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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Keegan

Column: Don’t sell Texas short

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During the latest installment of his always entertaining Tuesday pressers, Kansas University football coach Charlie Weis tried to put himself in the shoes of Texas football players watching film of KU’s games against Southeast Missouri State and Duke.

“There weren’t any restless nights for their team when they watched those two games,” Weis said. “They’re sitting there and saying, ‘And this is who we’re playing next?’ I would think ... (the Longhorns) feel pretty good about rolling into Lawrence for the start of their conference season.”

Agree.

“That being said, too, if all of a sudden it’s halftime, this game is close, you know, which I expect it’s going to be, I think that whole perspective changes,” Weis added.

Agree that the perspective would change, but don’t expect it to be close at halftime.

Sure, Texas is in a bad way by Texas standards. One starting offensive tackle was booted from the team Tuesday and the other won’t play against Kansas because he’s serving a suspension. All-purpose back Daje Johnson also won’t play because of a suspension. Starting quarterback David Ash wisely retired because of recurring concussions.

“On offense, their biggest issue is an offensive line going through transition,” Weis said. “They’ve had multiple guys suspended or dismissed from the team or just transfer and no longer be there. It’s a totally different line than we’ve seen from Texas the last couple years, and I think they’re just trying to get settled in at that position.”

And then came the line that partly explains why the Longhorns’ offensive woes are close to irrelevant in projecting a winner for this game.

“I feel their pain,” Weis said.

It’s not difficult to envision Texas, even with talented running backs Malcolm Brown and Johnathan Gray, working hard for every touchdown. But here’s the problem: Winning requires scoring. UT’s greatest strength — its fast, strong, big defensive line — matches up with KU’s greatest weaknesses, namely pass protection and a quarterback who hasn’t developed a knack for avoiding the rush. Polished quarterbacks with crafty pocket presence step in all directions to make the monsters miss. Montell Cozart straight back and when he runs, he heads toward the sideline, almost never up the middle.

“You can teach them how to step up, slide backwards, slide forwards, shuffle,” Weis said of young quarterbacks. “You can actually teach that. I think that over time he’ll become much better at that, just like when you bail out, always going to the same side, that’s another thing that’s a natural reaction that people have. But I think teaching people how to move in the pocket, not from the pocket, is something that can be improved over time.”

Such subtle feel aspects of playing quarterback can’t be absorbed overnight. Plus, Cozart hasn’t faced a defense quite this menacing. Iowa State shut out KU last season and Duke held the Jayhawks to three points two weeks ago. Neither had UT’s talent.

“Malcolm Brown, I think, is one of the best players that I’ve seen, period,” Weis said. “He’s big. He’s aggressive. He’s nasty. He moves well, makes several tackles for loss. He’s every bit of three and a quarter and probably runs 4.7. He’ll be a high draft choice, and he’s a very, very disruptive player.”

At the moment, the Kansas offense is ill-equipped to handle disruption.

Comments

Doug Cramer 8 years, 2 months ago

Expect a lot of pressure on Cozart. Texas will bring heat on the majority of our snaps, playing to three different KU weaknesses that include:

  1. The offensive line's ability block Texas's 4 and 5 star studs on their D-line.
  2. Cozart will be forced to make quick/decisive decisions
  3. Cozart will have to make accurate passes under pressure

This will not be a fun game to watch unless you're a Texas fan. Last week's win against CMU was just a dead cat bounce that I see has driven some posters sentiment back into kool-aid territory. This is a big boy game.

My prediction:

Texas 38 - Kansas 10

Jonathan Allison 8 years, 2 months ago

hopefully if Texas is really sending heat, then Reagan/Cozart will be able to recognize the blitz and audible into quick strike passes/screens that can give guys like Pierson and Avery room to run after getting the ball in the middle of the field. However, more likely is that Texas will get consistent pressure on Cozart with just a 4 man front or even a 3 man rush and be able to either stack the box or put 7 dudes in coverage depending on down and distance....

Michael Sillman 8 years, 2 months ago

I find it amusing that you seem to want kudos for making the easy prediction. It will actually take skill and some guts to project the Jayhawks' next win.

Hopefully the players and coaches can use the always potent respect card to get themselves fired up for this game.

Michael Maris 8 years, 2 months ago

“There weren’t any restless nights for their team when they watched those two games,” Weis said. “They’re sitting there and saying, ‘And this is who we’re playing next?’ I would think ... (the Longhorns) feel pretty good about rolling into Lawrence for the start of their conference season.”

If I was Dr. Sheahon Zenger, I would think that the above statement by Coach Weis would really hit home with him. I'm sure that Dr. Zenger never heard any such remarks from Coach Bill Snyder, while he served under Coach Snyder.

Two Big XII Football programs in a state of rebuilding. Yet, the coach of 3 season's is making such comments about the team that has a 1st year coach.

What's the answer? Termination or Resignation?

Doug Cramer 8 years, 2 months ago

And...how does Zenger (a supposed football guy)...just sit back and watch this play out. I don't get it.

Lucas Town 8 years, 2 months ago

I don't get this either. So is Weis trying to motivate his players by doing this or what? But this is the media, and Weis loves the time in front of them. The first line of this article is spot on, "During the latest installment of his always entertaining Tuesday pressers..." Unfortunately, I don't see this game being very close. Our offense against their defense is not a good match up for us.

Max Ledom 8 years, 2 months ago

Michael Maris, ughhhh have you ever listened to a Bill Snyder presser? I don't have enough fingers to count the amount of times he has downplayed his own team. He's one of the most humble guys on the planet and will be the first to tell you if something is bad about his team.

And Doug, maybe cause there is nothing that's going to make it better? Firing Charlie or whatever wouldn't help this team but make it worse. If Zenger is going to can Weis, let it be at the end of the year.

