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Originally published October 15, 2013 at 12:30p.m., updated October 15, 2013 at 11:47p.m.

Charlie Weis announces shakeup with way KU offense is coordinated

Kansas coach Charlie Weis works on an official to make his point that a TCU player that was out of bounds during Saturday's game in Fort Worth, Texas.

Kansas coach Charlie Weis works on an official to make his point that a TCU player that was out of bounds during Saturday's game in Fort Worth, Texas.

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Kansas University football coach Charlie Weis is opening up the Jayhawks’ offense.

But instead of that meaning more shots down the field and trick plays on Saturdays, Weis is changing the way he builds KU’s offense each Sunday.

From here on out, that’s when quarterbacks coach Ron Powlus and tight ends coach Jeff Blasko will do the preliminary work on the week’s offensive game plan. Instead of Weis plotting out the plan of attack and handing it to his assistants, the second-year KU coach is asking them to start the process. Powlus will be in charge of coordinating KU’s passing attack and Blasko will be in charge of putting together the Jayhawks’ running game.

“More than coordination, it’s going to be more guys getting to interject how can we move the offense, how can we score more points,” Weis said Tuesday.

The idea for the change came from an offseason move with the defense, where defensive line coach Buddy Wyatt was put in charge of the defensive front, defensive backs coach Dave Campo was put in charge of coverages and linebackers coach Clint Bowen was given the task of blending the two together on game days. The same concept now will apply to KU’s offense, which Weis will still oversee.

“I had to back off a little bit or else we were never gonna get any better,” Weis said. “And it’s not easy for me to do it that way, but I sat back and said, ‘I was willing to do it with Dave, why am I not willing to do it with myself?’ I’m doing it because Kansas football needs it. I really don’t care about my ego. I just want to get better and win.”

With one round of chalk talk already in the books, KU’s second-year coach seemed pleased with the new format.

“(Monday) was probably the most refreshing day I’ve had in quite some time,” Weis said. “Because there was a much greater exchange of offensive ideas than there’s been since I’ve been here.”

As for what he thought of his staff’s first attempt at cobbling together the game plan for this week’s match-up with No. 18 Oklahoma, Weis reverted to his jokester self.

“The ideas were good,” he said. “Now, of course I shot a lot of them down. I can’t make ‘em feel that good. But I’d say the foundation of what we’re doing (this week) came from (those guys). ... I have to make sure that I let them do their job, and not sit there and say, ‘No, no, no, no.’ That’s the toughest part for me, but I think it’s the only way for us to get better.”

As Weis steps back from the coordination of KU’s offense, he plans to balance out the move by stepping up during day-to-day preparations.

“I’m gonna get much more involved in the coaching of the skill positions, which I think has been lacking,” he said. “I’m not pushing any coaches aside, I’m just getting more involved in all the skill positions and letting Ron and Jeff worry about the nuts and bolts.”

That means Weis will spend more time in drills with players during practice and more time in meeting rooms with the various offensive positions, all of which he coached in the NFL at one time or another.

“(That’s) a good thing for me,” he said. “It’s not a good thing for them. Because there’s different levels of hard coaching and mine is cranked up to the full gear.”

Weis has faith in both Powlus and Blasko because of what they have proven during their time working with him.

“I’ve always believed that our offense runs through the quarterback,” Weis said. “And no one knows what our quarterbacks can and can’t do any better than Ron.”

Of Blasko, he added: “(At Florida) he was with me 24/7. I never could get rid of the guy. I worked from early to late, and he was there with me every second. He was like a sponge. He’s the guy who knew how I think better than anybody.”

While Weis’ move heaps more responsibility on the shoulders of his assistants, neither seemed anything other than excited about the opportunity to get more involved.

“For me, I always have that same motivation to get it right,” Blasko said. “It’s obviously a great opportunity to have this responsibility but, at the end of the day, I want to do everything I can to help this program move in the right direction.”

Added Powlus: “We’re all in this together and we’re all doing anything we can to make progress. And I don’t think there’s any (better) example than coach Weis doing this. Clearly there’s no ego involved. This is all about how do we create some success, how do we make progress, how do we move forward? And I think it’s commendable. It’s impressive.”

Cozart listed

Freshman quarterback Montell Cozart’s name appeared on the depth chart for the first time this season, listed as a second-string option with Michael Cummings behind Jake Heaps.

Many have speculated that Cozart was headed toward a red-shirt season, but with more than half of the year remaining and the KU offense struggling, Weis said he saw no reason to eliminate Cozart from the list of possible solutions.

