Thursday, November 14, 2013

Weis mixes it up again in search for KU football fix

Kansas head coach Charlie Weis watches his team warm up for Baylor on Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013.

Kansas head coach Charlie Weis watches his team warm up for Baylor on Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013.


Almost as quickly as the leaves around Lawrence changed from green to red, the Kansas University football team saw its 2-1 start and hopes for a winning season turn into a 2-7 struggle courtesy of six consecutive losses to Big 12 powers.

With three games remaining in 2013, and qualifying for a bowl game no longer in the picture, KU coach Charlie Weis this week is implementing a few changes that he hopes will alter KU’s path and help the Jayhawks finish the season on a winning note.

“Routines can be good and routines can be bad,” Weis said earlier this week. “We are trying any little thing that you could use just to try to do something different.”

That’s not to say Weis has not been trying all season. He’s tried everything from rearranging the depth chart on a semi-regular basis to putting players into new positions, moving freshmen into key roles and opening up his offensive game plans to input from the coaching staff. Some efforts produced positive results and others only provided momentary relief from the drain and pain of losing.

This week, Weis reworked the structure of KU’s practices. Instead of interweaving offense, defense and special teams drills on Tuesday, the Jayhawks focused entirely on first- and second-down offense and defense, leaving special teams out the equation entirely.

“One of the reasons is (when) you go to the special teams portion of practice, there’s a lot of guys involved in that and some guys are not involved at all,” Weis said.

KU then mixed in extended time on Wednesday working on the core special teams units.

“I think there’s been a lot of good stuff that goes on during the week,” Weis said. “What we have to do is a better job of carrying over the classroom to the field and from the practice field to the game field.”

The rewrite of Tuesday and Wednesday’s practice schedule may seem small, and, more to the point, may not actually change the outcomes. But the players don’t mind. And, like their coach, they’re at the point where they’ll try anything that might help.

“Coach is getting everyone up and ready to go,” senior running back James Sims said. “He’s putting everything he has into this week, picking the tempo up and making sure everyone is not so down and ready to bounce back and finish these three games strong.”

Weis wouldn’t have it any other way.

“When you lose and you accept it, that’s never a good thing,” he said. “I think that anyone who’s driven, when things don’t go well, you’ve got two ways to handle it. One way (is to) say, ‘Oh well.’ And the other way is you try to find another way to do it. I’m always looking for that other way. I don’t know that ‘Oh well’ philosophy very well. That doesn’t fit my mentality.”

The Jayhawks host West Virginia at 11 a.m. Saturday in Memorial Stadium.


Doug Roberts 8 years, 10 months ago

This reads as a desperate coach (in his second year!) grasping at straws. Where is the plan? What is the plan? Was there ever a plan? Is next year going to be the same desperate search for success? Will we bring in a psychic or an exorcist next year to rid the team of evil demons? Nothing Charlie says gives me hope that things will improve next year.

Bryan Mohr 8 years, 10 months ago

I'd love for Zenger to hire Bill Snyder, or any other proven collegiate head coach, as an outside consultant to come to Lawrence, watch the practices, film, and games, and then enlighten us all as to what needs to be changed. Perhaps this is not true, but it seems that our staff doesn't know the answer... like throwing darts at a dartboard. Let's try this offense. Let's try this player. Let's try the assistant coaches' offense. Let's try these uniforms. Let's try... pretend playoffs. If all of the losing - lopsided losing - is truly a matter of lack of talent, then fine, work on fixing recruiting and give Weis time. I give credit to Weis for trying new ideas, but I also think that trying new things every week can give the impression that the coaches don't know what the problem is or how to fix it. Again, if it is simply lack of talent, then perhaps Weis actually is a very good coach that is just failing in recruiting right now - and that means there is hope. But if the problems are beyond just talent, then staffing changes of some kind have to happen as soon as possible. I know it's not realistic, but I'd love to hear Bill Synder's honest analysis of KU's problems and what he would do to fix them.

