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Originally published November 27, 2013 at 03:02p.m., updated November 27, 2013 at 08:58p.m.

Source: Weis to hire John Reagan as offensive coordinator; KU confirms Tim Grunhard to step down

Kansas offensive line coach John Reagan looks to high five lineman Adrian Mayes following a Jake Sharp touchdown during the second half against the Buffaloes, Saturday, Oct. 20, 2007 at Folsom Field in Boulder.

Kansas offensive line coach John Reagan looks to high five lineman Adrian Mayes following a Jake Sharp touchdown during the second half against the Buffaloes, Saturday, Oct. 20, 2007 at Folsom Field in Boulder.

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The wheels are in motion for Kansas University football coach Charlie Weis to bring in an offensive coordinator following this season.

The Journal-World reported Wednesday afternoon that KU offensive line coach Tim Grunhard would step down after Saturday’s 11 a.m. season finale against Kansas State, and Weis confirmed the report Wednesday evening in a statement.

“Sunday, Tim Grunhard is stepping down as offensive line coach so he can spend more quality time with his family,” said Weis, who revealed that Grunhard’s replacement had already been hired but would not be announced until that coach “becomes available.”

Sources have told the Journal-World that Rice offensive coordinator John Reagan, a former KU assistant on Mark Mangino’s staff, will be hired to serve in the dual role of OC and O-line coach and bring his offense to Lawrence.

The move would free up Weis to focus entirely on running the program as head coach, a role that entails recruiting, motivating players on the field and in the classroom, instilling discipline and challenging assistants in a variety of ways.

Grunhard joined Weis’ initial staff in 2012 after spending six seasons as head coach at Bishop Miege High in Roeland Park.

“With the time commitment and challenges of major college football, I felt I was being delinquent in my responsibilities to my family,” Grunhard said in a statement. “... I would like to thank Coach Weis and the rest of the Kansas football staff for teaching me the valuable lessons of loyalty and due diligence. I plan on continuing my relationship with the KU community that I have grown to love and respect.”

Weis stayed in-house for his first attempt at sparking a listless offense when he turned over play-calling duties in midseason. He put quarterbacks coach Ron Powlus in charge of the passing game and had tight ends coach Jeff Blasko coordinate the running game, roles they will fill through Saturday’s game.

Reagan, who served as KU’s offensive line coach and run-game coordinator for five seasons, is wrapping up his fourth season at Rice and third season as the Owls’ offensive coordinator.

Linemen who benefited from Reagan’s tutelage at KU include 2007 All-American Anthony Collins, a finalist for the Outland Trophy and a fourth-round draft pick of the Cincinnati Bengals. Jeff Spikes and Jeremiah Hatch earned freshman All-American honors in 2008 under Reagan and others earned All-Big 12 honors.

Reagan’s time in Houston has been wildly productive. In 2012, the Owls produced the second-most productive offensive season in school history, piling up 5,556 yards, 414 points and 306 first downs on their way to winning the last five games and capturing the Armed Forces Bowl championship. The Owls also set a school record and led the nation by averaging 33:59 in time of possession.

This season, Rice ranks 51st in the country in total offense and is averaging 431 yards per game and has scored 45 touchdowns. The Owls (8-3) boast the country’s 14th-ranked rushing offense (250 yards per game) and quarterback Taylor McHargue ranks 65th nationally in total offense, accounting for more than 2,300 yards from scrimmage in 11 games.

Before joining the Jayhawks and Owls, Reagan, a Syracuse graduate, coached at Air Force and Temple. He has long been considered one of the up-and-coming offensive minds in football and his familiarity with the Big 12 and recruiting connections in Texas could provide a huge lift for a KU offense that has struggled during the past two seasons.

Reagan has returned to Lawrence often throughout the past several years to spend as much time as possible with his children, Kaitlyn and Daniel, who reside in Lawrence with their mother. During an interview with Journal-World sports editor Tom Keegan before last year’s Rice-Kansas game in Lawrence, Reagan spoke fondly of his time at KU.

“It’s a great college town, and we had the best five years in the history of KU football, and that was fun,” he said.

Rice, which currently sits in first place in the West Division of Conference USA, plays Tulane on Saturday. A victory would move the Owls into the C-USA title game. A loss would leave them awaiting their bowl fate.

Comments

jdwilhm 7 months, 4 weeks ago

If they get rid of Powlus and the WR coach too, then it shows they're committed to improving the offense and not just making a token gesture.

