Kansas vs. Baylor: Charlie Weis Previews the Bears

John Rieger-US PRESSWIRE

Charlie Weis conducted his weekly press conference on Tuesday as the Jayhawks continue preparation for the Baylor Bears.

Kansas Head Coach Charlie Weis

Opening statement:

"First of all, before we get started, I just want to say one thing. Obviously, with this hurricane that just battered the northeast, all the people from the northeast especially, my family and friends I wish them well. It looks like it was quite devastating and it's quite unusual watching one of the places you grew up, going to the amusement park, being pretty much wiped out before your eyes. It is kind of sad to see. It's amazing how devastating hurricanes can really be."

On Baylor's coaching staff:

"On that note, we'll move onto Baylor. Obviously, Coach (Art) Briles has been coaching for a long time as a well-respected high school coach in Texas and he brought his A-game onto college. He and Phil Montgomery, who runs the offense, has been with him for 20 years. They have some very, very innovative ideas and they do a wonderful job with the offense. I'll get to more about them here in a second. Phil Bennett, who I know from my past, is running the defense and as fast-paced as that offense plays, their defense gets on the defense in a hurry, because they score lightening quick. I think that one of the things I've talked about several times is, before you start to criticize a defense, you have to look at the circumstances of which they are playing under. Their circumstance is that they're on the field about every two minutes and they're back on the field again."

On Baylor's offense:

"We'll start with their offense. They're a little unique in the fact that they make you play the whole field. As a matter of fact, you'll watch their games and their wide receivers sometimes will be split a yard from the sideline. So they make you cover the entire width of the field, which is kind of unique and I haven't seen people use that same type of approach. They're averaging 569 yards a game and 172 yards rushing, but that 395 passing leads the country and they're averaging 44 points a game. So their numbers are really big on offense. Everyone was wondering, what's going to happen when they lose (Robert Griffin III)? Well, they forgot about Nick Florence, I guess. Nick had started nine games in 2009 and they haven't really missed too much. I know that RG3 was a wonderful athlete, but this kid (Florence) is really good at quarterback. He's 6-foot-1, 205 pounds, so he's not overwhelming in size, but he's got a very accurate arm and he throws his deep ball as good as anyone I've seen on the college level. He throws a great deep ball and he has people to throw it to and we'll get to that here in a minute. And the other thing, he's not afraid to pull it and run it on the read option; he's not afraid to pull it down and scramble as well."

"They have a whole bunch of running backs that play. (Jarred) Salubi and (Glasco) Martin are really their two main runners, but you'll see a whole bunch of different guys in there. (Jordan) Najvar handles the tight end position. He's 6-foot-6, 260 pounds. He's listed that and I couldn't really tell from watching. The only bit of good news we have out of this whole offensive list is that (offensive tackle Cyril) Richardson, who I think is by far their best offensive lineman, has to sit a half, because he got thrown out of the game with 14 minutes to go in the fourth quarter. By Big 12 rules, he has to sit out the first half of our game and he is one tough, nasty player. So hopefully we've done enough damage in the first half, so that when he comes back, he can't be a difference in the game. (Ivory) Wade is their center and (Cameron) Kaufhold is the right guard and they've got two 6-foot-6, 300 pound tackles in (Spencer) Drango and (Troy) Baker. But the key to their offensive line really is that left guard, Richardson, who I wish the suspension was for a full game not a half of game, but I'll take a half a game right now."

"When it's all said and done, it all comes down to these receivers that play for this team and Terrance Williams is probably as good as I've seen. I think he'll be a high draft pick. That 172 yards per game average is not by accident. (Lanear) Sampson is a nice compliment to him and (Tevin) Reese, there's some question about if he'll play. I know he got hurt in their last game and there's some questions about his lung. It seems like at least he's okay, but he's a question mark for the game. They have a nice group of wide receivers with Terrance Williams definitely being by far the star."


