Saturday, September 20, 2014


Column: Weis, Jayhawks survive by thriving late

KU's Charlie Weis feels the pressure in the first half, as KU hosted Central Michigan on Saturday September 20, 2014 at Memorial Stadium.

KU's Charlie Weis feels the pressure in the first half, as KU hosted Central Michigan on Saturday September 20, 2014 at Memorial Stadium.


Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Weis on KU's productive 4th quarter and win vs. Central Michigan

Kansas University football coach Charlie Weis discusses the Jayhawks' victory Saturday against Central Michigan. Though KU scored a touchdown on the first play from scrimmage, the home team didn't get back into the end zone until the fourth quarter — just in time to break a tie game and win ...

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Box score

That jolt you felt Saturday was Kansas University football coach Charlie Weis bouncing off the ropes with a timely 24-10 victory against Central Michigan at Memorial Stadium.

We’ll never know what would have happened with Weis’ job status if Kansas had folded after a sloppy, uninspired first half and lost to the Chippewas of the Mid-American Conference. We only know it’s irrelevant because the Jayhawks shook from the malaise that had dogged them from  the start of the first quarter in the season-opener until the start of the fourth Saturday. During that stretch, Kansas had been outscored, 79-23.

And then the fourth quarter arrived and with it came passionate play from KU, which turned a series of big plays into a 14-0 finish. 

The victory moved Weis from last on KU’s list of all-time coaches to third-from-last, ahead of Bob Valesente (.205) and Turner Gill (.208) with a .222 winning percentage. It also gave Kansas a winning record with the easiest 25 percent of the schedule in the rear-view mirror.

“You should have seen us partying in the locker room,” middle linebacker Ben Heeney said. “It’s something that we really needed. We wanted to prove everybody wrong this week and I think we kind of did.”

Kind of. Eventually.

No real point in belaboring the unsightly particulars of the first half, but the low point certainly is worth rehashing.

Referees don’t often show a sense of humor — or was it frustration over having to call such a Keystone Kops half? — but after flagging the Kansas offense, an official turned on his microphone to share with the crowd that the false-start infraction was called against “everybody but the center.” As the crowd of 34,822 laughed, Keyon Haughton should have taken a bow.

The players who merited taking a bow in the fourth-quarter were many. Jake Love sniffed out screens on back-to-back plays and delivered punishing blows. Senior Justin McCay scored on a 60-yard touchdown pass from sophomore Montell Cozart. Senior Pat Lewandowski made a block that freed freshman Corey Avery to turn a short pass into a 30-yard touchdown reception. Courtney Arnick, Love, and Michael Reynolds harassed immobile Central Michigan quarterback Cooper Rush, and by the day’s end, KU had amassed 10 tackles behind the line of scrimmage. Receiver-turned-cornerback JaCorey Shepherd made a diving catch at the sideline for an interception to seal the game.

Hence, the post-game atmosphere. 

“We were partying pretty hard in there,” Heeney said. “We’ve got a chip on our shoulder. It was really emotional in there. We just partied. It was awesome in there.”

Asked (with a straight face) how the post-game locker room scene compared to that of the 34-28 victory against Southeast Missouri, Reynolds said, “There was way more excitement because we knew we needed this game and those big plays in the fourth quarter that gave us that two-touchdown lead and JaCorey’s interception. There was just so much emotion, so much excitement.”

Weis said, “The locker room was as happy a locker room as we’ve had in a long time. Those guys know that it could have gone either way. We very easily could have lost that game ... and they made a lot of big plays in the fourth quarter.”

At the same time, nobody was delusional enough to think that one big play on the game’s first play from scrimmage, a Tony Pierson 74-yard touchdown sprint, and one good quarter, the fourth, will get it done against Big 12 competition.

“The players are in good spirits, but they realize we have a lot of work to do if we’re going to have a chance to win next week at homecoming against Texas,” Weis said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do.”

Weis said again after the game that he turned his computer off all week.

“Because I sleep in my office and I have the computer off, I’m oblivious to the real world," Weis said. "I barely know what’s going on with ISIS, to tell you the truth.”

By any measure at any time, Central Michigan shapes up as the JV squad compared to Texas.

Weis said the coaches he has worked with used the cliche, “bunker mentality” in trying times such as these.

“You’ve got to dig yourself in and dig yourself out and that’s what we tired to do this week,” Weis said. “So I give credit to the coaching staff and the players for not throwing in the towel and just going through the motions, but that’s what you’re supposed to do.”

Kansas did what it was supposed to do Saturday, which was beat a nonconference opponent scheduled for the purpose of beefing up its victory total. Big 12 play starts Saturday when Texas comes to town. As tough as winning that game will be, it won't be as difficult as if KU had not done what it was supposed to do against Central Michigan.


Doug Cramer 7 years, 11 months ago

Missed the game because I had to work. But at least we got our hands dirty in the 4th quarter and finished strong. Good win...and great performance by our linebackers.

