Charles in Charge: With Weis in place, where does KU go from here?

Charlie Weis addresses media members alongside Kansas University athletic director Sheahon Zenger and Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little during a news conference on Friday, Dec. 9, 2011, at the Anderson Family Football Complex.

Charlie Weis addresses media members alongside Kansas University athletic director Sheahon Zenger and Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little during a news conference on Friday, Dec. 9, 2011, at the Anderson Family Football Complex. by Nick Krug

The weekend of Weis has come and gone and, by now, people seem to be coming to terms with the fact that Charlie Weis actually is coming to Kansas to coach football.

Fact is, he’s already started.

Weis, who was introduced as the Jayhawks’ 37th coach in history last Friday, welcomed a handful of recruits to town this week for the KU-Ohio State men’s basketball game.

In addition, he’s expected to hit the road to recruit sometime this week.

While we don’t yet know where that will take him, it’s safe to assume he’ll meet with some pretty big time players. Weis already has thrown out some offers to some of the top players in the country.

I know many are also hearing rumors about current KU players leaving the program and it’s safe to say that is happening. Who and how many has not yet been determined, but you can bet that it will be around 10.

Several players who had committed to KU under former coach Turner Gill also have changed their minds. Florida cornerback Daniel Gray bailed midway through the season, Washington D.C. defensive lineman De’Jon Wilson dropped KU and committed to Colorado last month and Florida quarterback Bilal Marshall recently switched his commitment from Kansas to Purdue.

This, too, is to be expected. And it does not indicate a problem with the program or with Weis. Many times, when new coaches take over, players who were recruited to fit one style find out that they don’t fit the new style and they choose to go elsewhere. The same could be true for the players already on the roster. The bottom line is this: If they won’t fit and don’t want to be here, KU doesn’t want them taking up a scholarship.

At the end of the week, after guys leave and the final number is set, Weis may be able to target a 2012 class of around 20 guys, which would seem to be a good thing for KU.

Much more on that in the next few days.

As for now, here are a couple of things we’re hearing and/or working on:

Still trying to track down leads on Charlie Weis’ first coaching staff at Kansas. Weis said at his introductory press conference that he’d take a few days to get it nailed down and that 80-to-90 percent of it should be done quickly.

We already know that running backs coach/recruiting coordinator Reggie Mitchell is staying and we have a strong feeling that wide receivers coach David Beaty may stay, too. Keeping both would be huge for Kansas.

As for new names, one that’s starting to hum a little louder today is Tim Grunhard, former Notre Dame and Kansas City Chiefs star and current head coach at Bishop Miege. Reports have indicated that Grunhard has called a meeting with his team and staff at Miege. Could be to tell them he’s leaving. Grunhard, who likely would coach the offensive line, would be a good pick up. He’s a tireless worker, a great football mind and would go a long way toward helping KU land the Kansas and Kansas City kids.

Another name that’s been kicked around quite a bit is Jim Leavitt, the former South Florida head coach who now coaches the linebackers for the 49ers and has deep ties to KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger. Many have speculated that Weis could hire Leavitt as his defensive coordinator. Don’t look for that to happen.

Vic Koenning, who served as the DC under Ron Zook at Illinois, could be a guy worth watching for the same position here. Koenning was the interim head coach for the Illini after Zook was fired and the new staff at UI may want to keep him. But it seems likely that he’d at least get a call from Weis and KU.

Other names to keep an eye on include: Ruben Mendoza, who was Weis’ strength coach at Notre Dame; John Latina, who coached the O-Line under Weis at Notre Dame; Clint Bowen, former KU player and defensive coordinator could be eyeing a return to Lawrence as a position coach; It also seems as if KU defensive line coach Buddy Wyatt has more than a fair chance to stick around; Ron Powlus, former Notre Dame quarterback (before Weis) who coached QBs under Weis and also spent time as the QBs coach at Akron.

No news on Notre Dame quarterback Dayne Crist yet. Haven’t been able to track him down to see how his visit went, but the feedback I have been able to gather from people in town said he had a good time and that everyone who met him really enjoyed him.

Crist, of course, is the Notre Dame senior whom Weis recruited who is scheduled to graduate this month and, therefore, would be eligible to use his final year to play at another school immediately.

The 6-foot-4, 235-pound pocket passer from Canoga Park, Calif., is a big-time talent. Crist chose Notre Dame — largely because of Weis — over offers from Florida State, Stanford, Michigan, Nebraska and USC.

During his senior season in high school, ranked him the 25th-best prospect in the nation, the second-best pro-style quarterback in the country and fourth-best recruit in California. He also was rated the 22nd-best player on the ESPN 150 list.

After not playing at Notre Dame in 2008, he played in a combined 13 games during 2009 and 2010, but saw each season cut short because of knee injuries.

