1:02 p.m. Update:
KU coach Charlie Weis moved fast in replacing TCU-bound linebackers DeMontie Cross, announcing Friday afternoon that current assistant coach Clint Bowen would slide into the role vacated by Cross.
Here's the official statement from KU:
---Kansas head football coach Charlie Weis announced Friday that special teams coordinator Clint Bowen will now coach the Jayhawk linebackers. Bowen, who had previously been working with the KU secondary where he coached safety Bradley McDougald to All-Big 12 honors, takes over the linebackers as DeMontie Cross left Kansas to pursue other opportunities.---
No time table has been given for filling the final spot on KU's staff, but it seems logical to assume that Weis will take his time and make sure that he gets the right fit. In many ways, with Bowen now giving stability to the linebacker position, the final spot on Weis' staff could be used as a wild card of sorts.
Say another top-notch receivers coach expresses interest or an elite recruiter wants to join the staff, KU could then get creative with its titles and make the new coach an assistant receivers coach or a cornerbacks coach. Basically, they can give whatever coach they want any title just to get him on board.
Such an option is made possible by the fact that defensive coordinator Dave Campo is so well versed at coaching the entire secondary.
Expect the final spot to be filled well before spring ball begins on March 5, but most likely not until after signing day — Feb. 6 — which typically marks the final wave of coaching movement during the college football year.
10:58 a.m. Update:
Kansas University linebackers coach DeMontie Cross is leaving the program to take a similar job at TCU, sources told the Journal-World on Friday morning.
Cross, who played college football at Missouri and later coached at MU, Iowa State, Wisconsin and with the NFL's Buffalo Bills before coming to Kansas, was hired by KU coach Charlie Weis last offseason.
During his one season with the Jayhawks, Cross oversaw a linebacking corps that featured two of the top players on the KU defense in sophomores Ben Heeney and Jake Love. Heeney led the Jayhawks — and finished third in the Big 12 rankings — in tackles, with 112, and Love finished eighth on the team, with 36 stops, despite starting just four games. Junior linebacker Huldon Tharp also finished in KU's top five with 55 tackles.
No word or timeline has been given about a possible replacement for Cross, but one likely candidate is current KU assistant coach and special teams coordinator Clint Bowen. Bowen, a former KU defensive coordinator who coached KU's safeties last season, has experience coaching linebackers and already knows the roster and the rest of the coaching staff.
Replacing Bowen in the secondary would be an easier task considering the presence of defensive coordinator Dave Campo, who coached the KU cornerbacks in 2012 and was a longtime secondary coach with the Dallas Cowboys.
Original post, 10:23 a.m.:
Well, it looks like last week's blog about it being a relatively quiet offseason for the KU football program may have been a little premature.
Reports out of Fort Worth, Texas, are indicating that KU linebackers coach DeMontie Cross may be hired by TCU for the same position.
Cross, who played college football at Missouri and later coached at MU, Iowa State, Sam Houston State, Wisconsin and with the NFL's Buffalo Bills before coming to Kansas, was hired by KU coach Charlie Weis last offseason.
Still trying to nail down confirmation on this, one way or the other, so stay tuned.
If the report, which cites two unnamed sources, is true, it will be interesting to see where Weis looks for a replacement.
There are a couple of options inside the program that would make sense — most notably current special teams coordinator Clint Bowen, who has experience working with linebackers and would provide KU immediate stability at the position. In addition, with KU defensive coordinator Dave Campo in place, he could handle coaching the entire secondary as he did for years with the Dallas Cowboys and throughout last season.
Notre Dame alum Maurice Crum and former KU and NFL player Rod Jones also could be considered. Both have solid football knowledge and also have the luxury of knowing the roster and the rest of the coaching staff already.
As we've seen, Weis also is capable of going anywhere to pull in coaches and he could consider someone from another school or perhaps even the NFL ranks.
It definitely will be interesting to see how this plays out. I always was very impressed by Cross, both in terms of his ability to coach kids up and his dedication to what Weis was trying to accomplish here.
Turnover rarely is a good thing for a coaching staff, but losing Cross, though disappointing, would not be the end of the world for the KU defense.
We'll see what happens.
In 2009, fans of Kansas University football watched the unfolding of a witch hunt that quickly turned into the departure of one coach and the search for another.
A year later, a good chunk of the offseason was spent trying to explain what happened under first-year coach Turner Gill while assessing where the program was headed at the same time. That also marked the beginning of the Brock Berglund fiasco, which garnered more ink and lasted way longer than a player who never suited up for a single game ever should have received.
And then there the 2011 season, when KU said goodbye to another head coach and began yet another coaching search.
So what’s the point of rehashing the obvious and somewhat painful past? It’s been a while since the offseason was this quiet around the KU football program. Kind of nice, isn’t it?
Sure, we’ve seen a wild and crazy run of recruiting, and, with the current state of KU football that’s pretty loud news, but it pales in comparison to the kind of noise that’s been made in the past few offseasons around here.
Such stability is imperative to building anything of substance and, with second-year coach Charlie Weis and company determined to make KU a winner again, it’s nice to see that the coaching staff and the administration are dedicated to the cause.
That’s not the case everywhere. Just this week we learned about Oklahoma State defensive coordinator Bill Young leaving the Cowboys’ program. If you remember the name, it’s because Young was KU’s D-Coordinator from 2002-07. And he’s a good one. He won’t be out of work for long, but the mere fact that he’s no longer wanted by OSU comes as a little bit of a surprise.
Wait, it gets better. Or is it bigger?
Midway during the week, news broke that Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly had engaged in talks with the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles, who have a head coaching opening and are looking at all levels to fill it. If the man who just led the Fighting Irish to a 12-0 regular season and a trip to the national championship game (however ugly it was) is looking around, KU should be awfully thankful that its program and those associated with it have both feet firmly planted on the ground.
The news about Young and Kelly is just the latest example of program unrest in college football, something that’s becoming almost as interesting and certainly as relevant as the bowl games themselves each offseason.
Prior to that, coaching vacancies — a few big ones even — popped up everywhere you looked and that led to a reshuffling of coaching staffs and athletic departments throughout the country. Some programs are built to handle it and barely notice when offseason turmoil arrives. Others can be derailed entirely and spend years trying to recover.
For those who respond better to charts, standings and numbers, here’s a quick ranking of the top KU football stories this offseason:
- Class of 2013 recruiting
- Seniors preparing for April draft
- Memorial Stadium renovation
- Former players shine in NFL
- Conference realignment
There has not been so much as a peep about coaching turnover or major program changes. That bodes well for the Jayhawks.