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Kyle Rohde 8 months ago

Sounds like a great move - it's too bad Grunhard didn't work out, but he clearly wasn't getting through to the O-Line guys this year.

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rockchalkunleashed 8 months ago

Wow, this seems like a great move for the coaching staff and recruiting. Welcome back John!

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TikiOwl 8 months ago

Where do I sent the thank you card to KU and Charlie Weis?

Tiki Owl

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Paul Rupp 8 months ago

Sweet! Very positive move.

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catsandwich 8 months ago

Well played, coach Weis- and Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family. In keeping with the holiday, thank you for your flexibility and dedication to KU football. It will pay off!

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pchris40 8 months ago

What a breath of fresh air! Great Holiday news.

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Tony Bandle 8 months ago

We could have used this move two years ago but better late than never.

Going from essentially three guys running the offense to one, has to be a good move in the right direction. Charlie, Ron and Jeff can all focus on their areas of responsibility and let the experienced pro handle the "O".

Gosh 4-8 would look so much better than 3-9 with a win over the Kitties......but I am afraid it isn't going to happen. :(

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Jayhawk_Unto_Death 8 months ago

3-9 is still better than last year's 1-11.

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Kingfisher 8 months ago

Sorry to hear about Grunhard. The O-line performed well last year but I guess you have to trust what Weis sees everyday. I wish him the best and appreciate the work he has put in on behalf of KU.

The plus of the Reagan hire is that it might also provide a long-term transition when Weis retires. It could be the coach-in-waiting that some of spoke of. Credit to Weis for making changes.

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rxdoc1973 8 months ago

Amen!! An OC!!!!! Sure I'm sorry about Grunhard he's a good guy. But ultimately we're about winning. Hoping this kicks off a great and very needed off season.

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Erich_Hartmann 8 months ago

Reaganomics v.2.0: "If you counted on (ku) to be passive, you counted wrong." I wonder what Reagan will say about the incumbent in Manhattan (Snyder): "There he goes again...". That, and get the offense humming like such a well-oiled machine, that he could literally afford to take a nap in the press conferences...

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Kingfisher 8 months ago

The first-ever political reference on this site that made any sense (including my own). That's funny!

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Jim Jackson 8 months ago

This seems like a good move, I am just surprised that it was not Pawlus who was sent packing as the oline performed well last year.

Hopefully we don't miss Grunhard's NFL ties too much but it was also apparent that we are not recruiting well in the KC metro.

Rock Chalk

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Kingfisher 8 months ago

I do wonder if recruiting had anything to do with it. It doesn't seem like we have been succeeding in KC.

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Erich_Hartmann 8 months ago

Man, this hurts to type as a 20+ year Chiefs fan, but if your former ProBowl center cannot coach the Oline to perform at the college level, then how can we "sell" his NFL ties to recruits to "come to KU to develop into an NFL player"? I wanted Grunhard to succeed sooo, so bad. Dang it.

But for KU's sake, Im hopeful Reagan can continue the work Grunny started.

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Jim Jackson 8 months ago

Anyone know the type of offense Reagan runs? Tait?

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Erich_Hartmann 8 months ago

One that scored 45 TDs this season. Any further questions? (meant as humor) With our defense, 45 TDs would have given us the Ws to make us bowl-eligible this year...and the D would have even better stats, as they would be better rested and there would have been much less opportunities for opposing offenses to figure out our D and exploit it in-game. With all our punting, the opposing OC's got p-l-e-n-t-y of time to figure us out.

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texashawk10_2 8 months ago

Rice runs the spread, but a background at Air Force also means there's familiarity with the triple option.

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Kingfisher 8 months ago

Man I would love to see us run the option. It won't happen, of course, but there is nothing more beautiful in football than a well-executed triple option offense.

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texashawk10_2 8 months ago

The triple option is all about misdirection and making the proper read on the keys by the QB. The inverted wishbone that Weis ran last year is a perfect formation for running triple option stuff out of and Reagan would be very wise to pick Weis' brain about that formation and develop a package out of that formation for Cozart. Not an entire playbook, but a series or two a game (more if it works really well) helps KU out by making other teams have respect that formation. Put Cox, Miller, and Bourbon around Cozart and line up Pierson out wide and Pierson will probably have a lot of one on one coverage since that's a running formation. I would love to be an OC because and work with these different formations and types of offenses, but I would also probably fail because I would also likely be the guy that tries to do too much too soon and overwhelms the players.

