Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Jayhawks’ bye week spent on preparation, not relaxation

In this Sept. 1, 2012, file photo, Kansas State coach Bill Snyder, center, talks to his team during a timeout in a game against Missouri State in Manhattan.

In this Sept. 1, 2012, file photo, Kansas State coach Bill Snyder, center, talks to his team during a timeout in a game against Missouri State in Manhattan.


Although Kansas University’s football team was off last week, the Jayhawks’ bye afforded them very few opportunities to kick back, put their feet up and relax.

“It wasn’t a light week for ’em,” KU coach Charlie Weis said Tuesday during his weekly meeting with the media. “They probably hit more last week than they’ve hit any week the entire season. They hit Tuesday, they hit Wednesday, they hit Thursday, and everything was full-speed. Quarterbacks were live the whole week, too. There were no red jerseys out there.”

Weis said the week of physicality was designed to emphasize the importance of finishing off opponents. His players said the off week was demanding.

“It’s football, man,” said senior tight end Mike Ragone. “This ain’t tennis. We just want to compete, and we bring it. We wanted to go full-speed. We need it.”

The extra work put in last week was not limited to the players. Weis put himself through a rather rigorous week in the film room, too. Heading into last week, KU’s first-year coach had watched plenty of film on the Wildcats. He had seen their schemes, personnel, tendencies and a lot of talent. And then he looked for more.

“What I did, that you don’t really have time to do usually, is I went in and did Kansas State’s entire team,” Weis said. “I went and just watched the left guard. And then I met with the defense on Sunday and said, ‘OK, here’s the left guard. This is who he is. This isn’t just how tall he is, this isn’t just his name and his hometown, this isn’t his status in school. This is who he is.’”

He continued.

“Here’s the left tackle — 6-9, 325 pounds,” he said. “What can I tell you about him? What things can I tell you to get you better prepared to play against him?”

Weis did that with every relevant player in every game the Wildcats had played this season, all with the idea of gaining an edge — however small — for his players to take advantage of when they travel to Manhattan for Saturday’s 11 a.m. kickoff against the seventh-ranked Wildcats.

“Learning what they’re doing really isn’t the issue,” Weis said. “It’s learning what they’re doing with who they have this year — what are they doing now that they weren’t doing and why are they doing it? And then what are you gonna do about it?”

In every way, Weis has the utmost respect for K-State coach Bill Snyder and the program he has built, going as far even as to call it “a role model” for what he would like to build in Lawrence. But having respect for an opponent and lying down for him are different things, and, respect or not, Weis has done and will continue to do everything he can to put his Jayhawks in a position to win this weekend.

“You can’t go to a game saying, ‘Well, we’re 1-3, they’re 4-0, let’s go in there and just try to keep it close. The fan base’ll be happy. Just go in there and try to keep it close.’” Weis said. “I’d rather lose by 100 trying to win.”

More on Snyder

There’s a story Weis likes to tell about the time he was working for Bill Parcells and was sent to Manhattan to talk to Snyder about an offensive lineman Parcells had interest in drafting. Before making the trip to the Little Apple, Weis requested a meeting with Snyder, and, when he arrived, Snyder’s secretary politely asked Weis to wait. Hours later, according to Weis, he continued to wait. Once Snyder finally came out, the two coaches met “for 30 seconds and that was the end of it.”

Weis surely never imagined he one day would square off against Snyder in the Sunflower Showdown, but the brief meeting and all that waiting did nothing to alter the respect Weis had for the legendary KSU coach.

“A lot of times when people have an in-state rival, they want you to say negative things,” Weis said. “But it’s kind of tough for me to say anything negative about coach Snyder. I think he’s a great offensive mind, besides being a hell of a head coach.”

Weis opened Tuesday’s meeting with the media by laying out the history of the KU-KSU rivalry and outlining all of the things that make K-State one of the nation’s best teams. When he was finished, a reporter referenced the fact that Weis had just painted a picture of K-State seemingly owning every advantage. Weis agreed.

“Correct,” he said. “Starting with the head coach. That may be their biggest advantage.”