Doug Cramer 8 years, 2 months ago

Max - you could be right. I've never worked in Human Resources or been in charge of hiring and firing people.

However, my question is, why didn't he fire him at the end of last season ?

It was VERY evident that this program was not going in the right direction. Particularly after his JUCO dream team never made it on the field. We continued to get pounded by the Big 12 toward the end of the year. Our 2014 recruiting class was last in the Big 12. 2 five star QBs not materializing.

So tell me, where was the upside, that would keep Wies around ?

Zenger should have admitted that he made a mistake, and made some changes after last year.

The longer we keep him around...the longer the program gets held back.

Allison Steen 8 years, 2 months ago

You can't keep firing coaches after two years, thats why. Plus he got us our beloved big 12 win, so I guess thats how. We will never find success if we keep firing our coaches after 2 years.

Andy Hess 8 years, 2 months ago

"Don't sell Texas short"? Did that really need to be said? I mean, we barely beat SEMO. I highly doubt anyone is in the KU football offices going "Well, Texas is 1-2, so this should be easy."

Joe Ross 8 years, 2 months ago

Andy, Ive already seen people talking about a win vs. Texas on this site.

Yes. It needs to be said.

Jim Erickson 8 years, 2 months ago

A victory this week would go a LONG ways in showing the fans that there is reason to believe in Weis & Co's rebuilding strategy. Texas has major vulnerabilities and this is the type of game that a team on the rise would win.

Personally, I don't feel that we have made any progress but I would certainly start to question that if we pulled off a victory.

Kevin Kelly 8 years, 2 months ago

I'm shorting Texas at Kansas....said no one ever.

Kevin Kelly 8 years, 2 months ago

The Pats are coming into town. They lost to Miami, which KC beat....but don't you go selling the New England Patriots short!!!!! I'm tired of this thing I just started being a thing!

Bryce Landon 8 years, 2 months ago

Let's face it - A subpar Texas team on its worst day is still 1000x better than a Charlie Weis-coached Kansas team on its "best" day.

Savion Havon 8 years, 2 months ago

Two years ago our qb wasn't scared of contact I still say if HCCW would've let him get loose and quit running options to the short side of the field we would've beat em cause the score would've been better but if that happened Jake heaps would've left last year instead of this summer

Adam Tyler 8 years, 2 months ago

Periods and commas. Just a suggestion.

Bud Stagg 8 years, 2 months ago

I don't think Charlie is the answer, but we can't fire him after this year. What coach would come coach here? We fired Mangino under shady circumstances, ran Gill out of town after 2 and then fired Charlie after 3? On paper, the coaching talent is there for a school of KU's level. I think we have to give them a 4th year to either figure it out or another year to tick off the contract. We have to ride it out.

Robert Brown 8 years, 2 months ago

While I agree that Weis will probably get a 4th year, I do not buy your argument that "no coach will want to come here". There are only a handful of Big 5 conference programs that are open each year and those jobs represent a huge pay raise to an up and coming assistant or to an established coach from a smaller program.

(Almost) the whole world knew that the hiring of Charlie Weis was risky move and (almost) the whole world is not surprised by the results. While I think you need to give Charlie Weis time to get his program going, no one would criticize his dismissal if KU ends up winning three games again this year and is not competitive in conference games.

The problem will always be that of the 6-7 Big 5 conference jobs open each year, almost all other programs will appear more attractive than KU's, meaning it will be that much harder to find a good coach. Also meaning that, unless Zenger knows of some can't miss head coach he can get, he is better off letting this current coach staff continue through at least through Year 4

Micky Baker 8 years, 2 months ago

Both of you made valid points. It is subjective as to if a coach would want to take the job. For example, if one knows that another coach is going to be on the hot seat the following season at a program that has a better chance at success, they probably won't take the Kansas job for just a year. That wouldn't help anyone, and I wouldn't want a guy that only intends to stay for a year. We had better options if we fired Turner Gill before the season started and if we had stability with an AD that had been around for a full year or the two seasons that Gill was here. I suspect that it had a little to do with those in charge who had certain guys in mind and wouldn't even consider guys with more potential. The Gill hire was a trainwreck. With that said, I think Weis get's this whole season and the soonest we'll see another coach, if we do, is at the end of next season. If this ship isn't turned around, then Zenger does need to give Weis an ultimatum through 6 games next season. Win 4 of them, and if he doesn't then fire him right then and there and start scouting for guys we want to to talk with. If the other guys know there is an opening, they might reach out on their own and express interest in the job after gaining permission from the school they are currently at. Or, Kansas can get permission to talk to those guys from those schools, as long as it remains under the radar so it doesn't provide a distraction for those teams. If we wait until the end of the season, our chances of getting one of the better, available coaches goes down.

If Weis hadn't hired an OC and went out and got Kliseau, then Weis may only have 3 more games this season to prove he can do it. Because of those additions, the earliest I think anything will happen is next season. That may not be what some want to hear, but with the new offense, there should be marked improvement in scoring by the end of this season. If there isn't, then Weis needs to feel the heat. I big step can be taken this weekend if KU goes out and scores 24 to 30 points this Saturday, even if we lose by a small margin.

Aaron Paisley 8 years, 2 months ago

Everybody wants to say show me Kansas is an improved team before believing it and that's absolutely fair. Somebody prove to me that this isn't the worst Texas team since Mackovic in 1998.

I'm calling for an upset because I still don't see that happening, but there is a valid reason why the over/under for total points is only 41.5 points and it's because this a general between two really bad offenses.

Bob Bailey 8 years, 2 months ago

Zenger is the problem, followed by QB coach, and DC. A change of all three now could have some impact by the end of the season.

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