Kansas Football 2013: Charlie Weis Previews No. 20 Texas Tech

John Weast

Kansas Football 2013: Charlie Weis Previews No. 20 Texas Tech

Kansas Head Coach Charlie Weis
Opening Statement...
"Good afternoon, glad to be back. As of this Saturday it will be 1,063 days since Kansas football won a game against a Big 12 opponent. And if we exclude Colorado who is no longer in the Big 12 it will actually be 1,455 days. I have those numbers down. Our team at about 2:55 p.m. today- that will be one of our main conversations.

"We're obviously getting ready to play a tough team in Texas Tech, sitting at 4-0 and 20th in the country. A team whose head coach I know very well, I like him very much as a person, I respect what he's done as a coach. I was able to coach him personally back in 2003. When we drafted him, he was a sponge, behind that Brady guy so he didn't get much action so that give him more of an opportunity to study and learn the game. It doesn't surprise me at all that he's coaching, and it doesn't surprise me at all that he's having very, very good success. Sometimes when you go against different people you get coach-speak but I really like Kliff (Kingsbury) and I hope he has a lot of success, just not this week. Actually they're throwing the ball a little less than when he was in college. They're throwing it about 70 percent of the time. I remember interviewing him coming out, when he told me the entire year they never called a run. Not one run was called first- they checked to a run, but they never called a run. I was fascinated by that statement.

"But they're averaging 520 yards a game on offense and 39 points a game. They play very high tempo, up tempo, deal. He calls the plays; he's the guy that makes this thing tick. Obviously the quarterback is the key person, he was a great quarterback as well when he was there, there's a lot of similarities in their style of play. Right now (Baker) Mayfield looks like he's going to be the guy. We very easily could see (Davis) Webb as well, it looks like (Michael) Brewer will be out another week, it looks that way. Really it won't make that much of a difference the way he plays offense. Brewer has the- I wouldn't say the most ability- he's the most experienced out of the guys. Mayfield's obviously a true freshman, about 6-foot-2, about 220 pounds, he's averaging 280 yards a game, he's got eight touchdowns and four interceptions and is not afraid to run. He's got a strong arm, whereas Webb's more of the 6-foot-4, 195-pound guy, taller-different body types but they all run his offense very well. They play four different running backs without running it as much as other teams, but they play four different running backs where (Kenny) Williams is the lead, he's 5-foott-9 about 225 pounds. But they play multiple guys. Their fourth guy, the guy who's got the least amount of reps, (Quinton) White, he's got nine carries for 105 yard and his average is 11.7 per carry, so you've got to be concerned with all of them. At the wide receiver position, Eric (Ward) is usually their X. They use a combination of either Grant or Foster, as the small quick guy, and (Bradley) Marquez on the other outside. The really got to guy out of all of them is (Jace) Amaro. Now they list him as a tight end, but he might line-up as a tight end about three times a game. He flexed almost all the time, he's 6-foot-5, 260 pounds, he's a big man, he plays inside, he's got 29 catches for 370 yards already, he's got a good hand, runs good routes, he's a tough match up problem for anybody. They have some very big men playing on the offensive line, especially on their left side, our right. (Le'Raven) Clark, their left tackle is 6-foot-5, 320 pounds, and (Alfredo) Morales, their left guard is 6-foot-3, 320 pounds. They've got two 320-pounders on their left side, (Jared) Kaster, he's a little bit smaller at center, at right guard they play both (James) Polk and (Beau) Carpenter, though I'm not sure which one will start, probably see both in the game, Polk is the bigger one, he's 6-foot-6, 335 pounds, and (Rashad) Fortenberry plays at right tackle.

