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Kansas vs. Kansas State: Weis on the Wildcats

Charlie Weis meets with the media ahead of Saturday's showdown with Kansas State

Mike DiNovo-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

Tuesday afternoon the Kansas Jayhawk head coach jumped back into his weekly routine following a bye week and held his normal Tuesday afternoon press conference. The topic this week is of course Kansas State, a team Weis has openly mentioned as his target since taking the Kansas head job.

Kansas Head Coach Charlie Weis:

On the rivalry with Kansas State:

"I had to go back and really find out all about the Governor's Cup and see how this got going. I read about how it used to be the Governor's trophy and I was intrigued with the Peace Pact trophy by the way. You guys all know about that right? When they had a trophy that was like goal posts to try to keep the people from tearing down the goal posts, but that did not work out too well. But it has been the Governor's Cup since 1969 and I think that, anytime you have an in-state rival there is always going to be something you are playing for. I think it is important that your players understand what you are playing for. What they really want is, at the end of the game, they want the Governor to come into their locker room, because it means they won and they want him to hand that Governor's Cup to them."

On Kansas State Coach Bill Snyder:

"I think that since Coach Snyder's gotten to K-State, things have gone their way big time. He is 16-4 in this series himself. He has won 16 out of 20 games, so he has won 80 percent of the games (against KU). As a matter of fact, he has only lost once in Manhattan. We can say all the accolades we want about different coaches; a lot of times when people have a rival or an in-state rival, they want you to say negative things, but it is kind of tough for me to say anything negative about Coach Snyder. First of all, I think he has a great offensive mind besides being a hell of a head coach. I like the way he creates extra gaps in the run game and how he uses misdirection to really put pressure on the defenses. If you are not sound fundamentally on defense, he will definitely expose you. And although (most teams want) to balance numbers, run it as much as they pass it, I think if he had his druthers he would just ram it down your throat on every single play. (It's an) old school type of football and I have a lot of respect for, not only the job he has done at K-State, but him as a coach and as a person."

On Kansas State's offense:

"It all starts on their team obviously, with (quarterback) Collin Klein. (He is) one of the most interesting quarterbacks that you can study in college football today, because in today's game where everyone is slinging it all over the place or everyone is running the read option, he really does not do any one of those things. He is a power runner. When we were on the radio show (last night) and we talked a little bit about (Tim) Tebow and he reminds me a little bit of Tebow. (He also reminds me) a little bit of (Colin) Kaepernick who is playing for the 49ers now that I played early in my . (Klein) is a 6-foot-5, 226 pound guy who is more of a power runner than he is a read option runner. You have to spend so much time trying to stop him as a runner, it obviously exposes you in the pass game, because of play action. Sometimes they get some really easy money, because you have to come up and stop him. But if you do not stop him, you really do not have much of a chance to (stop their offense). Now, it's not like he is alone. (Running back John) Hubert is a heck of a runner and he reminds me a lot of Joe Morris from my early days as a Giants fan. Somebody who is short in stature at 5-foot-7, but he is 200 pounds and is like a bowling ball. He is physical, he is tough, he is not afraid to throw his body around there and he runs big. He is averaging a hundred yards a game and that should come as no surprise."

"In talking about old school, let's talk about the fullback. Look at (Braden) Wilson, he is 6-foot-4 and he is 256 pounds. He reminds me of a couple other guys that I have been around like, (former New England Patriot) Sam Gash, (former New York Jet) Lorenzo Neal. (They were) a couple of the bruising fullbacks that I have been around before. He reminds me a lot of those guys. They give him the ball a couple of times a game just to keep him happy, but in reality he is happy just looking for somebody with the opposing jersey on and going ahead and hitting them. He is a big, physical player. The have (Travis) Tannahill at tight end and he is a solid blocker with soft hands in the passing game. They have a couple of good wide receivers that are totally different. (Tramaine) Thompson is the shorter, quicker, faster one at 5-foot-8 and maybe 170 pounds. And he is a little bit scary. And then you have (Chris) Harper who is 6-foot-1, 235 pounds, who is a go up and get them type of player. So they have both ends of the spectrum there. And then with their offensive line, you start off and look at the left tackle (Cornelius Lucas) who is about 6-foot-9, 325. He is the tallest by far and he is a very, very big man. But after Lucas, it is kind of standard across the board. (Cody) Whitehair, (BJ) Finney, (Keenan) Taylor and (Tavon) Rooks, all of them are in that 6-foot-3, 6-foot-4 mold and somewhere between 280 and 300. All of them are big, physical players, but they remind me of some good offensive lines that I have been around before in that they have very good chemistry and know how to play together. They do that very well. Coach Snyder's been around for a long time, I know he has offensive coordinators, but it is really his mentality on offense."