On Baylor's defense:

"On defense, (Kaeron) Johnson is really their run stopper. Him and (Gary) Mason handle the inside part of their defense. Then, at the defensive end, they have (Chris) McAllister and (Terrance) Lloyd. Lloyd is a very versatile player, because they'll move him around some, especially when they get to nickel. We'll talk about their safeties in a second, but when they get to nickel, they bring a safety down as a defensive end. I don't know if I've seen that before, either. Last week, they started (Rodney) Chadwick at middle linebacker over (Bryce) Hager. Now Hager was their leading tackler, but Chadwick is a senior and it seem to me that they decided to give him a shot as a senior. He played very well, so I expect to see him in there. (Eddie) Lackey plays on the boundary and (Ahmad) Dixon plays in the field. When you get to the secondary, the secondary is easily the most experienced part of their defense. (Chance) Casey, who has started for them at safety, has had to play corner due to injuries and he'll probably play corner again this week along with (Joe) Williams. At safety, (Mike) Hicks and (Sam) Holl will handle that spot and he comes down and plays defensive end when they go to nickel."


On Baylor's special teams:

"Their punter is (Spencer) Roth and he's averaging 43 yards a punt and in addition their quarterback had quick-kicked twice for an average of over 46 yards a kick. So, they've thrown a couple of wrinkles in there. (Aaron) Jones handles all of their kicking as far as their kickoffs and their place kicking and (Levi) Norwood is the punt returner. They've used several guys at kickoff return: they'll use (Antwan) Goodley and they use (Darryl) Stonum. Stonum's one of the (uniform) No. 7's. They have two No. 7's that they've used at kickoff returner, so it'll be interesting if the ever put out two No. 7's at the same time, which would be illegal, but that's okay, it would be interesting to see. So obviously, everyone wants to talk about their offensive firepower and the fact that the defense gives up a lot of points, but realistically the defense is on the field a lot, because the offense scores real quick and that's where we are."


On Baylor's unique offensive set up:

"I don't think I've seen anyone split from sideline to sideline. I've seen people take max splits. Max splits are usually about five yards from the sideline, because if you release you're out of bounds already. But now if you have 53 yards to cover (across the field), that means that they've really spread out your defense as much as you could possibly spread it out."


On if KU can use that to their advantage:

"They're scoring 44 points a game and I don't know how that could play to anyone's advantage. Scoring points is not the problem. The only reason they've lost games is turnovers. They won the first three games scoring a bunch of points, and then they lost the last four games. In the first three games, they turned the ball over once and in the last four games they've turned it over 16 times. The two games that they only scored 21, they turned it over six times in one and four times in the other. So realistically, it wasn't because anyone's really shut them down, it's because they've turned it over. If we're going to have chance to win, we're going to need turnovers."


On how game planning against tough offenses has affected defensive coordinator Dave Campo:

"Well, he's already past that grey hair stage, so I think he's bypassed that one. But I think that, he really loves the game of football. I can't say that he's enjoyed having to go against these defenses every week, but it really challenges you. It really challenges you to try to take your players and what they can do and try to figure out the best way to minimize what they do, it's a challenge."


On if it takes a special kind of coach to take those challenges:

"No, I mean, any coach wants to take challenges on, that's why we do this."

On if he and Coach Campo's personality mesh well together:

"Yeah, he's got a unique personality. He's got that northeastern Connecticut personality that I've seen 1,000 times. I've seen a lot of Dave Campos in my lifetime. You guys may not have, but where I grew up I've seen a lot of guys just like him. So I'm very familiar with his personality."

On what he's meant to the defense this year:

"I think that his knowledge of the game has earned the respect of the players and he's a very good teacher. You're not looking to be buddy-buddy with the players. They know that he knows what he's doing and he he's fair with them. Therefore, they all respect him."

On the health of senior wide receiver Daymond Patterson:

"He'll be back this week. We'll see how it goes. He hasn't played in a few weeks, so let's see how rusty he is. We'll work him back in; we'll work him back in today. I couldn't render a guess on what packages he'll be in and what he wouldn't be in until after I see him out there."

On what kind of an impact Daymond Patterson has on the offense:

"He's one of the most experienced guys you have; experienced guys know the tricks of the trade like how to get open versus press coverage. A lot young guys come in from high school and no one ever pressed them. They're never on them in press coverage, they're always off of them, so they're always running free all the time and now all of a sudden you get somebody who's bigger, faster and stronger than you when you first come in jamming you at the line of scrimmage and it's a rude awakening. You have to learn the tricks of the trade of how to go ahead and get off the line of scrimmage."

