Charlie Weis Talks Depth Chart Changes, Redshirts and La Tech

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Charlie Weis Talks Depth Chart Changes, Redshirts and La Tech

Kansas Head Coach Charlie Weis
Opening statement...
"Good afternoon, we'll get going on Louisiana Tech. Skip Holtz has taken over their program. You know he's had a nice career going 88-71 so far at multiple schools. He's won both at East Carolina and at USF. There's no reason to believe that he doesn't intend to do the same thing at Louisiana Tech. Kim Dameron is their defensive coordinator and also coaches the safeties. This is a big play defense. They're leaders in the country for both sacks and tackles for loss. I think they have like 12 sacks and they're way up there in tackles for loss, both categories. They live off of big plays and one of the guys that you know you have to be concerned with right off the bat is Enemkpali at their defensive end. Him and Dora handle their defensive end but, Enemkpali has four and a half sacks and another five tackles for a loss and he had an interception as well. He's a pretty dynamic pass rusher. The guys inside are really big. Ellis, he's 357. Lucas is small at 300 and the guys behind them are both 300 pound guys that play in there too. They'll rotate all four of those guys inside. Cobb transferred in, he's leading the linebacker core, he's got 23 tackles and eight tackles for a loss and he's a heck of a blitzer and they bring him a whole bunch. Villemez is their boundary safety and Woods is their field adjuster. Their corners are Liggins and Barnes, they really play three safeties. Right now Grogan and Brice are their starting safeties. Brice, you know, one of the leaders on their team. He's got 26 tackles, a really solid player. But, McDonald's started in there at safety as well.

"You know, Fisher and McPherson handle their kicking and their punting duties and Guillot, who I'll talk about in a minute, is one of their wide receivers, and Banks are their returners. You know, Banks is very, very quick and very, very dynamic.

"Tony Petersen runs their offense. This is his first year there, he came over from Marshall. He's a spread, up-tempo coordinator, that's how he likes to call the game. Young's his quarterback, he got banged up in his last game against Tulane, he's listed as probable for the game. One thing about young is he doesn't make mistakes. He has no interceptions, he'll throw the ball away, he's very good at protecting the ball. If he doesn't play, Higgins is a more than adequate backup and he would play for him. They have complimentary running backs, decide which one you want to start with. If you want to start with the small one, start with King, he's 5'6, 158 pounds, but he's very, very quick, and then you get a bruiser in Dixon, he's 5'10, 220. They are the perfect example of complimentary running backs that don't do the same thing. I mentioned Guillot as a returner, he's one of the receivers along with Casey, he's their speed guy. Their leading receiver is actually Griffin, he leads the team in receptions. It lists Lee as a tight end, but he's really an h-back, he's 5'9, 195 pounds so it's not like the true tight end in that sense of the word so they kind of move him all over the place. Their offensive line, let's start with the biggest guy, Bell, he's 6'3, 350, he plays right tackle, Danielsen's over on the left side. Cano's the center, Shepperd's over at right guard, and either Banks or Carter is in there at left guard.

"One thing before we get going, I just want to clear up a couple of things. Just be a little bit proactive, we're through two games now and as we know we had a bunch of guys come in and either transfer or transfer status. One of the things as a coaching staff that we wanted to do was as the year went on, try to hold a third of them and play two thirds of them. We weren't exactly sure how the numbers were going to play out, but where we are right now is leaning towards the way things are going to head now. Right now, you look at the guys on offense that are now participating, Coleman, Ngalu, Smithburg, Fondal, Miller, those guys are all significant contributors. Then on defense, McKinney and Tedarian Johnson, we didn't know between McKinney, Tedarian Johnson, Combs and Bolton, we were kind of hoping that we would play two of them and save two of them. Everyone was more enamored with the name and weren't more enamored with what's best for the program and in our case I think that McKinney and Tedarian being here a semester earlier has them way ahead. Whereas, we think Combs and Bolton have huge upsides. We're going to do our best for neither one of those guys to see the field this year. Same thing in the secondary, we brought in all these guys, I wasn't counting on that situation with Kevin obviously but, you know, we were hoping to at least sit one of them. Okay, well Kevin's the one we're sitting. So that means that Cassius and Isaiah and Dexter and Hollomon you know, they're four all playing. Where we thought maybe Hollomon would be the one sitting, well now he's not sitting and he's playing significant time. Obviously Samson comes into play, and Pardula. So really we are playing 13 of those guys that are significantly in our plans, and the other guys, like I mentioned, Combs, Bolton, Short, Mark Thomas is in that category, Jenkins-Moore obviously because he's banged up, and Harwell obviously for eligibility deals. Those guys are all guys waiting in the wings to, you know, bode well for the future of our program.

