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Saturday, November 2, 2013

Keegan

Opinion: Right now, Jayhawks are their own worst enemy

Kansas linebacker Ben Heeney (31), fullback Nick Sizemore (45), receiver Christian Matthews (12) and the rest of the Jayhawks leave the field following their 35-13 loss to Texas on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013 at Darrell K. Royal Stadium in Austin, Texas.

Kansas linebacker Ben Heeney (31), fullback Nick Sizemore (45), receiver Christian Matthews (12) and the rest of the Jayhawks leave the field following their 35-13 loss to Texas on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013 at Darrell K. Royal Stadium in Austin, Texas.

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Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Charlie Weis

Kansas coach Charlie Weis talks to reporters after the Jayhawks' 35-13 loss to Texas on Nov. 2, 2013.

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Box score

KU-UT

— It’s been so long since the Kansas University football team celebrated a Big 12 victory, 26 games and counting, to be exact, it doesn’t seem comfortable holding onto momentum, making big plays in the clutch.

The Jayhawks make a big play and within what seems like seconds, they self-destruct. A holding penalty here, running into the kicker there, a strip fumble, a fastball of a pass from close range when an off speed pitch was the pitch.

The record will show that Kansas kept it close in the first half and got blown out by Texas in the second half en route to a 35-13 loss Saturday to Texas inside Royal-Memorial Stadium.

The truth is Kansas lost the game in the first half with ill-timed self-destructive plays from the offense and special teams after the defense made big plays.

Safety Isaiah Johnson, the first Kansas player to intercept four passes in a season since Darrell Stuckey picked five in 2008, gave KU its first big play with his first of two in the game at the 29, ending the Longhorns’ first possession.

James Sims turned two screen passes into 36 yards and mixed in a 15-yard run as Kansas drove it to the Texas 13, where Jake Heaps put too much mustard on a short pass to Tre’ Parmalee and threw behind him, seemingly turning a shot at seven points into three points. Not so fast. Matthew Wyman missed a 31-yard field goal that cost him his job.

The kick, a wide left dead duck, looked as sloppy as KU’s offensive line play.

Looking so undisciplined in the first half, Kansas was flagged for six penalties and 39 yards, compared to five yards in the second half.

The most self-destructive: Late in the first quarter, Billy Owens was flagged for running into the kicker, which gave Texas a fresh set of downs, instead of giving Kansas the ball near midfield with no score. The Longhorns went on to score.

“I let the young man know I wasn’t very pleased with him because you have the ball inside their territory and you punted them down there and the defense held them down there, and you put the ball in fair field position,” second-year Kansas coach Charlie Weis said after running his record to 3-17.

Subtract those seven points from Texas and add three to KU for the missed field goal and the score at the half is 7-6, instead of 14-3. It doesn’t work that way, of course. Good teams make their own good breaks. Bad teams make their own bad breaks.

KU’s offensive tackles continued to get beaten by faster men and flagged by referees, learning that if you can’t beat ‘em, cheat ‘em doesn’t work either.

With Texas looking to be on its way to its second scoring drive of the game, Jake Love and Ben Heeney, a pair of linebackers who know how to make their hits sting, stopped Johnathan Gray for no gain on fourth-and-1, giving KU the ball on its 19. That momentum didn't last a play. Pat Lewandowski was called for holding on first down.

Obviously, countless recruits say no to Kansas, yes to Texas, but when third-down conversion rates differ as much as Saturday’s did, composure comes into play as well.

Kansas might be guilty of growing tight in big-play situations. During one of Heaps’ better performances, KU’s third-down conversion rate (four of 14) still spelled failure. Texas converted on nine of 17 third-down plays.

Then again, the worst KU play came on first down. Chris Whaley's 40-yard fumble recovery after Heaps was stripped of the ball made the Longhorns' lead 21-6 with 6:25 left in the third quarter.

"The whole game I was into it," Johnson said. "I knew we could come out and win. That one play when they had the return from the quarterback fumble. They just picked it up and it just seemed like the momentum changed, but we still held our heads high."