Aaron Paisley 7 years, 11 months ago

That false start was on Haughton. When everybody but the center moves, that means the center forgot the snap count.

kellerman411 7 years, 11 months ago

Tom Keegan! I see what you did there!!! Charlie Weis says he barely know what's going on with ISIS. Your next line mentions "JV".. Now that's funny.

Micky Baker 7 years, 11 months ago

Obama barely knows what's going on with ISIS.

Micky Baker 7 years, 11 months ago

Mr. WMD? Quite frankly, whoever voted for Obama the second time... they should all give their diplomas back. ISIS should tell you something, unless you don't know what it stands for.

Bryce Landon 7 years, 11 months ago

Obama barely knows anything, but like Charlie Weis, he's really good at pretending like he knows what he's talking about.

David A. Smith 7 years, 11 months ago

Which is exactly where the record breaking GPA of the football team came from! Very astute! Not sure, but I think the Superbowl rings came from sheer incompetence, too.

Gary McCullough 7 years, 11 months ago

What part of politic-free zone do you not understand?

Micky Baker 7 years, 11 months ago

If I was an Obama supporter, I would also try to stifle all criticism of him.

Al Martin 7 years, 11 months ago

As has been remarked by other posters, you are in fact dumber than a doorknob, and are incapable of understanding a politics free zone. The fact that all of us choose not to argue with your politics reflects not that we agree with you in any way, nor that we feel that any politician is above criticism. It reflects only that a) we aren't going to enter a political discussion in what should be a politics free zone, and b) we choose not to enter an argument with an idiot for all the well known reasons.

So why don't you just talk KU sports here? There are plenty of appropriate forums to vent your political spleen.

Micky Baker 7 years, 11 months ago

I wasn't looking for you to discuss it. I simply made a comment in response to someone else who brought up ISIS, which was brought up in the article. I was on topic. You're not. You haven't made any other comments on this article. Also, take a look at the thumbs up. There aren't very many complaining about it. Go cry in your corner.

Micky Baker 7 years, 11 months ago

What does TP stand for? You want it to be a politic free zone, you're not doing a good job of making it that way. You said WMD, the TP. You're not very courageous are you? It would have been courageous for you to just not respond. I did not intend to make discussion out of it. You're keeping it going.

By the way, I am smarter than you are.

Micky Baker 7 years, 11 months ago

Awww, still whining?

Maybe too many people care more about "friendships", that aren't even real, than they do about he country and the Jayhawks? You see, everyone is an individual and is not obligated to adhere to a certain "clique". If that's what you do, you only think you have friends, but they're not your friends.

Micky Baker 7 years, 11 months ago

Yes, it is. They say they want it to stop, but they won't stop. They're looking really foolish right now aren't they?

Bill Kackley 7 years, 11 months ago

My God, something positive out of Kramer. Will wonders never cease?

Chuck Woodling 7 years, 11 months ago

Tom, your column hits the nail right on the head. As Gary would say, good job.

Matt Spitzli 7 years, 11 months ago

“You’ve got to dig yourself in and dig yourself out and that’s what we tired to do this week,” <--tired/tried

Being a KU football fan isn't always a particularly rewarding experience, but this was a good Saturday. Hoping we can squeak out another win before the season's over.

Erich Hartmann 7 years, 11 months ago

BigXII notes: Baylor put 60+pts on some hapless foe.

OU 3-0.

TxTech gave up 45pts in a loss, and their Dcoord resigned.

IowaSt (clones) just lost 2 players for the season, 1 a backup WR, as they had already lost their starting WR at start of season.

TX lost to UCLA, 2nd straight home loss. TX coach dismissed 2 starting Olinemen, and original starting QB gone for good. But TX roster has no shortage of athletes to choose from, and they will face KU after TX's bye week...

KSU had a chance to make the BigXII look good, moved the chains well enough against #5 Auburn, but missed 3 FG's (Cantele which way wind blowing?), and Lockett drops a sure TD in the endzone, that gets bad-bounce intercepted. The sign held up by some KSU fan "where there's a Bill, there's a way" only made me think of KU basketball...We should hold up such a sign, written in purple, when KU plays KSU in AFH...and have the coaching staff show up wearing all black, with Self walking in late...

Robert Brown 7 years, 11 months ago

UT did not lose to UCLA at home. The game was in Arlington. Next week's game with UT should be interesting. UT lost its starting QB due to concussion issues.

Erich Hartmann 7 years, 11 months ago

Oops, yes, Arlington...thanks for the assist. Yes, I also didnt specify why the orig TX QB quit. Any concussion-related career ending is unfortunate.

Andrew Washington 7 years, 11 months ago

The main thing that sucks is that Texas will be coming off a bye week before they face us.

Micky Baker 7 years, 11 months ago

That doesn't really give them an advantage, or shouldn't. Sometimes that can work against a team.

Kyle Sybesma 7 years, 11 months ago

I was a supporter of the Weis hire but after 3 years we are in no better of a position than we were when he started.