Jayhawks healthy

A couple of Jayhawks who missed time against Northern Illinois because of injury two weeks ago are expected to play this weekend against Kansas State.

Senior safety Lubbock Smith, who missed two games because of a leg injury, and junior running back Taylor Cox, who started at NIU but left the game early in the first quarter, were back practicing full-speed on Tuesday.

“Everybody’s on the go list,” said Weis of KU’s available players. “Even the guys that were banged up the last time we played.”

No motivation necessary

Although this weekend’s game marks his first shot at the Wildcats, Weis made it clear that he understood the importance of the rivalry to people across the state and how that trickled down to his players, particularly KU’s 24 Kansas natives.

“We’re 1-3, we’re playing against our in-state rival, who’s been owning (us) for the last three years,” Weis said. “If you really need to motivate them, then we really have a serious problem. Now, you prod ’em, but it shouldn’t take much prodding. It should be as plain as day. I shouldn’t have to be Ronald Reagan, ‘We’re winning one for the Gipper.’”

Self extension a win-win

At the end of Tuesday’s news conference, Weis, who makes $2.5 million per year, was asked about the recent contract extension given to KU men’s basketball coach Bill Self that is worth more than $53 million through the year 2021-22. As he has done since arriving in Lawrence, Weis sang Self’s praises.

“Every once in a while, you have an opportunity in sports for both sides to win,” Weis said. “It doesn’t happen very often now. Usually either the coach wins or the organization wins. But every once in a while, you get a special situation that comes along where both sides end up winning, and, to me, that’s what that was.

“A guy who’s won eight (Big 12) championships in a row, who’s just done a wonderful job, who really is, right now one of the best, if not the best, coaches in America in any sport, and to be able to set up a situation for everyone to walk away from this content, I’m glad it worked out that way for KU. I think it’s a great thing.”


Micky Baker 9 years, 7 months ago

I find myself visualizing the blocking schemes of K-State the last couple of years, so I think that if our Defensive Linemen are moving around before the snap it could through their blocking off but force their offensive linemen to block a guy that isn't in the spot that they thought they were going to be in. Hey, I know we've got a completely new system on both sides of the ball, but we have three pretty good athletes at linebacker that can punish Klein and maybe force a fumble or two, so long as the D-Line occupies the blockers and leaves the linebackers free to pursue the ball and make some solid, punishing tackles. Don't stop until the whistle blows and drive them backwards and put on their rear ends.

There is one receiver for K-State that is pretty good, but the others can probably be played 3 or 4 yards from the line of scrimmage at the most if we have safety help over the top, and now that Lubbock is back, we can probably do that more effectively. Don't be afraid to be aggressive when trying to break up a pass and maybe get a couple of tipped ball interceptions.

We have some guys on defense that can disrupt K-State, and I do believe that if they are playing well they can limit to K-State to fewer than 5 TD's on Saturday, and if we can get our receivers to make a couple of plays and for Crist to relax and take what K-State gives him all day, which will be those short routes over the middle, or if they're in zone coverage, those 10 to 12 yard crossing patterns, and our O-Line can give him a 3 or 4 one thousand count and let him step into his throws so that they're accurate, then we could pull off a major upset.

But, this is going to have to be our guys wanting to win, wanting to destroy them, being a split second quicker than they are on the majority of plays, and putting the pressure on them at their place.

KGphoto 9 years, 7 months ago

Problem is, Crist has shown he can't hit the short crossing pattern. He drills the hook patterns on the money, but if the guy is moving he's always high and behind him. Hopefully that's something they worked on for two weeks.

Micky Baker 9 years, 7 months ago

What Crist needs to do, and this is what I think Weis should be telling him, if they give the short crossing routes, then make that decision quickly and get 5 to 6 yard chunks at a time until the defense can stop it. Then, when they have to come up on the receivers, and we go into the spreads it opens up the middle lanes for the running backs and then the defense is in a position where they have to defend and not just take for granted that we're not going to take what they give.