On Kansas State's defense:

"I know Coach (Tom) Hayes runs the defense and he is another guy who has been around forever. The makeup of their team, they put the big, physical guys inside. They got (John) Sua and they have (Vai) Lutui and they are not afraid to play (Javonta) Boyd or (Travis) Britz either in there. All four of those guys rotate in those two (interior defensive line) spots and then when they get on the edge they want those small, fast guys. (On the outside) you have (Meshak) Williams and (Adam) Davis, who start, but you are going to see (Ryan) Mueller in there at defensive end and also you are going to see (Justin) Tuggle. Although he is listed at linebacker, you are going to see a lot of him on third down, where they will play four defensive ends. They will actually play all those guys all at the same time, so they get a bunch of pass rushers on the field at the same time and it presents quite a speed issue."

"Their defense really starts with Arthur Brown, though. Those guys inside that I talked about, their job is to cover up Arthur Brown. Let him go ahead, run tackle to tackle and make plays. He is their leading tackler; he is a dynamic player and is all over the field. I mentioned Tuggle before as an outside linebacker, who is field adjuster. He will play linebacker sometimes and then they will move him up front to play defensive end. Then, they will either play (Tre) Walker or (Jarell) Childs in there with Brown. But Brown, obviously, it all begins and ends with him. And then in the secondary it is probably one of the most basic secondaries you will ever see, because all the players play good. (Nigel) Malone gets all the accolades, because he was an All-Big 12 and a Thorpe contender last year, but (Allen) Chapman is third on the team in tackles and he is the other corner. (Jarard) Milo is one of the safeties and he is second on the team in tackles. And to be honest with you, (Ty) Zimmerman, who is the other safety, is really the leader of the whole defense. He is the heart and soul of the whole defense. In the nickel (package) they will throw (Randall) Evans in there when you get in three wide receiver sets, but they are really sound and basic. They just wait for you to make mistakes."

On Kansas State's special teams:

"They are solid in the kicking game. (Anthony) Cantele will handle the place kicking and (Ryan) Doerr will handle the punting. Then when you get to returners, you have to worry about both (Tyler) Lockett and Thompson back there both on punt returns and kickoff returns. You have to worry about both of them. They are one of the few teams that, every once in a while on a punt return, they will put them both back there. So you have to worry about both of them not just one of them."

On weaknesses on Kansas State's football team:

"Well, there's no blaring weakness, that's for sure. You know, I think that this is a team that really plays sound fundamentally on both sides of the football and lives off of your mistakes. And if you make mistakes, they pounce on you. They don't turn the ball over much or take too many penalties. They're just a sound, fundamental team. Defensively, you could say they bend but don't break but, you know, they're tough up front. You think about the components of what I said (earlier), if you've got big guys inside and fast guys on the outside to rush the passer, that presents a problem. Those big guys are protecting the linebackers who run all over the field. That's a good start. And then you've got four solid guys in the secondary that kind of say you're going to have to throw everything in front of us because we're not going to let you throw to both lines. They do the same thing on the other side of the ball. This is not a trickery and deceit team. I mean, they're going to smash it down your throat. And you better be ready to tackle both the quarterback and the running back, because they're going to have the ball in their hands a whole bunch of times in the game. And that's what we're up against."

