Much has been made regarding the arrival of Dayne Crist in Lawrence. The NFL sized quarterback was a transfer from a big time program and came to Kansas for one last chance, a chance that would also provide the opportunity to work with the man that originally recruited him.
Coming out of high school Crist was going to be the heir apparent to Jimmy Clausen at Notre Dame. Clausen was recruited by Weis to replace Brady Quinn and all three players were supposed to benefit from their time under Weis who was known as the offensive mind behind Tom Brady and the Patriots in the early 2000's.
That was the reputation for Weis, a quarterbacks friend, a coach who can take you to the next level and that reputation helped him land high potential players at the position throughout his time at Notre Dame. That same reputation also helped him make an instant impression at Kansas by bringing in two former recruits at the position, both rated very highly in their respective classes.
It's that reputation and everything that could come with it that makes Dayne Crist a Kansas fans best friend. Despite the fact that the rhetoric surrounding Crist has gone from potential hero to potential bust, anyone who has a vested interest in Kansas football and Weis as a potential fixer should be completely and entirely on the Dayne Crist bandwagon for a host of reasons.
The Tom Brady Effect
No question that the early 2000's version of the Patriots were playing at an elite level and that time helped springboard a good number of careers. Unfortunately not many have been wildly successful. It's the Tom Brady effect. Tom Brady has made a lot of money in his life and enjoyed a great deal of success. He's also helped do the same for plenty of people who have surrounded him and at this point the consensus almost seems to be that Tom Brady was far more important to everyone else, then they were to Tom Brady. Weis will still be remembered fondly for his time in New England and he deserves credit, but how long can you ride that momentum?
A Quarterbacks Best Friend
This is the reputation that Weis developed during his time in New England. Maybe the terminology isn't quite correct, but he was an great offensive mind who could help a quarterback succeed at the highest level. He did well with Brady Quinn at Notre Dame, Jimmy Clausen had his moments and overall he always seemed to be able to find his way into an elite quarterbacks living room to talk football. Dayne Crist was the last elite level quarterback he recruited. Crist is now at Kansas. Crist is not living up to the hype and Charlie Weis does like to hype Crist. Does the success or failure of Crist impact Weis's reputation? Does it speak to the challenges at Kansas?
The Transfer Plan
Crist is a 5th year transfer who is taking advantage of a rule that could prove beneficial to Kansas for the time being. Weis brought Crist in, Crist was clearly promised the job and if he succeeds others could see that template and follow suit. If it's a highly publicized flop, we're selling playing time just as we would to any other player looking at the program. We're no longer selling the opportunity to come play for a coach that can help get you to the next level with one last opportunity.
Bottom line for any Kansas fan should be the success of the team and the program. Right now that means Dayne Crist needs to be successful. It's going to take something abysmal to spoil that party and I don't think any Kansas fan wants that. Even if it simply means we're competing and improving, that will mean that Crist has made a difference and that at least shows the Jayhawks are pointed in the right direction. Complete failure and replacement of Crist means that things are REALLY bad in Lawrence, REALLY bad.
What Are The Other Options?
Right now the choice are Turner Baty and Michael Cummings. For the long term interest of the position Turner Baty is better served as a redshirt and Cummings is number two on the depth chart anyway. With that in mind, Jake Heaps looks to be the heir apparent so what's the benefit of switching to Cummings and burning that transfer bridge unless things go so far South that something has to change.
This is going to be a very difficult thing to keep in perspective if the losses begin to pile on, but Crist is who Kansas needs at quarterback and Kansas needs Crist to succeed on some level. At the same time Crist has to improve regardless of the disadvantages and challenges facing him at Kansas.