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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Keegan

Opinion: Don’t sell Weis short for choice of words

Kansas football coach Charlie Weis answers questions from the media during the Big 12 Conference Football Media Days Monday, July 22, 2013 in Dallas.

Kansas football coach Charlie Weis answers questions from the media during the Big 12 Conference Football Media Days Monday, July 22, 2013 in Dallas.

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Since perception is ninth-tenths reality, it’s safe to say Charlie Weis goofed by going national with his “pile of crap,” phraseology he used with recruits when he let them know they should feel confident about immediate playing time.

But shouldn’t reality count for at least 10 percent of reality? I mean, before declaring that one sentence too many and a 1-11 debut season means the Weis hire has exploded in athletic director Sheahon Zenger’s face, would it be OK to look at the entire picture first, even if it means not joining the pile-on? (See how easy it is to be guilty of a poor choice of words. Flag me 15 yards.)

Weis inherited a roster lacking young depth on both lines and in the secondary and one that didn’t have a quarterback capable of winning Division I games. So he brought Dayne Crist on board. He was no better, and in fact, even worse. He also recruited Brigham Young transfer Jake Heaps, who deserves a chance to be judged on his own performance, not on that of Crist. Brady Quinn became way better playing for Weis for two years at Notre Dame, after two substandard seasons as Ty Willingham’s quarterback. Maybe Heaps can make a similar improvement.

But that’s a maybe.

Here’s a definite: In one of Weis’ three jobs — two of which he assigned to himself — Kansas football is performing better than at any time since such records have been tracked. Weis is head coach, offensive coordinator and academic liaison. The least-discussed area, the one that supposedly is the most important, is academics. Before Weis became coach, the football team’s highest grade-point average was 2.75. That figure has been bumped from first to fourth with GPA’s of, in order, 3.00, 2.83, 2.86. Piling — there I go again, excuse me — stacking those report cards on top of each other is a nice counter-punch to any rival coach looking to use another pile against Weis during recruiting visits.

You won’t read about that nationally because it’s not sexy news and it doesn’t fit anybody’s predetermined profile of a grumpy coach who made obnoxious, grandiose statements at the beginning of his tenure at Notre Dame.

Not only do the athletes’ grades look better, their bodies already do as well and many of those are bodies whose growth was set back for two years by a strength and conditioning program that left players rolling their eyes because it was primitive compared to the ones they experienced in college.

Drill sergeant Scott Holsopple, who built a sterling reputation working for Marquette basketball and Florida football, has made a big-time impact, just two springs and two summers into the job. The beer-league softball look, commonplace just a couple of years ago, has gone out of style.

Again, these gradual building blocks that don’t make for sexy copy, but do turn into steps away from losing and toward winning.

Kansas won just one game last year, but the players played hard for Weis, didn’t let a losing record turn them into losers. Wiser play-calling — Weis got away from running the ball against a Rice team that couldn’t stop the run, and the Texas and Texas Tech games included questionable decisions — played a hand in KU not winning a couple of more games, but the Jayhawks never looked like a team that didn’t give strong effort for their coach.

Weis didn’t always use the cleanest language to motivate players to play hard, so they were the least surprised of any group to hear him use the words he chose at Big 12 media day. That doesn’t excuse him choosing those words because opposing student sections will use them against him and the national media won’t let up.

But to obsess on two numbers (1 ... 11) and three words (pile ... of ... crap) without giving a mention to serious gains already made in three important areas (academics, recruiting and strength and conditioning) doesn’t come close to telling the whole story. Four or more victories in 2013 and six or more in 2014 will speak more loudly than three stinky words.

Comments

JHWKDW 8 months, 2 weeks ago

No where to go but up folks!

Hey HCCW does not want to go out like this, and be viewed as a failure.

You know the beat way I think we will know if HCCW is on he ball will be the QB's and the thing I want to see is alot of competition.No one including the QB should ever just feel that they have a job no matter what.When it cam to Crist, he should have been challenged more. I want to see the competition for the QB be very intense. That is where we will be made or broken.You know In the NFL the good coaches would stick by their starting QB's but if they felt they were slipping and were not doing the job out there they got benched. Our RB's are counting on our QB to be at least middle of the road.You do not need Todd Reesing, Tom Brady, or Joe Montana. Just a guy to make the completions. he needs to and back the defense off putting 8 or 9 in the box.A guy that will not throw Ints.I see this offense more of a ball control offense.