“If a kid can be involved for half the season, sometimes it makes him that much more prepared to play the next season,” Weis said. “I would not put him on depth chart if he wasn’t a legitimate candidate to play this week. Right from the fall I told you that I’m really high on Montell, and I’m really high on Montell.”

Injury update

Injured Jayhawks Ben Heeney (knee), Tony Pierson (concussion), Andrew Turzilli (ankle) Randall Dent (unknown) and Tedarian Johnson (unknown) all were listed as day-to-day on KU’s latest depth chart, and Weis said the fact that they appeared at all indicated they had a chance to play this week.

“I wouldn’t bet on that,” Weis said. “But, with every one of those guys, they’re not as bad as I thought they were or they’re not as good as they thought they were.”

The news on Pierson seemed to be the best. Weis said the junior running back, who leads KU in receiving yards and receptions, had passed his concussion test but still was dealing with headaches.

“He could be not symptomatic tomorrow and he could play this week,” Weis said. “If they were gonna be out for an extended period of time, I wouldn’t have ‘em on there.”

Comments

Ralster Jayhawk 6 months ago

The next logical step in the offense's development (or insert "o-line's development") is to put together some drives. That means pass protecting. That means run-blocking. Got to protect Heaps, I think his decision-making is rushed due to pocket-collapsing, and he is not a runner. He needs confidence in his O-line. Right alongside that is concern for getting holes opened up for James Sims. Mr. Sims should be putting up bigger numbers.

Another way to describe the current situation is the Oline is lagging behind in its chemistry and development compared to QB and RB. WRs are showing a bit of improvement in catching...but not separation yet. There is indeed some chemistry between Heaps and Mundine, Bourbon, and Pierson. But look at the screen plays: Oline troubles on full display: blocking timing is off, and the opposing D has blown up every screen that Sims has tried.

Keep working...

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Terry Lee 6 months ago

Where is Grunhard in all this? A ghost. Prediction. He will be GONE after this season.

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Michael Luby 6 months ago

You guys have to start focusing on KU Basketball soon. You've got 2 more weeks to say all you want about our laughable football team, then Atleast One of you three journalists reporting on football needs to move to basketball. It would be an absolute shame if KU Basketball games were under covered this year considering how insanely talented they are and how good they have the potential to be.

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Justin Lindsley 6 months, 1 week ago

KU can not fire Weis after this year. They will have to keep him for one more year at least. I'm undecided still about his ability to get this turned around. I hope he does. A program is tough to build when you have a new coach every two years. Recruiting is so important and without coaching stability it just makes it that much tougher. I think Weis should hire an OC after the season and have him calling plays from the booth next season.

1

Ed Brown 6 months, 1 week ago

Glad to see Weis trying something different at least.

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Ben Kliewer 6 months, 1 week ago

Anatomy of an article posted on KUSports.com

  • Article Title
  • Text of said article
  • Comments section
  • Comment 1 "Sh*t all over everything"
  • Comment 2 "Sh*t all over everything"
  • Comment 3 "Sh*t all over everything"
  • Comment 4 "Question the author's qualifications for writing said article"
    • Sub-Comment "Defends the author"
  • Comment 5 "Ignorant comment" (Get's "Liked")
  • Comment 6 "Makes fun of ignorant comment, then sh*t's all over everything"
  • Comment 7 "Legitimate commentary on the topic at hand, which no one reads"
  • Comment 8 "Sh*t all over everything"
3

Randy Glenn 6 months, 1 week ago

Can`t hurt!! Do agree on the need of an offensive coordinator in the booth with complete control of play calling.

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John Fitzgerald 6 months, 1 week ago

I this is a huge step for Weis and I'm glad he's looking at all the different angles. I'd like to see Cozart get a shot but still impressed that Weis is continuing to find ways to improve. Not sure why anyone would see this as a negative.

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Joe Custer 6 months, 1 week ago

I understand many of the commentors frustrations but I do think this is a positive move on Weis's part. If this change doesn't work then perhaps he will bring in an offensive coordinator but I don't see Weis lose his job after this year so hopefully we can improve what we have.

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Doug Cramer 6 months, 1 week ago

Have a lot of respect for Coach Weis for putting his ego aside. Even if it doesn't work...thats great leadership ! Wonder if Coach Weis has considered working the coordinator position from the booth ? ? ?

And...credit to Coach Campo for his great coaching performance with the defense !

