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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Fun and games: Crist aims to trust teammates, loosen up after tight start

Kansas quarterback Dayne Crist (10) celebrates a Jayhawk touchdown with defensive end Toben Opurum (35) against Rice during the second quarter on Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012 at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas quarterback Dayne Crist (10) celebrates a Jayhawk touchdown with defensive end Toben Opurum (35) against Rice during the second quarter on Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012 at Memorial Stadium.

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It’s no secret that Kansas University quarterback Dayne Crist’s start as a Jayhawk has been a little less spectacular than most people expected.

Now we know why.

Tuesday afternoon, while speaking to reporters during back-to-back weekly news conferences, Crist and KU coach Charlie Weis shared the details of a Monday evening chat that seemed to go a long way toward clearing Crist’s head.

“He and I had a great conversation,” Crist said. “And I think we both came out of that very positive and having a better understanding of what’s going on around the offense. I really felt a lot better after that conversation.”

While the specifics of the talk were communicated in more general terms, each example centered on an element of Crist’s demeanor that had been with him most of his life but not yet joined him in Lawrence.

“It was clear, in watching myself on film, that I just wasn’t having fun out there,” Crist said. “And that’s why I play the game. I plan on having a lot more fun from here on out.”

There are nearly a dozen reasons that football stopped being as much of a joy for Crist during the past few weeks, with pressure to perform, a desire to please the man who gave him another chance and the longing to lead the Jayhawks to better days chief among them.

“I don’t really listen to the outside stuff,” Crist admitted. “The pressure I was feeling was stuff I put on myself. I’ve always been internally motivated and I know what I need to do. But sometimes I think I’m a little too hard on myself and I’ve just gotta go out and let it loose and I plan on doing that.”

Add to that the burden of knowing in the back of his mind that a good senior season at Kansas could earn Crist a shot at his ultimate goal of becoming an NFL quarterback, and it’s easy to see how all of the factors sucked the fun out of the game for the 6-foot-4, 235-pound quarterback from southern California. Knowing that, and realizing he needed to act before KU’s schedule thinned out, Weis stepped in and had one of those vintage, straight-to-the-point Charlie Weis chats with his QB.

“Just do your job,” recalled Weis, when asked Tuesday what he told Crist the previous night. “What do we know now about our team that we didn’t know two weeks ago? Let’s start there. We’ve got a couple of good runners and we can run the ball pretty efficiently. So, if you’re a quarterback then, you don’t have to bear all the weight on your shoulders.”

It was not just Weis who believed that was happening.

“Yeah. I was fighting it and denying it at first,” said Crist, who has completed 52 percent of his passes for 313 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions in two games. “But that’s 100 percent what I was doing. We’ve got a ton of athletes around (me) and I’ve said it publicly before. With the way that our running backs have gone out and run the ball, it’s really just about going out and running the offense and having fun.”

While Crist sat at the front of the room and talked about his new outlook, the air around him indicated it was working. His answers to questions seemed more genuine and less scripted, he smiled more frequently and let reporters a littler deeper into his head.

“With how tight I looked playing, that’s not me at all,” he said. “Missing throws that I don’t miss. I’ve identified the issues that I think I needed to identify. ... I talked to a lot of other guys on offense, and we kind of felt the same way; we were playing too tight. We need to loosen up and have some fun.”

So that’s what Crist did. He began at Tuesday’s practice, where coaches and teammates said they saw a more energetic attitude from their quarterback.

“Yeah, I did,” quarterbacks coach Ron Powlus said. “I think he had a good time at practice today. He had a fine practice, and it looked like he had a little more fun playing today.”

While Powlus, who works closely with Crist every day, recognized a more upbeat Crist on Tuesday, he said the quarterback’s transformation was more subtle than anything.

“Dayne’s not changed what he’s doing, he’s not a different guy, it’s none of that,” Powlus said. “We want to have more production. That’s what it comes down to.”

Injury update

During his weekly news conference Tuesday, Weis confirmed that junior linebacker Prinz Kande would miss the rest of the season because of a torn anterior cruciate ligament. The loss puts a dent in KU’s depth at linebacker.

“He was playing pretty well,” Weis said. “And he was playing two positions. I feel bad for him more than I feel bad for me.”

In addition, Weis said running back Brandon Bourbon, wide receiver Kale Pick and safety Lubbock Smith all were “day-to-day” with injuries that could keep them out of Saturday’s 11 a.m. game against TCU.

“If we were playing today, I don’t know if any of the three of them would play,” Weis said. “But all three of them are trying to play this Saturday so we’ll see how it goes. Structurally, they’re OK. But there’s swelling and pain and things like that that we have to deal with. I don’t see any of those being long-standing injuries. It’s just how quickly they recover.”

