Cliff’s Notes: Charlie Weis press conference, 10/8/13


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

The updated depth chart (lots of changes on the offensive line) and full press conference audio have been posted.

Weis says the last thing he wants to do is throw players or coaches under bus. As the head coach, he has to sit down and look at what the team can do to make things better. You have two options: Schematically, you can do less things more, or you can move people around to try to see if you can fix problems with personnel. KU went through the whole spring with Pat Lewandowski at left tackle and Aslam Sterling at right tackle, and they’ve been moved back there. Moving Lewandowski to center didn’t turn out well, despite that’s what KU’s goal was. Now that Lewandowski has moved out to left tackle — Weis feels he is the team’s best left tackle — that shifts Sterling back to right tackle. The guys playing the best on KU’s offensive line this year have been the guards Mike Smithburg and Ngalu Fusimalohi. They’ve been far from perfect, but they’ve been the two most constant guys KU has had. As the coaches were moving guys around, they felt Gavin Howard gave KU the best opportunity at center to do something new.

Weis says it’s not going to be too much of a change for Lewandowski and Sterling at their new positions, as they played at their respective positions in spring ball. The real question will be if Howard can hold up at center. Weis says the center position has held KU hostage so far this season. The center position is an area where KU has to get better.

Receiver Andrew Turzilli was a little bit of a disappointment in the spring, because he’s one of KU’s two fastest receivers with some size and athleticism. He just wasn’t playing well and wasn’t showing up. Coaches didn’t notice he was out there in practice. When guys move down the depth chart, they either pack it in or try to fight back. Turzilli is one of the guys who is taking steps to make his way back into the mix.

So far, Weis says KU’s play in the run game has been a big disappointment. Weis doesn’t want to single out the offensive line, because a lot of elements go into it. The run game should be the foundation of what KU is.

KU running back James Sims wasn’t only picked a captain because he’s one of the team’s best players. He’s bought in that KU has to do what it needs to do to be successful, like when KU went five wide to start the Texas Tech game. Weis said KU is still 2-2. It hasn’t been a pretty 2-2, but the team still is 2-2. KU has eight more games. Sims still has plenty of opportunities to be more involved in the offense this season.

Weis says he’s never had to make this many depth-chart changes in his career. There are only so many alternatives. KU is running out of alternatives. KU has to start settling down into what it’s going to be offensively. KU is going up against a really good defense this week in TCU. The team on deck (Oklahoma) is more of the same. It’s going to get worse on offense if KU doesn’t improve.

When the quarterback is a run threat, it forces the defense to do things differently. The problem is that in those formations with Michael Cummings in, you become one-dimensional. The bind you get in is teams load up the front to stop the run.

The hardest part about center is snapping the ball and then getting hit in the mouth after you snap it. KU has intelligent guys at center. Intelligence is not the issue. The issue is getting hit immediately after the snap. Some of KU’s snaps looked like Weis was snapping, and he joked he was never any good at doing that in his playing days. Weis thinks the centers sometimes worry too much about the blocking assignment instead of the most important part, which is snapping.

Weis’ biggest problem with the defense against Texas Tech was third-down conversions. When a team runs 100 plays, though, part of the responsibility is on the offense, because that many plays makes a defense tired.

After a loss, you always start with a positive with your players in the next week’s film session. The players already have gotten beaten down. They’re already disappointed. Weis said he hasn’t read any media articles since Saturday. In film study, he stopped the tape after the first quarter and asked his team who should win the game based on that tape. Then he showed the rest of the game and asked if that was the same team. Weis said he’ll stand up in front of media and take the blame for his team’s play, but he holds his players accountable behind closed doors too. For example, having 12 penalties is a lack of discipline and comes back on the coach. He’ll take blame for that. But he also went to his offensive linemen and asked how five line-of-scrimmage penalties can happen at home with no crowd noise when they know the snap count. The message to his players and the media are not the same.

