Cliff’s Notes: Charlie Weis press conference, 10/29/13
Here is the Cliff’s Notes version from Kansas football coach Charlie Weis’ comments at his press conference today.
• Weis says making the change with his offensive staff a few weeks ago wasn’t difficult. The trick was the timing of it. It’s unusual to make a change like that two or three games into a season. Making a change is always difficult. Texas coach Mack Brown was looking for something he wasn’t getting earlier this year. He wanted to let his athletes be athletes on defense. Defensive coordinator Greg Robinson (who was hired a few weeks ago) had been around the program as a consultant, and he was familiar with what Brown wanted to do defensively.
• KU’s players should feel like they have a chance of winning this year after last year’s close loss to Texas at home. KU came off a butt-kicking last week. Texas has momentum. But just as Brown is showing the UT players game tape to say, ‘Don’t overlook these guys,’ KU’s coaches are showing their own guys the same tape to say, ‘Those are the same guys you had on the ropes.’
• Quarterback Montell Cozart has a lot of room for improvement. He got about half of the reps in practice, then he got about half the reps in the game. Weis wanted to make sure both QBs got an opportunity and weren’t looking over their shoulders if they screwed up or had one three-and-out. Every time Cozart gets out there, he’s going to gain valuable experience. He’s going to get better and better, and he’ll be out there a bunch this week.
• This QB situation would be a lot more uncomfortable if Jake Heaps wasn’t handling as well as he is. Heaps is probably the most unselfish person KU has. He wants whatever will help the team win.
• Heaps was congratulating Cozart in the Baylor game on his own, and Cozart did the same for Heaps when he threw a TD pass. You could see they fed off each other, and Weis said that’s a good thing to see.
• A lot of times when you’re a freshman QB, you might be hesitant to take a leadership role. Heaps told Cozart last night to be more authoritative in the huddle. Don’t just read the plays; call the plays. When you’re in there, it’s your team. Heaps has been great. It means a lot for Cozart to have the support from the guy who’s been the starter at QB and who was a runaway captain.
• Ideally, you wouldn’t play both quarterbacks half the time. If Heaps goes in and throws four touchdowns in a row, he’ll stay in there. If one of the QBs gets a hot hand, Weis won’t take them out.
• Both Heaps and Cozart are just as effective as the other on about half the playbook. On about 25 percent of the playbook, Heaps is best. On the other 25 percent, Cozart is best. So when they the quarterbacks are in, they’re working with 75 percent of the playbook that is best for them.
• Weis is going to leave Cozart’s ideal body size up to strength coordinator Scott Holsopple. Weis wants Cozart to put on as much weight as possible without losing his speed. When Tom Brady came to the Patriots when Weis was there, he came in at 188 pounds, which wasn’t very big. Cozart is big enough to take hits. Weis would like him at 200 pounds instead of 180 pounds (if that’s what he is), but Weis is going to leave that part up to Holsopple.
• Weis says sometimes you have to not only look at how things are going with your program at the current time, but how they finish. Weis has said all along that KU will be playing its best football at the end of the year. KU has five games to prove that. Baylor just stomped KU, but BU has been stomping a lot of teams. That’s not an excuse; that’s reality. Weis says if his team finishes this year 2-10, it’s going to be hard for Weis argue his team has made progress.
• Weis liked the way his receivers ran routes last week. He thinks they all played harder and with more definition. That’s not a knock on receivers coach Rob Ianello. Weis thinks part of it is that the main boss (him) was hanging around the receivers more often in practices. The receivers looked improved last week.
• Weis is coaching a lot more after he made the offensive staff shuffle a few weeks ago. He’s also allowed to focus more during the game. Weis says you miss a lot of the game when you call the game, because a majority of your interest is trying to prepare for the next series.
• The coaches haven’t been happy with the physicality they’ve gotten out of the tackle position. With Riley Spencer and Randall Dent now backing up the tackle positions, the coaches know they have guys on deck that have some experience and girth if KU needs them.
• Weis is concerned about Tony Pierson. There’s nothing medical that’s keeping him from playing. Maybe, Weis says, he is overly concerned. When a kid is out there for three plays and doesn’t get hit and is dizzy, that’s a concern. How hypocritical would you be if you sent a guy out there that is woozy without getting hit, if you’re a coach that says he cares about his players? If you go out there dizzy like that, you play afraid, and you can’t play like that. Pierson will not see the field until he feels like he is healthy and like he won’t get hurt.
• Linebacker Ben Heeney wanted to play last week. Until Friday, he was trying to get ready to go. The BU game was going to be a game that was played in space. Texas, meanwhile, will try to pound you. The Texas game will suit Heeney better. Giving him the extra rest will suit him well for a gameplan that is going to need him.