"One last issue, you know, a lot of you noticed it, Taylor Cox didn't get into the mix this week. Well, Taylor had a death in the family and flew out last Thursday to go back to Seattle to go to a funeral. He actually got in a little bit before the game on Saturday. He's had his nagging hamstring and groin, you know, you saw him, it's been reoccurring here for quite some time so it happened in the game when he had that one run where he pulled up on the sideline. If it doesn't get better, we're going to look to medical redshirt Taylor. If you want to know the deal here, you've got four games in which to do that in. If it's recurring, you know, I've been meeting with the trainers and the doctors. If it gets better to the point where he can play, we'll go ahead and do it. But, right now it's documented medically where he would qualify in this position and that's the direction we're heading right now. Alright, so I just wanted to be kind of proactive on some of the anticipated questions that you might ask other than getting right to the game from last week and Louisiana Tech, so fire away."

On lineman Riley Spencer moving ahead of Zach Fondal...
"We weren't real pleased with our offensive line in the last game and what Riley, you know was a projected starting right tackle for us. Coming off his knees, he's been slow coming along. Healthy, but slow, a little slow to pull the trigger so to speak because you're afraid that something bad is going to happen. But, he's gotten better and better. Riley is a big man. He's a very big, strong man and I think that one of the things he will bring, were going to play him, he's going to start at right tackle, bring a little more physicality. Zach is more athletic, but I wasn't real happy with the controlling of the line of scrimmage the other day across the board. So, we're going to give him a shot to go ahead and do that."

On the decision to put Trent Smiley ahead of Jimmay Mundine...
"Did you watch the game? Okay, is that a rhetorical question? I'm not being sarcastic at all, I'm asking you is that a rhetorical question? I think one of the things I've said is you've got two choices. Okay, Jimmay's not eighth team here now. There will be packages where he's on the field. But, you have to go with what you see and I see the same things you see. But, I see them a lot worse than you do. As bad as you see them I see them a lot worse than that because I'm watching each and every player, studying on tape every single player on every single play. I think right now we need to give Trent an opportunity to see if we can get any better there."

On Trent Smiley's athletic ability compared to Jimmay Mundine...
"He's more physical. Let's go back to the conversation we had about Zach. Jimmay is much more athletic than Trent. Trent's more physical than Jimmay. I wasn't very pleased with the physicality of our team the other day so you only have two choices, guys get better, or you tweak them and make a couple moves."

On the wide receivers not being able to get open or catch balls...
"Well, part of those guys being positioned the way they are has to do with drops, part of it has to do with separation. Both things are included in those tweaks. The two guys that we put up there first, are the two guys that in practice regularly get open the best, and they happen to catch it pretty good too. So, even though Rodriguez is probably getting force fed before he's really ready to be number one, we need to get better and we can't win games scoring 14 points. That just isn't going to be good enough."

On Tre' Parmalee...
"Tre' runs very good routes and he catches the football. You know he'll never be a burner, but that's the things the he does. Right now that's one of the things we need. We need a guy who can run routes and get open and when the ball comes to him it'll lift my spirits some if they finish it off."

