Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Charlie’s classroom: KU coach Weis grades players after every game

Kansas University coach Charlie Weis and staff grade the Jayhawks each Sunday on their good and bad plays from Saturday's game. Weis, who hands out marks for the offense, told reporters Tuesday that he's as critical as any of the coaches, especially when breaking down quarterback play.

Kansas University coach Charlie Weis and staff grade the Jayhawks each Sunday on their good and bad plays from Saturday's game. Weis, who hands out marks for the offense, told reporters Tuesday that he's as critical as any of the coaches, especially when breaking down quarterback play.


With Game 1 of the Charlie Weis era in the books, we can pull back the curtain and learn more about how the new football coach at Kansas University evaluates his team’s performance.

“It’s basically a plus or minuses that average up to a percentage,” said Weis of his grading procedure. “You get one in the run game, one in the pass game and you get one collectively to see what your efficiency in the game was individually.”

The Jayhawks, of course, won their season opener last Saturday against South Dakota State. And in the days since, Weis has been pretty open with his opinion of the game, explaining that there were plenty of good signs and just as many areas that needed attention. That was on the surface, though. Where it really counted, after hours of film work and rewinding, things took on a little different look.

“When you have the clicker in your hand, it’s easy to nitpick because you can see every little thing,” Weis said.

The postgame breakdown works like this: Each KU position coach grades the individuals in his group. Some go into greater detail than others and some spend more time explaining the grades. But none are as critical as Weis.

“Every once in a while, I’ll look at somebody’s grade and I’ll say, ‘Man, I wish I woulda had you when I was in class,’” said Weis referring to the kindness shown by his assistants.

While they may disagree slightly on a player’s performance, KU’s coaches say players take criticism much better after victories than defeats.

“Oh, it’s not even close,” Weis said. “You can’t wait for them to come in. They’re feeling really good, they got to eat with their parents and all their friends and everyone’s saying ‘Good game,’ and then you tell ’em how bad they stink. Trust me, you knock ’em back off their pedestal really quick.”

Weis cuts right to the chase on the Sundays after victories.

“I take the offense and I make a good-play/bad-play tape,” he said. “Every game I’ll watch about 20 plays, 10 good ones and 10 bad ones. After a win, I always show the bad ones first. I say, ‘Yeah, you think you’re good, well let’s watch this pile of crap.’”

It’s just the opposite after losses.

“Everyone’s telling you how bad you were, so let’s look at these 10 plays from the game. ‘Remember this one? Remember this one,’” said Weis, altering his voice to deliver a more compassionate tone. “After a loss, you show ’em the good plays to bring ’em back to ‘OK, it’s not as bad as it all seems.’”

Quarterback Dayne Crist is the one KU player who does not get special treatment. For better or worse, Crist sees it all on Sundays, and Weis said that was by design.

“Dayne, he gets the whole kit and caboodle,” Weis said. “The first thing he gets is every play in the game. Then he gets it broken down into good plays in the run, good plays in the pass, bad plays in the run, bad plays in the pass, and, yes, (he) can get a minus (grade) on a running play, even though you’re just handing it off. Because if you don’t carry out your fake, it’s a minus.”

Weis made sure to point out he thought Crist did a lot right during the opener. And many were things that could not be coached or taught.

“My biggest concerns with him going into the game were: Is he gonna be scared, because it’s been a long time since he played. Is he gonna be looking at the rush? And if things don’t go great, is he gonna be composed?” Weis said. “He hit the trifecta with me. In those three, he came through with flying colors. I can correct the other things.”

Asked to divulge Crist’s performance grade from Week 1, Weis chose instead to summarize it.

“No one gets graded harder than the quarterback,” said Weis, who shared no specific grades. “His parents would not have been happy if he had brought that grade home.”

Added Crist: “I know I can play much better than I did on Saturday. ... I’m just as hard on myself.”

Run, run, run

During last week’s 54-29 loss to UCLA, the Rice defense surrendered 343 yards on the ground, but Weis does not necessarily think the Jayhawks are in for an easy day because of it.

“Most of it was big plays,” said Weis, who noted that the Bruins scored on three separate TD runs of 70 yards or longer. “Now they all count as part of the average, but I think you have to look at the whole body.”