"Now, Matt Walerstadt took of the defense, what they've done is play in a 34 configuration, similar to our configuration, but they play multiple fronts, they play odd, they play over, they play under, they play even, they play bear/diamond as we call it, they play multiple fronts and they can do it within a count, they can stem to it, they can align to it, you really have to spend some time studying their fronts. The one guy who makes it easier for them to go in and out of three-man fronts and four-man fronts is (Pete) Robertson, he's listed as their version of a Buck, but he's really the key guy because when they go to a four-man front he becomes their fourth-down lineman. Their nose is going to be either (Jackson) Richards or (Dennell) Wesley, they play both of them. (Branden) Jackson and (Kerry) Hyder, you know Hyder, the big name there, but all those guys, Jackson and Hyder have played the ends and Richards and Wesley play inside. Linebackers, start with Will Smith, he plays their weak side inside linebacker. (Sam) Eguavoen, he's their other inside linebacker, he usually plays to the field, opposite of Robertson, they'll play (Terrance) Bullitt, he usually plays their nickel, or their field linebacker. (Bruce) Jones and (Olaoluwa) Falemi handle the corner, and (Tre') Porter and (J.J.) Gaines are their safeties.

"There are those two guys at punter, Eric Slaven had been their punter, it looks like (Taylor) Symmank  has been handling the punting the last couple weeks. The place kicker is (Ryan) Bustin and the kickoff returner is Grant and Foster or Jacobson are both back there on punt returns, and (Ryan) Erxleben is cross trained, he's their holder too, and Brenner is their snapper."

On the match up with the defense and TTU's tight end Jace Amaro…
"He's 6-foot-5, 260 pounds, playing inside so, the question is do you put a linebacker on him, a safety on him, or do you put a defensive back on him? There are the questions you have. Do you go one-on-one with him- well it depends if you can get somebody faster than him, but then he's got girth. Now you could put somebody with some girth, and now he's faster than you. He's kind of unique because he has very good ball skills, usually at 260 you're not dealing with very good ball skills, he runs good routes and has good ball skills, and he has good hands."

On whether he will change the match ups against Amaro or keep them the same…
"I'm sure we could do the latter. I think you better start with the former. You better have a plan going in because the tempo , as we've talked about very many times this year, the tempo they play at you don't have a lot of time during a series to make personnel adjustments because,  Kliff, he'll get to the line of scrimmage and rattle them off in a hurry now,  he'll crank them out in a hurry. You have to have a pretty good plan, we've been talking about this now for the last week and a half, what's the best way to match up with him along with other people. At least on paper I think we've got a pretty good idea."

On whether or not Victor Simmons will be involved in those plans…
"That's the position he plays, that's right where he is, that's his position, that's where he lines up, he lines up as the field linebacker, any time there is trips, that's where the guy is. He's already by a lineman, without having to go through any coach-speak that's where he lines up just naturally, so I like to think with his physicality and his girth himself, we have a chance, right off the back with somebody else, who shouldn't be grossly mismatched."

On if this week was the perfect week to have a bye…
"I think there's no perfect week for a bye week. Some coaches say they like to have right in the middle of the season to give them rest. I just look at it like this: you look at the bye week and then you adjust accordingly. From my perspective, we just finished the nonconference portion of our schedule, had a bye week to get ready to go nine weeks in a row. I think we're excited to get into Big 12 action and kind of see how this all plays out. We obviously haven't played great as a team yet, we've played great in certain aspects of the team, but we have not played great as a team yet. We're hoping that as the year goes on we're going to get a lot better at the end of the year than we are at the end of the year."

On the non-conference games having a high enough tempo…
"We practiced a lot doing it for the defense, and snapping it really quick. So even if there wasn't a preseason game, or a non-conference schedule in this case, we've been snapping the ball in practice. Today, early in practice to get everyone going, we'll snap them as quick as you can snap them. If anything else, I think our own offense has given our defense an opportunity to have to play on the fly and play at a very fast pace."