Randy Bombardier 8 years, 10 months ago

I disagree, dude. Actually I would not be surprised if Snyder would do it pro bono. I think he would do it because both schools are regent schools funded by the State of Kansas and there is common ground, despite the rivalry. I just don't think any coach of KU would have the humility to ask. It would be embarrassing to have to ask. But then, its pretty embarrassing to be 0-15 in the conference since HCCW took the job. I agree with Mr. Mohr. I'd love to see that happen but it should not be made public. For all we know Weis has reached out, maybe to some old mentors. But I think college is so different than the pros that that is what Weis is learning. He may just have to consult some respected college coaches that understand the differences if he hasn't already. Maybe he has.

Erich Hartmann 8 years, 10 months ago

Nice idea, Bryan, but Snyder doesnt consult for KU because he PERSONALLY hates KU. I have heard that from many, many people over the years. To the Purple, it is just as big a rivalry as OSU vs. OU, or the Red River Rivalry of OU vs. TX. And it all starts from Snyder. His on-camera persona is noticeably different than his MUCH more fiery off-camera disposition. And most of that fire is aimed directly at KU.

Bill Kackley 8 years, 10 months ago

The previous two posts are nothing if not ridiculous!

Robert Brown 8 years, 10 months ago

I don't think the posts are ridiculous. Clearly, Bill Snyder is not going to do anything to help KU, but the point that there seems to be no plan is valid.

There never has been a long term plan under Weis to move KU football from awful to mediocre. Instead of a long term plan, all we have seen is smoke and mirrors and gimmicks. He brings in transfers and former 5 star QBs the first year. He doesn't do that if he did not think he could win last year. One week against Tech, we start out in a spread offense; the next week we try to run the ball. The offense has no identity. Blame lack of personnel all you want, but good coaching staffs can compensate for a talent gap.

I truly believe that Charlie Weis is trying hard to turn the program around, but it is just not working. He came here to resurrect his reputation and his reputation continues to sink to new lows. In many ways I feel bad for him because I know he is working hard, along with the coaching staff. I also realize that he is still getting paid by Notre Dame and is guaranteed another $7.5M from KU after this year regardless of how he performs so it is difficult to empathize with him.

I'm sure that Weis is feeling some heat and a lot of it is self induced. My question is whether or not Zenger is feeling any heat. So far, the most important decision he has made since becoming AD is not looking very good.

Matt O'Leary 8 years, 10 months ago

Starting to feel like we will never be good, and it hurts...

Nick Cole 8 years, 10 months ago

The Snyder consulting thing was just Bryan's way of saying we suck and it would be interesting to hear how a proven coach would fix our program. He wasn't actually saying he thinks Snyder would consult for the KU football program. Man KU football fans are just so stupid sometimes.

Robert, your post is mostly correct. The incorrect part is about recruiting. That is half of Weis' job. If he can't recruit to KU then it won't matter if he is a good coach. It's not about recruiting "better talent" it's about recruiting the right players for your system. The other part is making sure your system can work in college and in your league against the teams you play every year. So far, Weis has done none of that. It doesn't take 3, 4, or 5 years to show improvement. It should take 1.5 years at the most. It's been longer than that and we seem to be going backwards. To me, it's time to cut ties. Now if we suddenly win our last three games and put 35+ points on the board in each game I'll retract my statement for another year. But we all know that isn't happening so I think I'm pretty safe in my assumption on this one.

Bryan Mohr 8 years, 10 months ago

Thanks for the clarification Nick. It's good to know that you and some others understand what I was saying. Of course KU's not going to consult Bill Snyder, nor would Snyder assist KU while in his current role. I was creating a hypothetical situation that says, "Let's get a proven college coach into Lawrence that knows how to fix this mess since the current staff is still struggling to find solutions."

Mark Lindrud 8 years, 10 months ago

To get a legend like Bowden, Osborne, Switzer to grant ideas would be interesting though. We know we have Weis for another year, but I'd say he's on the hot seat for that year.

Daniel Reinigungsmittel 8 years, 10 months ago

Are you people 12 years old (or fresh out of a MBA program) with this "Let's consult other proven coaches and see how they would fix our program" nonsense?

LOL. In the real world you have to HIRE them as head coach to find that kind of stuff out.

Terry N Tom Denner 8 years, 10 months ago

Big indication he has no clue on what to do. I am not a coach by any means but would it have been better to stick with what they started with and let the players gel into a winning team. I am just not a fan of changing every week. let them stay at one place and show them different OF plays and DF schemes. So Charlie, if you want to change in a big way try stepping down and hire the best OC there is out there to come to KU and call the Offensive plays.