On if the wide receivers are getting open in practice...
"Now remember now, you're going against practice, you're not going against the starters from the other team. Now we have some good guys we're going against in show team, I mean Kevin Short is playing the show team corner now so it isn't like we don't have players. But, it's not the same, so you know you can get open in practice easier than you can in the game? Absolutely."

On the role of Brandon Bourbon...
"Well, bourbon will have an expanded role this week. I haven't been sleeping very well since Saturday night and you know Bourbon, and Tony, and a couple of those guys will have expanded roles."

On if teams are defending harder on Tony Pierson...
"Ya, they rolled into him the whole night. Even the touchdown catch he had two guys on him. You know you can't force feed to many throws to a guy when they are rolling the coverage into them because they're not respecting the other players getting open because back to the question we said before. So, even on that one they had a guy on the inside of him and outside of him, he banged off of one guy, spun around, went up the sideline, that should have been a six yard gain. But, Tony's one of the one guys on our team that can take a six yard gain and turn it into a big play and that would be one of them."

On the Kansas defense...
"I was very pleased, and remember that was on a half of field because they got the ball on the 50 on that one.  So, was I pleased with the defense? Yes. The only thing where I was a little disappointed with the defense was we were a little late getting to the alleys sometimes on the option and the running back got a few too many yards. But, when you hold a team to 16 points for a game, you should count on winning every game where you're holding an opponent to 16."

On the Kansas corner's good play...
"Well, let's start with JaCorey, there's a year more of experience in the system. He's been listening to Campo now for another year. That gives him a big plus, you know, he was an offensive player a year ago. So, he flips over to defense and he's an offensive player playing corner. Now he's a corner playing corner. And I think Dexter has big time ability. I think that we should have high expectations for Dexter. He's been good, he's been really good. I think he's a big time player, I really do, I think he's a big time player."

On whether having confidence in the safeties changes what the corners can do...
"Well, because what really is done is I think the communication that is done is really good on defense right now and I think that Heeney controls the upfront part and I think that rotation at safety, the verbal is really being controlled by either Cassius or Dextor Linton, so I think that there's been very few communication problems. I mean, they hit that one post and that was on a communication problem, that wasn't on a missed coverage. That was on a communication where they had one call called and then the two of them talked together and they checked it off and now all of the sudden the post ended up being open really, if you think about it, the whole game. There was that one post, and then there was an out that Isaiah covered a guy in blitz coverage. Those are about the only two receptions down the field that I can think of the game."

On defensive lineman Marquel Combs...
"He's been on board, he's on board. We don't do these things without involving the player. You know, I think that when you come in no matter how good or it wouldn't matter what you're rated or what the hype is and everything. Still, in the offensive and defensive lines, the guys that are here a semester earlier, look at the guys that are playing better. Look at McKinney who's playing better. Look at Tedarian Johnson, who's playing better. It's no coincidence that those guys have been here since January. So those guys have got to go through spring ball. Those guys were in class the whole time. They were going through class the whole spring and sometimes through summer just to be able to get here. You're not doing anything football wise, other than running. You're not doing anything to get you better there. And all the sudden you roll in and you're a good semester behind athletically. So, what you have to do when you bring all of these guys, unless you want them all to graduate next year all at the same time, you stagger them. You have to take a percentage of them, and we want to take about a third of them, you just don't know which third it's going to be. So you take about a third of them and push them for another year. So now it's two thirds of them that go next year and another third of them go the following year so now you don't dwindle in numbers and all the sudden you know you can bring 25 guys in on scholarship next year, that's all you can bring. 25 is it. So, if you lose 30 players, now you're down five."

On what Marquel Combs can do for the rest of the year...
"Everybody gets sent to the same place. There's no prima donnas here. Okay they all get, you have to go to purgatory, okay. So, that's where they're sent."

