Monday, September 30, 2013

Kliff’s notes: KU’s Weis familiar with Tech coach

Texas Tech football coach Kliff Kingsbury runs on the field with his team before the Red Raiders’ 41-23 victory over SMU on Aug. 30 in Dallas. Kingsbury, the former Tech and New England Patriots (backup) QB, will face Kansas at 11 a.m. Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

Texas Tech football coach Kliff Kingsbury runs on the field with his team before the Red Raiders’ 41-23 victory over SMU on Aug. 30 in Dallas. Kingsbury, the former Tech and New England Patriots (backup) QB, will face Kansas at 11 a.m. Saturday at Memorial Stadium.



Associated Press

Texas Tech football coach Kliff Kingsbury runs on the field with his team before the Red Raiders’ 41-23 victory over SMU on Aug. 30 in Dallas. Kingsbury, the former Tech and New England Patriots (backup) QB, will face Kansas at 11 a.m. Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

In April of 2003, the New England Patriots made 6-foot-3, 213-pound gunslinger Kliff Kingsbury, of Texas Tech University, the 201st overall pick in the sixth round of the NFL Draft.

More than 10 years later, it turns out all of the film that then-Patriots offensive coordinator and current Kansas University head coach Charlie Weis watched of Kingsbury back then could be huge for the Jayhawks (2-1) as they open Big 12 play Saturday with Weis’ former pupil wearing the head coach’s headset on Memorial Stadium’s east sideline.

Kingsbury, 34, was hired during the offseason to replace Tommy Tuberville, the second coach in four years to quit or be fired by the Red Raiders. While the turnover could make preparing for Tech a nightmare, it has had the opposite impact for Weis, who spent part of KU’s off week reviewing Kingsbury’s 4-0 start with his alma mater.

“Offensively, I go back more to when Kliff was playing for (Mike) Leach,” Weis said. “That’s what I’m looking at now. I was there with New England when we drafted Kliff, and that’s the offense that I’m seeing. That’s what Kliff knows, and that’s what Kliff’s doing.”

Leach’s famed “air raid offense” — in addition to constantly cultivating quarterbacks who put up astronomical numbers — focused on quick passes that took pressure off of the offensive line and quarterback and put opposing defenders on their heels. Through four games under Kingsbury, Texas Tech has returned to that, with the 20th-ranked Red Raiders averaging 39 points and 520 yards of offense per game despite entrusting virtual no-names Baker Mayfield and Davis Webb to do Kingsbury’s old job in the offense.

“They’re scoring points, they’re playing aggressive on defense, and they’re sitting there at 4-0 figuring that the sky’s the limit right now,” Weis said of this week’s opponent. “I’ve known Kliff a long time. He’s a confident person, and his team is playing with his type of confidence.”

Seventy-nine percent of Tech’s total offense (1,634 of 2,080 yards) this season has come through the air, something that did not surprise Weis because of his memories of the TTU offense led by Kingsbury the quarterback.

“One thing that I was intrigued about back when he was playing at Texas Tech is that they never called a run,” Weis recalled last summer. “The entire year, they didn’t call a run. Every play was a pass that you could check to a run. I had never heard of that before.”

Although the two will be adversaries this week, Weis remains wildly fond of Kingsbury.

“He’s always been one of my favorite people,” Weis said. “Kliff was a pleasure to be around (at New England). He obviously had some guys ahead of him that are Hall of Fame-type people that he was behind, but I can tell you that he was a pleasure to be around, and he was a sponge. Him having early success in his coaching career has come as no great surprise to me.”

Kingsbury was equally complimentary about his former Patriots coach during his meeting with the media Monday.

“The first thing that jumps out is his work ethic,” said Kingsbury, asked what he remembered about playing for Weis. “He’d spend the night up at the office and was up there at all hours. Obviously, a great quarterback mentor having worked with Tom Brady, always had great game plans. I thought he was one of the best game planners I’ve ever been around on a week-to-week basis. Learned a lot of X’s and O’s, and it was a really positive experience up there.”

Combs finds new home

Former KU defensive tackle Marquel Combs, who last week received his release from KU after deciding to transfer, has joined the Southeastern Louisiana University program, coach Ron Roberts announced Monday.

Combs, a junior who was the No. 1-ranked junior-college player in the class of 2013 according to, did not play in KU’s first three games this season and is eligible to play immediately at the FCS school.

“We are very excited to have someone of Marquel’s talents become a Lion,” Roberts said in a release. “In addition to his athletic abilities, he’s a high-character young man who is going to be an asset to our program on and off the field.”

