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Archive for Saturday, October 7, 2000

Vet Wier comes to Jayhawks’ rescue

October 7, 2000

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Regular holder Harrison Hill can't play because of dehydration woes. Who you gonna call? Brandon Wier.

Punt team woes cost Kansas University the SMU game. Who you gonna call? Brandon Wier.

Four games into the KU football season and it's abundantly clear that Wier is the Jayhawks' Mr. Fix-It.

"It's starting to feel like that," said Wier, a fourth-year junior defensive back out of Olathe North.

Wier's skills as a handyman were first required in the opener when Hill was sidelined. Wier had done some holding for place-kicker Joe Garcia in the past and now he's the full-timer, not just the sub.

Same for the punt team post. In the opener, with sophomore Jake Letour-neau calling the signals, three straight gaffes led to 17 Southern Methodist points.

Wier replaced Letourneau in the next game and the 6-foot-2, 195-pound former high school quarterback and wide receiver has retained the all-important job of determining opponent coverage, direction the kick will go and snap count.

It was Wier, in fact, who called the fake punt against Oklahoma last Saturday that turned into a 26-yard gain with the Jayhawks in a 4th-and-14 hole.

"I didn't call it, but I had the green light to call it based on the film we'd watched," Wier said.

After his long run, Wier collided helmet-to-helmet with OU defensive back J.T. Thatcher, who went down and stayed down for a while.

Wier, meanwhile, was able to run back to the Kansas bench on the other side of the field.

"My head spun a little bit, but I had a lot of adrenaline going," Wier said. "I was so excited to be able to run the ball. You don't get that opportunity as a defensive player."

With Kansas State coming up on Saturday, Wier knows the Jayhawks' punt team will face perhaps its toughest challenge of the season, especially if KSU punt returner extraordinaire David Allen returns from the injured list.

"I've heard Allen will be back," Wier said, "but (Aaron) Lockett isn't any worse than Allen."

Kansas State's roster is full of players from Olathe, players Wier played against and with, including reserve quarterback Jeremy Milne.

"Watching them on film I feel I know their entire team," Wier said. "It's a different feeling than any other game. It's like a high school feeling. When you play a team from Texas or Oklahoma, you don't know anybody because those schools don't recruit in Kansas."

When they do recruit in Kansas, it's usually in the Kansas City Metro area. That includes Olathe, where Wier's father, Gene, has coached for years.

Like father, like son? Probably not.

"I've thought about coaching and I think I could do it," Wier said. "But it's a rough road for college coaches and I won't coach in high school because I'm not an education major."

Wier, who has compiled a 4.0 grade point average in three straight semesters, needs only one class to earn a business degree and plans to spend his senior year on the KU football team earning an MBA.

"The job offers I receive with an MBA," Wier said, "will pay a lot more than coaching."

If not business, there is always psychoanalysis. Wier isn't aiming for a degree in that field, but he has a lot of on-the-job training.

"Sometimes I feel like a psychiatrist for our kickers," Wier said. "We have two extremely good kickers in Joey Pelfanio and Joe Garcia, but Pelfanio had his confidence shaken in that first game. It's the same with Joe (who has missed two extra points). It all has to do with confidence. If all they have to do is think about kicking, they'll do good."

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