On the offense this year compared to last year...
"I think that last year we didn't throw the ball very well, so I really couldn't sit there and identify dropped balls as a problem because a lot of balls weren't close enough to be caught. But, now the ball's getting to the right spot most of the time, I mean, we just need to do a better job of throwing and catching because we'll always be able to run the ball. The thing is, we need to be able to throw to score. To win games we need to be able to throw. I think we need to do a better job executing in the pass game. And that's across the board now. I'll take it from coaching, to the quarterback, to the offensive line protection, to the running backs, to the wide receivers and the tight ends. We're all involved in that. It's a group effort."

On quarterback Jake Heaps' confidence...
"Well first of all I let him sulk for a night like everybody else. Ya, I went back in the plane, I usually don't go back to the back part of the plane to talk to people, but I did this time. This was different than any loss that we've had here because the guys went there expecting to win. It was definitely different. It wasn't like they were hoping for something good to happen, they were expecting to win, and win they didn't win it was a big let down. So, you've got to let them take it in some but by the next morning, we were already moving in. We were already moving ahead, it's only human nature to let that happen for a night, and when they get back in we identify what the problems are, we give them potential answers, and then the coaches have 48 hours from that time to come up with a solution and I think that we've come up with some."

On watching Ben Heeney live versus watching him on tape...
"I think that watching him live is more impressive to me. He's playing faster than everyone else is. I don't know if he runs faster than everybody else, but he runs faster. That's what I'm used to seeing. Those guys on Sunday, that's how they play. When they come, they are coming with a vengeance. They're not just coming to hit you, they're coming to knock you out. He's a pleasure to watch, you have to deal with him, but I'd rather have him be on my team than somebody elses."

On if he ever asked Lou Holtz, former Notre Dame coach and father of LA Tech head coach, Skip Holtz, for any advice...
"One of the first things I did when I got there was talk to Lou and talk to Ara (Parseghian). I thought they would be great people to talk to. They were great to me the whole time I was there. They were good confidants; they tell you the good and the bad. They would say the good doesn't last very long, so let's spend more time talking about the bad. I've heard his jokes a few times, seen his card tricks a few time.  But he was really good to me."

On if he took any advice from Lou Holtz on having a son wanting to be a coach...
"Yeah, I'm trying to stay away from mine as much as possible so I don't screw him up. I think Charlie (Weis, Jr.) is smart enough to realize his personality and mine are not the same. I think you get invaluable experience being around us, but when he wants to talk about that stuff, he talks to (Bill) Belichik, because Belichik was a coach's son. Sometimes I'll walk in and say, 'Oh who you talking to?' "oh, it's Belichik' 'Oh, tell him I say hello.'  I wasn't a coach's son, it's a different perspective. You really don't look at it that way, with him, you look at Skip and you go through as your dad being a coach and you're always 'Lou's Kid'. I prefer to be 'Charlie's Dad', to tell you the truth."

On the Junior College transfers...
"The defense, after two games, everyone's like where has that defense been? Look at the coverage in that game. We haven't seen anything like that since I've been here. Everyone talked about well, the whole secondary- well at how the secondary played. Other than not getting to the alley late a few times on the option, they played great. Samson (Faifili) has been a big plus for us, Ty McKinney has a chance of all the guys playing this year to end up at the end of the year to be a really disruptive front line guy. Talk about those guys, throw the other guys to the back burner for a sec, now you've got three offensive lineman who are playing significant time who weren't here last year. We're worried about that one. Darrian Miller came, he's become ever more significant now with Taylor (Cox). Rodriguez Coleman is listed as the starting X now. Let's not forget about Pardula. With all these guys right here, that's 13 guys that are playing significant number of snaps, you only start 23 or 24 if you put the two kickers in there."

On the defensive pressure...
"It's more pressure, one, and it's that buck position that everyone was worrying about so much. Where are all those guys who were worrying so much about (Ben) Goodman and (Michael) Reynolds, and those guys because a lot of the pressure is coming from Goodman and Reynolds, and those same guys right there. But they're bringing some heat, which was one of the big points of emphasis in the off season. Don't worry if you're playing at odd front, just bring 'em. And that was part of the message, 'just bring 'em'. So they've been bringing them. Especially when they put Goodman on one side and Reynolds on the other side, that pocket has been collapsing pretty quick."