SLU is 2-2 this season, with losses to TCU and South Dakota State.

No new injuries

The Jayhawks seem to have emerged unharmed from a physical bye week that featured a Thursday scrimmage in which even KU’s quarterbacks were live and free to be hit. Weis said only running back Taylor Cox (hamstring) and wide receiver Tre’ Parmalee (appendectomy) were listed on the team’s injury report heading into preparation for Texas Tech.

There was no word yet whether either player has a chance to play this weekend against the Red Raiders, but the Jayhawks appear to be in good shape everywhere else.

“I think the team got some chance to rest and, in addition, we covered the country in recruiting,” said Weis, asked to name the most important thing KU accomplished last week. “There were a lot of things we got done, but now (we’re) ready for nine weeks in a row of Big 12 action, and we’re really looking forward to the Big 12 opener this week.”

Early start no sweat

For the second week in a row, KU will kick off before the clock strikes noon. Although the early start — 11 a.m. Saturday at Memorial Stadium — brings different challenges for both sides, Weis said it did not create a clear advantage for either team.

“You just gotta get the body clocks used to whatever time you’re given,” Weis said. “We just played our last one at 11 so at least the players are used to that routine.”

KU-TCU set for 11 a.m.

Big 12 Conference officials announced Monday morning that KU’s Oct. 12 contest at TCU would kick off at 11 a.m. and would be televised on FSN.

Receiver chooses KU

Bobby Hartzog, a 5-11, 182-pound wide receiver from Houston, orally committed to the Jayhawks last weekend.

A senior at Westside High, Hartzog chose KU over offers from Utah, Houston and Iowa State. He is scheduled to make his official visit to Lawrence Oct. 18, the weekend of the Oklahoma game.

Last spring, Hartzog, who leads his prep district with 506 receiving yards and six touchdowns, committed to Utah and Houston before opening his recruiting back up. He told Jon Kirby of that his commitment to KU was solid.

“It is definitely a relief for me because now I don’t feel like I will have to do too much,” Hartzog told Kirby. “I can just relax and play football. Now I can and just enjoy my senior year. It feels better to know where I am going.”


Doug Cramer 8 years, 12 months ago

Would think the "in the know" factor would play more against us. Since Kingsbury played for Weis...he should have a clear idea of his play calling tendencies.

Dirk Medema 8 years, 12 months ago

It is interesting that Hartzog has flipped so much. First to the home town, then to the Pac-12, now to another major conference where he will have games in his home state.

Also interesting that this article: says Utah recruited him to play DB. Wonder if that had anything to do with his decision, or if KU has similar ideas.

One of the video links started with him knocking 2 DB's on their backs during a touchdown for a teammate. Interesting highlight to pick to start.

Dirk Medema 8 years, 12 months ago

Looks like we may have another SPARQ wonder. Hartzog posted SPARQ score of 110.91 on the Nike circuit last spring including an electronically-timed 4.49 40-yard dash, 4.16 20-yard shuttle, 37.4-inch vertical, 37-foot power throw.

For contrast, Colin Spencer’s score last year was 141.12, the top score at the 2012 Nike SPARQ Combine and the third-best score of all time. He ran a 4.42-second 40-yard dash, a 3.87-second shuttle run and also turned in a 41.7-inch vertical jump.

Andy Godwin 8 years, 12 months ago

"I thought he was one of the best game planners I’ve ever been around on a week-to-week basis. Learned a lot of X’s and O’s, and it was a really positive experience up there.” What happened to that Charlie?

Jonathan Allison 8 years, 12 months ago

He used to coach the New England Patriots, and now he coaches the Kansas Jayhawks.

texashawk10 8 years, 12 months ago

Nothing, Charlie is still a great game planner (see last year), but he was never a great play caller even with the Patriots.

Jeremy Hays 8 years, 12 months ago

What? How many Super bowls have the HOF Brady and Belicheck won since Charlie left?

Robert Brown 8 years, 12 months ago

What's your point? That Charlie Weis is such a brilliant coach and that we should thank our AD everyday for hiring him even though the rest of the country thought and still thinks it was a bad hire? NE won Super Bowls because of its defense as much as its offense. In the last several years, NE's defense got worse and the offense got better. Weis was the OC and the offense got better after he left!!

texashawk10 8 years, 12 months ago

Adam Vintieri's leg had more to do with those Super Bowl wins than the play calling. All 5 of the Pats Super Bowl appearances under Belicheck have come down the the final possession.