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Jim Jackson 8 months ago

That would be sweet, if we could have that sort of balance.

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alex_graves 8 months ago

Great start from my chair but Ianello needs to follow Grunhard out the door. Watch any other big12 team and our WRs are completely under coached and can't catch anything. Just my opinion but both our O-Line and the WRs are both our significant weakness!

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Erich_Hartmann 8 months ago

300% CORRECT!!! Our WRs are absolutely awful. The IowaState game exposed them totally, as IowaSt WRs were catching balls all day, same weather. Turzilli needs to go. Didnt help that Pierson and Coleman were hurt. And last season's #1 college WR (Harwell) is sitting on the sideline, ineligible. But next year will be a ton better offensively. We also got Taylor Cox waiting.

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JayhawkInAustin 8 months ago

One of my favorite things about 2007, other than totally smacking Nebraska around, was that on 3rd and 1, no matter who we were playing, I knew we'd hand the ball off and pick up the first down. And we did! A&M, Okie State, K State, it just didn't matter. That was a terrific offensive line. From the moment I sat and personally watched the Rice defense blow up our line, this has been like the anti-2007 season..

This is the most hopeful piece of news about KU football I've heard in a while. Congratulations to coach Weis for having being egoless enough to make this move.

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cshjhawk 8 months ago

If I recall, he had a couple of former KU players coaching as assistants. I wonder if any of them will follow Reagan to Lawrence.

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TheMightyComet 8 months ago

Yes! A Reagan in the Weis House!

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texashawk10_2 8 months ago

Charlie Weis is very aware of the issues this team has and his willingness to try new things like handing over game planning duties and now hiring an OC shows that he is aware of what the biggest issues and wants to try and fix them. That said, these issues cannot be corrected during the middle of the season because firing a coach and bringing one in midseason is not a good thing and causes way too much chaos and instability to be successful, same as hiring an OC midseason. Charlie did as much as he reasonably could during the season to try and fix the issues, but these are issues that have to be corrected in the offseason and we'll have to wait until next August/September to see how well they work. I agree that Ianello should also be replaced and I would personally love to see David Beaty come back and if Sumlin leaves A&M for USC or the NFL, it's possible Beaty will be available and I would love to see him working with the KU receivers again.

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Jayhawk_Unto_Death 8 months ago

Funny, it worked for Mack Brown when he fired Manny Diaz and replaced him with Greg Robinson during the season.

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Kingfisher 8 months ago

This is true but it is highly unusual. I'm not a big fan of firing guys mid-season for a whole host of reasons. One is to show some class. Winning is important, but let's remember who we are. We're Jayhawks, not friggin' Longhorns.

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texashawk10_2 8 months ago

Exceptions do not prove the rule no matter how much you want them to.

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jmfitz85 8 months ago

This is why Weis will eventually be successful ... He listens and he needs (not wants) to be successful. Next year should be a 5 win season then after that We will start playing bowl games.

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Jim Jackson 8 months ago

I'm shooting for a bowl game next season. Let's see what kind of recruits we can pull in this off-season. Hopefully, we ink immediate impact players.

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HouTexHawk 8 months ago

The Houston Chronicle says that Reagan was offered but has not accepted the job. At the end of the day, there are probably many more reasons for him to come back to KU, but the timing is strange. Rice is playing for a divisional title and spot in conference championship. There was no reason why this could not have been leaked a couple of weeks from now.

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Kingfisher 8 months ago

Timing is strange but I think that Weis wants to recruit beginning Sunday. If Reagan takes the job, and I assume that he will, he'll depart before the Rice bowl game. The leak probably came from Houston, not Lawrence. No one gains from the leak so it is likely from the "losing" side.

Bottom line, Rice is a black hole for college football. We have one of the worst football programs in the country and we outdraw them virtually every week. Reagan has seen the stands full. He knows what can be accomplished here.

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TikiOwl 7 months, 4 weeks ago

Black hole? That Black hole owns back two back wins over KU. Five Rice players are in the NFL and yes attendance is an issue with the fact that Rice has just over 3K undergrads and 2K grad students (meaning all of the living Rice alumni could easily fit inside Rice Stadium) plus Houston is a lousy college sports town (UHouston with almost 40K students only averages 25K). Thankfully with Joe Karlgaard as the new AD (from Stanford) things will improve and the entire athletic program will follow the lead of the national power baseball team.

