Monday, October 8, 2012


Column: Time for Weis to get creative


Business as usual won’t cut it for a Kansas University football team armed with squirt guns and facing one Big 12 nuclear offense after another the rest of the schedule.

Nothing conventional about the way Charlie Weis coached the first half of Saturday’s 56-16 loss to Kansas State in Manhattan.

One drive started with a fake punt and continued with a fake field goal, the two most memorable plays of a half that ended with Kansas trailing by just a touchdown. Innovative Weis play-calling kept the K-State defense off balance and quieted a crowd that made plenty of noise in Cat Town during pregame tailgating and in the second half.

See Dayne Crist fake the hand-off right, look right to pass, taking the defense with him, and then turning around to toss it to Tony Pierson, the team’s most exciting player. Touchdown.

If Weis can recruit the right horses and have the right quarterback under center, his feel for play-calling could lead to some exciting football. But the present doesn’t live in the land of “if.” The reality is this football team needs to live in the world of off-the-wall to have any shot of winning another game.

Here’s an idea: Script two completely different offensive game plans, one for each half. Different personnel. Different tempo. Different quarterbacks. A Dr. Jekyll half and a Mr. Hyde half. A pro-style offense one half, a wildcat or some other look the next. Whatever adjustments the opposing defensive coaches make at the half are rendered irrelevant, and confusion sets in.

Weis is a mad scientist of an offensive thinker with twice as many X’s and O’s running around his brain than the average offensive coordinator, enough to implement two, two, two game plans in one, a fresh breath of football for a season getting stale early.

Use Pierson, by far Weis’ favorite toy in his new playground and with good reason — he’s the team’s best athlete — in one way the first half, an entirely different way the next. Script as many plays as possible for both halves, regardless of the halftime score.

Sound crazy? No crazier than Matt Cassel performing so well in his one year working for Weis that he became a Pro Bowl selection. Now that’s crazy.

Let Crist work the first half, Christian Matthews, Michael Cummings or Turner Baty the second.

Charlie’s creativity won games late for Notre Dame with fake field goals, etc., when he had a defense that resembled the one that repeatedly was left in Collin Klein’s rear-view mirror Saturday. Now’s the time to get more creative than ever.


ahpersecoachingexperience 9 years, 7 months ago

We have had two different game plans. Remember when we ran it down the throat of Rice and NIU in the first half to get a lead? Only to choke it away by airing it out in the second half.

Doug Cramer 9 years, 7 months ago

Tom - It won't matter. The talent level of this team is comperable to a train wreck...starting with the defensive line.

Weis will need to clean house again to get some studs in the program. Here's the issue though...we currently rank dead last in 2013 recruiting.

To all the posters out there...yeah I know what you're gonna say. JUCO guys don't count in the rankings. Well there is a reason why JUCO guys don't count. Do you see how JUCO guys have affected our program this year ? The D-line was fixed right ?

Bottom line - we need a steady diet of 4 and 5 star freshman talent over the next 3 or 4 years. Unfortunately I just don't see it matter who is coach here.

I love KU football...but you can see whats evolving...and hopes are grim for developing a competitive program anytime soon. We once had hope and excitement for a few seasons in a row toward the end of the Mangino era...until Perkins bent the program over.

ChiJayhawk 9 years, 7 months ago


Remember one member of the defensive line that was a JC player had problems getting his grades from his old school. So who knows if JC players will help. We need to give HCCW game plan and recruiting plan a couple of years to play out.

Jeremy Hays 9 years, 7 months ago


How much do you think the recruiting rankings mean?? Because I think OU and Texas have been the top recruiting ranked teams in the conf and in the top 5 or so in the nation. However, Texas has been around .500 the last two years and OU lost conference to OSU and lost to KSU. It's about finding players that match your system and your development of said players. SEE Iowa and KSU

KGphoto 9 years, 7 months ago

2005, 2006. We had one of the best defenses in the country without 4-5 star talent. In fact it was primarily 2-3 star talent.

Alex Berger 9 years, 7 months ago

You think about college football like a video game player, not a football coach. 4 and 5 stars don't equal wins and KU won't get them. KSU has had worse recruiting classes the last few years according to rivals and yet they are ranked #6 and play great football. Snyder didn't turn the ship around immediately either. It took him a few years of plugging in the right kind of players for his program.

Todd 9 years, 7 months ago

In reality, yes it does take time, but the Mangino era proved one thing. You can turn things around to a certain respect in year two. Will we be challenging for a conference title? Certainly not, but you can see enough improvement from Gill's awful tenure that we could win 4-6 games next year. The main question will be whether Heaps is what we need or just Crist version 2 and what sort of holes the JUCO guys can plug til we get some freshman ready.

Jim Stauffer 9 years, 7 months ago

You make me puke! A FB program can be developed anywhere the administration wishes to do so.

