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Archive for Friday, November 29, 2013

Editorial: Winning ways

The KU football team may have been wearing the wrong shoes in Iowa last week but in other important ways the Jayhawks and their coach are getting things right.

November 29, 2013

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A lot of the talk about this year’s Kansas University football team hasn’t been particularly positive, but as the Jayhawks head into their final game of the season this Saturday, it’s a good time to applaud some notable accomplishments by the coach and players.

One of the most notable of those came in the classroom. For the second year in a row, KU placed 19 members on the Big 12 academic football team. This year, that tied KU with Oklahoma for the top spot in the league. Fourteen KU players were on the academic first team, which requires a grade-point average of at least 3.2. Five KU players made the second team with GPA of 3.0 to 3.19.

This was no small feat for a team that had an overall grade-point average of 2.48 in the fall semester before Coach Charlie Weis arrived on campus. The new coach said he would place a big emphasis on having a team that met certain standards of personal behavior and academic performance. To help make his point, he dismissed 10 players from the team shortly after he arrived for a variety of reasons, but behavior and grades were in the mix.

In Weis’ first semester at KU, the team’s grade-point average jumped to 3.0, the highest in the program’s history. In the two semesters that followed, the team recorded averages of 2.83 and 2.86, confirming the commitment of the coach and his staff to make academics a key part of the KU experience.

Another priority for Weis is the health of his players, as exhibited by his decision to bench running back Tony Pierson because of lingering effects of a concussion he suffered on Oct. 5. Although Pierson was cleared by doctors and had limited playing time since the injury, Weis said the player hasn’t seemed like himself. He didn’t play last weekend and didn’t appear on this week’s depth chart so it appears his season is over. It can’t be an easy decision to keep a top offensive weapon on the bench, but Weis was giving Pierson’s health top priority.

In his opening press conference at KU, while announcing the dismissal of the 10 players, Weis set the tone for his tenure. “There’s a right and a wrong way of doing things, and we’re gonna do it the right way. That’s all there is to it.”

Fans are frustrated and somewhat mystified by the continuing tribulations of the KU football program. The win against West Virginia broke the Big 12 losing streak. A win against Kansas State on Saturday would certainly end the season on a high note. It’s easy to look at what’s wrong with the KU program, but it’s also important to consider the areas in which the team and coach are getting it right.

Comments

Chris Condren 1 year ago

It is way past time for KU to compete in football. The recent past and current state of the program hurt the Athletic Department, the University and the City of Lawrence. I have not been to Lawrence in nearly four years and I will not return for a football game until the Jayhawk football team shows me it can compete. I know I am not the only person who will not spend money at KU or in Lawrence.

Julius Nolan 1 year ago

Look at who destroyed KU football. Name is Lew Perkins. Takes time to overcome what he did. Prime example being Turner Gill. Got $10 million for winning 5 games. Great return on investment, 2 million per game. Look at Gill's brilliant record at Liberty, who was only school who would hire him, probably because of his religious beliefs, not his coaching skills, of which he has none. If you were true KU fan, you would look at this fact and support the efforts to turn the Perkins disaster around.

Chris Condren 1 year ago

I think Perkins did some much damage to KU sports that it is difficult to quantify. That said he has been gone 3-4 years and football progress is hard to see. Good Jayhawk fans have voted with their feet to say no more bad football . Like me they have found other things to do on game day than engage in watching the poor product put on the field. It is time for accountability with KU Athletics. Win or be gone.

John Graham 1 year ago

While Gill did not have any success in two years at KU, he has had good success at Liberty. In two years he is 14-9 overall, and 9-2 in conference tied for 1st each year. He clearly has some coaching skills though may have been in over his head at KU. Based on his first two years Charlie hasn't shown any more than Gill yet Charlie comes with a big time name which I don't understand based on his mediocre record at ND. If you can't win with the talent ND gets what makes anyone think he will win with KU level talent? Mangino is the only coach at KU with a winning record in the last 40+ years but the politically correct didn't like him yelling at the players. I bet Saban yells at his players.

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