High enough to see a scoreboard that screamed a 15-point deficit with a quarter-and-a-half left. That doesn't sound like a very steep hole out of which to climb and for most it's not. For a team that has not yet scored as many as 20 points against a Football Bowl Subdivision opponent, it's a bottomless pit.

Comments

Mark Lindrud 5 months, 2 weeks ago

Weis isn't going anywhere this year. Say what you want, nut it isn't happening and please stop begging for Mangino to return. Facts are this team isn't great, but there have been modest improvements that give me hope for next year. Obviously we've got a long ways to go and I'm not saying I'm happy with how we are doing because I want a winner, but Weis has brought in some talent. This unfortunately isn't a quick fix and that has become obvious. We have become more competitive and guys aren't quitting like we could tell they were before. I still say a new OC would be a great idea, but at least this staff seems to be trying. It's Two years of fixing what was done and I'd say next year needs to be the year the scoreboard reflects that. We can't keep replacing coaches every two years because that looks even worse.

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Glen Miller 5 months, 2 weeks ago

Charlie Weis is an offensive coach, yet our defense is better than our offense. Shouldn't that tell the powers that be something? Let's review his last 3 years..... Florida's offense was horrid for his one year there and he had the pieces to be successful. If not for James Sims last season, I'm not sure if every possesion wouldn't have been 3 and out. This season is like second verse, same as the first... When is he going to get an offensive coordinator in here and relenquish his playcalling. They guy can get recruits, he should just be out on the trail all the time and let his coaches handle the rest. This was a bad hire, that I knew would only get us a short term gain. The guy belongs in the NFL as an offensive coordinator, he don't know flip about running a college team.

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Jack Jones 5 months, 3 weeks ago

It seems to me that when I consider where our FB program has had to come from ~ and trying to build a program that will be competitive in a conference like the Big 12 ~ expecting better results in only 1 1/2 - 2 years is being more than a bit unrealistic. I do understand that being a sports fan doesn't lend itself to long range thinking and/or expectations ~ we want results, and we want them now. Who doesn't? It also seems to me that HC Weis has the football experience, and the credibility that accompanies that experience ~ to accomplish the turn around we all want ~ it simply is going to require time ~ time to sell and recruit the quality athletes that it is going to take to be successful, a particularly challenging task when you are talking with players who are also being recruited by programs who do not face the kind of rebuilding job we have. I do not consider myself to be a 'fan' of Coach Weis ~ that's not the question. I do consider myself a realist, after being a FAN of all things Kansas University for 6 + decades. At this level of D-1 athletics, and football being the topic of the moment, I am strongly convinced that in this particular scenario, to give a 'new' coach, with Weis' credentials anything less than 4-5 years to complete the job, is being totally out of touch with the reality. Yes, incremental improvement is also an absolute necessity during this time ~ but, there again ~ the expectations level may also be unrealistic, given we are only 1 1/2 years into the process. You have no doubt noticed that we have some very high quality FB programs, with mufti-years tradition of success on our schedule ~ some of them with longer standing successful tradition ~ others relatively newer, but those didn't happen 'overnight' either.

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Dennis Kalivoda 5 months, 3 weeks ago

I bet many of KU fans now wish that they had Mangino back as head coach. I am one of them. The problems with Mark, could have been kick under the table like Nebraska does with their coaching staff and KU would have a pretty good football team today. Talent of KU players makes a person wonder. Remember Kansas State back a number of years ago, worse team in the division one, and now replaced by KU which sits in that spot. How did Snyder do it, by recruiting pretty good players and JUCO players. How did Mangino do it, by recruiting pretty good players and JUCO players. As we can see that Mark is a chip off the old block, Bill. Bill didn't have great players but, only good ones that were put in positions that fit the players skills. Players like Reesing, Aqib, Harris, and Stuckey would of fit right in with Snyder's program as they did with Mangino's program. Looks like KU went off the deep end when they fired Mark and now they are paying for it dearly and with a lot of dollars going down the drain. Sorry to say it, but that is why Mangino's staff is doing well in other great programs.

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Michael Leiker 5 months, 3 weeks ago

While I am still amazed and discouraged by some of the moves Charlie makes, I have to say I see a ton of progress out there. This team is capable of competing against good football teams. We haven't had that in a few years. I think November is going to be a good month.