All it takes is patience and the knowledge of what a good program looks like and Zenger possesses both of those attributes.

We will succeed in FB. Give it a chance. This is a whole new program. This is not Clark Hunt and Scott Pioli or David Glass and Dayton Moore, this is Zenger and Weis.

Bill Lee 9 years, 7 months ago

I wonder what football recruits are told to expect at KU. They all seem to attend basketball games. Does Bill Self take his recruits to football games? It's as if we're telling recruits that football is an after thought in Jayhawk Country. Recruiting is the key to success at any school and in any sport. Let's get the horses we need.

Sam Brockert 9 years, 7 months ago

Actually, yes. I believe Bill Self DOES bring them to football games.

Ron Prichard 9 years, 7 months ago

If you ever go to a KU football game, you can look at the first few rows at mid-field on the student side and see the basketball team along with any recruits in town for the weekend. Many times they leave early to go play pick up games or whatever is planned for the recruit's weekend visit. But if there is a home football game the weekend a recruit visits, they will be there for at least a little while.

stm62 9 years, 7 months ago

We were granted a reprieve.  The recent conference re-alignment saga showed that we MUST get the football program on track in order to make KU more marketable next time around.  From the things I have seen and heard, I'm confident that Weis and Zenger have the character and competence to build a successful gridiron program.  There are too many winners on the Weis staff not to get it done.

Dirk Medema 9 years, 7 months ago

Actually, Ku is 1 of only a couple football programs in America that are on the track (rimshot).

nuleafjhawk 9 years, 7 months ago

Totally disagree with TK.

Unless "getting creative" means blocking, tackling and doing what we do best - RUN. Or getting the ball in the hands of people that CAN run, via screen passes.

Also, it wouldn't hurt to figure out some way to kick the ball into the end zone on kickoffs and between the uprights on field goal attempts. I've seen those cheerleaders high kick - I'll bet they could knock the crap out of a football.......

We won't be able to get away with many more fake punts and/or field goal attempts, since every remaining team that we face knows we have no kicking game and pretty much HAVE to go for it on 4th down, no matter what formation we're lined up in.

Get creative and get back to basics.

Dirk Medema 9 years, 7 months ago

There is a successful (AR HS?) coach that almost never punts or kicks off deep.

LSHawk 9 years, 7 months ago

We have to give coach Weis and his staff sometime to rebuild this program and that wont come right away, even next year. Plus do you see lots of 4 and 5 star talent on the KSU football team?? The stars by thier name dont mean squat execpt to a bunch of fatty reporters. We just need play makers, on defense,and on special teams. Its going to take a few years to build up the talent this team lacks all around but as coach Weis showed the first half of the KSU game, given some talent, the guy can coach.

chezlog 9 years, 7 months ago

"Two, two, two game plans in one!" That was funny. I could hear the Certs commercial in my head.

PoincianaHawk 9 years, 7 months ago

Poor Special Teams play (lame kickoffs, horrible punting, missed field goals, inconsistent kick coverage and poor tackling, for example) results in great field position for the opponent and terrible field position for KU. Go back and check the Drive Log - see where KU started drives vs. the opponent. That's the "hidden yardage" that does not show up in the box score, but weighs heavily in the outcome of the game. K-State had 5 or 6 drives that started in KU's half of the field. Our punts averaged 31 yards. One missed field goa from short range. no kickoffs reached the endzone. We need a kicker in the worst way.

KGphoto 9 years, 7 months ago

Hate to bring it up, but this is Clint Bowen territory. He needs a seat warmer, because those numbers will get any coach in America fired.

Ron Prichard 9 years, 7 months ago

Sadly, I agree with you and Atl. Even if we can't kick the ball into the endzone, we need to have better coverage on kickoffs. Same goes for punts. Finally, how can we NEVER get a decent kickoff return? We have some fairly good athletes for returners but they always seem to get blasted at the 15 yard line.

With all that said, if ever there was a time to make getting a top flight kicker a recruiting priority, that time is now. I would almost go so far as to say it is priority #1 right now. Imagine how much of a difference a solid kicker that can hit field goals and kickoff into the endzone would make with this team. I would put us at 2-2 or even 3-1 right now with a top notch kicker.

vd 9 years, 7 months ago

Can you blame the position coach, if the head coach ran off all the good players at the position you coach. Did Bowen run off our elite kicker and long snapper, or did Weiss do it?

shelleysue 9 years, 7 months ago

I've always been one to say special teams is the most important component of a football team. How can it not be. It determines the start of every drive. I hate to be negative towards anyone, but Bowen leaving was a good thing in my mind and I was shocked when Weis hired him.

CrystalJones 9 years, 7 months ago

We already have a worst-way kicker. We need a best-way kicker.

