A story for the KJI
The Gridiron Report: Kansas Jayhawks
The University of Kansas’s athletic department has long been known for its men’s basketball teams. The past 3 years KU’s football team has wallowed in the shadow of the basketball team. Entering next year brings up more questions and uncertainty than the 2010 season when Turner Gill took over as head coach to replace Mark Mangino. The new head coach Charlie Weis, who was previously the Florida Gators offensive coordinator, is often criticized for his short-lived tenure at Notre Dame. With all the scrutiny following the hiring and the uncertainty swirling in the air, I’ve written up a report on what to expect next season.
Though many predict that Kansas will perform poorly this season, (Opposing View & The Fan Sports Radio 1340.com just to name a few), Michael Cummings seems to have confidence in the Jayhawks. Michael is the Assistant Media Relations Director at KU and was kind enough to give me an interview.
"I believe that Charlie Weis can succeed given the success he had in the NFL" said Michael about Charlie Weis.
He says that Charlie Weis has experience at both levels of the game and has 3 Super bowl rings serving with the New England Patriots as their offensive coordinator and instating the Erhardt-Perkins offensive system. Charlie was also had success at Notre Dame leading them to 2 straight BCS bowl bids. His fiery passion for the game will also help rile up his locker room.
"Charlie said that K-State was 10-2 and Kansas was 2-10 and that he wants to bridge the gap between the rivals" Michael Said.;
With a coaching change comes difficulty as installing a new system takes time. When Turner Gill took over in 2010 that season was labeled as a "rebuilding year", in 2012 that is the unfortunate case again. Michael thinks that the "transition of discipline" between the family orientated Turner Gill and hard nosed Charlie Weis will certainly take time to take full swing.
"Charlie Weis’ attitude towards this season is just to improve from last season, than win some more". Charlie saw addressing the media and said that you have to discipline your players differently, like while at New England he would have a soften way of disciplining Deion Branch and would yell at Troy Brown given that he was born into a strict military family" Michael said about Weis’ attitude in 2012.
With Weis having many impressive accolades on his portfolio, one man alone cannot change the one thing about KU football. The defense.
In 2011 KU was infamously known for its historically bad defense, giving up an average of 43.8 point per game, it was so pitiful that ranked 120th in the BCS. Michael agrees that the defense is something that team needs to improve on. That is why Charlie had hired some help on the defensive side.
On January 13, 2012 Charlie hired Campo as his main defensive coordinator. For those of you who don’t know who campo is, he was the defensive sector for the Dallas Cowboys for a total of 18 years. With lots of NFL experience
With the upgrade in the coaching staff, Kansas also has a plethora of talent returning on the defensive side. Michael was present at the Kansas spring game and observed a lot of growing talent. Michael Reynolds, a sophomore, had 3 sacks in the game. He witnessed Tony Pierson run 141 yards on 7 carries. But the most notable talent that he noticed in the spring game was Notre Dame Transfer, Dayne Crist.
Dayne Crist will be the starting QB for the jayhakws next season and had 2003 yards and 15 TD's in his most productive season in South bend. Dayne's Talent on the field will defiantly aid the jayhawk's offense dramatically. But one of the most important part of dayne is his leadership.
The jayhawks lack a leader and Dayne is the guy to be that leader. He has already been presented with the title of team leader and there's good reason why. Micheal said that when he first met Charlie Weis he met all of the football players he would be playing with and socialized with them and played video games.
"you have to have trust, like, those are you team, the team that will be fighting with you in the trenches". Michael said.
You have to have fan support in order to build confidence and win games. And with all of the new change coming up, fans have reason to be exited.
So I asked a Kansas, Geoffrey Calvert, about the upcoming season and if he thought that we could actually win. He says that the team is capable of winning games. Or at least "win the games were supposed to" (those teams being NIU, Rice, SDSU, Baylor, and ISU) and maybe sneak in a surprise win to jettison us to 6 wins. So at least some believe that KU will win more than 2 next year.
I was lucky enough to snag a quick interview with a true KU legend, David Lawrence. I asked him about what he thinks of the new regimen under Weis and he had this to say:
" I believe that this team will be better next year and that fans should be exited,and will be tailgating on Saturday, I think that Weis will develop good players into great players, and we will improve majorly".
Unfortunately KU isn't projected to be the BCS national champ, but that with new leadership, we will become better. And we will get better with the fan support. We need to buy into this program that Weis is running. If we can win 3 in a row against TCU or have a winning record at 3-1 our fans will be pumped, and that will help the team. Heck, we may even go to a bowl game, and if we do then it will only turn into better things. But for now we have to support what Weis is going.