On if he's surprised that physical running quarterbacks are becoming more prevalent in college football:

"Oh, I've seen it in different places, so this is not like it's a big surprise. It's novel in this league; it's relatively novel. But no, it's not news to me. This is not like a news flash. It's just okay, now we're running against a team that does this. It's a good thing you have two weeks to get ready for a team like this, because the whole off season, you get ready for the read option, because you're going to see spread all over the field for the majority of the season. But in a game like this, this is like playing one of the (service) academies, where you're playing against a team where if you're not ready for what they do, you'll be in for a long, long day."

On how the Jayhawks are health-wise:

"Everybody's on the go list, even the guys that were banged up the last time we played. They're all on the go list. (We have a) few guys that are gone for the year that have been for for a while, and everyone else is a go. Now, it wasn't a light week for them (the team). I mean, they probably hit more last week than they've hit any week the entire season. They hit Tuesday, they hit Wednesday, they hit Thursday and it was everything was full speed, including going against my own normal patterns. The quarterbacks were live the whole week, too. There were no red jerseys out there. And there was also no media, so it was wonderful."

On why he decided to have full contact last week at practice:

"Because I think that we have to get better playing physical football. That's part of teaching people how to finish, which has been one of our bigger problems, as is well documented. And I think there's only one way of doing it and that's old-fashioned football, it's beat 'em up."

On if his process of scouting Big 12 teams will change after this season:

"I think it's two-fold. I think that we spend enough time in the off-season that, when you're seasoned at doing this, you know, you've spent the time. You've watched a half-dozen games of everyone long before the season comes around. But each season, those teams, even though they have a system in place, they take on a different personality based off of their personnel. So I think the one thing you really gather, when you're a younger coach, you have to learn what they're doing. I mean, learning what they're doing really isn't the issue, it's learning what they're doing with who they have this (particular) year. What are they doing now? Okay, what weren't they doing? And why are they doing that? And then what are you going to do about it? How are you going to defend it or how are you going to try to stop it? or how are you going to try to attack it based on which side of the ball we're talking about?"

On if he spent more time analyzing video than he normally does:

"Unfortunately, yes, but you do it a little different. See, what I did that you don't really have the time to do usually, is I went and did Kansas State's entire team. Like, I just went and watched the left guard. And then I met with the defense on Sunday. And I said ‘Okay, here's the left guard. Is this who you're going against? This is who he is. This isn't just how tall he is. This isn't his name and his hometown. This isn't his status in school. This is who he is. Here is the left tackle. Okay, 6'9", 325 pounds, what can I tell you about him? What things can I tell you to get you better prepared to play against him?' So, it wasn't about scheme that I spent my time on. I spent my time more doing personnel reports of all of the guys we're playing against for Kansas State to try to give our guys a better understanding, not just of what they do, but who they're going against and what those guys do. We'll see how that works."

On Kansas State's advantages against KU:

"Starting with the head coach. That might be their biggest advantage."

On if he believes KU can beat Kansas State:

"Absolutely. Even with all those things being said, because you still have to play the game, right? Not to be sarcastic at all, but I'm just stating the facts. These are the facts. This is who they are. Now what you then do as the head coach, and then I trickle down to the other roles that I play, the little less significant roles like the offensive coordinator and those other things. What you then do is say ‘Okay, now what are going to do about it? What are we doing do to attack them? What's going to give us the best chance to win?' I mean, because you can't go to a game saying ‘We're 1-3, they're 4-0, let's go in there and just try to keep it close. That'll make the fan base will be happy. Let's go in there and try to keep it close. I mean, I'd rather lose by 100 trying to win."

