Cliff’s Notes: Charlie Weis press conference, 8/23/13


Here is the Cliff's Notes version from Kansas football coach Charlie Weis' comments at his press conference today.

Full audio has been posted.

KU junior college offensive lineman Pearce Slater came into Weis’ office early Saturday morning and told Weis there was a family emergency at home. KU got him to the airport, and Slater went home. Slater said everything was going OK when he first got there. The two communicated several times over the next few days. Weis suggested — if everything was clear — that it would be best for Slater to be back at least by this Sunday, as classes start Monday. Weis says he has no idea if and when Slater will be back on campus. Weis texted Slater this morning and hasn’t heard from him, and he’s taking him for his word that he'll return. Weis said when he hears something more on Slater, he’ll make sure everyone knows.

Weis says there have been good players at center in the past — Kevin Mawae of the Jets is an example — that have been taller players like KU's Pat Lewandowski. Sometimes shorter guys play at center because they can’t play at other positions on the line. Short arms are not a good attribute for a snapper, but sometimes, those guys can get their hands inside a nose tackle quickly. That’s the only advantage of having arms like that. Weis says there’s no disadvantages to having a tall center. Weis said he knew things were going to be rough in the beginning with Lewandowski. It took him a week to settle in with his shotgun snaps. There was a transition period, but for the last week and a half, his snaps have looked good.

Weis says he’s going to do everything he can to make sure junior college defensive lineman Andrew Bolton doesn’t play this year. He wants to red-shirt him. Weis has had a conversation with him, and Bolton is not 100 percent about it, even though he’s recovering from a previous knee injury. Weis said you can’t bring in this many juco kids in one year and play them all and have them all graduate at the same time in two years. That would put KU in trouble with its numbers on its roster. Right now, both Weis and Bolton would favor him not playing this year so he could get his knee fully healthy.

Weis’ next depth chart will come out a week from Tuesday. The depth chart is already done. If a junior-college guy doesn’t show up in the two-deep, you can assume that guy is probably going to red-shirt.

Weis has had to have his scout team practice how to run a fast tempo to give his team’s defense the best look. The scout team’s goal is to get a new snap at least every 12 seconds. That’s faster than almost all the Big 12 teams’ fast-tempo offenses.

Weis says a lot of coaches will tell TV announcers stuff they can use during telecasts. When announcers go into analysis, they usually don’t know that on their own; they are told that. Weis pays attention to what the TV analysts say when he watches TV replays of opposing teams because he can gain insight into what the coaching staff is thinking. When Weis gets coaches’ tape, he watches that without sound and uses that for scouting purposes.

Weis says in the NFL, coaches are more cognizant of playing complementary football. That’s an art that’s lost in college. Part of the job of the offense in the NFL is to score, but part is to help save the defense. A quick three-and-out with a fast tempo doesn’t allow a defense to rest. The college game lends itself to this, as there are more players available to play. NFL players have 45 or 46 guys that can play, and college teams basically have two teams on each side of the ball to play when guys are tired. In college, there is no concern for how fast the defense has to be on the field again. When looking at the gameplan heading into the week, KU’s coaching staff has to look at which offensive tempo gives the team the best chance to win. Sometimes, the old college basketball “four corners” stall offense is best. Sometimes, a fast tempo is better. Weis says his offense has to score more points this year or it’s a moot point anyway.

KU's players watch the tape and hear the critique from coaches after practice and can tell who is playing well and who’s not playing well. You play the guys who deserve to be out there and not necessarily the ones with reputation or so-called entitlement.

Right now, juco defensive lineman Marquel Combs is not a starter. There are a lot of guys in that category: their reputations are high and their ceilings are high, but are they better than the guy in front of them? Combs is indicative of a group of guys. Different guys have performed at different levels. Juco safety Isaiah Johnson has been the best safety since he got to KU, so he’ll be the starting safety. At some positions, it’s not as easy to step in and perform well early, just because of the demands of the position. Juco cornerback Kevin Short, who just arrived last week, will be playing Week 1. That might be starting or backing up. The best guy plays.

Weis says one of the guys that has had a great camp that he wasn’t expecting is Buck linebacker Michael Reynolds. Everyone’s been waiting for this, but he’s starting to deliver. He’s turned a corner. Last year, he had the most pass-rush ability on the roster, but KU couldn’t get him on the field because he wasn’t an every-down player. He hasn’t beaten Ben Goodman out, but Reynolds’ development has made Weis even more encouraged about that position, especially after Chris Martin’s dismissal from the team earlier this year.

Everything starts with the quarterback in Weis’ system. It takes about a year for quarterbacks to figure out the system, but once you get it down, it’s pretty easy. Talented transfers have some advantages, because they have a year to get the system down before playing. KU tries to cater to do what the quarterback does best. Last year, the passing playbook got smaller and smaller because KU didn’t show it could execute the more complicated plays. Weis says he turned into an option run coach — he had never done that in his career — because that was KU’s strength. He joked that his father would probably roll in his grave if he heard him say that, because Weis has always been a guy that has believed in 50-50 run-pass split on offense.

Quarterback Jake Heaps is unquestionably the team’s No. 1 quarterback and it’s not close. Michael Cummings has gotten significantly better from last year. The guy in the future of the program that is going to be tough to keep off the field is freshman Montell Cozart.

