Sunday, September 2, 2012

What, Charlie Weis worry? Coach sees good, bad, ‘crummy’

Kansas head coach Charlie Weis has a talk with quarterback Dayne Crist and tight end Mike Ragone in the second quarter, Saturday, September 1, 2012 at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas head coach Charlie Weis has a talk with quarterback Dayne Crist and tight end Mike Ragone in the second quarter, Saturday, September 1, 2012 at Memorial Stadium.


Fans of Kansas University football — particularly those who had hoped to see a blowout in Saturday’s season opener — might have gotten a jump-start on critiquing KU’s 31-17 victory against South Dakota State on Saturday night.

KU coach Charlie Weis did his best to catch up Sunday.

It was clear Saturday that Weis was pleased but not completely satisfied with his team’s opening act, and Sunday, after a productive practice, he detailed what he took away from the game film.

“There were a lot of good plays on offense, a lot of good plays on defense and a lot of big plays on special teams,” Weis said. “But, at the same time, there were a lot of crummy plays, too.”

Those “crummy plays” came at various points.

From poor chemistry between quarterback Dayne Crist and his receivers to struggles with the kickoff team, all of KU’s woes showed up crystal-clear on film, Weis said.

“It was about what I expected,” he said. “This was a really good day for us because we got a chance to watch all the stuff as a coaching staff and go over it thoroughly. We had plenty of time to show it to the players, explain the good, the bad and the ugly and still turn this into a work day, physically.”

As for what jumped out the most, the list was long but not all that alarming.

“There’s a handful of things,” Weis said. “You want better production in the passing game, you want to have better efficiency on third-down offensively, I’m not satisfied with three out of five touchdowns in the red zone, and then we gave up six explosive plays.”

KU’s first-year coach did not seem overly troubled by any of the aforementioned aspects of Saturday’s game.

“The only area of concern I had was our kickoff team because we didn’t kick the ball great on kickoffs, and we had a couple decent-sized returns that put us in a little bit of a problem,” Weis said.

On six opportunities, the Jackrabbits averaged 27.3 yards per kickoff return. The Jayhawks, however, never got the chance to return a kickoff, as all four SDSU kickoffs resulted in touchbacks compared with zero touchbacks for Kansas.

KU also struggled on field goals, as junior Ron Doherty connected on just one of two attempts and missed a 35-yarder on the first drive of the game. Weis said KU’s place-kicking woes were far less worrisome than what he saw on kickoffs.

“The wind in the north end was a lot more significant in the kicking game than it was in the passing game,” Weis said. “Unfortunately, most of the field-goal opportunities were going in that direction.”

More, please

One day after toting the ball 20 times for 124 yards and two touchdowns, sophomore tailback Tony Pierson, who stands 5-foot-10, 170 pounds, hit the practice field feeling good.

“He was begging for more,” Weis said. “He would’ve taken as many (carries) as I would’ve given him, but I explained to him that it’s a long season, and we gotta be smart.”

KU’s running backs finished with 42 carries — 20 for Pierson, 16 for junior Taylor Cox, five for Brandon Bourbon and one for Marquis Jackson.

“When you run the ball (42) times, there’s enough carries for everybody,” Weis said.

Although a handful of the 42 carries — which accounted for 255 yards — were highlight-worthy, Weis particularly liked one from Cox where the 5-11, 210-pound tailback took an inside hand-off, cut to the left, made a couple of guys miss and could not shake the safety at the end.

“He just lowered his shoulder and basically put the guy right on his back,” Weis said. “When a guy has enough wiggle and shake-and-bake to make people miss, but is physical enough to run people over, that’s a good sign.”

Jayhawks injury-free

Weis said KU suffered no notable injuries Saturday.

“Knock on wood, this was as clean a day as I can remember for a Sunday,” he said.

Staying healthy was part of the motivation behind the intense strength-and-conditioning program the Jayhawks underwent in the offseason.

“I would like to think there’s a direct correlation with that,” Weis said. “But some of the injuries that occur are just bad luck.”

Communication breakdown

Following the first start of his KU career, Crist shouldered a lot of the blame for KU’s passing woes. Making his first start in nearly a year, Crist was rusty, completing 17 of 36 passes for 169 yards and a touchdown. While some of the incompletions were on Crist, others were the fault of his receivers. Weis said both groups were able to address the issue during film Sunday.

“You can definitely see it,” he said. “When you watch a guy run an in cut and the quarterback’s waiting for (him) to come out of the break instead of just letting it go ... there’s gotta be a point where you just trust that the guy’s gonna be at the right depth and in the right spot.”


machinegun 1 year, 7 months ago

If you believe that Coach Weis and his staff are top notch, then you must at least consider that we may improve as the season progresses. I have seen Coach Weis and his coaches interact with one another and with the players on multiple occasions. There is something special about our coaching staff. There is something special about our team. Their unique chemistry will transcend whatever may happen on the field from week to week. That can only mean...better times are coming!


