Big 12 media days blog: Jesse, Matt discuss Weis' 'pile of crap' controversy
9:00 p.m. update: By Jesse Newell
Here's a video wrap-up from Matt and me discussing the KU news of the day and the controversy that was Weis' "pile of crap" comment.
With that, we're going to sign off from Big 12 media days in Dallas. Be sure to check back Tuesday for the live blog as five other Big 12 schools step to the podium.
5:45 p.m. update: By Jesse Newell
Two more light-hearted videos ...
The guys talk about who was the best-dressed at media days — and quarterback Jake Heaps admits he helped one Jayhawk with tying his tie.
Also, KU linebacker Ben Heeney discusses his beard and says it might grow the whole season.
5:16 p.m. update: By Jesse Newell
Matt just posted his notebook that you can find here ...
Also, I've got a couple lighter videos coming to show more of these guys' personalities. Here I posed the question, "If the NCAA had no celebration penalties, what would your touchdown celebration be?"
4:44 p.m. update: By Jesse Newell
And another video. The question this time: "Which KU players will surprise fans this season?"
4:29 p.m. update: By Jesse Newell
Quick video: I asked three of the Jayhawks, "What makes you optimistic about this season?"
4:02 p.m. update: By Jesse Newell
I enjoyed talking to KU defensive back Cassius Sendish today, as he represented KU at Big 12 media days though he's yet to play a game for the Jayhawks as a juco transfer from Arizona Western CC.
You can learn more about Sendish in this Q-and-A podcast we recorded this afternoon.
3:26 p.m. update: By Matt Tait
Tweeted this out a while ago, but KU coach Charlie Weis said today that linebacker Marcus Jenkins-Moore, a juco transfer from Pierce College in Los Angeles, tweaked a knee on the first day of workouts and has since had a surgical procedure on the knee to fix the problem.
Weis said he did not yet know how long Jenkins-Moore would be sidelined and also did not rule him out for the entire season.
Since Jenkins-Moore has three years to play out his two years of eligibility, doing this does not hurt him in the long run. Weis said that was a big factor in them deciding how to proceed once the injury occurred.
At this point, it's a wait-and-see thing but the one thing Weis did confirm was that we should not expect to see Jenkins-Moore in action any time in the near future.
One other note of interest came in the saga of transfer wide receiver Nick Harwell, from Miami (Ohio) University. Weis said Harwell's status for 2013 was still unknown and he compared it to a soap opera, one which KU has no control over.
The only thing he could say definitively about Harwell was that he would be on campus in August and, if he was not eligible, he would be the best scout team receiver in the country.
I still think Harwell has a good shot of playing this year but any future updates will likely come from his lawyer, Don Jackson.
3:15 p.m. update: By Jesse Newell
Just finished with breakout interviews, and we'll have much more as we get content posted.
A few quick notes ...
• KU running back James Sims said one personal goal was to beat his rushing yard total from last year (1,013). He said he was surprised he wasn't a first-team preseason all-league pick, but that might be because KU didn't win much last year.
He also said the NFL running backs he liked watching most were Pierre Thomas and Adrian Peterson, and if he could have one attribute from a running back teammate (that wasn't Tony Pierson's speed), he would take Darrian Miller's balance.
• Defensive back Cassius Sendish said one of the biggest draws to playing at KU was the ability to show his abilities against pass-happy Big 12 offenses. He also said his juco (Arizona Western CC) is structured like a Div. I school, so the transition to KU was easier.
He said he'd never been to a media day before today. When asked his position, he also responded with defensive back, hinting perhaps that he could play cornerback or safety depending on the defensive matchup.
• Quarterback Jake Heaps said watching last year's team without being able to help out was "excruciating." He said sitting out a year to learn the offense was the best and worst thing that could have happened to him. At the time, though, "It just felt horrible." He said he learned a lot from Dayne Crist last year, and complimented the former KU QB, saying he handled his struggles as well as anyone could have.