On Justin McCay
"I just look at who's playing the best. I think you owe it to the players out there, whether it's practice or games, based off what you see, play the guys who are playing the best. And if no one's playing great, just put who's playing the best and that's who plays. And Justin could be starting this week, we have packages this week where we do have him starting. There are some packages he's not starting. Justin's involved with some of the stuff we're doing, as a starter and some as a backup. I think that being on the field full time is something that has to be earned. And unless there is a lot of production, you need to give the other people an opportunity to see if they can earn it. I have plenty of confidence in Justin. Right now he's listed behind Rodriguez Coleman, but it's a different body type. One's fast and fluid, and the other is physical and smashmouth. They're a little different body types, but I think that that fast presence on the outside is one of the things we're missing, unless we put Tony (Pierson) out there, that's one of the things we're really missing, is just straight-line speed, that's one thing he brings to the table."

On Dylan Admire's performance against LA Tech…
"Well one thing that will be different against Louisiana Tech which will be different then it will be this week is Louisiana Tech plays almost all even. So that means that there's no one on the center. So it's a different game when there's no one two inches away from you on every snap. One of the main fronts that this team plays is odd, there's a guy right on your face every snap. So it'll be a little bit of a different test, but we'll see how it goes. But he wasn't nearly as challenged in that game because of how they align front-wise. He will this week."

On Admire's contribution on the front line…
"He's more athletic. He's smaller than Pat (Lewandowski) but he's more athletic. If you're the bigger guys and you're not winning on a regular basis at the line of scrimmage, you better get an athletic guy who can win through athleticism but not be able to win through physicality. That's an ongoing competition, that's not a closed deal. It's just that right now there are a couple things that we're trying to do and Dylan's going to get the first go at it. I could list it as 'OR' but Dylan's going to start the game unless he gets hurt this week, I'm just being honest with you and saying that's who's going to go out there first."

On Trent Smiley ahead of Jimmay Mundine
"In some packages, Trent's out there, in other packages, Jimmay's out there. You gotta put one of them first and certain things we're doing, Trent will be out first and with certain things we're doing, Jimmay will be out there first, so they'll both be out there. If you list them as co-starters it just depends on what you're doing personnel wise. Trent's a more physical point of attack blocker, and Jimmay is the more athletic pass-catcher, he will tell you he hasn't showed much evidence of that until game three."

On getting more pressure on the quarterback this season...
"I sat down in the offseason with the defensive staff and I said we are going to play odd and we're bringing heat. And that is what it came down to. We are going to be ready to go and we are going to bring heat. You guys decide how you want to bring, but I want to bring it and I want to bring it often. I sat there last year, just like you guys did, and I watched those quarterbacks stand there and pick us a part. I would rather lose by 100. It felt like we were losing by 100 a few of those games. I would rather do it by getting after them and forcing them to make a throw and sometimes throwing it to us. You will notice our blitz percentage has gone up significantly."

On if Dexter (McDonald) and JaCorey's (Shepherd) play has helped the pass rush...
"The secondary play—not just the corner play—the secondary play against the pass has been pretty stout so far. The corner play in particular, whether you are playing man or you are playing blitz zone three, it still comes down to isolations on the outside. Both of them have done a nice job out there on the corner where they are isolated."

On identifying what is the most important factor on being competitive in the Big 12 entering his second season in the conference...
"We have to score way more points than what we have been scoring. It's really that simple. There are always the standard things. Don't turn the ball over. Don't give them any short field. An improved kicking game is one of the things that has been significantly in our favor. We have flipped the field position several times this year. I can't remember ever doing it last year. So special teams, that whole project that everyone second guessed when we said how we were going to do that, that is turning out pretty well so far, but a lot of that has to do with the specialists themselves. That being said, we are just not scoring enough points. The defense has held their own well enough for us to have won all three games, and we have not scored enough points offensively.