Although Weis said one of his team’s strengths is its running backs, he also did not think that last week’s showing meant that Tony Pierson or Taylor Cox were in for huge games Saturday when KU plays host to Rice at 2:30 p.m. at Memorial Stadium.

“I don’t think you can just count on the fact that we’re gonna get Tony in the open field like that,” Weis said. “Sign me up if you can promise me that that’s what’s gonna end up happening. ... We’re gonna have to make sure we play physical up front in order to get to that to happen.”

Kickoff correction?

One of the units Weis was displeased with during last week’s victory was KU’s kickoff team. Not only did kicker Ron Doherty struggle to get the ball deep, but the coverage also failed to limit the Jackrabbits’ starting field position.

Because of that Weis said newcomers Nick Prolago and Austin Barone would get extra reps in practice this week to see if they might be able to handle the team’s kickoff duties a little better.

“Barone’s done a better job kicking field goals and Prolago has done a better job kicking off,” Weis said. “So what we’ll do this week is give these guys a legitimate look to see if we can’t take that part of the kicking game away from (Doherty). But I’m gonna have to see evidence that it’s not gonna be a detraction from what we do.”

Special teams captain

So far, the Jayhawks have worked with three captains, but back when Dayne Crist, Tanner Hawkinson and Toben Opurum were named captains, Weis indicated that there would be a fourth captain each week of the season.

The fourth guy, Weis said, would be the player who performed the best in special teams the previous week. Weis and Co. have not picked that guy yet, but it’s coming.

“We’ll vote as a staff,” Weis said. “If you were asking me off the top of my head who the two guys were that would be top contenders, Jake Love had three tackles on special teams and Josh Ford had a lot of production on special teams.”

Weis said the vote would come later in the week and he would vote last.


JJHAWK 9 years, 4 months ago

Rice hung 24 on UCLA. It will be a good barometer for us. And for our staff's ability to fix problems. Sure liked the fact that we won the battle of the 2nd half.

Not sure, but this may be the 1st time in two or three years where we are favored in two consecutive games.


Micky Baker 9 years, 4 months ago

It seems that Weis doesn't take anything for granted. He seems that he isn't going to let the players get complacent or apathetic. If there is a big improvement by Crist this week, and we see a repeat of the 2002 or 2003 season, don't remember which one it was for sure when KU struggled the first game and then the defense came out and was just really good the rest of the year and great the following 2 or 3, we could be in for an exciting season.

Micky Baker 9 years, 4 months ago

Matt Tait wrote about the tight ends practicing on Tuesday to seal the edge, and if this translates to games and Pierson or Cox or Sims can get outside and force a couple of missed tackles or the WR's keep contact with those they block, we could very well see some 400 yard games in the rushing category. Charlie Weis has got his head on straight from what I'm seeing.

gardenjay 9 years, 4 months ago

Could LJW maybe have Charlie say 'going to' instead of 'gonna'? I say 'gonna' all the time, but this isn't Huck Finn - why not just use proper print english?

doctorWho 9 years, 4 months ago

Wow. It's one thing to complain about the writing/editing on this site, but now we are going to complain about the use of slang in quotes?

What the H are you suggesting anyway? That they ask HCCW to say "going to" instead of "gonna" or that they misquote him? Either way, it ain't gonna happen.

gardenjay 9 years, 4 months ago

Why is it misquoting someone to put proper english in print? That is a common practice, you know. If one followed your thinking it would all look like Huck Finn with the wanna's instead of want to's, and in your case 'were' instead of 'we are' probably. I don't feel strongly about this anyways

Randy Bombardier 9 years, 4 months ago

We did leave a lot of points on the field. If we had scored a td every time a drive stalled inside the ten and a field goal every time we stalled between the ten and twenty we would have scored 64 points. (Provided none of those drives ended in turnovers.) We are building. The staff is not devising game plans to make us look good as we hang a 100 points on some team. What good is that down the stretch of league play? After my initial optimism, then apprehension, I am back to optimism and trusting that this coach really knows what he is doing. Personally I think our running backs will have a field day Saturday.

Tony Bandle 9 years, 4 months ago

LOL...on the left, we have Jesus walking on water....on the right we have the Titanic taking on water!!