In year on we easily beat SDSU lost a close game to Oklahoma State, lost the lead late to Texas and had TTech in overtime.

The only highlights of year two were a game winning field goal over LA Tech and a convincing win over West Virginia.

This year we are barely beating SEMO and Central Michigan.

Where's the progress? We should beat Texas after three years of Weis but that's not going to happen. "Texas is in shambles" according to Tait (not ripping on Tait, just quoting) and we can barely beat a MAC school. Does anyone think we can be MAC champions or Mountain West champions?

Let's face it, I have, Weis has only bought himself some more time for THIS season. I do believe we have better players than we did under Gill and we play harder but the results are the same. Time to move on.

Gary McCullough 7 years, 11 months ago

Firing a HC every 3 years is like ripping the bandaid off before the wound is healed. You have to start the healing process all over again. I understand how frustrating it is to be the cellar dwellers year after year. But we have to stick with the plan, in this case Charlie Weis, and give him more time. Patience is hard, but necessary.

Micky Baker 7 years, 11 months ago

This depends on how the rest of the season plays out. If KU wins 2 or 3 games in the Big XII and loses by 20 to Baylor and OU, and competes with the rest of the league, then I say stay with him. If it falls apart after this, then he's gotta go.

Micky Baker 7 years, 11 months ago

This get's tired. First, people complained about not getting a complete game against SEMO. Then they complain about a 50% completion rate from Cozart, then when he does complete 70% plus of his passes in a game(like against CMU), they won't even acknowledge it. Then they complain about the defense getting tired and not finishing the game. Well, they finished the game. Cozart and company made some plays in the 4th quarter. I'm pretty sure they're not saying the same thing the naysayers over in Columbia after Mizzou's loss to Indiana at home yesterday. They're better fans in Columbia than what we have in Lawrence.

It's just the three things that were mentioned in the first paragraph. It was, "I won't believe the receivers will catch the ball until I see it". Did you not see that? The Kansas defense finished with ten tackles for a loss. Did you see that?

The team bounced back. Sure, they left opportunities on the field on the offensive side of the ball. With that said, 23 of 33 for 226 yards, 2TDs, and 1INT for Cozart was a solid performance within what should be expected from him.

This is really what can be expected after what happened the week before. If KU had played like this against Duke, particularly Cozart because Duke gave Cozart a lot that Cozart didn't take, that game would have been something like 27-24 or something like that.

I have one question? Did you watch the game against CMU?

Micky Baker 7 years, 11 months ago

The same game where those things mentioned in my post actually did happen that you won't acknowledge.

Cozart did complete 70% of his passes. KU did get sacks. KU did close the game out strong on both sides of the ball.

KU did all these things that you were mad about them not doing in week one and against Duke.

I know we were tied. Nowhere in my post did I state anything that would lead you to believe I don't know that. In fact, I probably watched the game more closely than you did which is why I recognized the things you won't acknowledge.

What was untrue about anything that I wrote.

John Thomas 7 years, 11 months ago

I think Brett's point is that there STILL isn't anything to be excited about with this team or coaching staff.

Micky Baker 7 years, 11 months ago

My post had nothing to do with excitement. It was about some of the fans that complained about not getting what they did get in the game, not just the win by 14.

70% completion rate for Cozart. Closing the game out on both sides of the ball. Wide receivers catching the ball. KU getting to the QB.

And that's not all. That's only what I mentioned.

Holding an opponent to 101 yards on the ground and less than 200 yards through the air, that's another one. It doesn't matter who it is. They complained about not getting that against SEMO, and when they did get it, the guy that left early against SEMO(Brett) whines. Maybe it was because he didn't buy a ticket this time and missed it in person which really gets to him. That's just speculation, I don't know. It isn't speculation that Brett left early. He said he did to "beat traffic" in Lawrence.

Brad Farha 7 years, 11 months ago

Agreed. I know I've got crimson and blue colored glasses, but these are all good points. I liked the bounce back I saw in the guys this game. And they did it without 2 of the starting O-line.

Bill Kackley 7 years, 11 months ago

I am disappointed also but feel we have to have patience. If we get beat up the rest of the season like we did last year, then I will concede Charlie has to go but understand if that happens I will have seen my last winning season of KU football and will give up my season tickets that I have held for 15 straight years. We need for Charlie to be successful, it would be nice if all the naysayers would, at least, publicly, get off his back and do whatever little we can do, not writing negative crap, attend the games, accentuate the positive things in the football program to help this team and coaching staff. Hard to use comparative scores for anything. BGSU beat Indiana, Indiana beats MU, BGSU gets killed by Wisconsin. Does that mean Wisconsin would clobber MU as well, as much as I would like it, I doubt it. Let's finish this season on a high note and let our AD run his athletic program instead of being a bunch of know it alls, who know very little.

Titus Canby 7 years, 11 months ago

I think we have a shot against Texas. I'm looking forward to a big game Saturday.

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