McDonald ready to roll

One bit of good news on the injury front came with the return of senior linebacker Anthony McDonald, who landed on this week’s depth chart for the first time this season as a second-string outside linebacker.

Weis said previously that he was not comfortable putting the hard-hitting 6-2, 235-pounder in a game until he was confident he could “let it loose.” When asked about the Notre Dame transfer’s upgraded status, Weis said simply, “He’s ready to play.”

He later added: “We’re gonna play a team this week that might just line up and try to pound us. So you can’t play with a bunch of 5-8, 190-pound linebackers. You better be ready to have some girth.”

Weis: TCU belongs

After becoming somewhat of a non-BCS national power during the past decade, many are watching with interest to see if TCU successfully can translate that success into the Big 12.

In studying film for this weekend’s match-up, Weis has seen all he needs.

“They’re definitely an upper-level team in this conference,” Weis said of Gary Patterson’s Horned Frogs. “I’ve looked at the tape of all these teams in this conference. This team can hang with all the big boys. They’re well coached. This guy’s a good head coach and he’s a good defensive coach on top of it.”

Throughout the early portion of the week, Weis has emphasized how impressed he has been with TCU’s transformation from a defensive juggernaut to a more balanced team.

“They used to win games on defense, and now they can win games in multiple ways, which they’re gonna need to against a bunch of good football teams in this conference on a weekly basis.”

Stadium renovations?

Williams Education Fund members recently were given an 81-question survey designed to explore what they would like and would not like to see regarding potential renovations to KU’s Memorial Stadium.

KU officials said the survey was merely the next step in the process of gauging what’s needed and was designed to determine the overall appetite for stadium renovations.

According to the survey, “Memorial Stadium improvements could include new and improved concession and restroom facilities, improved crowd circulation, and new and improved premium seating and hospitality areas.”

The survey, which is being conducted by CSL International, also indicated that donor input was “very important” and, to back that up, KU offered two free tickets to a 2012 KU football game of the participant’s choice simply for completing the survey.

Comments

beebe1 1 year, 7 months ago

Forget about the track! Have you ever sat in the front row?

Personally, I wouldn't take them as a gift -- not even on the 50 yd. line!

We moved up to about row 20. Great seats. Not as good as a first class TV Program, but one could see the lineups, and defense positions.

That's all malarkey, about improving yhe field. Sell those cheap, worthless seats to the gripers. I'd rather be where one can see the game.

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Terry N Tom Denner 1 year, 7 months ago

The Hawks has two running backs that can set up the play action pass to the level of controlling the tempo of the game. Pound the ball up the middle with success and quick slants across the middle for 7 to 10 yards and the Hawks will walk away with a BIG WIN !!! Play smart and have fun.

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troutsee 1 year, 7 months ago

One can be a KU fan and also be realistic. From what I have seen so far, I am not impressed. Remember, even though we won the first game, it was far from a convincing win. The QB play simply has to improve or we will not win another game this season.

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Auzhawk 1 year, 7 months ago

Crist just needs to relax a little, and work with his recivers. Just a thought next year shoud be good with Heaps and McCay being able to work together this year. Plus we get Simms back in 1 more week

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KMathis 1 year, 7 months ago

What a waste of time that was...

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Tony Bandle 1 year, 7 months ago

  • The headline should read, "Crist aims to hit teammates in the hands."
  • KU should have a "Blow-Up Doll Giveaway" game...that should fill the stands.
  • Paint the track green, call it grass...problem solved.
  • Thank God, Anthony McDonald,s first name isn't RONALD.
  • Mizzou would be better off wearing tiger suits than those crappy duds they have now.
1

Aaron Carpenter 1 year, 7 months ago

Jesus people it has been 2 games….lighten up. I know everyone can be a arm chair coach these days and are able to post freely but it's getting kind of ridiculous. Has Christ has 2 amazing games like we hoped he maybe would, no. Is there any chance that the kid is possibly getting back into the swing of game speed and adapting to a new team/receiving core, YES! You all are wearing me out with this garbage.

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HAWKS1 1 year, 7 months ago

I have one suggestion for Dayne Crist. If you are going to throw the ball.....THROW the ball!! Be confident in your receivers and get the ball to them as hard as you can in the sitution. You are throwing tentative and messing up your timing with the receivers and the tempo you have at practice. imho

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KGphoto 1 year, 7 months ago

ND69 sure has gotten quiet.

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JHWKDW 1 year, 7 months ago

Well concerning Notre Dame I am Glad they left the Big LEast, the sooner that Conference is dead it is good for everyone. Hey The ACC you got one headache on your shoulders, a team that will not be a team player. Whatever.

