever,” he said. “It feels like an eternity.”

At the core of Crist’s final chance is his relationship with KU coach Charlie Weis, a man who serves more as a trusted family friend than anything else. Throughout the past few years, Crist has made it clear what Weis has meant to him — first by signing with him out of high school, then by keeping in touch after Weis was fired, and, finally, by following him to Kansas. And, even though the colors and circumstances have changed dramatically, Crist finally seems to be living out the scenario he envisioned when he first signed with Weis as a high school senior.

“I think so,” he said. “I’m happy to see where we’re at and the adversity we’ve both overcome. But at the same time, we’ve got so much work to do that we’re focused on what’s ahead of us not where we’re at.”

That’s what drives him. And the skills he learned from Weis at Notre Dame, nuances about playing quarterback that he said came back almost as soon as he set foot in Lawrence, are what have both coach and quarterback believing 2012 could be one heck of a swan song for Crist.

“Just the other day, there was an audible that we haven’t run here, and he checked to it, and we ran for about 30 yards,” Weis said. “No one on the team had ever had that discussion yet. Now, we’ve had it, but that was three years ago. It was good to see. They all knew the play he was running because they heard the name of the play before, but the fact that he can get you in it, that’s important.”

Crist said moments like that — there have been several — provide tangible proof at just how deep the bond between the two has become.

“It’s been great being able to pick up where we left off,” Crist said. “I’m never doing something that he hasn’t green-lighted at some point, but he gives me a lot of responsibility, and that’s something that I’m flattered to have. It just goes back to the relationship he and I have. Whatever he says, goes. I’m just working within the framework that he gives me.”

It always was obvious that Weis was fond of Crist, but as the start of the season has drawn closer, Weis has delved deeper into the appreciation he has for his quarterback.

“Remember now, the kid hasn’t had the best few years,” Weis said. “Just when he’s getting ready to be the man, the head coach gets canned, new system, you don’t fit, and it didn’t go so well. Now you’re back into the same system that you did fit, with decent skill guys around you, with veteran offensive linemen in front of you, with a team that everyone thinks is gonna be crummy. That’s a pretty good situation. How can he lose? There’s only one way to go, and that’s up, right?”

So far, Crist has refused to examine too closely what a big season could mean for him and his future.

“We’re both just very excited,” Crist said of him and Weis. “We’re both very competitive, and I love being able to go to work with him every day. I’m so thankful to be here and be coached by him.”

The feeling seems mutual, and whether Crist routinely lights up the scoreboard or not, it seems neither guy would change a thing.

“This could be a wonderful story, and I’d like to be writing it,” Weis said. “And not for me, but for him. Because I’m a very, very big fan of the young man.... It would be a wonderful, wonderful thing if he had a really good year. Because (a) we would win more football games, but (b) because I wish nothing but good on the kid.”

Comments

Phil Leister 7 years, 5 months ago

Things certainly have come a long way in 365 days. Hard to believe we have Notre Dame's opening day starter from last year as our starting QB. A year ago, Weis was preparing for the opener at Florida and Gill was settling in for another long season. Fast forward to today, and we've got a 5 star QB set to take the field and a few Super Bowl rings roaming the sideline. I am extremely excited.

jhox 7 years, 5 months ago

We've come a long way, indeed. I'm so thankful this young man chose Kansas over Wisconsin. Think about that. He had this stacked team waiting for him in Madison, and his respect for this coach landed him in Lawrence. I don't think I would have made that decision, and I'm a KU guy. I just hope our offense recognizes the leap of faith Crist has taken, and play their rears off for him. I would love nothing more than to see him have an all conference or All American type of season. That's pretty far fetched, but sometimes fairy tales to come true. We went to the Orange Bowl just 5 years or so ago, didn't we?

Dan Pawlowski 7 years, 5 months ago

I think the offense realizes the leap of faith, I hope the defense realizes it and plays their butts off.

Dan Pawlowski 7 years, 5 months ago

Kansas is not Notre Dame. He was 35-27 in five years at ND and 2 bowl games. If he could do that at Kansas I would be ecstatic.

Dan Pawlowski 7 years, 5 months ago

Perkins ran Mangino out because he was not Perkins choice. Zenger picked Weis.

palais11 7 years, 5 months ago

Does anyone know? I am going to be at a relatives house this evening in OP who is a subscriber to DirecTV and was wondering if they were a carrier of Jayhawk television? I am assuming no?

Luke Kay 7 years, 5 months ago

I have at&t. I am wondering if it will be on anywhere there also. I love how FSMW is airing the jackson state game... cause thats a midwest school. What a joke.

palais11 7 years, 5 months ago

yeah FSMW is pretty much a joke to me....the games they show are definitely cause for a double take.

Luke Kay 7 years, 5 months ago

Yeah, never understood the point of having a regional sports network thats broadcasts only consists of about 35-40% of sporting in their region.

yovoy 7 years, 5 months ago

Many around here have bantered about if we'll go for the "statement" blowout. I'm against it, unless we can get Crist a good 3 quarters (+/-) of work, sit him, then get some work for the backup quarterbacks. If we can get them some meaningful reps w/ the first team, it might go a long way in helping get everyone "into the system".

nwhawk 7 years, 5 months ago

We're at home, facing an FCS school that will be without their starting quarterback. We've got a former 5 star QB, Charlie freaking Weis calling the shots, and a team that hasn't won a game in what must feel like an eternity just chomping at the bit. If it's not a blowout . . .

Chris Bruning 7 years, 5 months ago

It's crazy, i remember the interview with Dayne one year ago almost to the day, it was not inside notre dame stadium, it was outside of it. He had just been named the starter for the opening game. I didn't put much attention into it at all other than i work with a Dan Crist at my job. Never would i have believed he would be our starter one year later, go get'em dayne. RCJH!!!!!