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Ashwin Rao 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Mangino was lucky in 2007 & 2008 because he had Reesing, Aqib, Harris, Stuckey in their primes then. If we had even half of these guys now, Weis would have looked good too... I believe we are "slightly" worse then our 2008 because of the lack of talent. That takes time to develop. I am NOT a huge Weis fan, but I do see a lot of positive movement to not jump ship. We do need to get the team to get more disciplined to not add to our woes as Mr. Keegan appropriately pointed out.

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Daniel Kennamore 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Let's face it...Weis has already lost this program or any chance of 'fixing' it.

The only recipe for turning around a program in such dire straits is to have a coach's recruits feel they will be around for a long time AND have measurable improvement.

Weis has always had the feeling of 'as soon as I fix this for half a season or more I'm gone' while still showing zero improvement.

Mangino took an awful program every bit as dead as what Weis inherited and took it to a bowl game in his second year.

Weis needs to resign so the school he promised to help can afford to bring in someone who can actually right this ship. Otherwise we are going to get another 2-3 years of 1-2 win seasons before we can force a coaching change.

It's beyond the pale; I won't be spending a dime on KU football until Weis is gone.

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Terran Woolley 5 months, 3 weeks ago

What I posted on the message boards.....

If it comes to pass, and we do go coach hunting, first call we should make is to Craig Bohl. Second call is Bobbie Petrino. When they turn that down, you go after someone like the northern Illinois coach or similar. You offer a good, but not great contract LOADED with incentive bonuses. One million guaranteed with the ability to make up to five million if you win will bring some young, hard working up and comers his way.

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Doug Cramer 5 months, 3 weeks ago

It's obvious that Coach puts ALOT of work and effort into this program and making it better. Coach's efforts should be noted...because he's a hard working guy.

Unfortunately I'm starting to wonder if he's competent to perform well in the college ranks...as a head coach. This team lacks discipline more than any team in college football.

The mistakes mentioned in this article occur EVERY SINGLE WEEK.

Acquiring a guy like Gus Malzhan instead of Weis when we had the chance is looking better and better by the day. We need a coach that's got a vision...and a level of competence to execute that vision.

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Randy Bombardier 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Found this online:

Speaking with a small group of reporters late last month, Weis, for the first time publicly, shared his thoughts about the decision to fire former KU coach Turner Gill, a move that paved the way for Zenger to hire Weis as the 37th head football coach in KU history.

“Let me tell you something,” Weis said. “Let’s give Zenger a little credit here. Forget that I have the job; it’s a (bold) move to get rid of a head coach that quick now. That’s not an easy thing to do. (Gill) had been here for two years.”

Weis continued: “Now, based off of the evidence, I’m just talking about from afar, he had every right to do it. But you’re not into paying people millions of dollars for leaving after that short a period of time. That’s not really what you want to do. So when the guy went out to go hire somebody, philosophically, he had to be able to agree with whoever he hired and what they stood for. And we had a very good mesh, philosophically.”

So, Charlie, if you do not exceed Gills wins by the end of the season, you should do the right thing, according to your own words, and resign. After all, Zenger had every right to do it.

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Janet Scott 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Pile of crap, Charlie; pile of crap. Time for Charlie and Zenger to start wearing a brown bag over their heads at KU home basketball games.

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Marc Frey 5 months, 3 weeks ago

I can not, for the life of me, figure out why our D plays so far off the line when its 3rd and any yardage. 7-19 is easy to do against us.

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Robert Brock 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Hard to imagine a gunslinger offense with the receivers that we have.

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Kevin Randell 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Ok...ok. Let's just make one thing clear. As long as KU runs Charlie's offense, it is NOT going to score more than 20 points against a FBS opponent. For the past 3 years this program has ran a hum drum grind it out type of offense. We need a gunslinger type of QB and a gunslinger type of OC. It absolutely stinks (want to say other colorful words) that our defense has done a better job to keep us in games, but our offense acts like the ugly guy on prom night.....just can't score. This team IS better than how it is playing. Hopefully they will pull their head out and win the last 3 games of the season. Charlie.....time to swallow the pride and go get you a guy who can put points on the board.

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