KUtndog 1 year, 7 months ago

I am new here but the thing I noticed most is that the half time adjustments were much improved over last year. 14 unanswered points after half time was huge.


texashawk10 1 year, 7 months ago

Anyone who actually bothered to pay attention to the stats last year shouldn't be shocked at all by the defense coming up with 5 turnovers Saturday night. Over the last 7 games of last season, the KU defense created 16 turnovers after only creating 2 during the first 5 games. 16 turnovers over 7 games comes out to about 2.4 turnovers forced per game which is a pretty good clip and if this defense duplicates or even surpasses that number, they will have a chance to pull some upsets this year. The offense will be fine, despite the obvious rust and adrenaline Crist had early on, he was making the right reads on just about every pass and only had 2 or 3 ill advised throws out of 36 is something that didn't happen with Jordan Webb last year. My biggest concern for the offense is that without a home run threat at WR, Patterson and Beshears are not legit deep threats, opposing defenses will crowd KU's offense and Crist and the running game won't have the same kind of room to work with that they did on Saturday. As great as Josh Ford was on special teams, he needs to get a crack at WR to be the home run threat for KU's offense and give them more room to work with.


BayPark 1 year, 7 months ago

Seeing the same names at the top of the depth chart at receiver as the year before is one of the reasons I'm bearish on this year's team. Weis knows more about football in his little finger than I'll ever know, but it's hard not to look at Josh Ford and his size and aggressiveness on Saturday and think that maybe he could help us at receiver, that maybe we'd be better served in the long run if he, as well as Omigie (6-4) and Turzilli (6-3), got more reps with the first team.


Randy Bombardier 1 year, 7 months ago

I don't think we know a whole lot yet about how many wins we'll get. I pretty much still see the same potential as before with perhaps less confidence in our passing game. Have been wondering if we need to go with bigger receivers. What was lacking most was execution which will improve. Think our D did okay but expect even better things in the future. Next week should be a big opportunity for our run game. Has a team ever had three 100-yd rushers?


BayPark 1 year, 7 months ago

I think we'll win a close one against Rice, and perhaps steal a game somewhere else on the schedule. But I think many of you are underestimating the talent gap between KU and the rest of the Big 12.

Yes, coaching will be better. They'll play hard. They'll get lined up right. And we'll be headed in the right direction. But we're so far behind, it's going to take some time.


Robert Brown 1 year, 7 months ago

Sorry I misspelled Weis. My iPhone self corrects it with 2 s's. Some people on here get worked over when someone's name is misspelled.


Robert Brown 1 year, 7 months ago

I know the sun came up yesterday but nothing about Saturday's game gave any indication that KU is anything but a last place team. There is a huge talent gap which I am sure Weiss will eventually fill. This is going to take some time. Mangino never took advantage of the Orange Bowl season to upgrade recruiting and talent and Gill was just a mistake. I do expect steady improvement and better focus. I would hope we beat Rice. NIU almost beat Iowa and will be tough. We need to get at least one conference win for the season to be considered successful.


Keith Hummel 1 year, 7 months ago

Interesting how different people can have such different opinions after watching the exact same game.

I thought the defense looked pretty darn good, particularly when you consider the circumstances. Don't look now, but KU is leading the nation in Interceptions, is 2nd in Turnovers Gained, and is 1st in 4th down conversion defense. They are also 1st in the conference in turnovers gained,1st in turnover margin, 2nd in sacks, and 2nd in fumbles recovered. Yes, it is just one game, and yes most of those statistics involved Mr. Bradley McDougald, and yes this was SDSU. But still, it's not too shabby for last year's worst defense. Anyone who thinks pressure from our defensive line didn't play a huge factor in those statistics either didn't watch the game or doesn't understand football. The announcers themselves said it was surprising KU didn't have more sacks given how much pressure they put on the QB all night. And trust me, every team KU faces this year will be preparing for Michael Reynolds, as he was unstoppable coming off the edge at the end of the game.

If you want to worry about something, worry about our passing offense, which is currently ranked 83rd in the country and 6th in the conference. And lets be honest, Crist was incredibly lucky he didn't get picked off more times. But does anyone really think that first game is indicative of what Crist is capable of? If anything, it's encouraging that we could still win fairly easily even when our passing offense was so ineffective.

My take overall is that we improved tremendously on defense, and the mistakes we did make will be easily corrected. Get a couple more games under their belt, and get Ty Mckinney on the field, and I believe this defense will flat-out shock people this year. I'm very encouraged and can't wait to see how they play against Rice.