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Brett McCabe 6 months, 1 week ago

Not sure how much of a shakeup people actually expect. Any changes have to be done with the current staff.

I'm not big on this type of change in general but if Weis feels like getting another set of eyes on the offense will help, then I say trust the coach to move forward with the plan.

This team is better in many significant ways over last year. The offense stinks and it's not getting better overnight. However, I believe that it will get better. I still think that we win a Big-12 game this year and possibly two.

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Daniel Reinigungsmittel 6 months, 1 week ago

Not much of a shake up unless Powless and Blasco have some input during the game.

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Lance Cheney 6 months, 1 week ago

"Jeff Blasko will oversee the run game and blocking..." Call me crazy, but what the hell is Grunhard doing if Blasko is overseeing the blocking?

2

Glen Miller 6 months, 1 week ago

They can change the gameplan around all they want, but if the recievers and linemen don't step up.... it's not going to matter. Our line is attrocious and our recievers can't create space. I do believe Weis needs an O coordinator that he trusts to call plays and install a gameplan with his input. I think Heaps takes too much blame for the lack of recievers and poor line play....to a certain extent so did Dayne Crist. I will say that our defense is improved this season without a doubt and I think we are headed in the right direction on that side of the football. The Tech game had more to do with the offensive inability to move the ball and the turnovers that gave them short fields than the defense being "bad". Still plenty of room for improvement all the way around, but that starts with Weis turning over the keys to the offense and working with his assistants on how to make this team better on the field and get more talent in when it comes to recruiting.

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Waylon Cook 6 months, 1 week ago

I remember reading an article that Weis had a good record until Powlus worked under him at ND............................so not sure how excited I am about this one.........

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Chuck Woodling 6 months, 1 week ago

It's not whether you win or lose, it's who gets the blame and this latest move will, if nothing else, diffuse the blame.

3

Andrew Moore 6 months, 1 week ago

I think an offensive coordinator could be coming in the offseason. Weis is going nowhere, even if we don't win another game

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Chris Oestreich 6 months, 1 week ago

Give Coach Weis credit for moving on this. He is showing an open mindedness and ownership of the fact that what we have been doing isn't working.

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Brian Zachary 6 months, 1 week ago

Tired of all you whiners and losers on here with the negative attitudes. Am I happy being at the point we are now? NO! But I see progress and I see a potentially bright future ahead. Now, if all the wannabe coordinators and fans would shut up and let the man do his job we will all be a lot happier.

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Brandon Mahon 6 months, 1 week ago

I still would much rather see Reggie Mitchell take over the running game coordnation instead of Blasko. Of course Weis gave the reigns to one of his Notre Dame guys. Mitchell would be must better suited I think

4

Aaron Paisley 6 months, 1 week ago

I don't really know how much this will help the offense without Charlie giving up play calling duties to someone in the box who has a better perspective on what the defense is doing. I don't care if Charlie hires an OC or not because if Charlie doesn't give up play calling, it won't matter who the OC would be. The biggest thing Charlie can do to help the offense going forward is hand over play calling duties to someone else who won't outsmart himself like Charlie is prone to do.

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Shaun Hardie 6 months, 1 week ago

Is coach Weis admitting that he doesn't know it all? I think he is one of the smartest offensive NFL minds. Not sure he's knowledge of the game is translating to college football just yet. This reminds me of the high school student who enlist in an AP course only to drop it when they realize it's over their heads. KU is basically throwing out everything they've worked on for the last 9 months for what, a totally new offense that will put up even weaker numbers. KU doesn't have the luxury of changing courses here. If Weis is admitting he doesn't know it all maybe just maybe it's time to hire an offensive coordinator and step away from the controls. Keep the same course though! I for one see this team becoming competitive week in and week out. If the offense is half as good as our defense has been, we'd be in every game we play with a chance to win.

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Bryce Landon 6 months, 1 week ago

Still not good enough. Someone else needs to come in and be OC.

3

Charles Logan 6 months, 1 week ago

Nothing is going to change. It will still be the Jake Heaps show featuring a weak offensive line. With Charlie Weis with the final say on new plays that look exactly like the old ones......

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Andy Hess 6 months, 1 week ago

HIRE A DAMN OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR! His pride is going to lead to us going 2-10.

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Casey Osburn 6 months, 1 week ago

Hmm. Not sure how big of a deal this really is. I suppose it is something, and I applaud Coach Weis for having the courage to make changes mid-season when he thinks we need them. We'll see how significant this really is in the coming weeks.

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