Heaps said it would be important to get a passing game going this year to "alleviate pressure from the running backs." He said the team's expectations are higher than any outside expectations, and he also believes this year will be different because winning and losing can both become habits, and the Jayhawks have had leaders emerge that have the mind-set that enough is enough.
Heaps also said receiver Justin McCay was playing with confidence, and his strong performance in the spring game helped that.
12:54 p.m. update: By Jesse Newell
Here's the full transcript of Weis' comments at the podium, in case you want to read them in their entirety.
A programming note: KU's players and Weis will be available from 1-3 p.m. here, so there might not be many updates from the blog in that time, as Matt and I work our hardest to get all the quotes we can.
After that, though, we'll come back to the blog to update with quotes, notes and also some video.
11:52 a.m. update: By Jesse Newell
Here is the Cliff's Notes version of Weis during his time at the podium today:
• Weis started his time at the podium by saying last year KU was 1-11, that everyone had picked his team last in the Big 12, and he said he agreed with everyone believing that. "We've given you no evidence, no reason to be picked other than that."
• Weis says he's going to group quarterback Jake Heaps and receiver Justin McCay together. He says the two established a rapport together on the practice field. KU had a solid running game, but it couldn't pass the ball and couldn't score points. Weis is counting on his team being more balanced this year, and Heaps and McCay should be a big part of that.
• Though KU wasn't good last year, Weis said his team had quality players at the running-back position. KU is even better at that position this year, so that has allowed Weis to use those guys more flexibly. If KU can get Tony Pierson more involved in space, it will open things up on offense.
• The high number of juco players Weis took this year was a necessity. It's not a long-term plan. Weis believed his team needed to fill the holes right now. Most high-school kids need at least a year to develop. Weis needed guys that could play now, or otherwise, his team was going to be ranked 10th in the league every year.
• Weis takes an honest and practical approach to recruiting. He says when he brings in recruits he tells them it's a great situation and that facilities are on par with everyone else. He says KU still needs work on the stadium, which is in the plans. Then, everyone wants to play. Weis tells recruits, 'Have you taken a look at that pile of crap out there (referring to last year's team)?' ... If you can't play here, where can you play?'
• Dayne Crist and Jake Heaps' situations are totally different. Crist was coming off two ACL injuries. You can simulate a lot of things, but in training camp, you couldn't simulate players coming after him. Heaps had no physical issues. That's how it's different.
• Weis says he didn't take much from the loss to Texas last season. He said he was happy for Texas coach Mack Brown but miserable for himself. Other than that, he didn't take much for the game.
• Weis agreed with a media member that said his kicking game was atrocious. He said he believes one juco guy (Trevor Pardula) could handle all three responsibilities next year.
• Weis believes running back James Sims might not have been put on the all-Big 12 first team because KU hasn't been winning. Weis said KU could potentially have the best stable of running backs in the Big 12, and you can't say that for the Jayhawks in many positions.
11:22 a.m. update: By Jesse Newell
Weis will be at the podium in eight minutes. Saw him chatting downstairs a few minutes ago with former NFL running back Eddie George, who now is a member of the media.
Be sure to check back for Cliff's Notes of what Weis says.
11:11 a.m. update: By Matt Tait
TCU coach Gary Patterson is on the podium now and he opened things up by answering questions about why he did not bring last year's opening-day starting QB Casey Pachall to Dallas with him this week.
Pachall, you may remember, went through all kinds of trouble last season off the field and ultimately was suspended for the remainder of the season, forcing the Horned Frogs to play the final half of the season without him.
He has since been reinstated, but Patterson stressed that he has not been handed his starting job back and that's one of the big reasons he's not here.
As Patterson put it:
We don't know who our starting QB is yet. (Sophomore Trayvon Boykin, who filled in during 2012 is in the running)
He told me this spring that he wanted to be a student and a football player so I'm trying to let him do his thing and keep some of the pressure of being back off of him.
