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Friday, November 1, 2013

Charlie Weis: Wait until season’s end to judge

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Kansas University football coach Charlie Weis was asked earlier this week about the current state of KU football, given the rough first year and the slow start to his second season in charge of the Jayhawks.

Weis, who has experienced ups, downs and everything in between at both the collegiate and NFL levels, said it was far too early to make a concrete statement about where the program was during his tenure because the Jayhawks (2-5 overall, 0-4 Big 12) still have five games remaining.

“I think the most important thing is (to) let the season play out,” Weis said. “Sometimes you have to look at not just how things are going, but how they finish. I could be wrong — I don’t think I’m gonna be wrong — (but) I said all along that I think we’ll be playing our best football at the end of the year, (and) we’ve got five games to go to find out if that’s the case or not.”

During his coaching career, Weis has been a part of a couple of teams who did not have winning records but finished strong and used that to launch into a solid season the following year. He remembers those seasons as fondly as any of the championship runs and hopes that’s what’s ahead for Kansas (2-5 overall, 0-4 Big 12), which faces Texas at 2:30 today at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium.

“It isn’t exactly like we’ve been playing I-AA (FCS) teams every week here,” Weis said. “It’s just dial ’em up one after another. The Big 12 is a very good league and very good competition, and they’re good football teams. If (we’re) sitting there 2-10 at the end of the year, it’d be tough for me to sit there and (say) that there’s a lot of progress. I’d have a tough time saying it. But that’s not where we intend on being.”

Sigh of relief?

Mighty Texas or not, it seems logical to think that the Kansas defense might feel a little better about the challenge facing it on the other side of the line of scrimmage during today’s game.

Instead of facing a Baylor team averaging 65 points and 714 yards per game, KU will take on a UT squad that is averaging 33 points and 451 yards per outing. But assistant defensive backs coach Scott Vestal cautioned against such thinking.

“Yes and no,” he said. “Baylor is a juggernaut. They really are. But in this league, everybody can play. Every week presents its own unique gems.”

While Baylor’s skill players stole the show during last week’s victory over Kansas, Vestal said the Longhorns’ offensive line could be the star this week.

“We study a lot of teams, and Texas’ offensive line is as improved as any unit in the Big 12,” Vestal said. “Last year, frankly, they were not as good as they are this year. And they’re coming off the ball with bad intentions.”

Texas connection

In addition to having 25 players on its roster from the Lone Star State, this week’s game features some connections in the coaching booth. Darrell Wyatt, who coached wide receivers at Kansas from 1997-99 and again in 2010, is in his third season with the Longhorns. On the Kansas sideline, Vestal, who is in his first season as a full-time assistant, worked as a quality-control coach for defense at UT in 2010.

“I enjoyed my time at Texas,” Vestal said. “They’re classy people down there, and it doesn’t just stop with coach (Mack) Brown. ... Any time you can play people that you have a connection with or you’re close to, it always makes it a little more special.”

Series history

Texas owns a 10-2 advantage over Kansas all-time. But while that margin indicates total dominance, there have been a few close calls throughout the years.

Last year, UT escaped Lawrence with a 21-17 victory by scoring a game-winning touchdown with 12 seconds to play. Eight years earlier, in 2004, Mack Brown and the Longhorns barely got out of Lawrence alive following the infamous “BCS, Dollar Signs” game in which former KU coach Mark Mangino went on a postgame rant for the ages about a late call that benefited the unbeaten Longhorns.

Brown is 8-0 all-time against KU, and UT is 5-0 against Kansas in games played in Austin. KU’s only victories in the series came in 1938 and 1901.

Longhorns favored

Despite logging just one victory by more than 23 points this season — a 56-7 triumph over New Mexico State in the season opener — Texas enters today’s match-up with Kansas as a 28-point favorite.

Three of the Longhorns’ five victories this season have come by 16 points or fewer, and the Jayhawks have lost by 28 or more just twice.

The line opened with Texas as a 27-point favorite and slowly went up throughout the week.

Comments

Aaron Paisley 8 years, 8 months ago

KU should cover. UT's style of play should give KU a chance to hang around as long as KU doesn't turn the ball over. If KU does turn the ball over, this will be a repeat of the Texas Tech game.

Joe Ross 8 years, 8 months ago

Matt, Nice to have met you a couple of weeks ago. Appreciated the opportunity to say hi. Kinda disappointed you didn't have your Readers' Q/A session going into the game this week, because I had a question that deals with your article and the issue that Charlie Weis addressed in the press conference. Kansas sits at 2 and 5 right now and probably figures to go 2 and 7 before a 3 game stretch where they have a chance to make a couple of tally marks in the "win" column. Assuming it goes that way, how many wins does Kansas have to pick up in that stretch to justifiably say there is progress being made in the program? Does 3-9 erase the bad taste of several bad seasons in a row? I dont think so personally. I think the Jayhawks have to pick up wins against 2 of their last 3 opponents (WV at home, ISU in Ames, and Kansas State at home). Where do you set the bar on satisfactory progress, is it doable, and will Charlie Weis be on the hot seat if it doesn't get done?

Chris Bailey 8 years, 8 months ago

I think if Cozart is the full time starter by then we have a chance to get to 3-4 wins. Much of the problems we've seen this year are on offense. The defense is improved and will be even better next year. Remember we have Stowers, McKinney, Johnson on the dline, all three coming back and we'll have quite a few red shirts ie Kevin Short and MJM not to mention Nick Harwell on offense.. Also have BB, TP at slot and DM at running back with Taylor Cox red shirting we have him as well. So we'll have some skill in the backfield with Miller being the feature back. Hopefully Coleman steps up this off season and Harwell is a legit weapon. The offensive line will return 3 or 4 and we've got some young guys that are only gonna get better with an off season of strength training. Our defense should be even better next year which is very promising. Look I'm PO'd we aren't winning. It's killing me but I can see progress and hopefully we can see it in the W column next season! Weis isn't going anywhere. His contract will be played out. We all know the cupboard was bare when Gill was canned. Weis and company are building the team. Hopefully we get a few big time JUCO kids again 5-10 and 15 High School kids. ROCK CHALK!

Matt Tait 8 years, 8 months ago

Likewise, Joe. Appreciate you saying hey. Sorry about not getting the chat up this week... Yesterday was a hellacious travel day. We'll find a way to make up for it, though.

Let's see how today goes and maybe we can bang out a special chat next week along with the Friday Game Prep chat.

Thanks for your contributions to the site and enjoy the game.

Nick Cole 8 years, 8 months ago

"...and the Jayhawks have lost by 28 or more just twice."

This line is pathetic. A BCS school should not be losing games by 28+ points, and it definitely should not happen multiple times per year. It happened 5 times last year. 5 times. That is outrageous. It's already happened twice this year and will likely happen again, at least once. I hope I'm wrong, but if I were a betting man I would put some Oklahoma Joe's BBQ on the line. Dang, now I'm hungry. Are they open at 9:20am on a Saturday?

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