Here is the Cliff's Notes version from Kansas football coach Charlie Weis' comments at his press conference today.
• Weis has changed his team’s schedule this week. He’s trying to get his team out of a routine. Routines can be good, but they also sometimes can be bad, too. Today, KU won’t practice any special teams. It will spend all its time on offense and defense. The reason for that is many guys aren’t on special teams, so once they get their juices flowing in practice, they have to stand around and wait to get going again. Weis says his team has to do a better job of translating things from the classroom to the practice field, then from the practice field to the game field. Changing the practice routine is an example of a tweak that Weis thinks about on Saturday nights. When you lose and you accept it and you stand pat, that’s never a good thing.
• Weis knows who’s starting at QB for KU. He says he’s not going to say who it is because there’s no reason to tell WVU more information than he needs to. As a coach, Weis says he can’t go into practice not knowing who’s going to start at QB. Now, WVU has to prepare for two different QBs and two different offensive styles.
• The only receiver KU doesn’t have this week is Tre’ Parmalee, and he will be out for another week or two. A lot of the receivers were turning a corner before they got injured. Weis says he’ll be interested to see how that position plays out.
• All of KU’s offensive linemen pretty much played the whole game against Oklahoma State. Weis said Riley Spencer was more physical at the point of attack than anyone else that KU has had at right tackle.
• Weis says KU is in a must-win situation like WVU. Since KU was eliminated from bowl contention, these last three games are KU’s playoffs. Its bowl game is against Kansas State the last week. That’s how KU is approaching this week.
• Weis says the big difference between KU and Oklahoma State was chunks in the passing game. KU’s rush defense stifled OSU pretty well. KU rushed for 200 yards, and OSU hadn’t been getting near that.
• JaCorey Shepherd is very gifted with the ball in his hands. That’s why he originally was an offensive player, though he had some problems as a receiver catching it earlier in his career. Catching a kickoff usually isn’t a tough thing to do, because no defender is around you when you catch it. Shepherd is good at kickoff return because he’s fast, physical, can read the openings and run with power. Weis is going to use him again at kickoff return this week. He’s proven to be KU’s best kickoff returner. Weis would rather not use him there, as KU is thin at corner, but you have to put your best player there.
• It’s been good for KU to ease quarterback Montell Cozart into games. In the beginning, he was pretty nervous. Each week, he’s gotten more comfortable. One tough thing is calling the plays. It’s not as easy as people think it is. An example of a play call is, “Zero out slot alert fip jep 36 sub Z swing on the second sound.” There’s a lot of talking in there. Then, the quarterback has to process that information.
• When Cozart sees something he doesn’t like on defense, he keeps the ball and runs. Sometimes in college football, a play looks like garbage, and a QB still takes off for 30 yards down the sideline. There were times in the OSU game when QB coach Ron Powlus wanted to say something to Cozart after he improvised, and Weis told him to not say anything. Weis calls those ‘Attaboy’ plays. Weis says the worst thing you could do is freeze on the field. Weis says there are times when he doesn’t know what’s going to happen. Cozart gave Weis a heart-attack when he reversed field on one run against OSU, then he turned it into a nice gain.
• KU went through a brutal stretch with a lot of ranked teams recently. Weis doesn’t look at the schedule as being softer through the next three weeks. The good news for WVU is it scored 40 against a good defense (Texas). The bad news is it allowed 47. Weis respects everybody. He has to be more concerned with what his guys do, though.
• Weis hasn’t seen his team quit this year. A win against WVU would change the atmosphere in KU’s football facility.
• Weis thinks there was some good and some bad with Tony Pierson in his return against Oklahoma State. He looked a little tentative, but he didn’t look tentative when he ran the sweeps and reverses. Weis thinks he will be less tentative this week. Weis thinks that after you have a concussion, you probably have that thought in the back of your mind that another hit could give you a second concussion.
• Jake Heaps wants to be the starting quarterback and wants to be in there every snap. But he’s such a team guy that he’s handled the situation well.
• Running back Darrian Miller has some personal issues he has to deal with that are more important than football. When they get resolved, he’ll be back. He is not in trouble with school or with the football team.
• KU had a couple of screens that should have been home runs against Oklahoma State, but its receivers missed a couple of crack blocks. A couple plays that went a couple yards could have went for 50 yards. Weis went to the screen pass a lot against OSU because it’s a short completion that has little risk.