Sure, We might have to run 12 to 14 plays to score a TD, but that wears out their defense. Our strengths should be the short game, and we do have a guy developing into a deep threat in Turzilli and the routes he runs need to be the ones that Crist can get him the ball as opposed to a guy 6 inches shorter in Patterson or Beshears. Patterson and Beshears could run some quick slants, and I mean quick slants, 3 yards past the line of scrimmage if the defense is playing off and let them make a couple of guys miss and break into the second level where our guys have the advantage.

Also, the slow screen can work as long as we execute the receivers block on the edge and they didn't do that well against NIU. If they're playing back on first down, then a screen should be a very easy play to execute if our receivers block the defenders.

Also, I would like to see some middle screens when it looks like they're bringing the blitz and slip a guy right past the linebackers with our receivers taking their Corners and Safeties 20 to 30 yards down the field, then they can get one or two blocks and we get some big play TDs.

Even with all that said, there is a clear difference and I think we will see it on Saturday. We are probably going to lose, but we're doing going to lose 59-7 this time. Maybe 41 to 24, but that will get their attention and the rest of the league's. They will have to be ready to play against us this season.

squawkhawk 9 years, 7 months ago

Yeah, our D will probably disrupt KSUs schemes about as much as OUs did.

Robert Brock 9 years, 7 months ago

I think K-State will control the ball, control the clock, and steamroll us. They have talent; we don't.

nuleafjhawk 9 years, 7 months ago

So, you're suggesting that the title of this article should be " Jayhawks' bye week spent on Preparation H ", because they're gonna rip us a new one ?

KGphoto 9 years, 7 months ago

Hate to agree, but a guy could make a mint selling KU doughnut cushions Saturday evening.

Doug Cramer 9 years, 7 months ago

nuleafjhawk - got to admit...your sense of humor provides chuckles every time I read your posts.

Brian Skelly 9 years, 7 months ago

I've always been amazed at K-State with Snyder at the helm. He truly is one of the most underrated coaches the past 20 years. I think the one thing he does particularly well -- after recruiting -- is he melds his ideas to the talent he has on hand. Some years its a little more pass happy, some years its ground and pound. Most years he's had success the teams defense has been pretty good.

I always remember thinking that if Bill Snyder can be successful at K-State, what excuses does any other coach anywhere have? Seriously. Has anyone here actually been to Manhattan? How is it any different than half these towns where SWAC or Sun Belt schools are? And he consistently gets guys who play hard, and generally well. He cheats? Maybe. But even then, he CLEARLY does it better than anyone else in the conference. It's staggering when you thinking about even more closely.

I hope we pull off the upset this weekend. I dont envision that unfortunately.

Mike Plank 9 years, 7 months ago

You know what.... I actually agree with this. (Dead horse alert...) Mangino was the one KU coach who actually took this seriously and made it a rivalry (even though his only win vs Snyder was 2004, the rest were vs Ron Prince), and for this I will forever thank him. Also, I will never forget the three year stretch (2006-2008), especially 2008 when Jake Sharp went off. Unfortunately, for most of my adult life, that's the ONLY success we've had against them. It is time to get pissed-off and play with some emotion!

I still don't think we have much of a chance in this one, but I totally agree with AtlJaybird's post.

KSUisStoopid 9 years, 7 months ago

It seems like this hasn't been a rivalry for a long time since we've been blown out the last couple of years. We are 4-4 against the Purples over the past eight years while playing them close three years yea, we shouldn't be acting like we respect anything about them. The old man ran up the score against us the last two years, we need to send him home crying.

Geekinout 9 years, 7 months ago

commemorative barn decorations=Awesome, lol...

Mangino sent Snyder into temporary retirement, hopefully, Weis will do the same. Mangino knew beating Kstate regardless of the entire season's record would appease the KU nation.

sporty 9 years, 7 months ago

The "hayseed" comments are pretty funny, considering a large percentage of the K-State student body are from Johnson County.

Tony Bandle 9 years, 7 months ago

Actually, based on the headline, the photo above is the Kansas Jayhawk team in disguise...our strategy will be to confuse the Wildcats to the point of distraction and pull the upset.

[We got a stand-in for Coach Weis as Snyder....special effects can only go so far!!]