Ron Prichard 8 years, 12 months ago

I'm not saying Weis is a brilliant coach or we should worship the ground he walks on, but I do think he is moving KU in the right direction. Also, I would take even one Super Bowl appearance even if it came down to the last play. Thirty other NFL teams would, too. Any win is a win, especially when you get to that level.

I have questioned the play calling this year, and I don't think anyone would say it has been great. However, I think when you take the program at a whole, we are moving in the right direction. Recruiting is up, player attitude and committment appears to have improved, the strength and conditioning program is light years improved, and the players are being held accountable off the field and in the classroom. On the field, the defense is clearly being put in position to make plays, and there have been offensive flashes.

At some point, all of those things are going to come together and result in better on the field play and more wins. When that happens, everything will look better, including the offensive play calling.

Robert Brown 8 years, 11 months ago

Everyone is entitled to their opinion. We really have no choice but to hope that Charlie Weis does well. Nothing he has done some far makes me think he transform the team. Right now, it looks like a bad, expensive hire.

Think about it. Leach and Mangino left the same year under similar circumstances. Both gave their respective teams a personality and both experienced historical success for their schools. Since they left both Tech and KU have had two coaches. I would argue that Tech is in much better shape than KU. They have a better coach and a brighther future.

Micky Baker 8 years, 11 months ago

It was three coaches altogether that coached under Bill Snyder that were all fired. Makes a guy wonder if Bill Snyder quit because he may also have anger issues over there in Manhattan. Remember, he quit when Mangino beat him in 2004. Levitt and Leach both followed in being fired for "anger issues". That might be the culture over there at K-State and maybe they just allowed the three to get thrown under the bus to cover Snyder's rear end?

kellerman411 8 years, 12 months ago

What if Charlie has been sand bagging on his play calling all through non-conference games? Sand bagging is a bad term, what if he simply was holding A LOT of stuff back? Remember the K-State game last year? He came out throwing haymakers and carried our team through the first half by simply outsmarting KSU.

Considering we have been outplayed 2 out of the first 3 games, I highly doubt that Charlie has a whole lot that he was trying to hide. I do however think that this Saturday we're going to see some new stuff.

Robert Brown 8 years, 11 months ago

It is amazing how many people are still sold on Charlie Weis's perceived brilliance. Well over half the coaches in the Big 12 have better offensive schemes than KU.

Tony Bandle 8 years, 11 months ago

At 5'-11", I hope our new receiver is a combination of Wes Welker and Raymond Berry..speed and hands.

Hey, what happened to all the avatars????????

Ron Prichard 8 years, 11 months ago

We're all being assimilated. Individuality will no longer be tolerated. It's the next step in the Googlization of America. You, in particular Oakville, are on "their" radar.

KGphoto 8 years, 11 months ago

It’s part of the shutdown. No Panda vids and no avatars.

Chris Bailey 8 years, 11 months ago

Maybe we should use this the rest of the season. TAKE PRESSURE OFF THE OLINE!!! How can that be a bad thing??? Quick passes? Putting a defense on it's heals? I think we need to work this into our offense. I bet it would open some holes in the running game too.

Chris Gilbertson 8 years, 11 months ago

It would probably work if the WR's could ever figure out how to finally catch the ball

Chris Bailey 8 years, 11 months ago

Agreed. Although some of it is a lack of getting open coupled with no pass protection.

Brad Avery 8 years, 11 months ago

One thing the article does not mention is that Kingsbury was the offensive coordinator for Houston in Kevin Sumlin's last season year in 2011 and then moved with him to Texas A&M to coach Johnny Manziel. He was named national offensive coordinator of the year after the Aggies lead the Southeastern Conference in rushing, passing, total and scoring offense, and were the nation’s only offense ranked in the top 15 of the NCAA statistics in all four categories. Maybe just maybe he was available for a head coaching job offer in December of 2011 while at Houston. . Texas Tech is coming off a 33-7 home win over Texas State. Tech is ranked 11th nationally for total offense and 3rd for passing offense. Their quarterback is a walk on freshman QB Baker Mayfield who has a 66% completion rate for 1120 yards and an 8/4 TD/INT ratio. Sigh.

kay_you 8 years, 11 months ago

Is it just me or does it look like Kliff is copping a feel on number 7?

Kay Jensen 8 years, 11 months ago

Is it just me, or is he the hottest coach in college football?? Yum!

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