Tuesday, April 24, 2012

New kids on the block: WVU, TCU, Charlie Weis league newbies

West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen, left, TCU coach Gary Patterson, center, and KU coach Charlie Weis are going through their first spring as part of the Big 12 Conference.

West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen, left, TCU coach Gary Patterson, center, and KU coach Charlie Weis are going through their first spring as part of the Big 12 Conference.


Monday morning marked the first official Big 12 football function for three coaches and two universities.

With spring football winding down and the conference’s head football coaches preparing to hand their players off to their strength staffs for the summer, Kansas University’s Charlie Weis joined TCU’s Gary Patterson and West Virginia’s Dana Holgorsen in discussing what the first few weeks of entering into new territory had been like.

Of the three, only KU is accustomed to the Big 12.

The same cannot be said for TCU and West Virginia, which are moving over from the Mountain West and Big East to take the spots vacated by the departure of Missouri and Texas A&M.;

“It’s always hard,” Patterson said Monday. “I’ve been in six conferences in the 15 years I’ve been here. I’ve always said it takes you two years. You gotta play everybody once, and then you gotta play everybody back to kind of give you a road map of what you need to do. We have played some (Big 12) schools, but not recently, so we gotta get ready to go.”

While that concept may be the one that rises to the surface and steals a few headlines, both Patterson and Holgorsen said they have not prepared much for their new league this spring.

“We’re a little bit more worried about ourselves,” Holgorsen said. “There’s a lot of things that we’re gonna have to do before we line up and play a Big 12 schedule, there’s no question.”

That said, both coaches owned up to the fact that they had at least thought a little about what being in the Big 12 would mean for their programs.

“There’s a lot of subtle things that are happening, with who the coaches are, how we practice, what the schemes are,” Holgorsen said. “But the specifics on who our opponents are or what they do, we’ll get into that more when the season gets around. ... There will be excitement about facing all of them. They’re all quality coaches, and we’re going to have our work cut out for each and every one of them.”

Added Patterson, who has had tremendous success of late while operating under the moniker of Giant Killer: “For us, recruiting-wise, we were already recruiting against these teams for those kinds of players a year ago. The saying out there, ‘Well, they weren’t in the Big 12,’ is one of the things we dealt with, and now, it’s, ‘Can they win in the Big 12?’ I think once we can prove that we can win in the Big 12, then I think you’re going to see a big change in how we do things.”

Weis was not asked about the league as much as he was about his second chance to be a college head coach. Asked if he had learned something from his five seasons at Notre Dame, Weis flashed his trademark honesty.

“You kidding me?” he responded. “I can’t tell you how many things. ... When you go through being a head coach the first time, you never want it to not work out, but (when it doesn’t) you have time to sit back and reflect and say, ‘Why did I do that?’ There’s so many things that you go through the first time that you say, ‘Well, if I have an opportunity, next time I’ll do it this way.’ I talked to (New England Patriots coach Bill) Belichick at great length about this earlier in our careers, and he told me the same thing — the second time around you learn so many things from the first time around about the right and wrong way of doing things. That doesn’t mean you don’t still make mistakes, but you learn by your mistakes, and you just make less of them.”

TCU scheduling

It may seem odd to some that KU’s first conference game of the 2012 season — Sept. 15 vs. TCU — actually comes before the final game of the Jayhawks’ nonconference schedule. Monday, Weis explained why.

“We actually had an option to play them a couple weeks later,” he said. “But I felt that players are creatures of habit, and what that would’ve done is we would’ve ended up having a bye in the third week instead of the fifth week. When you look at the big picture, once you get going into the season, you want to get going, you want to get into the season.”

Weis continued: “Playing TCU wasn’t gonna be good any time you ended up playing them, but the whole goal would be to start gaining some momentum early in the season. That goes back to trying to change that whole mentality thing. You’re gonna play some good teams in the Big 12. And you’re gonna play ’em on a regular basis. So rather than wait until the fifth week of the year to go ahead and play one, you might as well get your feet wet and (say), ‘Let’s get going.’”

Weis knows WVU

While TCU’s campus sits in the middle of one of the most fertile recruiting grounds for the Big 12, Weis said he also knew a little about the school in lesser-known Morgantown, W.Va.

“My first visit to West Virginia was many, many moons ago when I started working out some guys at the facility,” Weis recalled. “I really appreciate how rabid the fans are, and it’s a really tough place to play. The stadium is an awesome venue, and they have great fans, and it’ll be very difficult because they’re a very talented, well coached team.”

More praise for Crist

Asked Monday about the impact of Notre Dame transfer/projected starting quarterback Dayne Crist, Weis said the new QB’s impact was evident immediately.

“He’s on campus for about five minutes, and he’s already viewed by his peers as the leader of the team,” Weis said. “That is saying volumes about the situation, both pro and con. On the negative end, it means you’re lacking leadership. On the positive end, it means you have somebody who brings leadership to the table.”

Fambrough to be honored

Former KU player and coach Don Fambrough, who died last September, will be celebrated Saturday, prior to KU’s annual spring game, when stretches of two streets near Memorial Stadium will be renamed in his honor.