Jason Montgomery 9 years, 7 months ago

They better have put in their Duck and Cover game plan

TKHAWK 9 years, 7 months ago

We know this game is not going to be pretty, but I expect to see our kids fighting tooth and nail to the end. I admire HCCW for not backing down from this. True this game isn't much of a rivalry, but sadly, much as KSU rides our coat tails in bball, KU should take advantage of KSU's football success. KU needs to embrace the rivalry, even as a mismatch right now. If you want to run with the big boys, you've got to play with the big boys. I think the KUAD should make every attempt to move this game to Thanksgiving Saturday starting next year. Ditch the stupid "Sunflower Showdown" and replace it with something stud like the "John Brown Showdown". Get rid of the govenor's cup and have the teams play for a civil war musket like in the iconic John Brown painting. Advertise it with the John Brown painting image of KU on one side and KSU on the other. Sounds silly now, but but it could work. We keep bashing and bashing our team and coaches, but I do believe in the next 3 yrs Kansas football will rival KSU football but we need to lay the ground work now. Fight Jayhawks Fight and don't let us or anyone put doubt in your mind, you strap on the helmets, we just sit behind computers. If anyone knows anyone in the KUAD you can have my ideas for free. Go Hawks!

Micky Baker 9 years, 7 months ago

I don't like the John Brown theme because it does not have the Brown vs Quantrill significance. How about the "Battle of the Kaw". The Kansas River goes through both Manhattan and Lawrence.

notjustbread 9 years, 7 months ago

Maybe we should put up more barns in Lawrence....that seems to attract talent to this area of the country.

nuleafjhawk 9 years, 7 months ago

Especially dairy barns. Cows aren't very fast.

johnnyhrdwd 9 years, 7 months ago

Snyder will show mercy and play his backup QB in the 2nd half, Sams should only be able to produce 4 tds at most.

dhinkansas 9 years, 7 months ago

Snyder, for all his success and I do respect that, generally will run the score up on teams like Kansas. Didn't they score 59 each of the last two years in Lawrence, and I remember a 64-0 beat down in 2002....a 54-3 but I don't remember the year. Don't kid yourself if you think Snyder will show mercy.

squawkhawk 9 years, 7 months ago

Snyder does not run the scores up on teams. The fact that their second and third team players can continue to put up points on KU is simply a function of their players' desire to beat KU. They simply want it more and KU folds like a wore out dollar bill.

Jason Musick 9 years, 7 months ago

I am so ready for Basketball. Can't wait for it to start

nuleafjhawk 9 years, 7 months ago

Kubigban, funny you should say that. As I'm typing, I'm looking at a throwback KU Jayhawk souvenir program Calendar from 1958. It announces the game on Saturday, November 8th, 1958 against Nebraska (Homecoming) and right in the middle of the calendar it says " FIRST HOME BASKETBALL GAME, RICE - DEC.1.

Guess even 50+ years ago they were ready for basketball season!

Lance Cheney 9 years, 7 months ago

Then get off the football message boards. I'm so sick of our fairweather, "wait until basketball season" fans. You realize that other schools (especially KSU) make fun of us about that, don't you? Christ Almighty...

Maracas 9 years, 7 months ago

The team could have two, or even three, bye weeks in preparation for KSU and it wouldn't matter. KSU will wipe the floor with us this year.

nuleafjhawk 9 years, 7 months ago

Oh come on now. On any given Saturday............

Here's the scenario I see:

  • 50 mph wind at our back, we MIGHT be able to kick it a yard deep in the end zone. Their return man would be so stunned that we got it that deep, he'd take a step out of the end zone, then go back in and get tackled for a safety.

  • Our defense is ranked #1 in the NATION in takeaways. If we force a turnover on EVERY K-State possession, we might have a chance.

I could see us winning this game 2-0.

squawkhawk 9 years, 7 months ago

I like the way you think but I truly believe that KSUs special teams can score more points than KU right now.

nuleafjhawk 9 years, 7 months ago

if that's true - my deepest apologies. thought i read where KU was #1.

nuleafjhawk 9 years, 7 months ago

You're right kal110386 - I finally was forced to back up some of my BS and do some research. KU is #1 in the Big 12, #5 in the nation.

No wonder I sucked in school.

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