Most of us while happy for Reagan (who truly is a good guy) are thrilled that we will have a new OC (as we were for Tom Hermann the former OC who is now the OC at Ohio State) but the feeling here is that his in game calls and adjustments were lacking while the plodding style should have been more uptempo. We call it the meerkat offense since even though we don't huddle we rarely snap the ball until there are 4 or 5 seconds left on the play call. We get to the line then the entire team turns and looks at the sidelines repeatedly for the calls (hence the term meerkatting).

It looks like it will be a win win for both schools from the perspective of their fan base.

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Kingfisher 7 months, 4 weeks ago

Watch some Todd Reesing film and you'll see where your offense started. The idea of the offense is to read the defense up to the last second to see if an adjustment can be made to make the play more successful. It's not a hurry-up offense.

While it may seem to be plodding, it gets you several advantages. In the explosive Big 12, it can shorten games and keep you competitive for longer. It also requires the defense to line up early, the d-line to hold their stance for longer, and it keeps the entire offense engaged in the play call.

And yes, I should have been more specific, your stadium is the black hole.

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mvjayhawk 7 months, 4 weeks ago

you scored 52 points vs. La Tech...we scored 13, and had to have pretty much a complete breakdown by them to do that. you're 8-3...i'll take the "meerkat" offense any day of the week, compared to what KU has now. :)

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inteldesign 8 months ago

Good move. Agree on Beaty. That'd be awesome. Between the poor qb play and wrs we may have a couple of staff issues. Is that a package deal? I mean you want those two coaches to be on the same page so philosophically probably good to have come from the same system.

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JayhawkMarshall 8 months ago

I have to see anyone lose their job but our OL was terrible and badly coached. They never learned to pass block. Run blocking was marginal, at best. The run blocking flaws showed up on ever short yardage situation. Weis should be applauded in moving to fix a problematic area with a proven preformaner. Reagan will have a good crew to work with and if he can pull this unit together he'll likely be inline for a Head Coaching job in a couple of years.

Houston Chronical article....www.chron.com/sports/rice/article/Rice-OC-offered-play-calling-duties-at-Kansas-5017966.php

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leikness 7 months, 4 weeks ago

Great News welcome back Reagan!

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remlap101 7 months, 4 weeks ago

Amen! At last. I'm guessing ADZ had a piece of this.

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hawaii 7 months, 4 weeks ago

I've been very critical of Weis, and felt we had no chance of improvement with him, but if hiring Reagan as OC really happens, then I believe I was wrong. This is an absolutely great move by Weis. Hope has returned!

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mvjayhawk 7 months, 4 weeks ago

Our next head coach! Great move.....welcome back Mr. Reagan!!!

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Kingfisher 7 months, 4 weeks ago

I believe that you are onto something with that comment. Weis had stated, for no apparent reason, that this was a 5-year stop.

If we believe in long-range plans, it could have been something like this: I'll clean house the first year, get the academics back on track in years one and two, flood the roster with Jucos to try and get us respectable again, transition to high school recruits and then hand the whole thing off.

Of course, I'm sure that he expected to win more games than he has, but the plan could make some sense going in and it makes more sense now.

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JayBevo 7 months, 4 weeks ago

This news made me think about who was on MM's staff during Reagan's tenure...found this from the 2006 KU media guide, and where they are now -

http://grfx.cstv.com/photos/schools/kan/sports/m-footbl/auto_pdf/06-mg-coache-staff.pdf

Mangino - Youngstown State

Nick Quartaro, Assoc HC/OC/QBs - TEs, North Texas (bowl eligible); McCarney HC

Bill Young, DC/DL - retired, fmr DC Okla St - BCS 2x, KU and OSU

Brandon Blaney - Recruiting Coord/TEs - Defensive Asst, Jacksonville Jags

Clint Bown - Co-DC/Safeties - essentially same

Earnest Collins - Sp Teams Coord/Cornerbacks - UCF, Secondary Coach (potential BCS bid) - he was a good one

John Reagan - we know

Earle Mosely - RBs - retired, formerly w/Notre Dame, Stanford and Chicago Bears

Tim Beck - WRs - Nebraska, Asst Coach, OC/QBs (bowl eligible)

Mike Mallory - LBs - Special Teams Coord, Jacksonville Jags

Chris Dawson - S&C - same, KSU (bowl eligible; BCS last year)

That was some serious coaching talent; of course not listed in 06 were Beaty and Warriner, who arrived the following year (?).

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spawns65 7 months, 3 weeks ago

LOL, these post are hilarious!!

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