As for the defense, keep the ball in front of you.Keep the opposing running game to small Yards per Carry, and if you cannot sack the Quarterback, at least get in his face when he goes back to pass, make him feel very uncomfortable and try to get him to make a mistake. I hope the corners back there can cover decently

Stay focused guys and you may be able to turn heads.

Best of LUCK!

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Ralster Jayhawk 8 months, 2 weeks ago

"Brigham Young transfer Jake Heaps, who deserves to be judged on his own performance, not on that of Dayne Crist's...". Keegan, for that line alone, I dub thee "soothsayer" (speaker of truth)! That one phrase is one that most KU-casual-football fans need to remember the most, and it needs to be proclaimed in true, town-crier fashion. Such a logical & simpleton concept, really...

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rastameta 8 months, 2 weeks ago

Keegan, this is by far the best article you have ever written with regards to KU Football. It is on the money. Kudos.

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Arbuckle Smith 8 months, 2 weeks ago

Can't wait to see the new T Shirt,,,,,,KU Football....with a nice picture of a pile of crap,,,,lovely

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milehighhawk 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Yawn.

Non-issue. Not on Zenger's radar. Wouldn't have gotten ANY play had it not been the slowest sports period of the year.

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Bryce Landon 8 months, 3 weeks ago

I want to believe that Weis will turn the program around, but I hope that he has a QB that can actually perform. We all drank the Dayne Crist Kool-Aid thinking that he would lead this team to a bowl game, and we all know how that worked out. We need Jake Heaps to prove that he is a legit QB. If Heaps proves to be a bust like every QB we've had since Todd Reesing graduated, then we have to wonder if Weis is truly the right man for this job.

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Fortesque Beagleton 8 months, 3 weeks ago

This is old news. It was a brief blip on the national college football radar and 98% of Jayhawk Nation understands the context of what was said. KUSports.com/LJWorld are the only ones who are still paying this any attention at all whatsoever. Find some real news, or at least base your opinion pieces on something relevant. I saw the headline and didn't even bother reading the article. Why? Because I'm like everybody else and nobody cares any more.

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Matt Spitzli 8 months, 3 weeks ago

I mean, they were a pile of crap. That's how they've played for awhile now. Everyone knows it. We know it, the players know it. I'm a liberal, but this PC stuff is just way overboard. "Pile of crap" sums up what our program has been about as well as any other phrase.

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Randy Bombardier 8 months, 3 weeks ago

It seems like there is a lot of hand-wringing going on. I don't know why the catches that we have made from the JUCO ranks need to be put down. Don't get that at all. Wait til you see some of these guys play. We are going to win quite a few games. I believe we will win at least 6 and that this year will, as someone mentioned above, be our '06 team which set up the Orange Bowl squad. Next year we won't be quite the surprise though. Is it possible that we can take the conference by storm? Heck yeah. I appreciate the article and especially the candor about HCCW making some flaky play-calling.

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JayHawkFanToo 8 months, 3 weeks ago

"Weis didn’t always use the cleanest language to motivate players to play hard, so they were the least surprised of any group to hear him use the words he chose at Big 12 media day. That doesn’t excuse him choosing those words because opposing student sections will use them against him and the national media won’t let up."

I am a pretty avid fan and I read the major sports publications daily. The press reported on HC Weis's words for a few days, as it rightly should, and then it moved on to real news. I am having trouble figuring out what is Keegan talking about when he claims that "the national media won't let up." Other than this story, which I would not qualify as "national media," I have not read any thing on this subject for many days. Maybe if Keegan stops bringing it up, it could move to the "scrap pile of news" (flag me 15 yards) where it belongs.

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Ralster Jayhawk 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Opening phrase of article actually is a BIG contradiction: "perception is 9/10ths reality, so Charlie goofed". Uh, no. Reality sits right there in the records- and stats-books. Refresher course: QB play: bad reality. WR play: bad reality. O-line play: average (good run, poor pass), TE play: positive glimpses. RB play great of course. D-line play: below avg. LB play: average at best. 2 game-losing missed tackles. DB play: bad reality. Better positioning, but 10yd cushion was due to poor coverage skills. Campo could only do so much. The only saving factor was that Charlie ran the ball so much (since he had nothing else serviceable), that it chewed up clock and kept the score closer, and the D better-rested. The reality is that KU stunk it up last year, smelling not much different (statistically) than a pile of ___". Charlie is right, and is no doubt working with the staff and players to do a LOT better this season.