Doug Cramer 1 year, 7 months ago

Wasn't ever a fan of Turner coaching at KU...but not gonna root against him either. The guy is a good dude...maybe not neccessarily a good coach...but he is a good dude.


ferdthemooncat 1 year, 7 months ago

Not to roll a downer out on the table, but Liberty almost upset Wake Forest in North Carolina Saturday....

But, let's go, Charlie!


Jayjocker 1 year, 7 months ago

Table- Stopped reading at D line sucks. You either didn't watch last year or missed the 2012 opener . D line greatly improved with talent and depth over last year. Not saying all these guys play on Sunday but much better!


jaymar74 1 year, 7 months ago

To the negative posters, no we are not a top 25 team, but we are better than the last two years and I believe this staff will make adjustments as the season goes along. We will have several games against Big 12 teams when we look much better than at any time since 2008. Last year we had a new word for the week, this year we will have adjustments made to get better.


Jim Stauffer 1 year, 7 months ago

Please show some restraint! Pick has better hands than Kerry Meier? C'mon man!


99yard_run 1 year, 7 months ago

I will keep my moniker that it will remind us how far we get this season. I'm still optimistic. Yes, things got heady this fall camp leading to optimistic predictions like Troutsee's 8-4. But T and I have a thing that goes back to the Gill era, and that's water under the bridge. Rock Chalk.


Doug Cramer 1 year, 7 months ago

Was at the game Saturday and here are my perceptions and expectations from this team :

I'll start with the sucks...and everyone will realize that it's only SLIGHTLY better than last years...which is not good. We have got to land a couple of 4 star recruits on that line to build into the future.

Secondary - there is some potential here. Campo is a d-back specialist...and he has sufficient talent to make this group effective. The only problem is...if the d-line doesn't pressure opposing QBs...then the secondary will get passed on.

Linebackers - I also think there is potential with this group. Ben Heeney really surprised me with how active he was...meanwhile Holden Tharp didn't look too shabby either. Those guys like contact and have solid fundamental tackling skills.

QB play - Crist was rusty. I think he will improve as the season goes on...and will be an effective Big 12 QB.

Receivers - this is an average group for the Big 12. Patterson has speed...and Pick has better hands than Kerry Meier. Breshears brings a lot of experience to the table.

Tight ends - decent depth at this position. There were times we were in 3 tight end sets...between Smiley, Ragone, and Mundine. These guys are all pretty big...and somewhat athletic for their sizes. I was impressed by that diving catch Trent smiley had near the south goal line.

Runningbacks - look for Weis to utilize depth at this position group to wear down and bruise opposing defenses late in games. Cox is a bruiser...and has skillz.

Ultimately - I see this offense getting better with time...and I think they will put up decent points...even on Big 12 teams.

The defense on the other hand...there isn't much room for improvement when u lack talent on the line like we do. Look for another disappointing and frustrating year from our D.


Charlotte_Jhawk 1 year, 7 months ago

Too many negative comments out there. This team is not going to roll into the fetal position and quit. They will show up on Saturday and fight back. They may not win all the time, but they won't be push overs either. Those days are over.


jhawkrulz 1 year, 7 months ago

The good news is Rice gave up 348 yards on the ground this past weekend...Pierson and Cox better get ready.

Crist should be able to start shedding some of that rust and nerves.

I'm hoping to see just a little more execution on offense this week, and we'll be heading in the right direction.


TheSportsDon 1 year, 7 months ago

I thought the most striking event of the entire game was the drive Kansas compiled after the rabbit's closed to 24-17. Went 75 yards, showed fight and heart answering the score and good play calling with short crisp 7 to 8 yard passes to put the offense in second and positive instead of 2 and long. Good stuff there.


machinegun 1 year, 7 months ago

Just watched a replay of the game. Did you see the hole that the O-Line made for Tony Pierson? He just motored past the safety without being touched for the TD. Two RBs each with 100 yards rushing. How about that for starters? We are a passing team!

Dayne Crist made one of the sweetest touch passes to Ragone for another TD ala Montana. Ford and special teams had a good night. The defense played just fine and is going to gain confidence as the season goes along. You can see how hard this team plays the game, right?

The atmosphere in Memorial Stadium was great for all of the fans who showed up to support our team. Remember going undefeated at home? We can recapture the magic of home field advantage.

I keep saying don't underestimate Coach Weis, his coaching staff, or the team. The more I see the more I like about our guys.


jayhawk1991 1 year, 7 months ago

This team will only coninue to improve as the season goes on. We won't win a lot of games (most likely 4-5), but I will always support a Jayhawk team that is tough and that will not quit. That is something we haven't seen in the past two years.


Commenting has been disabled for this item.