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KU coaching staff already comfortable entering Year 2

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At this time last year, many of the coaches and even a few of the players in the Kansas University football locker room were new to Lawrence and new to the KU fan base.

Hard to believe, isn't it?

It sure doesn't that seem that way. Maybe it's just the desire to be the debacle that was the Turner Gill Era in the past or maybe it's the personality and presence that the new crew possesses. Either way, it seems as if head coach Charlie Weis and company have been in town for a lot longer than 15 months. And I'm not the only one that feels that way.

“It does a little bit,” said KU quarterbacks coach Ron Powlus when I asked him if it felt like he'd been around longer than one season. “Because we've invested so much here. And not just in this building but my family and being in town. I mean, we love being a part of this community and this campus.”

Therein lies one of the biggest reasons that even though the record looked worse the first year of the Weis era was an absolute success. Never did Gill truly seem like a part of the community. Never did he seem to have genuine pride in KU or the program. That's not a knock. It's the truth. And it's not that way for Weis.

Weis, a man with homes, ties and connections in many different areas of the country, already has made it clear that Lawrence and KU are important to him and his family. He brought his son with him and moved his annual Hannah & Friends golf tournament to nearby Firekeeper Golf Course just months after arriving in town — that's scheduled for late June and should be a blast, by the way. In addition, when he's not out recruiting, Weis is a regular at KU basketball games. And he's not just there. He's into it. He puts off the same vibe about KU's other sports through his Twitter feed by routinely commenting on and congratulating the women's basketball, volleyball and track and field teams.

When it comes to football, Weis' staff routinely follows his lead down whatever path he sees fit. So maybe that's one of the biggest reasons that the beginning of Year 2 feels more like the beginning of Year 5. Either way, these guys are comfortable here and that can only help the program move forward.

“I do feel like I've been here (a while) but it becomes obvious that I haven't when I don't know a lot of people yet,” Powlus said. “We're still learning people and meeting people and it's great. It's a welcoming community, both on campus in athletics and in the community. We feel like we've been here forever and we'd love to stay here forever.”

Comments

Bob Bailey 7 years, 4 months ago

Learn to teach Defense, you''l be here forever!

Boouk 7 years, 4 months ago

Campo should be able to play a lot more man coverage and blitz more this year. He should, as last year's zones were predictable and easy to pick apart with screens and play-fakes.

Boouk 7 years, 4 months ago

Even though the special teams and defense will probably never be better than average during Weis' time at KU, we're still lucky to have him. His recruiting plan with all the JUCO's is the best way to get the best players to KU, and the offense will obviously improve tremendously with upgrades at QB, WR, and TE.

Boouk 7 years, 4 months ago

Ralster, I love the optimism, and you brought up a great point in Campo's emphasis on fundamentals and the vastly upgraded and deeper secondary, but I don't think KU's defense will ever be better than average (3rd or 4th in the Big 12 in ppg given up) because Campo will probably still play too much zone coverage and not blitz enough with press-man coverage to knock off the timing of all the NFL caliber QB's and WR's that Big 12 teams have.

Steven Mathew 7 years, 4 months ago

Why can't people shut up and wait? Because "predictions" are half of sports conversations. He got you to talk didn't he.

Reuben_J_Cogburn 7 years, 4 months ago

Recruiting? Just fine.

In-game coaching? The jury is still out.

See to believe, I suppose.

Reuben_J_Cogburn 7 years, 4 months ago

Weis is a likeable guy....no questions asked. And he is deserving, perhaps, of a free pass for that embarrassing debacle of a first season; due to the absolute abyss Lew Perkins and Turner Gill decided to create.

But I fear that if Weis fails to show signfiicant signs of improvement (meaning WINS) during this second year, we may be faced with yet another hot seat situation....a fate that might become a familiar routine over the course of the next decade.

Such is the plight of KU Football. Doomed by competition until doomed by our own actions.

Brad Farha 7 years, 4 months ago

It's my fervent hope that our AD won't be so quick to pull the trigger if the 2nd season is a bad one. I suspect he didn't give Turner Gill more than two seasons because he saw things going the wrong way, and he saw nothing in TG that indicated it would change.