On what are some ways KU can score more points...
"There are a number of things. We have not been getting enough big plays, that's one thing. A lot of times you are watching games and you see some short pass that goes to the house and we haven't gotten a whole bunch of those. So that's one. We have to get better on third down and in the red zone. It's situational football. We have to do a better job. Statistically on third down 3-5 we are fine. If it is third down and 6 or longer we are crummy. You have to do one of two things; get better at six or longer or get it to six or less where you are doing better. That is one of the things you do in self-scout when you have a week off. You can sit there and analyze what your strengths and weaknesses are. On third down and six or less we are pretty good at converting. On third down and six or more we are terrible.  You have to do one of those two things to keep drives going because staying on the field gives you a better opportunity to score."

On the growth he has seen in James Sims on and off the field...
"I am a big fan of James Sims to start off with. He has become a much more complete player over the last year and change. He impressed me last year with his running style and his vision and his physicality. But I think he has become a lot more of a complete player and he has shown more leadership off the field too. I think from where we started to where we are now, he has come a long way. I would like to have him on my team. If I were coaching at the next level I would like to have him on my team."

On Kansas' secondary...
"Well, I had said in, back when we first started going that our secondary was going to be a significant improvement and everybody thought, how can your secondary be a significant improvement when you basically lost everyone who was playing last year? I think it's because the guys we brought in are good players. I firmly believe they'll be playing better at the end of the year than they are playing right now. They're going to get tested some more now as we go forward. They'll get tested on Saturday. I mean Cliff's going to throw it, and he's going to throw it, and he's going to throw it again."

On how many points he thinks it will take Kansas to win...
"Let's not go there. We need to score one more than them. That's how many we have to score. So if they score 12, we have to score 13. Then and only then will I be content with another low scoring game."

On being aware of Kansas' Big 12 win drought...
"You see, you don't do it as a deterrent. You don't do it as a negative. You just say this is where we are. We're going to beat somebody, you want to get this out of the way. We talk about these steps we have to take. You don't look at it like we have to win this week to get this over with. Okay, you make them aware of what the issues are because as the program is building, these stumbling blocks, these hurdles you have to get over, this would be a good time to get over that hurdle. This would be a good time, it's homecoming, 11 a.m., everyone's going to be fired up, we're all going to be out at Allen Fieldhouse on Friday night. Hopefully they've stayed out all night and they're ready at 11, ready to go for an 11 a.m. kickoff. I'm afraid if they go to sleep I might not catch them at 11. They might not be up at 11."

On if he counted the days of the Big 12 win drought himself...
"Well, the second number is actually easier because you just go the number of years and you add five days of something like that, that was the easier one, the 2009 win. But, when you start looking at the Colorado stuff and the Iowa State stuff, Katy sit there and talk about some of the stuff going over numbers and I said oh my God. You know, you're aware of the stats, you're aware of the dates, you're not exactly as aware of the days. That's as of Saturday when I'm giving these numbers, it's not as of today. I'm giving these numbers as of this Saturday. Don't worry they're right, they're right."

On last week's game...
"Well, there's two ways of looking at last week's game. First of all, I'll never apologize for beating anybody, I learned a long time ago that when you win, you've got a 24 hour rule. You enjoy the game for 24 hours, because what ends up happening is if you don't, you never have any fun because, you're always going to be miserable. When I was younger, we win, I was miserable because all I would think about would be all the bad things that happened in the game. You wouldn't think about the good things, and then when you became a play caller, you'd be miserable at all the play calls. Why did he call that? Why did he call this? You'd be second guessing everything, you think you'd do it? Try being the guy who actually does it. Okay, but as I've gotten older, 24 hours you get to enjoy the win. But, now you get back to reflect on it you get to study it the next morning you sit there and you say oh we were awful, you know. I sit there one thing after another and you'd say we could do better at this, we could do better at this, we obviously had this, we can't do this, we're not good enough to do that, or that players not capable of doing that by themselves. Usually it's pretty glaring when you sit there and watch the tape. It's not as glaring as when you watch it in person, but when you watch it on tape and you have the clicker and you can watch it over and over again, there's things that really smack you in the face. Some things you can rectify, I truly believe in one basic principle. That is, you play to your strengths and you try to minimize, you try to hide your weaknesses. I think that's what we have to do going forward because we have weaknesses that we're going to have to try to had as best we can, try to mask as best you can."