The ceremony, which will feature KU officials, Lawrence City Commissioner Hugh Carter and Fambrough’s son, Preston, will take place at 11:15 a.m. at what is now the intersection of 11th and Maine Streets.

The Lawrence City Commission voted in March to rename 11th Street, from Mississippi Street to Missouri Street, Fambrough Drive. KU will rename the stretch of Maine Street behind the Memorial Stadium press box Fambrough Way.

“Don Fambrough was an icon — not just on the KU campus, but across the state of Kansas,” KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger said. “He wore his passion for KU on his sleeve, and every day he proudly demonstrated his love for Kansas Football and Kansas Athletics. He loved his players, and they played their hearts out for him.”

Added Carter: “The City Commission and numerous community members were supportive of the decision to rename this section of 11th Street after Don Fambrough. Don was a long-time proponent of the university and the community. He was dedicated to his work with Kansas Athletics, but was also a passionate volunteer and fundraiser.”


kureader 10 years, 5 months ago

RIP Coach. This dedication, or the renaming of KU's football stadium/field should have happened during your lifetime.

Dirk Medema 10 years, 5 months ago

“He’s on campus for about five minutes, and he’s already viewed by his peers as the leader of the team,” Weis said. “That is saying volumes about the situation, both pro and con. On the negative end, it means you’re lacking leadership. On the positive end, it means you have somebody who brings leadership to the table.”

That says volumes about CW as well. Being thorough and objective.

kansas25 10 years, 5 months ago

It's not Kansas University! Does it bother anyone else that the LJW continues to write it the wrong way?

kansas25 10 years, 5 months ago

It has nothing to do with a style guide. It's wrong. I guess it matters more to me that the University of Kansas be addressed in the appropriate manner than it does you. That causes me to believe the University of Kansas is more important to me than you. Futhermore, continuing to print something wrong causes me to believe that a particular organization (in this case LJW) really has no idea what it's doing.

Ron Prichard 10 years, 5 months ago

That's pretty cool, thanks for posting the link. I didn't even know that existed. I agree with those that say it should be the University of Kansas, and apparently the University agrees. However, I'm not going to get bent out of shape over the paper using Kansas University. Reminds me of the Naked Gun when Lt. Frank Drebbin says, "Move along, there is nothing to see here!! Move along!"

10 years, 5 months ago

You bet, raprichard. I concur with your sentiment.

10 years, 5 months ago

From Matt Tait:

Smooth sailing: Coaches’ familiarity eases transition

Here's a little more info on where this started. I think there are some valid points in here and this came from someone who has been with our company for decades...

"The style was established when I came here decades ago. Everyone refers to the school as KU and Kansas University conversationally. It was not until sometime in the ‘60s or ‘70s when an edict came out of University Relations to refer to the school as The (note cap) University of Kansas… So for most of its history, folks have called it Kansas University. Rock Chalk Jayhawk, University of Kansas? Won’t hunt! Also, it is the Kansas University Alumni Association and the Kansas University Endowment Association."

April 12, 2012 at 3:07 p.m. ( permalink | Error! Hyperlink reference not valid. )

741hawk 10 years, 5 months ago

Thanks, Matt. Good to be informed. With that explanation, "Kansas25" should be appeased. Note: "Should."

Dale Stringer 10 years, 5 months ago

Maybe this could be the start to something like SEC scheduling. There teams seem to dispurse the patsy game through out the season. My guess is to keep there starters heathly.

John Randall 10 years, 5 months ago

Well, as long as KU continues to be the patsy game for everyone else, we'll just have to live with it – kind of like UK and Vandy . . .

jgkojak 10 years, 5 months ago

I still think they should have renamed Missouri St "Fambrough St" everywhere. Nothing would have made him prouder.

Displayhawk 10 years, 5 months ago

I agree with you to a certain extent. I was all for re-naming Missouri Street. But then I worked with a woman who lives on Missouri Street (south of 23rd street), and she was vehemently opposed to the idea, even though she is a KU fan. She said think about the time and expense of changing ALL of your records! Checks, credit cards, wills, etc. ....... literally everything with your address on it! It's easy to say it's no big deal when it doesn't apply to you, but there are a LOT of people that live on Missouri Street in the city of Lawrence. I think this is a fair compromise and still honors a great KU man, with a minimum of expense to the residents that live on that street.

Jeff Coffman 10 years, 5 months ago

She made the error of moving to Missouri when she lived in Lawrence. With that logic, we shouldn't right wrongs that were created many years ago.

Anyways, I'm sure that the mail/addresses etc, would work for years, and the process over time would have worked.

The honorable thing was to get Missouri out of Lawrence.

danmoore 10 years, 5 months ago

A couple of weeks ago someone posted a comment with a link to a story about the SEC and its questionable academic standards. Meant to read it but now I can't find it. Anyone know where that link is?

Bville Hawk 10 years, 5 months ago

Since we are on the subject of the SEC (barely), check out this link for an SEC application form, pretty funny.

jgrobb 10 years, 5 months ago

How many times are you going to post this, you dork?

Bville Hawk 10 years, 5 months ago

It's late enough in the day and I thought it was funny enough that I would put it on both football articles so people who enjoy a laugh wouldn't miss it.

Don't get your purple panties in a wad, you obviously have time on your hands since you're trolling on this site.

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