On the difference between how the team has played at home vs. on the road:

"Well, we played K-State on the road; we played Oklahoma on the road and Northern Illinois. The last time I checked, they're not doing too badly, either. They are lighting it up on offense too. I just think that every week is a different set of circumstance. We might go there this week and play great on offense or we might play great on defense or might not. We might play bad on either side, I really couldn't tell you yet. But I know that for every coach, when you go on the road, you game plan no different. It's not like all of a sudden you say, ‘okay we're going on the road now we have to do this different.' You don't do anything different. The only factor that's different is who has to deal with the noise, because when you go on the road the offense has to deal with the noise. When you're playing at home, the defense has to deal with the noise, so you need to have non-verbal communication in case the crowd's loud enough where you can't hear. That's really the only difference."

On what wide receiver Christian Matthews brings to the offense:

"He played wildcat quarterback here last year, so I did go back and watch the tapes and saw that he had an ability to do that. As the year went on, we were looking for more ways to do things (on offense). Injuries dictate some of the things you do and all of a sudden you're trying to find new ways to get things done and Christian has a knack to be involved in that capacity, which he'll continue to be a receiver that'll also be involved in that capacity."

On defensive end Toben Opurum and linebacker Jake Love:

"I think that Toben should be in good shape. Jake Love did pass his concussion test (on Monday). I was a little bit worried about that one too, I just know he passed his concussion test. Now he might still be a little (questionable) because he was pretty woozy there for a couple of days. But when I heard this morning that usually means that by practice today, he should be cleared. He was still getting checked by the doctors here at lunch time, but I would think that, because he passed that test, that bodes well for his chances of playing this week."

On the personalities of linebackers Jake Love and Ben Heeney:

"Love is a little bit of a psycho. Those wrestlers, they all have a little bit of that psycho mentality, as you know. And Heeney, we've all seen the same thing. I've seen it as the coach, but you've seen it as fans and the media that covers him. You've seen him all year long playing like a wild man on every play. You would have seen it on special teams a year before, too, so you would've already seen him run down and make plays. Now we just put him in a position on the defense to do the same thing and he's gotten significantly better. He's significantly better now than what he was at the beginning of the year."


On if the message to the players has changed after starting 1-7:

"No. It's all about winning and every week it's the same thing. It's just about winning that game. We're just trying to win this game. I can't worry about last week's game; I can't worry about next week's game. The only thing I do is worry about this week's game."

On if it takes longer than normal to shake off a loss like last week's to Texas:

"It's all the same. Every week ground hog day. You come in, you go home feel miserable, go to sleep, don't sleep, wake up in the morning, watch a tape and let's go. It never changes. Well, it doesn't change with them either. As disappointed as they are, by the time they leave (on Sunday) it's pretty much out of their system. Now, the one thing they have to do on Monday that I don't have to do, they have to go to class and good or bad they have to have the student body say ‘hey, what happened? How bad are you guys? Or that was a great effort.' So, they have to deal with the outside world a lot more than I do. On Monday, my dealing with the outside world is I have to do a Big 12 (conference call) for a couple of minutes and then I have to go hang out with (radio show host) Bob (Davis) for an hour. That brings some sanity to my day. But other than that, I couldn't tell you what the weather is outside and I don't really care.".

On the players' ability to bounce back from tough losses:

"I think that how we handle it is how we handle it. I think that if you handled it any differently, if I prolonged it, they would prolong it. They would certainly follow my lead and the coaching staff they pretty much do what I do. Not that I demand anything, but they are going to follow your lead, so I think that we're pretty much on the same page. What you guys don't realize is, it's way worst watching the tape on Sunday than living it on Saturday, because now you have to watch it again and you have to watch every little thing that happened. In the game you kind of know most of the things that happen, but you didn't see every little thing. There might be a play where we run to the right that we gain 10 yard and the guy on the left hand side might have turned out and blocked the wrong way. Because you gained 10 yards, no one ever saw it. Then, you're watching the tape and say, ‘what is he doing? We're running to the right, where's he going?' And believe it or not, that happens more than you would ever imagine. Those things do happen. But you would never see that when you're watching the game, because you're watching the point of attack. You know where the ball's going."