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Andy Tweedy 8 months, 3 weeks ago

I'm no prophet, but I can honestly say I saw a great season coming in 2008, maybe not 12-1, but something really special for KU. It was because of the results in 2007, more about how close we were in the losses than how well we played in the wins. This leads me to 2013. I think this team proved last year that it wasn't that far away from competing against the bottom half of the Big XII, and I can certainly see a few more wins. But this team is not ready for prime time by any stretch. I really think there are some winnable games on the schedule this year. All the non-cons, and the TT, ISU, TCU games to name a few. But there's probably going to be some curb-stompings going on as well. I'll go 4-8 or 5-7, and I think that would be a really nice step forward. While I agree with some that Charlie is far from perfect, he had an easy act to follow in Gill! That alone should buy him some time.

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speckleddog 8 months, 3 weeks ago

I will have faith in Charlie when he hires an offensive coordinator and not until then.

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Ralster Jayhawk 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Ridiculous article trying to get more play from old news (not). Really? Gonna print another story now about the same thing? When most of the KU fanbase, WilliamsFund members, alumni, and current+past football players all know that Weis was correct in his picturesque summation comment about last year's results? No, we instead have to pretend take it literally like pre-teenage children take everything literally & spin it like Weis was trying to insult somebody? Proof is they then printed an article asking "former players if they were offended..." Just embarrassingly transparent attempt at making a big production out of what was simply an accurate descriptor. Writer now says the media "wont let it go", which only proves (for the jillionth time) that they are not above sensationalizing just about anything, right? Ok, dont let it go. Keep digging that respect-deficit hole...(But I applaud LJW for "trying"...gotta pay the bills somehow...keep the surveys coming, as I know advertising can help pay your bills too, but I would hate for that survey annoyance to cost LJW a precious percentage of their readership. Keep trying, you'll get this thing turned around--I'm solidly rooting for LJW to pull out a win...someway, somehow...).

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iamakufan 8 months, 3 weeks ago

OK, I'm curious about something. What was the margin of losing score difference last season compared to each of Gill's seasons? In other words, in the games we lost, how much did we lose by on average? And how about the same for each of the Gill years.

Also, how many OT periods last season compared to the prior two seasons? That seems to me would indicate almost wins.

Just looking for more signs of progress.

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jay_cheese 8 months, 3 weeks ago

You can get all of the 4/5 stars in the world, won't make a thing a difference in the W column if they aren't coached up. If only Charlie could win as many games as he does press conferences (or just half). I stopped listening to his car salesman rhetoric and just watch the horrific on field results. I haven't been impressed by anything he's done and that certainly includes trashing the upperclassman in his program. Very unprofessional IMO.

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purplesage 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Wasn't there another coach at KU who, after he had a great season, followed by a not so great one, that got sent packing over his "language" - at least in part?

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jaymar74 8 months, 3 weeks ago

We have got a number of players recently that were offered by other BCS programs rated much higher than KU. That did not happen in the past.

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LakeShawnee 8 months, 3 weeks ago

"beer-league softball look"

Eesh.

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Robert Brown 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Sometimes I think the LJW is Weis's media publicist. He seems to be doing the right things and hopefully we will see improvement on the field. Time will tell, but, you have to admit his track record is spotty as a college coach. ND did not end well and his offense in Florida was pretty anemic.

Too much of the Charlie Weis era so far, and it has been short, has been about Charlie and staying in the media. He brings in Crist which means he really expected to win last year and of course this was a story. Somehow he became a story when Penn State got sanctions when he embarrassingly indicated he might recruit some of their players. Somehow, he injects himself into the conversation when Notre Dame was successful last season and now he is back in the media again with his comment last week.

If he would just go about his job and stay out of the media, I would be much happier. I understand that he has a tough job, which is not totally Gill's fault even though Gill had to go.

Everyone here points to K-State as a model. To follow it would be to shy away from the media and just get to work. Bill Snyder says the same bland thing every time he addresses the media .. " our goal is to improve every day and if we do that we will be successful". I would rather see more blandness than Weis bravado.

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Brett McCabe 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Keegan does accurately point out that CW over-coached a few times last year - perhaps out of desperation. As the team grows more competitive, I'm hoping that this won't happen.

On the other hand, Charlie is Charlie. Part of what I loved last year was the go-for-broke attitude, which is a great way to build confidence among your players.

We received our tickets in the mail yesterday. Can't wait for kickoff.

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jimjones 8 months, 3 weeks ago

I don't. He's a POC himself.

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Adam McEwen 8 months, 3 weeks ago

I have faith in Charlie, he nearly won games last year with nothing. These hawks are gonna fly.

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