Joe Joseph 9 years, 7 months ago

KU is better than its record and better than the final score of the KSU game indicates. Take away a couple of costly turnovers and KU only loses that game by 2 or 3 scores. At least KU was in it at half time. That never happened against K-State under Turner.

I like the direction this team is going.

nuleafjhawk 9 years, 7 months ago

Yeah. If we score 5 straight TD's at the end of the game, we only lose by 5 points.

CrystalJones 9 years, 7 months ago

Well, K-Stink left some points on the field, too. Stupid clock management before halftime, safety, no passes in 4th quarter, could have added one more TD at the very end, etc. And they still beat us by 40.

sparty627 9 years, 7 months ago

And K-State played their worst half of football this year on Saturday, and still had the lead at half. I wouldn't take the first-half score as any indication of real KU progress.

Dyrk Dugan 9 years, 7 months ago

changing it up for 2nd half wouldn't be bad....but just flat out playing better would be a good start. how about we start with no TOs? that would be nice.

winning football games starts with playing better football. yes, you need to build over time with recruiting and getting better players in there and that will take place....but the current group can start by just improving fundamentally....breaking down on tackling (McDougald) not ducking your head when tackling the QB (Bukare) not throwing the ball to the underneath defender (Crist), carrying the ball high and tight (Parmalee)....these are all things that can be improved on now.

otherwise, other guys should play...period. and that includes the QB.

KGphoto 9 years, 7 months ago

The tricks were good. They were called at the right time, and executed well. Bravo.

Too bad Weis blew his wad and still got blown out. Those tricks won't work again.

No, when KU was moving the ball it was all about tempo and execution, not tricky plays. Weis was calling passes that Crist could make (screens, hooks) and Crist was making them. Weis was calling plays to playmakers (Pierson, Pick, Sims) and they were making them.

The biggest problem last Saturday, however, was playing against coach Snyder and his incredibly talented and savvy QB, Collin Klein. We gutted out a first half on will power and energy, only to have our system hacked by Snyder at half-time. That's not slighting first year DC Dave Campo either, because he can do it to any team in America, on any given night. No amount of creative play calling was going to help. Snyder is just too good. Sorry. Until he's gone, we're gonna struggle against K-State.

Ron Prichard 9 years, 7 months ago

Ummm, let me be the first to say....


Lucas Town 9 years, 7 months ago

Did Beshears ever touch the ball on Saturday? Is he in trouble or was that a detail from KSU to keep the ball out of his hands? He is so fast and I watched the replay to see because I never heard his name called. Pity, he is a senior and was a non-factor.

texashawk10 9 years, 7 months ago

Beshears has played like crap all year so I'm not shocked he was a non factor. It does suck because he has playmaking ability but it's just not happening this year. I don't know if it's mental or what, but he was doing more harm than good and I haven't heard his name much since he dropped that easy TD against TCU.

Reuben_J_Cogburn 9 years, 7 months ago

It was a sad day. And yes, the costly turnovers prevented KU from keeping it to a 2 or 3 score game. But, alas, the phrase, "different coach, same result," still rings true.

However, regardless of the outcome, any true KU fan (who actually watched the game) got a glimpse of what this team is capable of. For one half of football, I saw creativity, composure, and heart. The ability is there...the consistency is far from. What happened at the start of the third quarter is open for reflection. Did we get rattled? Did we get tired? Are we too inexperienced? But this team showed us that they have the ability, they just lack the mentality. It will come.

The bottom line is those of you who sat through the slaughter know the truth. The rest of you saw the box score and said "here we go again." I will not tolerate fair-weather fandom.

Keep the faith. This too shall pass.

LSHawk 9 years, 7 months ago

+1 RJC. We'll get there, give Coach Weis 2 more full years of recreuiting and then we can judge how far the team has come.

Terry N Tom Denner 9 years, 7 months ago

One of Charlies problems is what he learned in the NFL, you get a lead then you sit on it playing a prevent zone defense. BULLSCHIT !!! You get a lead and play hard and rough to the end of the game. KU should be 4-1 not 1-4.

741hawk 9 years, 7 months ago

There were plenty of positives in the first half that Weis can build on . . . if you'll be patient and he can recruit.

Jack Jones 9 years, 7 months ago

TK - if, in fact you did write this column, it appears you have been drinking from the same fountain as some of the other 'posters'. It seems the only rational "asst. coaches" I read are those who understand that YOU DO NOT turn a program like KU's football program, given the givens, UNTIL you have given any new HC, probably 5 years of recruiting and coaching. It's insane to think otherwise. We too easily succumb to the "gitter done - NOW" malaise that has infected almost every other area of our lives. Patience, patience, fellow Jayhawk die-hard, live and die, always supportive thru thick and thin, loyal to the nth degree, PROUD JAYHAWKS!!!

CrystalJones 9 years, 7 months ago

Well, okay. But in 5 years (or less) Charlie's gone.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.