Steve Reigle 7 years, 4 months ago

And we have no idea what transpired behind closed doors. How Gill reacted to Zenger in their discussions. Etc. All those things factor into the decision to keep or get rid of a coach. Or anyone. In any business.

Brad Farha 7 years, 4 months ago

I'm drinking the Kool-Aid. This Fall will be the 9th year in a row for season tickets, and I can't wait. My expectations are reasonable, but I'll be there each game supporting the team. I love where the program is headed.

Reuben_J_Cogburn 7 years, 4 months ago

Me too....I'm just wary of the Kool-Aid.

Maybe it's because I drank so much of it last year.

frompekka2sasha 7 years, 4 months ago

I'm a realist. Although last year was rough I really do believe that we are going to a BCS bowl. The difference between us and KSU is that we win them.

lushiouslush 7 years, 4 months ago

Do we need to make every article about Weis abot how much better he is than Gill? It's getting exhausting. Is Weis a better coach? most likely. I don't remember a quarter of the articles about how bare Mangino left the cubbard for Gill, but when Gill does it to Weis it's a free pass and he gets built up over and over for how many JUCO recruits he brought in. I just think we need to stop making everything Gill versus Weis based.

If we want the program to be better we shouldn't just be giving free passes to Weis because of Gill. I don't think Weis will be a bad coach, but we don't need to butter him or his staff up at every opportunity. Not questioning his decisions will only hinder the program, not help it. At least pull the blinders off a little with the reporting and questioning.

texashawk10 7 years, 4 months ago

Mangino didn't leave the program as bare people want to believe. There was a decent amount of talent on that team (at least enough to beat a top 15 team) and Gill completely wasted the talent that he inherited and couldn't develop anybody.

Jack Jones 7 years, 4 months ago

Live'in the past is just too much fun, isn't it? And so productive!!

lushiouslush 7 years, 4 months ago

I never said he is gonna be a bad coach. He's not my favorite, but we seem to be going in the same direction. I'm just tired of every article being about Weis vs Gill. It's time to move on.

milehighhawk 7 years, 4 months ago

Seemed like a bit of a cheap shot on Gill.

C'mon, Matt, I like your stuff, buddy! He may have been a lousy coach, but unless I've missed something, I had a fairly firm impression that people felt he was a nice, decent guy. To suggest he didn't give a rip about the community seems a bit harsh to have as an aside in an otherwise solid story.

Matt Tait 7 years, 4 months ago

I never said he didn't give a rip about the community. Just that he never seemed like a part of it. That's two different things.

I was around Gill as much as anyone excluding those who lived with him or worked/played for him and I never got the sense that he was truly happy to be in Lawrence. He came for the opportunity to coach in the Big 12 and that's OK, but he never let people in, never connected with the fan base or the donors and I believe that had a lot to do with his departure.

I'm not into taking cheap shots. Never have been and won't start now. But sometimes just stating the facts takes you down that road.

Phoghorn 7 years, 4 months ago

Mr. Tait, that is one of the most interesting and thought-provoking reviews of Coach Gill that I have ever seen on here.

I gave Coach Gill a free pass for his entire first year. I knew that year was going to be very difficult, and I was less surprised than most folks when we lost to North Dakota State.

I finally gave up on Coach Gill late in his second season. I did not expect us to go to an Orange Bowl, given the fact that we had such a young team, but I was hoping to see us at least beat the teams we should beat, and then have competitive losses with an upset win or two mixed in when we played the big boys.

It was only late in his second season when I strongly suspected that Coach Gill might not have been terribly happy in Lawrence.

If my name was Jaybate, I would give you a PHOF!

Ray Winger 7 years, 4 months ago

ralster......If prose can be animated........You done it, baby!

