Friday, December 20, 2013

Weis: KU offensive coordinator Reagan will decide gameplan, starters

Kansas head football coach Charlie Weis talks with media members during a news conference, Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013 at Mrkonic Auditorium. Weis spent some time discussing changes to the coaching structure, areas for improvement and his staff's recruiting efforts. Nick Krug/Journal-World Photo

Kansas head football coach Charlie Weis talks with media members during a news conference, Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013 at Mrkonic Auditorium. Weis spent some time discussing changes to the coaching structure, areas for improvement and his staff's recruiting efforts. Nick Krug/Journal-World Photo


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Charlie Weis Dec. 19, 2013 press conference

Charlie Weis Dec. 19, 2013 press conference

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Kansas University football coach Charlie Weis on Thursday made it clear that KU fans would see a different offense under newly hired offensive coordinator John Reagan.

“It’s his,” Weis said of the freedom he’s given to Reagan, a former Kansas assistant who worked under Mark Mangino and spent the past four seasons at Rice.

“It’ll be his system, but it’ll be a combination of taking verbiage we had and verbiage he had and kind of putting it all together.”

“Meshing” was the word Weis used to describe the process, but Reagan will decide which offense the Jayhawks will run and will select players for the starring roles.

Weis’ willingness to open the playbook to Reagan came from observing the struggles of KU’s offense as Rice’s flourished.

This season, Weis kept an eye on a Rice offense he said was both “simpler” and “much more efficient” than what the Jayhawks were running.

“This was the guy I zeroed in on a ways back,” Weis said. “... I wanted an offensive line coach that could coordinate. There’s very few guys that fit into that.”

Another reason Weis is so willing to sit back and let Reagan run the show — even going as far as to say Reagan and the offensive staff would determine next year’s starting quarterback — is the state of the league.

“The game is different,” Weis said. “The game is different in the Big 12. ... and I think that John is better suited than me. That doesn’t mean that I think John is a better coach than me. I think he’s better suited to handle the job in the Big 12 of coordinating the offense or else I wouldn’t have done it.”

As both the head coach and a man with an extensive background in calling and designing plays, Weis still will have input. But he made it clear that his input likely would come when Reagan asked for it.

“He said from time to time he’s going to want me to come into the meetings,” Weis said of Reagan. “At the end of the day, when I leave, it’s going to be how they want to do it.”

During Weis’ first two seasons at Kansas, the Jayhawks’ offense has been grounded. The passing game has struggled in all areas and used four different quarterbacks. The running game, though solid at times, has been inconsistent. For Weis, the experience of working with an offense stuck in the mud has been new, and after looking at all aspects of his operation, he reached the conclusion that letting someone else run the offense would be best for KU.

“If we were making changes on offense, I thought one of the things we needed was have somebody be the lead person on offense and not be me,” Weis said. “I think I’ll do a much better job of being the head coach with a guy like John being the coordinator.”

Miller still around

Darrian Miller, a junior-to-be running back who figures to have a much greater role in the offense in 2014 after the graduation of James Sims, appears to still be a part of KU’s plans despite his absence during the final few games of the season.

“Darrian will be OK,” Weis said. “He’ll be around. When we go into spring, I think you’ll see him trotting out there just like everybody else.”

Changes coming?

Weis said it was too early to determine whether everyone eligible to return for 2014 would be back next season. He said he spoke just the other day with 15 players who were considering their options but did not know how things would play out.

“There will always be some guys at mid-year that either graduate or just don’t want to play football anymore,” he said. “You’re dealing with 105 different guys, so there’s all sorts of issues that come into play.”

As for any potential tweaks to his coaching staff, Weis the priority at this point was on recruiting.

Spring game set

Weis said Thursday that the 2014 spring game was scheduled for April 12. No time was given. It marks the second year in a row that the spring game will be played in mid-April. Weis reiterated that he scheduled the game earlier than normal so he and his coaching staff could spend the last two weeks of April recruiting junior colleges.


Lance Meier 5 years, 10 months ago

The offense seems to run the same 4 or 5 plays the whole game... With as much talent as KU says they have, they have got to do something different... These past two seasons have been hard to watch, last yr ('12) KU had an excellent chance to have won 5 games more than they did. 2013, they had a chance to win a few more than they eventually did, but they had chances, they needed a stop here or there, they needed a first down here or there and did not get it. There "HAS" got too be a HUGE jump in play and in wins this year, this being year # 3, is critical. I hope the change in offensive scheme helps and does not hinder the team, the "O" has been terrible for these past two years. QB is huge, KU like myself thought they had two quality QB's, looked to me they were here at KU for a good reason, they probably were not asked back or wanted back at their previous schools. It all starts with the QB, Cummings/Cozart both have had times when they've looked good and looked real bad, that's where it all has to start... KU FOOTBALL - ROCK-CHALK-JAYHAWK!!!

Robert Brock 5 years, 10 months ago

KU has talent? If so, it is not very apparent.

John Randall 5 years, 10 months ago

The two quarterbacks you mention were and are quality. One made an NFL roster this year, the other could well be in the all-conf conversation next year. Cummings and Cozart will be competitive, but Jake has more of what it take in this conference right now, and Cozart has the talent to become even better on down the road.

QBs always get too much credit &or too much blame. Likewise head coaches. Weis' first two years were both steps in the right direction – smaller steps than we hoped for, but I'm confident the direction will continue and as eager as anyone for this to produce results we can cheer about.

Lucas Town 5 years, 10 months ago

Weis will be our coach until his contract is finished. We have paid coaches and paid coaches, and if the team shows continued growth he will continue to be our coach. Weis is going to basically be the CEO and sit back and let everyone do their thing with some input here and there, kind of like Mack Brown did at Texas.

Mark Lindrud 5 years, 10 months ago

We do have talent, but we need more. The defense has improved and the run game has potential. Getting the right offensive system is prudent. Weis is being proactive in trying to make this team better. This next season the efforts need to show up in the win column. It really needs to be at least 5 wins to believe it's working.

David Williams 5 years, 10 months ago

Most successful D1 programs follow the "CEO" model of coaching staff hierarchy. My observation is that this is an opportunity for Reagan to prove he can do what he did at Rice in the Big 12. If he and the staff are successful, I would not be surprised to see him handed the keys to the KU program once Weis' contract is completed or he retires. That is a great opportunity for someone at his stage in his having to go to the MAC or similar conference. Besides as OC he has already guided Rice to a conference championship so that step for him is actually unnecessary.

Re offense, I anticipate seeing a return of what worked during the Mangino me that means a more mobile QB, although does not have to be a true dual-threat....

Mark Lindrud 5 years, 10 months ago

I agree this is a great opportunity for Reagan. I can see him taking over if we are successful, but next year is key. Success now has to happen. Improving the offense is key. The QB and receivers must be figured out along with a consistent offensive line. We need to take a big step next year.

Randy Bombardier 5 years, 10 months ago

Is it my imagination or is Coach Weiss getting humble? If so, this will be good for him and us.

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