"Every once in a while if we get hit from the back side of a blitz and I'm watching the front side. Now, normally if I know it's a pass, I'm watching the protection before I watch the route. But if we get hit, sometimes I'll say, ‘where did he come from?' Like, they hit that one criss-cross blitz down in plus territory (Saturday) where two guys were running free up the middle when I have (Chris) Omigie running right across the field uncovered for a touchdown. I don't know if you watched that play, but I've watched it several times. I'm watching and I just say, ‘how did two guys get turned free up the middle when we're sliding our protection?' I just don't understand that and you'd be surprised how quiet the phones (to the coordinators in the coaches' booth) get when you ask a question like that. There's usually no immediate answer, in case you're wondering."

On who he communicates with in the coaches' booth:

"I talk to (tight ends coach Jeff) Blasko, because I'm the offensive coordinator, I don't ask for a lot of information. I want to know the down and distance and field position. In other words, I want to know is it on the left middle? Is it on left hash? Is it the middle right hash? If it's on the plus 34-yard line, right hash and second-and-seven. That's what I want to know."

On when he hears about things that can be seen from the booth, but not on the field:

"He won't say it until after the series is over. We'll talk about it when the series is over. So what happens when a series over, the players come off and if the quarterback needs to be talked to (quarterbacks coach) Ron (Powlus) will talk to him and I'll say ‘okay, Jeff, what do we have?' And we'll sit there and we'll run through the whole series and we'll say, here's what they did on every play. So we'll go over what they did. Then usually things stay true to form. Usually, if a team on third down and two plays man coverage, they usually play man coverage on every third-and-short. Usually, it is fairly true to form. Statistically when you have a breakdown you're right 80 to 90 percent of the time."

On if Damon Martin or Duane Zlatnik will play more at left guard:

"It'll be ‘or' again and I think that (offensive line coach) Tim (Grunhard) will handle it just how he did it last week. I think they'll both play in the game. I think it was good for Duane to get pressed by a young guy and it was good for Damon to play in a game like that and have it not be too big for him."

On if having a different left guard will affect left tackle Tanner Hawkinson:

"Nothing. He's not counting on Duane (Zlatnik). He's telling Duane; he's not asking Duane. So really, the left guard position is protected pretty well, because you have (center) Trevor (Marrongelli) inside and Tanner (Hawkinson) outside, so the communication there usually is pretty good."

On Aslam Sterling's progress:

"Aslam probably has more ability than just about anyone we have on the offensive line. This week we'll start him at right tackle, but the problem we have is, this is a poor day to use rollercoaster as the Seaside Heights rollercoaster is in the Jersey Shore right now, but he's had highs and lows. There has been times where physically you'd want him on the field, but he's got to make sure that mentally - and I'm not talking about intelligence now - mentally he stays sharp, so that we don't turn somebody loose and have something happen. But right now when you get the depth chart, he'll be listed as the starting right tackle."

On if Aslam Sterling's effort:

"No, (his) effort has been great. As a matter of fact, when he goes home at Christmas, people aren't going to recognize him. He's really changed his body as much as anybody. He works hard in practice and that's never been an issue. But staying on top of the game, you know, this is a very cerebral game. That dumb jock mentality went out a long time ago in football. This is a very cerebral game."

On if losing weight has hurt Aslam Sterling:

"I think he is loving the fact that he's lost 30 pounds and I think he's feeling very good about himself."

On what he's thought about freshman quarterback Michael Cummings:

"He's starting again this week, so obviously I think that he's making progress enough where I'm not afraid to put him out there. You have to give the kid credit for a couple of things: No. 1, At the end of spring he didn't look too good; No. 2, he hasn't really played in a couple of years. And he just kept on working and kept on working until finally there came a point where he gave me an option. It wasn't until he gave me an option when I put him in there. I'm not putting him in there, because the fans say ‘let's put him there.' He's got to give me the reason to believe that we can function well with him in the game and he's done that and that's why he's in there."

On if he thinks a win would move the program forward:

"I think a win helps validate all the hard work and effort they (the players) have been doing. No matter what everyone sees about games getting closer, improvement and everything, you can't believe you've truly turned a corner until you have something more definite to show from it. So, I think that winning is very, very important."

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