A cynic’s dark soul would insist it won’t make any difference how Charlie Weis tweaks the Kansas University football offense because the centers and offensive tackles will still get pushed up-field and the receivers still won’t get open, a double-barrelled prescription for failure.
But there is no point in viewing it so bleakly when 75 percent of the season remains to be played.
Weis said Tuesday that he enjoyed the imperfect victory against Louisiana Tech for 24 hours and then graded himself on a tough curve, as is his custom.
“Why did I call that? Why didn’t I call this?” he said of his Monday morning self-flogging ritual. “You’re second-guessing everything. You think you do that? Try being the guy who actually does it.”
Enjoy the victory first. Then tear it apart.
“Now you get back to reflect on it, go back and study it the next morning, you say, ‘Oh, God, we’re awful.’ And you sit there one thing after another,” he said. “We can do better at this. We obviously can’t do this. We’re not good enough to do that. Or that player’s not capable of doing that by himself.”
Weis sounded confident that the offense at the end of the season will be better than it has been one quarter into the schedule, and the source of that belief could be traced to knowing his personnel better. Maybe he realizes he must scrap part of his playbook, the part that talented Notre Dame and NFL receivers could execute, but asks too much of Kansas pass-catchers, especially in an offense already burdened by shaky blocking.
Ever since that day in West Virginia decades ago when I bet on a horse that ran like an ox, I’ve had a serious case of X-and-O phobia, so I checked with my friend Chalkboard Denny to see what mix of pass routes might work for the KU personnel.
“Bubble screens with Tony Pierson and Brandon Bourbon,” Denny said. “Running underneath routes into an area where a receiver has cleared the zone, post patterns, hooks or squats, and the occasional seam pattern when they have nine or 10 men within five yards of the line of scrimmage.”
Denny added that all the receivers should study film of the way former KU receiver Dezmon Briscoe, “who was not a blazer,” performed. Denny noted Briscoe “got open because his routes were so precise and crisp.”
A pause in the action for a glossary of terms:
Bubble screen: Wide-side receiver cuts toward the quarterback to receive a quick pass and runs behind a flank of blockers.
Hook pattern: Receiver runs downfield then turns around and runs toward the line of scrimmage to make the catch.
Post route: Receiver runs down the sideline and at medium depth makes a cut toward the middle of the field at a 45-degree angle.
Seam pattern: Receiver runs straight up field. Also called go or fly route.
Squat: Beats me.
Even I have noticed a shortage of bubble screens and underneath routes. It will be interesting to look for evidence of both Saturday morning against Texas Tech.