On Kansas' kicking team...
"Well, it's kind of funny, I stopped by the Chiefs game for a few minutes and the first question Colquitt asked me was tell me about your punter. He's worried about losing his job two years from now to this kid right here. Did he really kick a 78 yarder? I said ya the next one was only 65. It gets their attention. One of the things I've said to a couple people was you go on this tour where you go to all these Jayhawk clubs and everyone wants to ask you well what are you going to do about the special teams like I was doing kart wheels over our special teams play last year. Well, the first thing I said is we're going to change our kicker. Everyone looks at you like that's a bad answer but really that's what's been the difference. Both on kickoffs, now when we're kicking the ball off are you holding your breath anymore? Not that you'd be holding your breath anyways, maybe I was holding my breath, but if it's not a touch back, it's going to be a sky high on the goal line where you have a chance to tackle him inside the twenty. And now on a punt, you're very surprised now if he's not flipping the field. You know, when we're punting the ball, you're expecting him to flip the field. Those two things have been significant. Let's not downplay what Wyman's done because he came out and missed a 28 yarder earlier in the game. A lot of guys that redshirt freshman, walk on player, could have easily gone in the tank. Now the guy goes and kicks a 52 yarder. You got to listen to Bob's call where he says, well we're about ready to go into overtime here, Wyman's lining up to go kick this field goal. Oh hold it, he messed me up, he made it."

On flipping the field on punts and if that helps the defense...
"It does, a couple times during the year we didn't take advantage of it because a couple times during the year we had them pinned back, in that second game, where we had them pinned back inside the ten yard line and they came and flipped field position back on us. But, I'm telling you, as a defense you come out, you've got to get some gas in your tank, anytime the ball's inside of the twenty, you're feeling pretty good about your chances."

On calling the game from upstairs and on the field:
"Well, that's when you need to be on the field. That's totally the opposite. The times when it's easier to call the game from upstairs, in a situation like that, is when you have a more veteran team. You know, because now you're just relaying information to them. When there's a lot of moving parts, that's where you're better off being on the field. Hey look, I was in the box for a good portion of my career and Bledsoe got hurt, and Tommy had to go in, he wasn't really ready to go yet and I went down there. At the end of the year we ended up winning it all, and Belichick said you're staying on the field. That was the end of that, we are very superstitious people. The last thing we were doing was changing at that point. There's different pros of being on the field now, but one of them is we have a bunch of guys going in and out right there, you get a better feel for what you can do and what you can't do."

On Kansas' up tempo offense and if they are too fast for their own good...
"Well, right now it's in vogue. You know, I think that what you'll find as you go forward is that football is always evolving so right now that's a trend that a lot of teams, or high powered teams, are doing and a few years from now, probably they won't be doing it. That's just the way it goes. A bunch of guys last year asked me about the NFL and what I thought about these quarterbacks running the option and I said you won't see it very long and they said aw yes you will. Now all of those guys are getting the crap kicked out of them and they're not doing it anymore. Because all of those defensive coaches spent the whole offseason figuring out what they were going to do against the option in the NFL and those guys are making ten million dollars a year. Guess what, last thing you want to be doing is to be losing those quarterbacks. Now with tempo, there's ways you can slow down tempo. Okay, kick the ball, you can do a lot of things now. You have linemen when the ball's laying around you know, just knock it out of the way and the referees have to go reset it again, there's a lot of things you can do. There's nuances of the game. If you don't think there's things to do, there's plenty of things to do. You sit there and watch games, half the time somebody gets hurt they are questioning whether they are hurt or they're taking a dive. I've known teams that have actually, I haven't been on one, but I've had teams that have actually taken a dive, that's a call, you know, it's a call, take a dive. All the sudden you'll see a line coach do something like this and then all of the sudden you'll see a lineman rolling holding his knee, then you'll see him jogging off sixty seconds later. That's just how football goes, but right now it's in vogue and there's some teams doing it and doing it very well."