Cameron Cederlind 9 years, 4 months ago

The guy who left Tech was named "Wannah Bail"? Wonder if he talked to his teammate "Lets Getouttahere" first.

KGphoto 9 years, 4 months ago

I thought you were joking. Wannah Bail. Too funny.

KGphoto 9 years, 4 months ago

I remember Gillespie favors the drink a little too much. That would certainly make sense after reading this. What a complete a-hole. If he survives his hospital stay, he's finished.

nuleafjhawk 9 years, 4 months ago

“Oh, it’s not even close,” Weis said. “You can’t wait for them to come in. They’re feeling really good, they got to eat with their parents and all their friends and everyone’s saying ‘Good game,’ and then you tell ’em how bad they stink. Trust me, you knock ’em back off their pedestal really quick.”

C a r e f u l Charlie ..... don't poke em in the chest, or call them bad names. You might make football players out of them.

Robert Brown 9 years, 4 months ago

Rice will be an interesting test. They hung with UCLA in the first half. I'm not sure how good UCLA is, but they are better than KU at this stage. Last year Rice won at Purdue so they are not easy win. Living in Houston, I am excited that KU will be playing Rice here next year.

KGphoto 9 years, 4 months ago

Yeah, I'd be showing some Purdue film at some point this week. By no means was Purdue great last year, nonetheless it's a road victory in the B1G. Rice won't be intimidated by KU.

KGphoto 9 years, 4 months ago

I take back some of the above comment after watching highlights of the game v UCLA. They looked pretty lost, and that was at home. see below.

number1jayhawker 9 years, 4 months ago

UCLA hasn't been very good the last few years, that's why they fired their coach.

KGphoto 9 years, 4 months ago

The UCLA v Rice game was 49-24. (not 54-29)

That game looked much like the G. Tech game last year. If Rice hadn't been able to sustain some drives (and actually dominate the time of possession) it would've been almost exactly the same. They looked lost on defense. They don't tackle well, they were taken out of plays, took bad angles, and over-pursued. Sound familiar?

If Weis unveils a little creativity, I expect to see some big runs on Saturday.

On offense McHargue is everything for Rice. He was their leading rusher and leading passer. His 22 carries more than doubled the top RB, and he had a 40 yard run. KU needs to watch the second half of the UCLA game. The Bruins figured out the option and shut Rice down.

Todd Simpson 9 years, 4 months ago

I can't wait to go to the this game it will be exciting.

clevelandjayhawker 9 years, 4 months ago

now welcome to the jungle is going to make me puke everytime I hear it

Tony Bandle 9 years, 4 months ago

Reasons it's great not to be misery tigger fan:

  • You blessedly are not associated with the university of missouri
  • Competition for the best meth lab is ferocious
  • Puppy farms are state's best cottage industry. How do you save just one??
  • So many unlicensed day care centers make it hard to choose what's best for your child.
  • Owning slaves is hard work.
  • Lots and lots of bball conference trophies
  • NCAA bball/football NC's...KU 3 - MU 0
  • Family geneology doesn't trace back to Quantrell.
  • If Lawrence is heaven, Columbia is the other place.
  • Phog/Larry/Bill vs Norm/Hair Boy/ contest.
  • Jayhawk - one of a kind, Tiger - there's 3 in the SEC alone.
  • Allen Fieldhouse....need I say more.

Steve Gantz 9 years, 4 months ago

Nice! Not sure if you read the article but one of the reasons the guy wrote was misery is in the SEC East which in his view is an easier division. So his logic is it's great to be a tiger fan because it's easier to win in that division.

Jeff Coffman 9 years, 4 months ago

Technically 5 National least if you are a Jayhawk. And even more of a thorn in their side, one BCS appearance and win to their 0.

Tony Bandle 9 years, 4 months ago

Hey...I forgot to include all those NCAA Debating titles we own!!!!

KGphoto 9 years, 4 months ago

That's fine. Then there was never an NCAA Football Champion before 1998. Stupid comment.

tical523 9 years, 4 months ago

Hate to bring it up, but read a preview for the game on Rice's rivals site and the journalist writes " . . . . . . .to take on the University of Kansas Jayhawks". I like the ring to it, sounds great.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.