Robert Brown 8 years, 10 months ago

I am of the believe that it would have been better for a coach to 1) articulate a long term plan, 2) dismiss whoever you want from the previous team, 3) bring in a group of freshmen who you can develop and who fit the system you want to set up. 4) tell the fan base that this will take some time, but you can watch this group grow and improve. Weis had the security of five years so he easily could have taken this approach and I think the fan would buy in.

I get the impression that Weis though he could come in here, get the program close to bowl eligibility by bringing in transfer, elevate his reputation and move on to something else within 2-3 years after taking the job.

Randy Bombardier 8 years, 10 months ago

I made a comment about trying to find some walkon linemen and was ridiculed by some know-nothing on this board. Ryan Mueller, K-State defensive end started as a walk-on. He had three sacks last week, stripped the ball once and for two weeks in a row was the conference D player of the week. Turner, their walkon linebacker had 12 tackles.

Half of KSUs roster is Kansas kids. Less than 1/4 of our roster are Kansas kids. This day and age the Ransom Rambler would have to be a walkon. What, he plays 8-man football? Forget that, he's not getting an offer. Or if Collin Klein had wanted to play at KU, What? He has only played football since he was a junior in high school? I would take the country kid or a small-town kid that has not had the "more competitive high school" experience over the kid from the urban environment. You get a lot of other issues with these urban kids. Particularly in the trenches, this is what we need. Skill players, get them where you can. But right now we need a consistent, physical line that works well as a unit. And as someone pointed out above you don't get that if you keep switching the players around.

Ludwig Supraphonic 8 years, 10 months ago

I applaud Weis's effort and commitment. I fear our lack of offensive progress will be a "no sale" for recruits. I don't think the lure of Super Bowl rings or pro contacts will be sufficient to counterbalance this. An exciting offensive coach, like Chad Morris, can provide concrete evidence of recent success. I know we not a very attractive site for coaches or players at this point and we are not going to outbid Clemson; who are paying Morris 1.3M. Promoting an asst. to head coach is always a major gamble. The dramatic offensive turnaround at Clemson is all with one quarterback. I'm hoping that it is just my impatience and that the progress we are seeing on defense and special teams will slowly be apparent on offense. It's easy to second guess any decision that doesn't lead to immediate success. I do wonder if a talented BCS coordinator may be our most viable future option.

Mark Lindrud 8 years, 10 months ago

I believe we need a new OC because our offense is mundane with little or no creativity and lacks the ability to create space for playmakers and out them in position to make plays.

Glen Miller 8 years, 10 months ago

We need to get a coach in here that loves our University and wants to be the one to turn it around..... but also actually has the ability to do so. While Weis was a "big name" he hasn't shown that he can coach on the college level effectively. If you can't win at Notre Dame, I find it hard to believe you are going to win at Kansas unfortunately. I wanted Dave Doeren who grew up in Kansas, coached at Kansas and wanted the job when we were too busy searching for a big name. All the guy has done in his coaching career is win, although his first year at NC State has been a rough one. This is the type of guy we need... someone who WANTS to coach KU and not someone who HAS to caoch KU to get his career back on track. I wasn't a fan of Weis when we brought him in and I've definately not changed my stance on that. What has he done?? Our record is still horrendous. We STILL are not getting a bunch of 4 star or 5 star recruits. We're the laughing stock of the Big 12 in football. Our offense is God awful and this guy is supposed to be an "offensive guru". He constantly dogs the plyers that we have here with remarks such as "pile of crap", and if you think it's not a big deal then you're lying to yourself. What kid wants to come somewhere where his own coach is constantly dogging his team about how bad they are. I just don't see the Weis experiment working out. I hope I am wrong, I hope Wies takes us to bowl games and brings in players..... but it's not happening and I give him one more year to atleast show me that we are headed in the right direction because I just don't see it right now.

Michael Leiker 8 years, 10 months ago

So how does a coach who constantly changes his lineup, game to game, series to series, down to down, make a case for consistency in the head coaching job?

Marc Frey 8 years, 10 months ago

Until we get upgrade in talent, the changes are simply rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

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