Not having Tony Pierson hurts KU, because he’s gotten better each week and is starting to play well. Brandon Bourbon is playing well too. He’ll have an added role now. More of the burden will fall on Bourbon than has happened before. Pierson will be back at some point. The MRI came back negative. Pierson has a headache and a sore neck, so he’s walking around like an old man, but other than that, there’s nothing wrong with him, which is a good thing.

One of the most important things with concussions is how you deal with them once you have them. The team has cognitive tests for concussions, then the team looks at the player. The team will err on the side of caution. Weis says better safe than sorry.

TCU plays its safety so close to the line of scrimmage that you have opportunities to go over the top. Everyone tries to go over the top. It comes down to execution. When you call for the home runs, you have to hit them. TCU gives you some opportunities, but you have to be patient.

KU had a bunch of mental errors on the offensive line in the last game. There should be fewer of those this game. The problem for KU this game is that TCU’s defensive line is really good.

Weis thinks KU’s defense has been playing pretty physical and at a pretty high level. In this game against TCU, if you’re not physical on both sides of the ball, though, you’re going to have a tough time.

Linebacker Samson Faifili looks like he’s a ways from playing. Every time he gets going, he re-aggravates his injury. He’s much like running back Taylor Cox and might be treated that way. He has a possibility for a medical redshirt even though he’s played three games, so KU might pursue that. If he can’t go the rest of this year, that’s a possibility.


Bobby Burch 8 years, 8 months ago

"The problem is that in those formations with Michael Cummings in, you become one-dimensional." ... An unpaid coach from the couch could see as much, why wouldn't a 4-0 Tech squad? Couldn't believe how much Cummings was on the field.

Whatever, it's behind us, and hopefully we're better from it. The remainder of the season is going to be tough, though. Rock Chalk.

VaJay 8 years, 8 months ago

I couldn't believe it either - especially when things were clicking early on with the empty backfield. The revamped O-line has to get it going for us to do any damage this season, and until then, the less we see of the Wildcat formation the better...

John Fitzgerald 8 years, 8 months ago

As Jayhawk fans I think we at least owe it to the players to still support and believe in them every game even if they get punished like the Tech game. They work their butts off regardless of what anyone thinks and they're all good guys. I feel bad for Weis, mainly because he's as frustrated as us and I guarantee you even more. The guy came here to fix this program and it's been nothing but painful for him. He's gotta take care of his health too or this "project" could end up killing him. I think the most important thing for our players to remember is that it can only go up from here. If we lose like we did last week the rest of the season then that's the worst that can happen. And they also need to open their eyes and think of Andre Maloney. He was going to be there teammate, and passed away by a freak incident. These guys have to realize that life is precious, the privilege to play football is precious, and they owe it to themselves, their friends, and their families to put everything they have on that field. They may not be remembered for their hard work outside of football, but they will always be remembered by their efforts on the field. Have faith guys and know that the ladder to success is right in front of you. Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose! RCJH!!!!

Lance Cheney 8 years, 8 months ago

Annnnd another perfect opportunity to ask Weis about why he doesn't hire an offensive coordinator came and went. Instead, he was asked softball questions that we all knew the answers to: the O-line is bad, Pierson doesn't appear to have a concussion but we're erring on the side of caution, and he will take the blame from the media for his team's performance.

Lance Cheney 8 years, 8 months ago

Well he's also the head coach. You can't have your cake and eat it too, at least not here. He's the captain of this ship. And we all see how his offensive coordinator abilities are working out for us. He portrays this attitude of doing whatever will help this team win, and handing the offensive reigns to somebody else appears to be the best move to help us win at this point. I don't think it can hurt, anyway. God forbid we break 20 points in a game. And while I don't believe it's a journalist's responsibility to act like a district attorney, I do believe it's their responsibility to ask the questions that their "constituents," if you will, want to know the answers too. I love our KU Sports journalism staff. I think they do a great job covering the different sports. This comment wasn't meant as a slight (I hope I'm spelling that right) to them, I just wish somebody from one of the media outlets would ask him about it, just to see what his answer says. It's not gonna hurt anything to ask him one uncomfortable question.