On Michael Reynolds...
"He's grown up. He's becoming more of a factor for us every week. He had two sacks and he only played 20 something plays. It wasn't like he played 50 snaps.  That's great production for the number of plays he played."

On the offense's feelings to changes being made...
"First of all, I don't really care how they feel . Just so you know. I'm not looking to be buddy-buddy with the players. My job is to fix the problems and we haven't practiced what we're all going to do yet, until this afternoon. I'll have a better feel about that once I've actually gone through one of them, but I'm not really worrying about how they're feeling. No offense taken, but no I'm not looking to friend-train right now, I'm looking to fix the problems."

On where he expects Tech to hit them the most...
"Now remember, they only have three returning starters on offense. You lose the majority of your offense, that has a lot to do with it. I don't think it's so much about the coaching change, although I thought coach (Sonny) Dykes did a wonderful job, I think when you're losing that many players, it takes a while to transition."

On whether or not he prepares based off  LA Tech's injuries...
"No, because I think at the quarterback position, you've got to be ready for both of them anyway. I know they're not saying much about Dickson, but I know Dickson's banged up too. Now if he doesn't play, then you don't have those complimentary running backs, although they say he's going to play. You have to prepare like they're playing anyway, I don't think at any time you can assume a guy is out- even (Cameron) Nwosu going into that last game, wasn't until truly on game day when you go out there and don't see him out there. They could say he was out and then all of a suddenly he had a miraculous recovery and now he's playing. You've got to wait until warm ups to see what you've really got."

On if the NFL is as transparent about injuries...
"Depends on what team you're with. I think that's my best answer. They're supposed to be. But I've seen probable guys not play, and I've seen doubtful guys play. Doubtful is supposed to be within a 25 percent chance of playing. Guys play and don't look hurt at all. Then you see guys that are listed as probable, didn't see the field and could barely when you see them on the sidelines, so I guess that depends."

On his view of KU fans and the incident with Nebraska coach Bo Pelini's outburst to fans caught on tape...
"First of all, I'm a big fan of our fans. And I'll say it in two ways, I'm going to talk about it in the proper context. Let's start with going to a basketball game. I've never been in a venue that feels like Allen Fieldhouse. Never. And I've been to most all the basketball arenas. So that already gives you a leg up. Now once you start winning more football games, that when you'll judge. Already I like the support and we're losing! What's the support going to be like when you start winning? So I think that I have an incomplete on my resume, because once we get to that point, I'd like to see what the answer is there. But they've been nothing but supportive from my perspective. As far as Bo, I don't know all the information there, but I know that's a no-win situation. Forget about the video for a second, when somebody that is an ex-player from your school hammers you, you got two choices... you could say nothing ore you can say something. And usually it's better saying nothing. Because what does it get you? It gets you what it's got- a national deal. I would try my best not to put myself in that situation, that's all."

On if he was able to do any scouting in Texas...
"We had seven coaches out on Friday night. We were at games all over Texas. Like the first week we were out over here, not this week, but next week, we'll have nine or 10 coaches out on Friday and nine or 10 coaches out on Saturday, of the bye week. You only get 42 days altogether,  42 counters. I don't know if you know how that goes, between when you start recruiting and the Sunday after Thanksgiving, you get 42 coaches can be out. Each time a coach is out, that counts as one. So we've used 14 so far and we'll use at least 14-16 not this weekend but the following weekend. We'll have used all 42 of them before the end of November."

On scouting more in Texas...
"I'd say the odds of us being in the Dallas-Ft.Worth area would probably be a very high probability."

