Cliff’s Notes: Charlie Weis press conference, 10/23/12
Here is the Cliff's Notes version from Kansas football coach Charlie Weis' comments at his press conference today.
Lots of changes to the depth chart this week, especially on the offensive side, with Michael Cummings listed as the starting quarterback and left guard Damon Martin listed as a co-starter.
• A lot of the fast guys on defense are already on special teams. Weis said that he told KU special teams coordinator Clint Bowen — after jokingly saying he threw up following last week's game — that Bowen could use anyone he wants for special teams this coming week. There will be no limitations. Weis isn't throwing his players under the bus. Sometimes, guys have to make a play. But a lot of coaching has to go into it, too.
• Weis says some of the problems on special teams stem from KU not getting production out of its specialist. Special teams get noticed more when the specialist is struggling. For example, kickoff return gets noticed more because KU hasn't had many touchbacks this year.
• Weis said quarterback Michael Cummings will start at quarterback. There will be no "OR" on the depth chart. Both Cummings and Dayne Crist have been told that Cummings will start. Weis thinks he owes it to his team to see what Cummings has. The game at Oklahoma wasn't too big for Cummings, who handled himself well.
• Crist will still have some plays that are specifically for him. Most of those will be third-down-type plays. The foundation of the play sheet has to be for the starter, though. Crist will remain as a captain. He was voted that by the team.
• The season isn't over yet, but Crist and Weis are both disappointed about Crist's production. Weis says his job is to put his team in an upward spiral and not a downward spiral. If your team is struggling, you can't stay status quo.
• The coaching staff doesn't sit still and play guys because they're entitled. Duane Zlatnik and Damon Martin will be listed as co-starters at left guard. After last week's tape, Weis said Martin might deserve to start. Chris Omigie also will be listed as a starter at the X receiver position.
• Weis will go into this week assuming that receiver Daymond Patterson will not play. Weis says head injuries are ones you don't mess with.
• In the drive he was in against Oklahoma, Damon Martin played well. If you'd have asked Weis last spring if Martin would have played this year, he probably would have said no. Martin has just gotten better and better. He was always strong, but now he's playing to his strength. He's starting to figure things out mentally.
• Defensive back JaCorey Shepherd is always around the receiver. Now, KU just has to get him to make plays on the ball.
• Running back Tony Pierson's elbow is better. He got about 14-15 touches last week. He felt good after the game. He was a little bit worried about what might happen the first time he was hit.
• Tight end Jimmay Mundine is one guy who has been productive in the pass game but hasn't been as good in the run game. With as much as KU runs the ball, he's not going to get in as much until he improves his blocking. He's learning with that.
• Weis says he could design the offense to get KU to score more points, but it wouldn't be beneficial for the whole team. Opening it up would most likely lead to more turnovers and would put more pressure on KU's defense. KU's strength right now is running the football, so Weis is trying to cater to what KU does best.
• Weis says KU's coaches know what they have to do: They have to coach the heck out of the guys they have and also get more players. Weis believes he has a quality coaching staff. Recruiting is the lifeline, along with the development of your own players. Weis would love to do what Texas did last week, which is play the same defensive coverage on every play and then relax as a coach. That's not possible for KU at this point.
• KU has some players where you say, "They could be really good players." There are some players that are just going to be OK players. Weis was that when he played, if he was even OK. Weis says the coaches' responsibility is to get the most out of each player as possible.
• Weis believes wide receiver Justin McCay has made big strides. He didn't stand out in the spring, but Weis believes that's because he was worried about all of his eligibility issues.
• The young quarterbacks — like Cummings — know they have their work cut out if they want to beat out Jake Heaps next year. They see during Sunday practices how good he is. Cummings doesn't want it to be Heaps' job next year. He wants it to be his job.
• KU defensive coordinator Dave Campo told Weis he did as much practicing this past Sunday as he had in any practice this year. You can do more individual work on that day.
• Weis has known Texas coach Mack Brown for a long time. Weis says he's a big fan.
• Weis says he'll be targeting every position at the junior-college level this season except for quarterback. Weis said he could even take one running back, even though there's not a great need there.
• When asked about his goals for the rest of this year, Weis says, first, he'd like to win a conference game, and second, he'd like to win a road game.
• Weis says Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Brady Quinn is one of the favorite people he's ever met. Unfortunately, Chiefs' QB Matt Cassel is also in that category. Weis will support both guys whatever their roles are.