On changing up formations throughout the last two years...
"Well, there's the give and take of that. I've gone empty before, plenty of times in my career. It's just that I felt, as the game was going, we weren't really, the way that game was going, we weren't going on some twelve play drive just running the ball down their throat the way that game was going. They were controlling the interior, the interior portion of the line was controlling and I just didn't feel like that was really tailor-made to what we were trying to do. Instead of trying to beat our head against the wall, we went to a different mentality, a change of pace, and fortunately we did. We made just enough plays where we were able to get out of that game with a squeaker."

On Kansas' homecoming...
"Well, I'm a little different than most college coaches. I'm pretty passionate towards the student, the football team being part of the student body. I feel very strong about that. So I think that I'd like nothing more on homecoming than a bunch of people there, for us to have a really good day and for us to go up to the student body at the end of the game having knocked this streak out of the way and be singing and after a victory that would mean an awful lot. But, I think a lot of people come back for the game and it's usual a special moment and to be honest with you I'm tired of being homecoming teams for everybody else. And the only way they stop scheduling you for the homecoming game is when you start beating some teams. So, you can talk about it all you want, but until you do it, it doesn't mean anything."

On if he thinks the Big 12 is wide open this year...
"I've had an opportunity to watch everyone play and let me start with the fact that I still think that we deserve to be perceived on the lower echelon based on our performance after three games. That's where we deserve to be at this point right now. I also believe that at the end of the year we are going to be playing our best football. I think that that's what our intent is, to get better every week. That might look like a coaching phrase, so let's translate that into our opponents. You look at a team that was supposed to be a power like Oklahoma State, I mean, they got whooped pretty good this past week now. That score started at 21 but West Virginia really took it to them. That wasn't a lucky win. I watched every second of the game. That wasn't just West Virginia winning at home, West Virginia clearly won that game. Oklahoma State didn't lose it, there's a big difference. TCU, everyone was saying at the beginning of the year that TCU, they're the one to beat. I watched that Texas Tech, TCU game on TV and I watched it again too. Texas Tech did not win that game by a lot now, they had a couple of punt returns called back, other than that, Texas Tech deserved to win that game. Each week you look at different performances, Oklahoma played really good against Notre Dame, they didn't play very well against West Virginia. Each team is a little different. The team that is a little frightening right now, Texas Tech is 4-0, they're averaging 39 points a game, that's scary, Baylor is frightening. I mean, they score 39 in the first quarter. You don't even have time to go get a soda, they've scored five touchdowns already. So, Texas Tech is scary and I think Baylor, the way they are playing on offense right now, we'll go back to that question up top about the pace of the offense. I mean, nobody snaps it faster than Baylor and Texas Tech, they are flying out of the gate. If you don't do something on the other side of the ball, you could be in for a long, long day."

On getting better throughout the year and goals...
"I think maybe with a team that had aspirations going into the game to have ten wins and win the conference, I think our team's goal is try to win every time we go out there, and try to get better every week. And realize that we have a lot of things, if we play our best game, we play our best game against everyone, then we should have a chance. I don't think that where we are in the evolving program that we have right now, and where we are in the steps of the program, that I think that these guys should be playing just as hard at the end of the year as they are at the beginning and I didn't necessarily feel that way walking off the field against West Virginia. Okay, so that's one of the reason that we added this mass change of all these junior college guys come in and put them out there and get them playing, because I felt that we had to change the people."

On confidence going into Big 12 play this year compared to last year...
"I think that our players are expecting to win this week, they aren't just hoping to win. They might be an eight touchdown underdog, I couldn't tell you, I don't follow that stuff. But, I know one thing, we haven't played a game this year where our team expected to lose or hope to win. They've gone into every game expecting to win and I think that's part of the psychology involved with starting to win, you have to expect to win, not hope to win. They are two totally different mentalities."

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