On how much of a pass-catching threat Trent Smiley is...
"Short to intermediate. One of the great things that Jimmay brings to the table is that Jimmay is much more athletic and can get down the field better. But, you still have to go by production. It still comes down to production. So he's more of a short-intermediate guy."

On Justin McCay's potential...
"I think that Justin is a very physical player, and physical players usually get open by their physicality, not by their speed."

On the current depth chart...
"I think it's a work in progress. We're two games in. I'm not cutting anybody. What I'm doing is putting people first that I think give us the best chance to be first and the second guys play too, it's just a percentage of how much you play."

Kansas Running Backs Coach Reggie Mitchell
On Tony Pierson's involvement as a running back...
"I think the plan is to give him as many touches as he can get and I think most of those will come out of the back field. We ran the one-sweep with him and that didn't work, but we do plan on getting more carries."

On having James Sims run along the edge more...
"By him being more of a receiver now, to best utiliize his talents would be to get him on the edge a little bit more. But we do have some things designed with him running inside, but in a perfect world you'd like to see him running the ball on the outside."

On the differences between Sims and Darrian Miller...
"I think James is a great inside runner-he has good vision, good feet, runs with power. I think Darrian is a change of pace guy, that he'd like to be a little on the edge a little bit more, sort of similar to Tony but without the speed. One guy runs a little bit better on the inside, while one guy, Darrian, is a little bit better at running the outside zones."

On Miller's previous stint at KU helps him this year...
"One, academically he knew what was going to happen.  His big learning curve was just getting used to Weis and the staff because it was a previous staff here. I think by him leaving and coming back, he's more mature now. And he really appreciates the opportunity to be back here, so it's a win-win for the both of us so far."

On Pierson as a role model...
"He's a tremendous role model. Here's a guy that we thought wouldn't qualify coming out of high school, when he was here, he didn't have a lot of confidence in himself to do college work, and then he gets on the honor roll and gets an academic award here. He's a great role model for guys who come in and aren't sure if they can make it here."

On having his son here working...
"It's great. One of the best things I can say that has happened in my career. Every day I get to see him- I don't get to talk to him as much as I like. Just being able to work alongside him, and for him to want to be a coach, that's good. So it's been great."

On his son wanting to be a coach...
"It means I did something right when I was home. It's good, you've got Charlie Jr. who is here with his dad, you got Mike Campo who is here with his dad, and Coach Weis has been really great with all of our sons, letting them get involved in the coaching professions. You don't see that very often. So my hats off to coach Weis for letting my son be involved in the program and coach Campo's son be involved with the program."

On what his son does...
"He's the special teams GA (graduate assistant), so the way we have special teams broken up now, he is working with four different coaches in all phases of it. So he's learning a lot. You're talking about a guy who just graduated from college and now he's in. You don't get these opportunities too often. We're both thankful for what coach has done."

On whether or not he lobbies with coach Weis to make more run plays...
"No, not at all. As a matter of fact, we had a meeting the other day and he was saying we needed to do whatever we needed to do to win. If that means, throw the ball more, throw the ball more. I'm in total agreement with him, and the running backs are too. They'll get their touches just in the flow of the game. We're going to run it as much as we need to, or as less as we need to. The big thing we want to do is win. One thing about James, I can say this, if he runs for 100 yards and we lose, he's extremely disappointed. Where as if, 94 yards like in the South Dakota and we win, he's excited. I just want to see us win and those guys understand that."

On the depth chart changes and the impact on the running backs...
"Not much. Because like coach says, we go by what we see. And if a guy doesn't do his job, he's going to replace him. From a running back standpoint it won't be a factor, because all those guys who are getting plugged in, they've been in practice, they've been in rotation. It won't be that big of a deal for the running backs."

On LA Tech's defense...
"It's like what coach Weis said, they lead the nation in tackles-for-loss and they're second in sacks. They're an aggressive team, they're pretty athletic, they run pretty well, if we're not prepared, we'll have our hands full. I think they're a pretty big defense. You don't have that many tackles for loss and sacks without being good."

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