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Sunday, March 31, 2013

Weis: KU football more comfortable, competitive in Year 2

Kansas football coach Charlie Weis addresses his players during spring practice on March 9, 2013, at Anschutz Sports Pavilion.

Kansas football coach Charlie Weis addresses his players during spring practice on March 9, 2013, at Anschutz Sports Pavilion.

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For the first time since 2009, Kansas University football coach Charlie Weis is starting a season in the same place he finished the previous one.

Fired by Notre Dame in 2009 after a five-year run as the leader of the Fighting Irish, Weis became the offensive coordinator with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2010, but he left the area after helping lead the Chiefs to the playoffs. He returned to college football in 2011 at Florida, where he served as the Gators’ offensive coordinator before accepting the job at KU in December of 2011.

“I could have stayed at those places too,” Weis said. “It just didn’t work out that way. I didn’t choose to leave Notre Dame; they chose that for me. I went to the Chiefs and my daughter had a bad experience (in Kansas City), so that’s why we left there. I went to Florida and really had no intentions of leaving there, but after talking to (KU athletic director) Dr. (Sheahon) Zenger a few times, I just felt like this was a place that I wanted to be, and want to be for a long time. Now, if I want to be here for a long time, there are a lot of things that have to change. One them is we have to start winning more football games. That would be a good place to get to this year.”

In many ways, working to improve last season’s 1-11 record is what spring football is about for the Jayhawks during Weis’ second season in charge. Football was the main emphasis last spring, too, but in addition to worrying about X’s and O’s, coaching chemistry and player development, Weis had a long list of tasks outside of the game that he made a priority.

“People talk about changing the culture; I don’t call it changing the culture, I mean cleaning out the program,” he said. “And let’s not say that with all a negative vibe, but cleaning out the program meant top to bottom.”

In addition to saying goodbye to 29 players — former Jayhawks who transferred, graduated or were dismissed — Weis put a renewed emphasis on academics, accountability and punctuality and did not leave any wiggle room. Although such efforts may not have shown up in the win-loss column, Weis said having such staples in place this spring has made for a much smoother beginning to Year 2.

“They know me and I know them a whole lot better than we did at this time last year,” he said. “There’s really no gray area any more. It’s all black and white. It’s this way or that way. There’s no, ‘How am I gonna look at that?’ They know what my reaction’s gonna be.”

Competition raging

One thing Weis missed throughout his first spring in charge of the Jayhawks was the presence of hardcore position battles throughout the depth chart. There were some, but, for the most part, the separation between the first and second units at this time last year was so vast that Weis had limited options of how he could motivate his guys.

That’s not the case any longer.

“We have better competition in two aspects,” he said. “You have better competition within your own depth chart on offense and defense and then you have better competition offense against defense. Now you have decent players going against decent players and that makes everybody better. There is competition on each side of the ball and then there’s much, much better competition when the offense and defense are going against each other. Much better than it ever was at any time last spring.”

Coaching clinic, April 5

Weis and his staff will be hosting their annual football coaches clinic April 5-6 at KU. The two-day clinic, which is open to any coaches interested in attending, will feature access to two practices and several coaching lectures.

For more information, contact assistant director of football operations, Maurice Crum, Jr., via email at mcrum@ku.edu or by calling (785) 864-8203. Registration and a clinic schedule are available online at www.kuathletics.com.

Kids clinic, April 13

The Jayhawks, once again, are planning to host the wildly popular “Train Like a Jayhawk” kid’s clinic from 10-11 a.m. on April 13, the morning of the annual spring football game.

The clinic is open to children in grades 1-6 and will feature instruction and drill stations taught by the current Jayhawks. All activity will take place on the KU football practice fields adjacent to the southeast corner of Memorial Stadium. Each participant will receive a free T-shirt.

Following the clinic, the Hy-Vee Hawkzone will be open from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., with the spring game kicking off at 1 p.m. at Memorial Stadium.

Alumni weekend

Weis and the KU football program will be hosting a barbecue on April 12 for any former KU football players who can make it.

The event, the second of its kind under Weis’ leadership, is open to all former players and their families and will take place the evening before KU’s annual spring game.

For more information or to RSVP, contact Tracey Dillon at tmdillon@ku.edu or via telephone at (785) 864-3142.

Comments

April13 1 year, 8 months ago

No win-loss predictions here but it's not hard to believe that the program is making strides.

The old football cliche is that the biggest improvement during the season is from game one to game two. For a program, it's got to be from season one to season two.

Jim Erickson 1 year, 8 months ago

Excited for season 2 of the Weis era... We need to take a major step forward this year or this program is in trouble for the medium/long term. An upgrade at QB, some talented JUCO kids, and a year in the new system should translate to wins.

90sHawk 1 year, 8 months ago

Definitely need to take that step forward. In my opinion, I thought we looked more competitive last year, despite the W/L record. That won't be enough this year, we need to win the games were supposed to and hang in there with a chance to win on the remainder.

BigDBigJayhawk 1 year, 8 months ago

Very excited about this year. It actually takes a little burn out of the loss.

troutsee 1 year, 8 months ago

I am very excited about the upcoming season, but then I am always excited when football comes around again. This year does bring forth greater expectations. Let's hope that those expectations become reality. I sure like Weis' attitude. Having the right attitude sure helps in sports......well in all aspects of life, actually.

squawkhawk 1 year, 8 months ago

Being taken seriously and getting respect are one in the same...you've got to earn it. So far, KU has done nothing to earn it.

Dirk Medema 1 year, 8 months ago

Spammer

The difference between past and future. Reading comprehension isn't your strong point is it?

squawkhawk 1 year, 8 months ago

Comfortable? Yes. Competitive? We'll see. I'm still not sure Charlie is really in it to win it.

Randy Bombardier 1 year, 8 months ago

Man, I am really looking forward to a huge season by Sims. What with a better passing game and not sitting out three games he just might get 1500 yards this year. Hope he keeps up the hard work. Also liked Weiss comments a while back about using Pierson like WVU used Tavon Austin. Like to see him on returns as well beefing up our special teams numbers.

texashawk10 1 year, 8 months ago

Stability on defense will make KU a lot better this upcoming season. This is the first time since 2009 that KU is entering a season with the same DC and the first time since 2008 that they aren't completely changing defenses. Being able to focus on technique and getting better instead of learning a new system will make a huge difference for Campo's defense next year. I'm not saying KU will suddenly be a top half of the Big 12 defense, but KU's defense should be much better than last seasons was.

texashawk10 1 year, 8 months ago

Charlie Weis has added another player to the 2013 recruiting class. KU signed JuCo CB Brandon Holloman out of Pierce CC which is the same school they got Marquel Combs and Marcus Jenkins-Moore from. Holloman will have 4 years to play 3 at KU.

http://kansas.rivals.com/barrier_noentry.asp?ReturnTo=&sid=&script=content.asp&cid=1490208&fid=&tid=&mid=&rid=

April13 1 year, 8 months ago

Another trick learned from Snyder - getting players post-signing day. It seems like KSU adds players up until the kick-off of their first game each season.

Great job by the staff to steal this guy.

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