Lance Cheney 8 years, 8 months ago

"Coach, given the offense's lack of production, have you given any thought to hiring someone to solely handle the offensive coordinator duties?"

Sam Brockert 8 years, 8 months ago

"No, not really." That would be his answer.

Thomas Thompson 8 years, 8 months ago

I was at the game Saturday, I couldn't believe what I was seeing. We have a fine group of running backs led by Sims. I felt we should have established the running game first. I realized we might not have scored the early points, but we would have had a better offense to take the pressure off the defense in the second half. For some reason our passing game is not clicking and we do have outstanding running backs. The defense was on the field far too much to be effective. However, on one play a linebacker or defensive back ran across in front on the the Tech ball runner and ran smack into a Kansas player chasing the ball runner to make the tackle. I realize I am old style in my view of the game, but I did play the game at KU from 62-64. I don't have solutions, but I have had too many obervations during the first 4 games. Rock Chalk

KGphoto 8 years, 8 months ago

Haven’t heard anything about why Victor Simmons never seemed to be covering Amaro (sp). That was supposed to be the big matchup, and while I haven’t tortured myself by watching the game a second time to take a closer look, I don’t remember Simmons ever matching up with him.

I was looking for it during the game and I remember seeing Linton and Sendish, and I think Johnson. No Simmons. Can someone with a better stomach than me watch the game again and gimme some info on who covered Amaro and how often? Cuz Amaro was stifled early, but once he got rolling, the Tech offense got rolling.

-I like these OL changes. We needed more size at center.

-I like Turzilli and Ford to be the guys who stretch the field against TCU. Turzilli has shown many times that he can get behind a Big 12 defense.

-I don’t like injuries but I think Love and Heeney will be a better tandem in the middle. Faifili’s size and speed is impressive, but Love just makes plays.

-Pierson’s injury makes way at the “F” for... Nick Sizemore? Odd choice. I would’ve thought Trent Smiley would’ve gotten the nod if we went with a blocking TE, but he’s not even on the 2-deep at his position anymore. Either way I’m thinking the choice to go big at the F means we’ll be using that guy for much needed help in the run game. It also puts an exclamation point on Colin Spencer’s redshirt.

-Jordan Shelley-Smith gets his chance at #2 TE behind Mundine. Lots of competition for that spot. I’m excited to see Jordan get his chance.

John Fitzgerald 8 years, 8 months ago

I agree the spread is our best chance to score points. Our receivers will eventually figure it out the more we pass and honestly the spread is our only option if the line is going to keep being our weakness. Let heaps put this team on his shoulders. One of two things will happen; we keep losing or we start winning. Either way I don't see the risk seems we're in the losing mode right now.

Rock_Chalk_NYC 8 years, 8 months ago

Coaching Vacancy: Head Coach or Offensive Coordinator, CW, you choose. I want you and the team to succeed but its even obvious to the head coach at Liberty U, you can't do both!

And please, enough with Cummins as QB, he only completed a pass because Tech had its 5th string defense in the game.

Savion Havon 8 years, 8 months ago

Funny thing about what your saying is Cummings is the same qb that had us beating Texas last year took tech to double ot . The only reason he's now a running qb is they HCCW said so the line last yr was he was a pocket passer. You say you want the spread offense but that's the offense that's the reason heaps us here. He couldn't operate it you have to be mobile to run a spread be dangerous in space I'm waiting for weis to let the kid loose and see what he can do the only handcuffing is being done by him. If you were in attendance of the spring game the best passes came off the arm of 14 see you in ft worth RCJH

John Fitzgerald 8 years, 8 months ago

Did anyone else find this comment hard to read or understand? Come on man ... Pay attention to your grammar. Sad thing is I'm sure you have some good points in there I just can't quite make them out yet.

Savion Havon 8 years, 8 months ago

Sorry jm I was using iPad. Dang autocorrect got me

Alex Fletcher 8 years, 8 months ago

exactly, i don't mind seeing both QB's on the field. Cummings is capable of throwing the ball, and has the speed to get outside if needed!

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