This season, he was named the starter during fall camp and started Notre Dame’s season opener. However, during that opening game, he was benched and remained a back-up the rest of the way.

Here’s a look at the latest on Crist, from the Chicago Tribune.,0,4383029.story

Finally, I’ve had a lot of requests to keep the daily blog going for a while and I will certainly try to do that. It might not be updated every hour, but I’ll try to throw it up there so that when news happens I can add it. In the meantime, it can serve as a great place for those who want to talk more about the program to chat it up in the comments section.

That said, the later part of this week may be a little slow in that regard. I’m going to take a few days to do nothing and recover from the craziness. Starting early next week, though, I’ll dive back in 100 percent.

It’s going to be fun from here on out.

Stay tuned...



Gregor Southard 2 years, 4 months ago

Everyone deserves a break now and then. And by the way, Jaybate writes on here a lot but its just a lot of ramblings not making much sense. Tait actually knows what he's talking about


ja3hawk 2 years, 4 months ago

Grunhard, official... sweet...


Brak 2 years, 4 months ago

Thanks for all the hard work Matt especially all your tireless efforts keeping us informed with the conference realignment and the new coach search. Even if a lot of it is just speculation it gives me my Jayhawk fix, which I guess makes you my dealer. I got 5 on it........


JJHAWK 2 years, 4 months ago


One rumor (a single poster) on this site said Webb was leaving/losing his scholarship. Have you heard anything on that? Plus really interested in who might be leaving.



MtOread88 2 years, 4 months ago

Matt - what are the rumors, if any, regarding the potential offensive and defensive coordinators that HCCW may be considering?

While I think the Weis hire was great, it won't be complete until we know who the D-coordinator will be.


FSUJHAWK 2 years, 4 months ago

Thanks Matt. Do your thang!



Kevin Kelly 2 years, 4 months ago

Let me get this straight. Does anyone...I'm sorry does 'that one guy' who thinks Matt dosn't work hard read the rest of this paper. The rest of this sports section of the paper?

The other people employed at this paper?

Seriously many times has Keegan said the phrase, "This writes itself!"?


KU_Alumn_2000 2 years, 4 months ago

Yeah Matt - the large majority of us are appreciative of your work. Don't let the 0.00001% of the negative dudes make you think that you're not appreciated. We know you work hard !


DrGraydog 2 years, 4 months ago


appreciate all your hard work....take some time, have a drink (or two), get rested and come back with a vengeance....


Matt Tait 2 years, 4 months ago

Wow. Would've never guessed that those last two paragraphs would've caused such a fuss. My bad. Next time, I won't mention a word.

Just wanted to point out to those who may be looking for the blog every day that it might not be up for a few days but that it will be back very, very soon.

That's all.

Not bragging about how hard I work, not looking for sympathy. Just trying to keep you all informed, which is what I strive to do every day with KU athletics.

Moving on....


squawkhawk 2 years, 4 months ago

What's with all the KSU guys? We call them our little brother but it seems like we keep hiring, or try to hire, their former coaches (Mangino, Clements, Leavitts, Koennig, Dimel, Venable).


squawkhawk 2 years, 4 months ago

What's with all the KSU guys? We call them our little brother but it seems like we keep hiring, or try to hire, their former coaches (Mangino, Clements, Leavitts, Koennig, Dimel, Venable).


manginorh00lz 2 years, 4 months ago

Step 1: Put the names back on the uniforms. Step 2: Win 7 games Step 3: Prepare a plan for a brand new stadium Step 4: Build the new stadium Step 5: Accept invitation to PAC Step 6: Dominate next 100 years


JhawkalumJB 2 years, 4 months ago

Hey Matt, There is continued interest on this site and in general about the potential of removing the track from Memorial Stadium. I am wondering if this has ever seriously been considered by administration? What would be the estimated cost? Are there any future plans of doing it?

I love attending the football games (season tickets annually). The track seems so "J.V." compared to other football stadiums around the country and definitely throughout the Big12. I can't help but wonder with the recent events of investing in football and commitment to improvement if the track removal has been considered. Also, I wonder how far the buyout money we gave Gill and Mangino would have gotten us towards a track removal project.

After some well deserved rest could you work some of your connections at KU Athletics and ask if the track removal is anywhere in our future plans? I'm sure I'm not the only one wondering about it. When I think about it I think the west campus would be a great location for a new track, or maybe somewhere by the soccer complex.

Your feedback and insight on this would be very interesting. Thanks!


JhawkalumJB 2 years, 4 months ago

Thanks for your updates and perpetual efforts to keep KU football fans current and up to date. You're the man!


blackhawkjayhawk 2 years, 4 months ago

Crist will be a tough get if Wisconsin really wants him.....would RG3 consider transferring?


andrewbary 2 years, 4 months ago

Matt, you're great. Get some rest, we look forward to your continued updates. You are my only concrete link to Jayhawk Nation from here in DC.