Concerning the football field I agree with everyone else on, get rid of the track. In addition fill in the empty spot in the end zone and fill it with seats.

That sucks about losing Prinz to injury that totally sucks.Get well soon Brandon Bourbon, Kale Pick and safety Lubbock Smith

Well concerning the game and Crist, all I can say is Crist you have not impressed me. You know I was thinking about this game, here is the thing IMO! You know I would not have been as mad if they lost partially do to other things not Crist throwing up the ball like he did.But Crist is a 5th year starter, he knows better than to throw the ball like that with a small lead like that. If Crist throws the ball out of bounds and we have to punt so be it. If the punter does like the Oakland Raiders, and gets blocked or fumbles the ball twice, I could live with that from this team. Well at least our special teams is better than the Raiders LOL! Or the Hawks punt and Rice make offensive plays and our defense cant stop them, and they win the game like that. I can live with that. But to have Rice win a game like they did due to Crists Int. is unacceptable. Crist you got to play better, flat out. You got a good running game & O-Line here, all you got to do is manage the game.

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corysims 1 year, 7 months ago

I went to the SDSU game, and wrote about it for my site, http://collegevisits.org/. You can read my post about KU and Lawrence at http://collegevisits.org/?p=66. Let me know what you think in the comments.

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Phoghorn 1 year, 7 months ago

Methinks the Big 12 should go after the University of Maine because they have a cool fight song.

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stanleys 1 year, 7 months ago

If Crist is a 5 star player then Collin Klein coulda went to the NFL after high school. The two comparisons aren't even close. Klein can and does run at will, Crist can't run and won't. The only reason Crist followed Weis to KU was to secure an NFL contract and after a 1-11 or 2-10 year that ain't happening. I really expected more but that 4th quarter abortion against Rice was pathetic. That was ALL ON THE COACHES. As far as the future of KU football is concerned Weis is a pro coach as is Campo and it doesnt matter how many rings they both have pro coaches cannot coach no talent college kids. I've been a KU sports fan for 50 years but the coaching and players KU has had the last 3 years is the worst ever!! I'm going to go right on cheering my a-- off for the Hawks year in year out but man this hurts. Like I said I REALLY EXPECTED MORE!!!!!

1

Dale Stringer 1 year, 7 months ago

Hopefully the questionaire had check boxes for better/more parking and better vehicle access. There's no need for a bigger stadium if you can't get anymore people to it.

0

Sam Brockert 1 year, 7 months ago

Notre Dame just joined the ACC in all sports but football. There goes the ND to Big 12 rumors.

0

jhawkrulz 1 year, 7 months ago

I always wanted a few seats that kind of suspended in the air like the camera does and sweeps back and forth to watch the game. It'd kind of be like "soaring California" at Disneyland, but it would be you following the action over the field.

I always like some of the proposals for the football stadium...my favorite is let's build a 65,000 seat stadium, when we don't even fill a 54,000? stadium.

Another one...get rid of the premium seating at the end zones; however, aren't they the ones spending the dough to get more of a cushy seating.

What about cushy seating everywhere, we could downgrade the seating from about 54,000 to about 30-35000, but it'll look more sold out.

I still think we should just have all the students bring a shovel to KU day and without permission just tear up the track. I'm sure you could get a few businesses to bring in a back hoe or two. Anyways, with the damage done to the track, KU would actually have to make a decision about it.

I still think the biggest key is better TVs at the stadium, look at Allen, TX High School, look at JerryWorld, nothing says football like putting yourself on the bigscreen. I would even say figure out the way to project it in 3D, so each person would have to wear 3D glasses in the stadium.

And for the pessimist out there, have like several games on the TVs, that way if KU is blowing out a team (or reverse) and the fans want to leave to watch another game...they wouldn't have to. I would even have big TVs that would roll out over the track (easy moveability) so one you hide the track, but two you can watch other games (or highlights of the current game).

I don't have answers, but I always like reading the answers people have on here.

0

Sam Brockert 1 year, 7 months ago

Anyone else get an email from Kansas Athletics about a stadium renovation survey? I took the survey yesterday.

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KGphoto 1 year, 7 months ago

Does this mean Crist is going to run it when there is 15 yards of open field turf in front of him and nobody is open? Oh, I hope so. That would be a lot more fun.

Regarding the stadium renovation, fingers crossed that there are a few write-in votes. I don't think new toilets, a few hot dog stands and... was that crowd circulation?... are much to get jazzed about. At this point how could anybody NOT want the whole enchilada? If you want better crowd circulation, put the track on the concourse, that'll get 'em moving, but please don't waste anymore time with premium seating and crappers!