On if Kansas State's success hurts KU:

"No, it's actually, and I don't want every Kansas fan to be mad at me, but it's actually a pretty good role model. Everyone wants to look at it differently than that, but from my perspective, they're doing a lot of things right. So, let's try to get to the level, first. I mean, if we can get there in the not-too-distant-future, that would be a good place to get to and let's go from there. But let's get there first. Like I said, I'm not going to be dumb enough to sit there and say I'm going to wave a magic wand and it's going to happen overnight, but that's where we have to get to first. I'm using that as one of the things: ‘hey, here's them, here's you. Why is that? You're all from Kansas, right? You're all from the same conference, right? You both have the same recruiting base to go off of if you wanted to, right? Then why are they this and why are you that?' And I think it's a good role model, to be perfectly honest with you."

On if he's pinpointed why Kansas State has been winning more games recently:

"Yeah, their coach is winning a lot more games than our coach is. It's a good place to start."

On what Kansas State's low recruiting rankings mean to him:

"They get misconstrued, because of junior college players. We haven't been taking junior college players, but we are now and we're going to take a bunch of them. It's not going to be a few; it's going to be a bunch. Okay, so when you see those ratings, everyone wants to be the four-star or five-star guy, they want to see the high school kid coming out. I want a blend of high school players that want to come to Kansas and junior college kids who want to play now. I want a blend of those, so when you get those ratings, they're not factoring in that they're bringing in a whole bunch of guys that are ready to play right now. I mean, look at that secondary. Look at those two corners (at Kansas State). Two years ago, they were both junior college players and now they're the starting corners on a very solid secondary. So what those ratings don't take into account is they're just high school ratings. They don't factor in the ability of all of those guys from junior college that you're bringing in. I think those recruiting classes have been way better than the recruiting gurus would give you rating for."

On his thoughts about taking junior college players:

"At the last job I had, there were no junior college transfers. You know, it was all based off of high school kids. But as long as kids care about education and come here with the intent to graduate. And they aren't just coming here to make a one-year stop to get to the NFL, I mean, as long as they want to come here and get a KU degree and help us win, and they're good citizens, bring them on. The more the merrier. So hop on that bus."

On if he enjoys seeing players do well that he recruited in past jobs:

"I'll always root for anyone who I ever recruited. I'll never, ever root against them, you know, so I find enjoyment in their success."

On where quarterback Dayne Crist is mentally:

"I think Dayne's head is a lot better now than it was at about 8:15 last night, when we started chatting."

On if Dayne seemed down last night before meeting with him:

"I don't think he was down. Part of my job is to bring an awareness as to where exactly we are. I know he has to comes in here after me and you guys barrage him (with questions), but, you know, the bottom line is I think that all he's got to worry about is doing the best he can to put us in the position to try to beat K-State. He can't worry about the games we've played already. They are past tense. All he can do is try to put us in the best position to beat K State. That's all he can do. Don't be thinking about the past. Be thinking about the present and that's the only thing that matters. Nothing matters that's past tense, they've already happened. There's nothing you can do about it."

On how tough it is to keep players buying into his system when there isn't immediate success:

"I think the most important thing is to make sure that they know that you're not pointing the finger at them for being the reason why we're losing. I think that's a very important point, because you're never going to flip the switch. You're never going to get them over the hump if they think that you're not in there with them. They've got to know that you're in there battling with them for every second, because most of them are going to keep battling right along with you. As long as they keep battling, the switch is going to get flipped. You just don't know when that's going to happen."

On if he noticed a difference in the team after the Northern Illinois loss:

"Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on which way you look at it, no. I mean, they didn't practice any different than after we won the first game. They practiced just as hard, with just as much enthusiasm. And it isn't just the players I look at, by the way. I'm also watching the coaches to see if they're any different, either. In the day of social media, I put out a tweet yesterday saying ‘Work ethic has not been the problem.' So if that's not the problem, we've got a problem that lies somewhere else, and I'd always like to start with me."

On how much time his assistants spent on the road recruiting last week:

"They left and were on the road Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Eight of them were out Thursday, and everyone was out Friday. And all of them were out on Saturday, as well. I gave them Sunday off so they could spend a little time regrouping. And I came in here. The team was really happy to see me, you know, and they spent the day with me and the strength coaches.