Kansas University football coach Charlie Weis announced Thursday that this offseason’s annual spring game will take place April 13, 2013.
Weis did not reveal a kickoff time but said the game was moved up a couple of weeks in order to avoid interfering with the Kansas Relays (April 17-20) and to allow his coaching staff more time to recruit.
Spring football will begin March 5, and the Jayhawks will squeeze 14 practices and the spring game into a six-week period, with the players getting the week of spring break to themselves.
Calling all leaders
With 23 seniors leaving the program and many of the returning upperclassmen lacking meaningful playing time, a new group of leaders seems to be emerging inside the KU football complex.
From transfer quarterback Jake Heaps, who sat out 2012 after coming to KU from BYU, to sophomore linebacker Ben Heeney, who led the team and finished third in the Big 12 in tackles last season, and all kinds of guys in between, Weis said he made it very clear that the need for leadership was there.
“They’re gone now,” said Weis of KU’s former field generals. “So there’s a natural opportunity for (guys) to step up. If you have it in you, now’s the time to go ahead and show it. And it’s not just Jake, and it’s not just Ben, but there’s a bunch of guys that are kind of moved into that type of category.”
Asked if the number of potential leaders was greater than he expected, Weis was honest about his uncertainty.
“I didn’t know how many to expect,” he said. “But one thing, you can’t fake leadership; either you have it or you don’t have it. And when coaches try to make guys into leaders that aren’t leaders, guess what, it doesn’t work out very well. I’m hoping that some of the leaders on our team aren’t even here yet.”
Staff to return intact
After any 1-11 season, questions arise about whether all of a programs coaches will return the following season, but Weis made it clear Thursday that he expected his entire coaching staff to return for 2013.
“I told everyone there’s no one getting thrown under the bus,” Weis said.
The possibility exists, of course, that any one of Weis’ assistants could explore the idea of taking a job elsewhere, but KU’s second-year head coach did not seem to think that would be a problem.
“I said, ‘If I hear you’re looking for another job, I’m looking for another coach,’” Weis said. “It’s a very simple system. So I think you should expect us to be back intact.”
Grimes hired by Auburn
Former KU offensive line coach, J.B. Grimes, who worked under Turner Gill at KU in 2010 and 2011, has been hired by Gus Malzahn for the same role at Auburn.
Grimes, a native of Clarendon, Ark., coached under Malzahn at Arkansas State during 2012 and elected to follow the former Auburn offensive coordinator back to the SEC shortly after Malzahn was introduced as the Tigers’ new head coach earlier this month.
“J.B. is a tremendous coach who is one of the nation’s top teachers at the offensive line position,” Malzahn said in a statement released Wednesday night. “He played a vital role in our team’s success this past season.”
Grimes will coach Arkansas State in the GoDaddy.com Bowl and will join Auburn shortly thereafter.