Weis says KU’s offense has always had a fast pace it could go to, but it goes back to the fact that if KU goes three-and-out a lot, a fast tempo doesn’t benefit the team’s defense. Weis loves going no-huddle, up-tempo, but you have to do what’s best for your team to give yourself a chance to win the game.

Weis wants to take another week to look at returners and especially Kevin Short, who could complete for a job there. Weis all but said Matthew Wyman will be the team’s starting kicker. Wyman came from the dorms. KU advertised to try to find walk-ons last year. He walked on in the spring and went through conditioning. He kicked OK, got to the spring game and made a few. He came into camp down on the depth chart, but he’s moved up because he’s kicked so well. He’s got good pop and good range. He has no problem making it from 50 yards. He’s been consistent.

Weis says that KU has some bumps and bruises, but other than linebacker Marcus Jenkins-Moore’s knee injury that will keep him out this season and a couple of appendixes that needed removed, it looks like KU won’t have anyone that’s not ready to go for the opener. Cornerback Tyree Williams also is a question mark for the opener, but Weis said it looks like he might be ready too.

Weis said he didn’t have to recruit new quarterback commit T.J. Millweard much. Millweard's high school coach reached out to one of KU’s staff members. He’s a top-line talent. This is a kid who’s going to come in to compete to play. His mom went to KU and lived in Kansas. Millweard spent his first eight years in Kansas. Weis had a long conversation with him. Weis said after watching him on tape, this was any easy decision. It’s nice when a top-line player wants you. Weis said he was only going to give a scholarship for a quarterback next season if a special situation presented itself, and he was was a special situation. KU is glad to have him. He’s a bright student.


Jim Jackson 8 years, 10 months ago

Jesus, Weis does not want Bolton to play this year? AND no Chris Martin? Our pass rush was abysmal last year, this is not good.

KGphoto 8 years, 10 months ago

With or without him we are probably twice as good as last year, on the DL.

Mark Lindrud 8 years, 10 months ago

Sometimes, when you bring in a lot of competition guys step up their game and that's what it sounds like that is happening. Weis brought in talent and yes lots of the JUCO guys will play, but some of them haven't picked things up and that can happen. Red-shirt a few of them and next year we get even stronger on the line and in other possible weak areas. We are going to be better and it sounds like we will be better the next year too.

Dirk Medema 8 years, 10 months ago

Let's see - Should we expect a freshmen and sophomore (Goodman & Reynolds) to develop into more productive sophomore & junior?

Should we expect it to take at least a year to recover from knee surgery?

Should we keep irresponsible druggies on the team?

Personally, I think CW is right on target. Sure, it would be nice to get an elite player that would be ready to step in from day one. Then there's reality and player development.

milehighhawk 8 years, 10 months ago

I'm mostly concerned about Combs.

All the rumblings have been that he's been kind of slacking or not quite getting it, reading between the lines of what the coaches have said.

Hoping I'm wrong!

Mark Lindrud 8 years, 10 months ago

Sometimes, guys don't get it when they first come in, but let's see how it plays out. As a fellow Coloradan lol, let's stay positive.

d_prowess 8 years, 10 months ago

Is it weird that we have a couple of players that need their appendixes removed? I know it is a fairly easy procedure but what an odd things have needed with a couple guys.

Jonathan Allison 8 years, 10 months ago

It's surprising that the #1 rated JuCo prospect is not a projected starter, but Combs has only played since his Senior year of HS. He's only been serious about strength and conditioning for one (1) year. He'll come around, because he's got natural ability, leadership, and drive, but he's still raw and he's still catching up. He hasn't faced the likes of Sterling and Lewandowski before.

Ken Schmidt 8 years, 10 months ago

t least it wasn't a walk-on from Corbin.


Dirk Medema 8 years, 10 months ago

Combs and McCay were listed as 1 on the last depth chart, but are both being challenged by last year's JUCO's.

Pearce is not AWOL - absent with out leave. CW gave him leave - oh, or are you referring to not receiving permission from you?

The kicker from the dorm (at least it wasn't Corbin) was the soccer player we were looking for last year.

And the #1 QB last year is still the #1 QB. This year he is eligible to play.

Steve Reigle 8 years, 10 months ago

He's not yet ready to be a starter. That sounds like a motivation comment to me. But also an accurate statement. When he's ready I imagine he'll be a starter.

Steve Reigle 8 years, 10 months ago

He's not yet ready to be a starter. That sounds like a motivation comment to me. But also an accurate statement. When he's ready I imagine he'll be a starter.

By the way, what's with the frequent 500 Internal Server errors on this site? Just got another one when I first tried to post this.

Ashwin Rao 8 years, 10 months ago

I guess google is not paying KU Sports enough?

Mark Lindrud 8 years, 10 months ago

We all know that a lot of JUCO guys came in to enfuse this team with bowl potential talent. Let's keep in mind that just because they are JUCO transfers, doesn't entitle them to be starters once they walk onto any D1 campus.

You can have all the accolades, but you have to prove it and it is possible some of the guys felt they were given a starting job by showing up, but that is not the case. Now, for some of them they need to actually live up to the hype and by relegating a few of them it is highly possible that they will take that as motivation to not just talk the talk, but walk the walk.

Kevin Crook 8 years, 10 months ago

Could be an interesting year. Like last season, we will be much better than the year before, but our record may not really show it. Shows how bad we were two years ago. The Rice game will be very telling about where we are. That's not to say that we couldn't lose down there and end up coming together and being pretty tough by the end of the season. But if we go down there and lose ugly...well it could be a long season.

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