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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Kansas football focuses on Final Four finish

Kansas head coach Charlie Weis watches his team warm up for Baylor on Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013.

Kansas head coach Charlie Weis watches his team warm up for Baylor on Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013.

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With four games remaining in his second season in town, Kansas University football coach Charlie Weis is more interested in looking ahead to what’s still possible than back at what went wrong.

In Weis’ eyes, the Jayhawks, who will kick off the final third of the season at 3 p.m. Saturday against Oklahoma State in Stillwater, Okla., have four games remaining to impart a positive impression of the 2013 squad. And although his team sits at 2-6 overall and 0-5 in Big 12 play, Weis believes any outcome remains possible.

“Here’s what I told them on Sunday,” Weis began. “This team will be remembered by what happens in the next four games. It will not be remembered by where you are right now.

“If we end up 2-10, it’s not gonna be very good; 3-9, just a little bit better than we were last year; 4-8, they’re showing signs; 5-7, OK, things are getting better; 6-6, they start building a statue.”

Winning four straight certainly would go down as a strong finish, but, as they’ve done throughout the year, the Jayhawks are moving forward with the idea that every game presents an opportunity to make a statement.

“That’s his message, and, of course, we’ll reinforce it,” KU assistant coach Clint Bowen said. “And it’s one that does ring true. In these last four games, all the frustrations and all the things that happened this year, you can bury them.”

With a winning season no longer possible, both Weis and Bowen said the focus shifts from worrying about bowl games, losing streaks and expectations, to getting the most they possibly can out of what’s left.

“I don’t have the answers to (what that is),” Weis said. “You could go 4-0, 0-4 or anywhere in between. But that’s their legacy. Their legacy isn’t where they are two-thirds of the way through the season. ... That’s the perspective we’re taking.”

Added Bowen: “We’re not ever gonna be as happy as we (thought). We’ve lost too many games to hit that point. But, if you do finish up really strong, at least you go into the offseason or finish your career at KU on a positive note.”

More O-line tweaks

In yet another attempt to get more physical up front, Weis has changed things up along KU’s offensive line, promoting Riley Spencer (left tackle) and Damon Martin (right guard) to the first team in place of Pat Lewandowski and Mike Smithburg.

“You can change schemes a little bit, which we do on a weekly basis,” Weis said. “And then the only other thing you can do is change players.”

With issues popping up on the offensive line all season, Weis often has talked about finding continuity on the offensive line to help KU’s offense get going.

“That goes right out the window if we’re not playing very well,” said Weis when asked what the musical-chairs approach could do to the offensive line’s chemistry.

WR health

Weis said Tuesday that four Kansas wideouts could be back in action this weekend against the Cowboys, with Rodriguez Coleman (leg), Josh Ford (concussion), Tony Pierson (concussion) and Andrew Turzilli (ankle) all nearing the point of return.

“There’s a chance that all of ’em play,” Weis said.

Pierson, who has been sidelined since the loss to Texas Tech on Oct. 5, was scheduled for full practice Tuesday. Ford, who missed the past two games, was practicing in a red, no-contact, jersey Tuesday. And Turzilli, listed as KU’s first-string Z receiver on the latest depth chart, is hoping to play for the first time since Oct. 12. Coleman, whose injury last week against Texas wound up being nothing more than a badly bruised knee, also sounds probable for Saturday in Stillwater.

“Because he’s starting to play better, I think he’s in a rush to try to get himself back,” said Weis of Coleman, who has four receptions for 160 yards and a touchdown in his last two games. “We have some reinforcements coming back this week.”

2014 schedule released

Kansas football once again will end the 2014 regular season against its biggest rival.

KU will play at Kansas State on Nov. 29 in Manhattan, ending a 12-game slate that was officially released by the Big 12 athletic directors on Tuesday morning.

The Jayhawks will have six home games, with four coming in conference play. KU will play host to Texas on Sept. 27, Oklahoma State on Oct. 11, Iowa State on Nov. 8, then celebrate Senior Day on Nov. 15 against TCU.

KU also has road dates at West Virginia (Oct. 4), Texas Tech (Oct. 18) and Baylor (Nov. 1) before finishing the season with two away games at Oklahoma (Nov. 22) and KSU.

