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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Weis reflects on spring progress

Kansas head football coach Charlie Weis talks with media members during a news conference, Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013 at Mrkonic Auditorium. Weis spent some time discussing changes to the coaching structure, areas for improvement and his staff's recruiting efforts. Nick Krug/Journal-World Photo

Kansas head football coach Charlie Weis talks with media members during a news conference, Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013 at Mrkonic Auditorium. Weis spent some time discussing changes to the coaching structure, areas for improvement and his staff's recruiting efforts. Nick Krug/Journal-World Photo

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With the exception of a week off for spring break in late March, the past five weeks have included a lot of prodding and probing for Kansas University’s football program.

As the end of KU coach Charlie Weis’ third spring with the Jayhawks draws near, the KU coach recently reflected on all that his players and coaching staff accomplished during the past month, much of which figures to be on display during Saturday’s annual spring game, which is slated for a 1 p.m. kickoff at Memorial Stadium.

In many ways, this year’s spring practices were broken into two chunks — offense and defense. Earlier this week, Weis outlined exactly what each group was able to get done during the first 13 practices of the spring.

First, the defense.

“Because it was the second year in a system that had already evolved, it gave the players an opportunity to turn it loose pretty good,” Weis said. “And that they have.”

Weis credited the defense’s large number of returning starters for its ability to treat the spring as a continuation of 2013 instead of a new start.

On offense, the Jayhawks hit the reset button, with new offensive-line coach/offensive coordinator John Reagan, first-year wide-receivers coach Eric Kiesau and a completely new offense added to the mix.

“Obviously, the whole key was getting the system taught,” Weis said. “They haven’t spent time game-planning. They haven’t spent time scheming against our defense. It’s been more about installation and getting used to the procedure of running a no-huddle offense.”

While those big-picture segments of the spring were priorities, Weis said functioning as the head coach and nothing more gave him an opportunity to dive into all aspects of the operation.

To illustrate this, he shared a recent conversation he had with Kiesau, who came to KU after two seasons as the offensive coordinator at Washington.

“We were talking about the first three wide receivers, and I asked him a simple question,” Weis began. “I wanted to know if our three starting wide receivers would’ve been in the two-deep at Washington.

“And he said he thought the three guys that were playing in the first group (Rodriguez Coleman, Nick Harwell and Tony Pierson) would’ve all been in the two-deep at Washington. And they were pretty prolific on offense. I think we’re making some serious headway at that position.”

Like his receivers, Weis himself used the spring to make progress in his new role.

“I don’t know if it’s fun,” he said. “It’s interesting for me because I’ve had so much more time to see things. I’ve been able to make points to both the guys on offense and the guys on defense. You see so much more. It’s been good because it gives you an opportunity to challenge them mentally to make sure they’re at the top of their game.”

Comments

Jim Stauffer 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Finally, I feel like the train is beginning to move forward. Who knows what we will see in the Fall, but I know we have a college OC, we have a proven OL coach who has had success at this level and we have a WR coach who has succeeded at this level. Those things by themselves portend of better days ahead for the offense.

I really think we will find out this year whether Powlus can coach or not. He is now working with Reagan who has a very clear picture of what the QB should look like and how he should perform. That should clear up any focus problems Powlus has had in the past.

It will at least be fun to watch it and see.

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Aaron Paisley 5 months, 3 weeks ago

I don't think there's a reason for Kiesau to blow smoke on a question like that and I do believe that Harwell and Pierson would legitimately be on the two deep at WR for 95%+ of the programs out there. I'm going to go bold here and predict that KU will have double digit TD receptions from the WR position this upcoming season. I think KU gets to 4 wins this year which is +1 and wins 2 Big 12 games which is also +1 this season. I know KU isn't going to be favored in a Big 12 game this year and is only going to be favored to win 2 games this year, but we've seen the past few seasons quite a few teams overlook KU, but KU has only sealed the deal once during that time and I think they do it twice this year. I think having a bye week in the middle of Big 12 play (finally) will be a big reason for KU being able to pull those upsets because it'll give them a chance to get healthy and add some tweaks to the playbook midseason that'll catch those last 5 teams off balance.

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Matt Tait 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Hey everyone... Just got some info on the comments. We're in the process of doing some testing to fix a site issue and in order to do so we had to turn off the viewing of threaded comments, which is why the replies are not showing up.

Hang with us for the next couple of days while we test and we'll be sure to let you know if any permanent changes are coming your way.

If there are, I assure you that it'll be a workable system that you can all adjust to easily and quickly.

Thanks. Have a great rest of the day! - Matt

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Randy Bombardier 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Once again I'll drink the kool-aid and believe we're making progress. I too question the QB coaching. If the offense gets it together and with what I think will be one if the best defenses in the conference we will finally be able to win any game we execute. It will boil down to that. Glad we're now actually taking scrimages beyond touch football.

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