Boykin can flat-out play and he's a different player than Pachall. Because of that, it sounds like the possibility exists that TCU could play two QBs this season.
Should be interesting to see how it plays out.
10:59 a.m. update: By Matt Tait
Given the recent success of the Oklahoma State football program, OSU coach Mike Gundy, an OSU alum, was asked during his time on the podium whether he had seriously entertained taking any of the other jobs to which his name has become attached in the past.
Gundy was very candid in his response and said he loved his current situation. He also said in order for the Cowboys to enjoy continued success, he had to avoid any uncertainty about his future at the school:
"From Day One when we took this over, our coaching staff going into nine years now, we felt like the most important thing that we could do for the players on our team is make a commitment to them, if they would buy in, that we would have a chance to have success.
"For me personally, I have to feel comfortable knowing there's a commitment to the young men on our team to give them the best opportunity for success in the classroom and on the football field, and if there's not, then it's hard for me to sell. So at times, whether we all like to admit it or not, there's a business aspect to this profession, probably more so than we would like to think. But I have to feel comfortable myself personally — and I don't use 'I' myself very often when we talk about Oklahoma State football — that there's a commitment in all different areas for our young men to have success.
"So when we go in those homes, the very most important thing we do is recruit young men who want to get a degree from Oklahoma State and be a part of that team, and that commitment has to be from both sides. So I'm comfortable with that. It doesn't mean I always agree with the decisions that are made, none of us do, but I do understand a chain of command, and at the end of the day, I say, yes, sir, and move forward."
10:50 a.m. update: By Jesse Newell
Kansas State coach Bill Snyder skipped the opening statement and went straight to questions. He's become a pro at talking without saying much.
A couple notes:
• Snyder was asked about being picked sixth in the conference, and he said ranking teams is a difficult task. He even declined to participate in national coaches polls in the past because he thought it would be a tough chore.
• When asked about his first assistant-coaching gig, Snyder said he made $6,000 a year in Gallatin, Mo. While there, he was an assistant coach for four sports, drove the bus and also taught four hours of Spanish.
10:20 a.m. update: By Jesse Newell
Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy just finished his time at the podium. Remember, the Cowboys were the media's preseason pick to win the league. Some notes:
• No decision has been made on a starting quarterback.
• Gundy thinks the Big 12 using an additional official to spot the ball is a good move. He believes it allows the other guys to give more attention to officiate the game.
10:03 a.m. update: By Matt Tait
Here's a just-posted story breaking down the key points that Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby talked about this morning ...
9:21 a.m. update: By Jesse Newell
Big 12 commish Bob Bowlsby just announced the conference would roll out a new logo starting next July. Didn't get my phone out quick enough, but you can check it out here.
9:11 a.m. update: By Jesse Newell
Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby is at the podium now, talking about how realignment has settled down. I think everyone's happy with that. We'll have some notes on what he says later.
In addition to the mannequins below, the Big 12 and Omni Hotel also have put up banners where each player and coach will sit during interviews this afternoon. These are all banners that are taller than me ... and I'm sure would be swiped up if more were printed off and available for sale.
Here's a look:
Oh, and here's one more pic, this one of KU's blue-uniform mannequin.
Original post: By Jesse Newell
Dallas — Welcome to KUsports.com's live coverage of Big 12 football media days, live from the Omni Hotel in Dallas.
Today marks the first of two days here in Dallas. Oklahoma State, Kansas State, TCU, Kansas and Texas Tech will all have their own time at the podium today, with KU coach Charlie Weis stepping to the mic at 11:30 a.m.
The Big 12 switched locations for football media days this year, and one of the main features in the main interview room are the player mannequins that have been set up in each team's jersey. Here's a look at KU's.
Be sure to check back throughout the day, as KU football beat writer Matt Tait and I will be posting updates to the blog. which will include videos and photos. You can also follow our updates on Twitter at our handles @jessenewell and @mctait.