Mike Kendall 2 years, 4 months ago


Enjoy the R & R. You deserve it. Thanks for the coverage. I don't take your coverage or you for granted!

Go Jayhawks!


jhox 2 years, 4 months ago

Someone floated a rumor this morning about Miller being one of the kids who plans to transfer. I really hope this isn't true. He's the best back KU has seen in years. Weis needs to make it job one to keep him in a Jayhawk uniform, and Shepherd should be job two (he was also mentioned as a transferee.)

I hope once Weis has that hip surgery, he does something about his weight, and improving his health. He just doesn't look like a guy who is going to have the energy to take on the kind of work load this rebuild is going to require.


jaybate 2 years, 4 months ago

Where next?


BGL has Sheahon fly from MCI to South Bend, rent a car and drive out to the unincorportated community of Notre Dame, Indiana.


Find Father John Jenkins office.

Ask Father Jenkins if he feels Vita, Dulcedo, Spes towards the Big 12 yet?

Ask Father Jenkins, if he feels Notre Dame and/or the entire Big East might be willing to join the Big 12 now?

Ask Father Jenkins if there is anything else he requires to help him make his choice.

Tell him that BGL holds him in the utmost esteem and would be very privileged to work with him in any constructive way possible in a merged Big East-Big 12 conference. Tell him that BGL would actually like to relinquish her role in putting the Big 12 conference in order, and would be honored if Father Jenkins, or anyone Father Jenkins might select, would be placed in the role of Big East-Big 12 conference commissioner, so that she, BGL, were able to get back to some of her more pressing duties including expanding Memorial Stadium to 75,000 seats and luxury boxes for Mr. Weis.

That should do it. :-)

Oh, one more thing: smile politely and humbly and await his response.


KEITHMILES05 2 years, 4 months ago

Matt: There is rampant talk of the horrendous academic situation with the KU football team and failed drug testing. When is this going to be addressed? It's been said Gill thought it wasn't his job to get the guys to class and a fairly good percentage of them didn't go.


BrooksideJayhawk 2 years, 4 months ago


Thanks for addressing the issue of transfers. One other issue that seems to have caught fire among football fans is academics. Specifically: Some number of players (varies on who tells the story and how much alcohol they've had) have not been attending class and are not doing satisfactory classroom work. It would be nice to hear (or read) the truth.


Pbbut 2 years, 4 months ago

Matt: FLJHK brought it up, not me! But seriously, is there anything going on with realignment?
I know the coaching change has had you jumping, but right in the middle of all of it was a story about L'Ville joining the conference. Wasn't there a meeting that conference leadership was supposed to have with expansion was on the agenda? Am I dreaming all of this? I believe we need to get to 12.


d_prowess 2 years, 4 months ago

Considering how he tirelessly works to report on KU, I am shocked that Tait only has about 2,700 twitter followers! He is @mctait if you are on there.


ahpersecoachingexperience 2 years, 4 months ago

p> employee of the year percentage wheel

Tait 51% Newell 49% Keegan -5,000,000%


FLJHK 2 years, 4 months ago

Matt: Through re-alignment and the football coaching search you've been a rock. I, like many, have become addicted to your updates. I hope you realize how much we have appreciated your tireless efforts. Thank you!


kureignman 2 years, 4 months ago

Thanks for the updates Matt. Vic Koening would be a fantastic addition. I don't know their exact number, but I'm pretty sure the Illini had a top 10 D. Let's hope we can nail down this coaching staff so we can go grab a great recruiting class.


Jim Jackson 2 years, 4 months ago

C'mon Tait! Your paid to do this. I don't get a few days off for working overtime! Haha Nice work Tait.


d_prowess 2 years, 4 months ago

You've earned some time to recharge Tait. You brought it big-time through all of this...


Displayhawk 2 years, 4 months ago

Thank you Matt, for all your hard work! We appreciate it!


royaljayhawk 2 years, 4 months ago

Thanks Matt! Good stuff as always. Will look forward to seeing the blog run for a few more days. I was so happy to see it back after Gill was fired. It's almost become a part of my everyday regime now with all of the realignment and coaching updates the last few months. Thanks again and keep up the good work!


Tony Bushard 2 years, 4 months ago

Great stuff Matt. What about offensive coordinator?


Kevin Crook 2 years, 4 months ago

Why not his buddy Romeo Crennell as DC?


5to6 2 years, 4 months ago

Thanks for the updates, Matt. It's definitely a positive sign regarding fan interest in football that you're being asked to provide continuing breaking updates.


mdfraz 2 years, 4 months ago

You deserve the rest, Matt. Thanks for keeping us fed with whatever info you could get your hands on. Ultimately all of the speculation is pretty pointless for us fans, but it certainly makes things a lot more interesting. Glad to hear you are planning to keep up the blog.


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