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Cliff’s Notes: Charlie Weis press conference, 10/15/13
Here is the Cliff's Notes version from Kansas football coach Charlie Weis' comments at his press conference today.
• Weis has been pleased with how things have gone on the defensive side of the ball after making changes on the staff to have Dave Campo overseeing the defense with Clint Bowen coordinating it. Weis has been happy with the special teams as well. The area where he’s been most disappointed has been on offense. Weis reflected on what he did with the defense in the offseason, and he said he realized he should be doing more of the same with the offense.
• From this point forward, KU quarterbacks coach Ron Powlus is running the passing game, tight ends coach Jeff Blasko is in charge of the run game and protections and Weis is going to oversee the offense. He’s going to get much more involved with coaching the skill positions, which he felt have been lacking. He’s been a position coach at all the offensive skill positions at the NFL level. Some of the areas KU is deficient at, Weis feels he can help with improvement. He’s not pushing assistants to the side; he’s just getting more involved with all the skill positions while letting Powlus and Blasko deal with the nuts and bolts of the offense.
• Sunday’s gameplan day was a refreshing day for Weis. There was a much greater exchange of offensive ideas than there has been since Weis arrived at KU. Weis says that might be because when the head coach is the offensive coordinator, sometimes guys can be stifled in making suggestions.
• Powlus has been in the coach’s box during games, and he’ll stay in the box. With this new distribution of labor, Weis will be more involved coaching the quarterback position at the end of series. Weis might miss a couple of KU's defensive plays talking to the quarterbacks. That’s the way he’s done business in the past, and that’s the way it’s going to be done now.
• This is a drastic change on offense, and it will be like this for the rest of the year.
• Powlus will still run quarterback meetings. When you have a veteran coach, a lot of times ideas are held in because the head coach or offensive coordinator already has a bunch of ideas on his own. Weis now lets his assistants put all their ideas up. He doesn’t say anything. Then, Weis went through play by play and asked the assistant coaches to explain why they thought a play would work and also had them show it on tape. Instead of Weis laying down the base for what KU is going to do, now the assistants’ ideas get to be the base for what KU does, and Weis can expand from that. This gives the assistants a lot more input.
• Weis believes the offense runs through the quarterback, and no one knows more about what the quarterback can and can’t do better than Powlus.
• Weis felt like he had to back off a little bit, or else the team was never going to get any better. It’s not easy for Weis to do it that way, but he sat back and said, ‘I was willing to switch like this on defense. Why am I not willing to do it myself?’ That’s not an easy thing to do. Weis is doing it because he thinks Kansas football needs it. He doesn’t care about his ego. He just wants to get better and win.
• Weis says the ideas were good. Some of them were shut down. It’s been a couple of long nights, because KU is not doing well enough on offense. You can sit there and blame the players all you want, but the bottom line is, the coaches’ job is to figure out how you make it better. This will give KU a better venue moving forward.
• Every week, Weis thinks about a lot of things after the game. He thinks about how he can make things better. A lot of the things KU said it wanted to do going into the game, it did. The Jayhawks didn’t have many mental errors after having a lot the week before. But at the end of the day, it wasn’t good enough.
• Weis says there aren’t any potential pitfalls with this new setup. It’s more of an open exchange. Weis thinks it will be a better utilization of the coaches’ resources. Weis said he is going to position meetings now. There are different levels of hard coaching, and Weis’ is cranked up to full gear.
• Weis says it’s tough to gauge how KU is doing in player development because of the high number of junior-college guys the Jayhawks brought in this year. As KU transitions to being a primarily high-school-recruiting team supplemented by juco guys, it becomes a totally different environment. Weis says an example of development has been JaCorey Shepherd. There were times when he was terrible last year, and that’s because he was a wide receiver playing corner. Now, he’s a corner playing corner, and he’s playing well. Player development doesn’t happen as much with juco players, because they’re not at your school long.
• Weis said his offensive line didn’t necessarily grade out better against TCU after the position switches. Weis said the best thing to come out of Saturday’s game was that new center Gavin Howard solidified the interior of the line. Weis isn’t saying Howard played wonderfully, but you didn’t notice that position as much as in previous weeks.
• You have to play to the strength of your team, and right now, KU’s defense is its strength. Weis says the goal is to try to give your defense a long field with which to operate. With the exception of one play, Weis thought KU’s defense played pretty solid.
• The staff hasn’t come close to making a decision on a red shirt for quarterback Montell Cozart. Once you get past the halfway mark of a season, that’s when the conversation begins. To Weis, if a kid can be involved half the season, that might also make them more prepared for the next season. Weis said he wouldn’t put Cozart on the depth chart if he wasn’t a legitimate candidate to play this week.
• Weis is really high on Cozart. His arm strength is good enough. Sometimes people think he’s just an athletic quarterback, so teams will only run with him. He can throw it good enough, Weis says.
• Weis says he thinks too many times, coaches’ egos get in the way of what’s best for the program. You just have to sit every week and say, ‘What can we do better?’ This week, KU needed to make some changes with how it did business offensively.
• If the day-to-day guys on the depth chart (like linebacker Ben Heeney and receiver Tony Pierson) were going to be out an extended period of time, Weis wouldn’t have put them on the depth chart. If Weis knew they were going to play this week, he wouldn’t have them in parentheses. Pierson has passed his concussion test, but he still has headaches. He could potentially play this week, but Weis wouldn’t bet on that. Running back Taylor Cox and linebacker Samson Faifili aren’t on the depth chart, because they’re a long way from playing if they play at all the rest of this season.
• Weis said he will do absolutely anything to give KU a better chance of winning besides cheating. He's interested to see how the new change with KU's offensive coaching staff goes.