KU’s 2014 schedule

Sept. 6 — SE Missouri State

Sept. 13 — at Duke

Sept. 20 — Central Michigan

Sept 27 — Texas

Ocg. 4 — at West Virginia

Oct. 11 — Oklahoma State

Oct. 18 — at Texas Tech

Nov. 1 — at Baylor

Nov. 8 — Iowa State

Nov. 15 — TCU

Nov. 22 — at Oklahoma

Nov. 29 — at Kansas State

Comments

Ian Ballinger 1 year, 1 month ago

6-6 would be amazing.. and call me crazy but I think it's possible, especially if we pull a huge upset against Oklahoma State. I really believe OSU is the hurdle, and then I think those last three games are very winnable. Maybe I'm putting in to much hope, I just don't think 6-6 is impossible.

Chris Bailey 1 year, 1 month ago

Ok you're crazy. ZERO chance we win out. ZERO!!! We will be lucky to win one game and that game will be against ISU. 1-3 a small chance 0-4 more likely.

Jason Keller 1 year, 1 month ago

Bahahahahaha!!!! Oh my god, Ian, you rascal! I was taking a drink of my coffee when I read that. Now I need a new shirt!

Ian Ballinger 1 year, 1 month ago

It was early, I was tired, and wasn't thinking straight. I'm inclined to agree with you now.

Erich Hartmann 1 year, 1 month ago

Ian, I like your optimism. I have to see the "little" self-destruct things quit happening, and some consistency built up over time before I can predict. I'd like to hope we can put it together to win 2-3 games. The bad snaps from the center position have got to end. Looking at the big picture: we are caught in the mud of trying to simply sustain each drive right now. Do that, then we can start talking about stringing together a "few" scoring drives...

Its just where we are right now. We've got the entire coaching staff doing everything they can think of, and we also had the injury bug (Pierson, Heeney being the most notable.)

Brandon Mahon 1 year, 1 month ago

Hey the snap thing could end next season, we have one of the TOP ranked centers in the nation in Jacob Bragg committed to come here. Weis is doing a good job bringing some recruits. He just needs a better staff

Ian Ballinger 1 year, 1 month ago

It was early, I was tired, and wasn't thinking straight. I'm inclined to agree with you now. Really wish I could delete that comment now, because 5-7 really isn't likely. I do fear we'll go 2-10 now that I look at Iowa State this year.

Bryce Landon 1 year, 1 month ago

"With four games remaining in his second season in town, Kansas University football coach Charlie Weis is more interested in looking ahead to what’s still possible than back at what went wrong."

What went wrong: We hired this guy thinking he could dig us out of the smoking crater Turner Gill left us in. He's only making the crater deeper.

What's still possible: Sheahon Zenger admits he made a mistake in hiring Weis, fires him, and takes a run at Greg Schiano or June Jones.

Brandon Mahon 1 year, 1 month ago

I still would like to see us take a shot at Doren at NCSU. He is a Kansas boy and did great things with our team when he was here as an assistant. I guess take a shot at Werdner at OSU. I dont see him leaving that job tho. But we will not be able to fire Weis until after next season, or even possibly after that. His contract is BIG and we can not afford to buy his contract out. The only way that Weis leaves if his contract runs out or if he resigns under his own terms. We have had to buy out the last two coaches. I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news but unless some booster says they will buy out the contract we will have to let Weis play out his contract and hope he can put something together and help this program out.

David A. Smith 1 year, 1 month ago

I say we hire and fire people every 3 years- just for continuity. Probably ought to call for the head coach's job after 1.5 years of not living up to expectations, too.

Alex Berger 1 year, 1 month ago

Do KU fans not understand the concept of better teams most often win the games? Outside of the Rice loss, we have been beaten by superior teams with superior talent and established systems. We won't get anywhere without an established coaching regime that can recruit players by being able to say "I will be your coach while you are at KU." Weis has done nothing but improve the talent level of our team so now it's time to give him the chance to win with the talent he develops. He should get a 3rd year regardless of result but here's to guessing that 1-2 more wins this season is not outside the realm of possibility.

Chris Gilbertson 1 year, 1 month ago

Does anyone else find it a little funny that when Weis first got hired, a lot of KU fans were worried that if/when Weis turned things around here he would bolt for a better job, now after ONE AND A HALF YEARS things aren't exactly how everyone expected and people are calling for his head.

Mike Barnhart 1 year, 1 month ago

If it's insane to do the same thing over and over again expecting different results it's equally insane to SEE the same thing over and over and expect different results.

This team still has the worst offense AND the worst defense in the Big 12.

Four out of the last five years, Kansas' recruiting class has been ranked substantially higher than K-States'. Yet, they continue to embarrass us on the field and are the current Big 12 champions. One team's coach is a workaholic football genius and the other lives in Florida and excels in excuse making.

David A. Smith 1 year, 1 month ago

Actually, he lives in his office a great deal of the season.

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