Seriously how could you have a survey to gauge stadium renovation interest and not have "Remove the track and fill in seats closer to the field" on there?

1

Chris Shaw 1 year, 7 months ago

Breaking News: Notre Dame just joined the ACC in all sports except football! This is terrible news!

Jesse or Matt, you guys have info on where this puts the Big 12 at the moment. That puts the ACC up to 15 schools now. Something else is going to go down.

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wildjayhawk 1 year, 7 months ago

Looks like we may need to rehire Gill.

0

qringer 1 year, 7 months ago

My advice to Dayne: Snickers.

5

Keith Hummel 1 year, 7 months ago

Regarding stadium renovations and track removal, it looks like a new plan is being floated for the Olympic Village/Recreation Center in Northwest Lawrence:

http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2012/sep/11/ku-pulls-out-deal-sports-complex-nw-corner-sixth-a

1

jhox 1 year, 7 months ago

Let's tear down the stadium and rebuild on the same site. Play home games at Arrowhead or Livestrong for one season (Livestrong would ensure sell outs and keep the games in God's state.) build a shiny, new 60,000 or 65,000 seat stadium with room for expansion on the current site. Send a message we're serious about football, and let the new stadium signify a rebirth of a new and improved football program.

5

jhawkrulz 1 year, 7 months ago

There is a reality of how poor our team has been and it is going to take some time to move forward. I'm still very positive about this season. I think we will see some better passes this year. I still think the one big problem is we don't have that go to receiver that most teams have had historically. OU-Broyles, KU-Briscoe, the list could go on, but this year, we have Pick-injured and Patterson that hasn't held his own "yet". I still think there is a continued bit of chemistry to be developed and most of us thought it would be built during the offseason. Unfortunately, there were a lot of changes to be made, new system, new defense and offense, new QB, new receiver expectations, the list goes on. I think that things were going so smoothly in practice and Crist was executing well in practice that other things became the focus. I think the spotlight is back on the QB and we will see some improvements. One thing is certain and that is HCCW can work with QBs. I also think that TCU will have a tougher time putting KU away.

1

nuleafjhawk 1 year, 7 months ago

“It was clear, in watching myself on film, that I just wasn’t having fun out there,” Crist said. “And that’s why I play the game. I plan on having a lot more fun from here on out.”

Hmmm. It appears that I may have something in common with this young man. Through the first couple of games, I haven't been having that much fun myself.

I think I'm going to take his advice and loosen up and just start having more fun from here on out.

However, my wife probably won't appreciate the fact that I've started drinking again.

1

KCJay 1 year, 7 months ago

Crist is definitely not Reesing. There seems to be some innate qualities that Reesing has over Crist. Reesing was a fast thinker, an escape artist and a play maker. He seemed to be aware of his options or he made them.
I don't get that from Crist. He seems to have more linear thinking. Point A to point B. The other thing is he seems to loft the football. It takes forever for it to get there. The defensive players seem to have plenty of time to get there. I'm not giving up on him by any means. But maybe he needs some serious competition for his position rather than having it handed to him.

2

Dirk Medema 1 year, 7 months ago

Dayne had a better comp% and ypp against a better D. Maybe we should give him more than 2 games.

1

Dirk Medema 1 year, 7 months ago

It seems silly to spend much of any $ messing with the stadium until a replacement, international std track is built elsewhere in Lawrence for the teams to use. Then take the $ that's been saved, and incrementally replace 4 sections (E, W, N, S) with new facities.

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Doug Cramer 1 year, 7 months ago

I'm warming up to Baty. The guy is a proven passer at the collegiate level. Seems like he could fit well into Weis's system and provide the offense with some balance.

2

Charles Logan 1 year, 7 months ago

I think this is all coach-speak. We have seen Crist play and the only thing good about Crist is his hight 6'4.

2

gardenjay 1 year, 7 months ago

IN order for the track to go from the stadium, there needs to be a new track elsewhere. Kansas used to be a track powerhouse, and let's face it, that can only help our football team - often football players and track mix pretty well.

There was a time, long ago, when a javelin was thrown at halftime at KU football games, and the crowd loved it. I say embrace track and field, mix it with football where possible, it would be better for all. Move the track when you invest in a new one!

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jayhawk1991 1 year, 7 months ago

Crist will only continue to improve as the year goes on. His performance has a direct correlation with how this team will perform. As far as the stadium, get rid of the track and the goofy looking seats in the south endzone. Go back to the bleachers in that endzone and place the seat as close as possible all the way around the stadium.

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