Dirk Medema 7 years, 5 months ago

Wood's done sawn. It's time to build the fire. Get the fire goin nice and hot.

duanep5ku 7 years, 5 months ago

I for one can't remember every being this excited for the start of a football season at Kansas. I mean you take into consideration just how bad the last two years were and then you upgrade the coaching staff to this level. In just one year and add Dayne into the mix. although you have to admit that upgrading the coaches from the previous 2 years would be easy. I think as we all gather today to watch, the new era begin in Kansas football. Let's be Happy and excited because this year will be great, I won't predict wins and loses on here but I do predict this team will shock the so called media clowns that don't see us winning. Dayne and Charlie you two have already changed the excitement level for Kansas Football just for coming here. So thank you Coach and to all players just bring it, every game and let the wins or loses, speak for them self.

Luke Kay 7 years, 5 months ago

Honestly, I couldn't agree more. I was not terribly excited about hiring Weiss originally, but he has put together quite a staff. We have got some great transfers and signed some possible impact players... It feels kinda good to have some hope.

Dan Pawlowski 7 years, 5 months ago

Remember "failing" at ND was a 35-27 record and 2 bowl games. I'll take that .

Cole Hogan 7 years, 5 months ago

Well lets not get too excited there man, remember Mangino was 50-48 in 8 seasons with 4 losing seasons, 3 winning seasons, 1 even .500 season, and 4 bowl games (3-1 in them). Just don't forget the success we have had in the past?

nuleafjhawk 7 years, 5 months ago

Yay !! Go team! GO!!

GO my favorite sports team, GO!!

Yay!! They scored a goal-unit---basket.

Go Squadron - do good! Beat the opponent .....SOUNDLY... in the skirmish!!

(thanks, Brian Regan!)

Rock Chalk Jayhawk, baby - let's kick some Jackrabbit (that HAS to put some fear in our hearts!) butt!

Dan Pawlowski 7 years, 5 months ago

Are you joking? Kansas is not ND when it comes to football. Quit kidding yourself. I'll take 35-27 and 2 bowl games for now. You have to walk before you can run.

kranny 7 years, 5 months ago

They run everybody off at ND. ND is reason why they've sucked since Holtz. Weis only had one losing season at ND. They are 107-78 since Holtz because their entrance system is out of date. Since 96 they have been mediocre at best but still play the big boys thinking the name will win games. The university needs get with the times.

Bville Hawk 7 years, 5 months ago

Under promise, over deliver. It's a good strategy in any endeavor. I think anything less than 6 wins will be a disappointment to Coach Weis.

eastcoasthawk 7 years, 5 months ago

It's game day! Finally. Rock Chalk Jayhawk! Let's see what kind of damage we can do this year!

kranny 7 years, 5 months ago

He's quoting Bluto on Animal House, sparky.

LAJayhawk 7 years, 5 months ago

The Germans?

Forget it, he's on a roll.

Marcia Parsons 7 years, 5 months ago

Is this just a bad day for you, or are you always this way. Apparently you were a Mangino fan, and since he's gone you don't want KU to ever do well again. I'm sorry.

palais11 7 years, 5 months ago

It would be very interesting to know what the program would look like if Mangino were still here?

LAJayhawk 7 years, 5 months ago

Aaaaaaaaaannnnnnd, he got canned. WTF is your point? Move on, man. Everyone else has.

palais11 7 years, 5 months ago

Does anyone know? I am going to be at a relatives house this evening during the game and they are subscribers of DirecTV, are they carriers of Jayhawk TV? I am assuming no.

Jim Jackson 7 years, 5 months ago

You can catch the game online at Justin TV or First row sports. Not sure if ESPN3.com is picking it up.

Al Martin 7 years, 5 months ago

This is nonsense. We're supposed to fixate until the end of time on a bad decision made three years ago by another athletic administration? Sorry, that's just dumb. And don't think that we fans haven't suffered plenty for that decision.

By your logic, you should still be mad at OU for firing Barry Switzer and hiring Gary Gibbs, and should not be looking forward to this year's season because of that.

LAJayhawk 7 years, 5 months ago

I could use some roasted troll. I have a feeling you've got a significant amount.

Sam Brockert 7 years, 5 months ago

Metro sports is playing it in th KC area.

babyjay1 7 years, 5 months ago

RogersState80 said "OU will destroy YOU GUYS" .... Total giveaway that he is NOT a KU fan! Now go away....

onceajhawkalwaysajhawk 7 years, 5 months ago

It's been a long time since I checked on who KU football was playing on a Saturday....Feels real good to do it again!

bigbundy 7 years, 5 months ago

Anyone know where the game can be streamed live tonight. Surewest in KC not having Metro sports sucks. Thanks

LAJayhawk 7 years, 5 months ago

I would enjoy that info as well..... Metro sports does not play in Southern California, believe it or not....

LAJayhawk 7 years, 5 months ago

BTW, I do know that it is streamed on the Athletic Department's All-Access, but you have to pay at least $9.95 for a monthly subscription to watch it. I'd do it if it meant more than one game, but I believe I should be able to watch the rest. Has to be a free stream out there somewhere....

bigbundy 7 years, 5 months ago

I checked KUAthletics.com and it looks liek you can buy one month for $9.95, whihc I would gladly do for this game; however it shows no live events goign on, so apprently it is not included unless I am missing something.

Laurence Cooley 7 years, 5 months ago

Fans like rosestate80 is why people mock our football program. always dwelling on the negative. but this is a new year, a new team, and a new regime. this is gonna be fun and i am excited!!!

ROCK CHALK!!!!

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