TulsaJayhawk 7 years, 4 months ago

I'm a late poster for this article, but ralster is spot on.

vd 7 years, 3 months ago

Not winning 4 games because of a play or two, Weiss is a great improvement. Gill loses 4 games because of a play or two, and he's a horrible coach. CW wins 1 game and his team looks better then Gill's 2 win team. We understand. Gill is not conected with the U, even though his daughter is a student. We understand.

bad_dog 7 years, 4 months ago

While ultimately the metric most important to fans, the teams W-L record is not the only thing one could be "comfortable" or "uncomfortable" about as a member of the coaching staff. I suspect they are quite uncomfortable with the record, but much more comfortable with the school administration, facilities, recruiting to KU, coaches roles, player personnel, the Lawrence community, etc. , etc.

Reuben_J_Cogburn 7 years, 4 months ago

...well that's adorable. Glad everyone's comfortable with the plush environment. It's like a warm blanket.

In the meantime, we're 6-30 over the past 3 years.

But as long as everyone likes the school adminstration, altheltic facilities, restaurants and golf courses.....

Reuben_J_Cogburn 7 years, 4 months ago

Absolutely hate to say it, but I agree with all those points. And we're still paying off Mangino and Gill as well........so the answer is 3.

JJHAWK 7 years, 4 months ago

Havecents - if I was the KU coaches I would be more 'comfortable' at the start of spring ball this year than I was at the start of spring ball last year.

For one: Special teams - especially Kickers has a chance to at least be average. Last year was a dismal failure (an inherited problem Weis had to suffer through). He has had 1 year to recruit to that position so now it is his talent that we can judge - not Gills.

For Two: Quarterback - Christ was coming off an injury - hadn't been getting reps. Heaps got lots of reps last year and everyone says he tore it up. Plus he had a very good year a BYU as a Freshman - so I think I'm more comfortable with our QB situation. Even our backup has had a year under his belt so he should be better.

For three: Running backs - our number one running back is not starting the season with a 3 game suspension. I'm a lot more comfortable with that.

For four: Our skilled pass catchers were substantially below average last year. Weis seems to have recruited well here so we have a chance to at least be average. Even that will make us better. It makes me feel more comfortable than last year at this time.

For five: Team attitude - rereading some of the players interviews has lead me to believe that some of the players that graduated were a me 1st and not a team first (just some comments when players talk about team unity this year). Small perhaps, but I feel more comfortable that this years team is more team oriented.

Last: I am definitely more comfortable with the talent level on defense this year than last year.

Does this mean more victorys. Who knows - that's why they play the games - but I certainly hope so. But off season speculating is part of the fun for fans - reason for blogs and so forth. Myself, I can't wait to see what Weis and Co. does in recruiting and in competition this year.

My optimism is that if Weis & Co continue to have recruiting classes in the middle of the Big 12, then eventually our results will be middle of the big 12. Last year, everyone in the B12 except us went bowling. Being a program with 6-7 victories a year and a bowl game - I can live with that. Go KU.

Reuben_J_Cogburn 7 years, 4 months ago

Ralster,

You're fired up today. I love the enthusiasm; optimism, and blind fandom.

Keep in mind, the people on here are starving for victory and a rise to relevancy. You know me...I've been a pessimist from the start.

But admit it....you can't blame KU fans for being negative or for remaining in utter disbelief of any hype surrounding this football program.

Weis is a good talker, but unfortunately, talk is worthless. For many of us, it's not fairweather fandom.......moreoever it's refusing to accept failure and humiliation as the standard of KU Football. And much of the rhetoric from this staff can be conceived as excuse-conjurring.

Unfortunately, the only thing that will shut up people like me is success on the field. And I hate to break it to you, but the only success that matters is winning.

Win games. Silence the haters.

Rock Chalk.

TxJyHwk 7 years, 4 months ago

Some of us did see a lot of improvement last year, regardless of the W-L record. That is why are willing to give a little bit of time to turn it around. Under Gill, we were going the other way.

To build a consistent program does take time. Sure, you could do things to create immediate impact...but those things rarely last. For instance, whatever Snyder brings to the KSU program....they have ONLY been good when he was coaching

TulsaJayhawk 7 years, 4 months ago

       "For many of us, it's not fairweather fandom.......moreoever it's refusing to accept failure and humiliation as the standard of KU Football."

RJC has just summed up the passion.

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