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Kansas vs West Virginia: Charlie Weis Talks Mountaineers

Kansas vs West Virginia: Charlie Weis Talks Mountaineers


Kansas head coach Charlie Weis

On West Virginia's coaching staff:
"Coach (Dana) Holgorsen is running the program there and not only is he the head coach, but he calls the plays on offense. He calls them, he signals them, he does the whole ball of wax. Joe DeForest is running their defense and I know Coach (Shannon) Dawson is their offensive coordinator, but with Dana really, it really comes down to him. I will talk a little bit more about Dana when I get to the offense. Then Steve Dunlap runs their special teams."

On West Virginia's defense:
"Everyone knows how dynamic the offense is, so I am going to start with the defense. It is interesting, because they really have two personnel groups they use. One is a 3-4 personnel group where they start with an odd configuration and then they go to multiple fronts and multiple coverages off of that odd configuration. And the other one is, they will go to a 2-4 personnel grouping when they want to go against all of these teams who are using four and five wide receivers on a regular basis. I expect to see more of the 3-4 grouping against us. (Shaq) Rowell is the big nose tackle. They really use Rowell, (Jorge) Wright and (Will) Clarke as the three down linemen. Clarke is usually the field end and Wright plays the three-technique and Rowell handles the nose. And then they add (Josh) Francis as their boundary end when they decide to turn it a four-man rush. When they want to play odd or diamond, which is the ‘Bear' defense to a lot of you guys, but I call it diamond. When they want to do that, Francis is the guy who gives them versatility to go in and out of packages."

"When it comes to the true linebackers, (Isaiah) Bruce is the middle linebacker and he is the leader of their defense. He is their leading tackler and he is right there in the middle. (Jared) Barber plays on the boundary side and (Terence) Garvin plays to the field. They have a young safety, (Karl) Joseph who has really stepped up his game and really has become quite the playmaker and is the second-leading tackler on the team. Him and (Cecil) Level are the two safeties. At corner now they have used a variety of players. (Pat) Miller has been out, but he is back, (but they've also used) (Ricky) Rumph, (Brodrick) Jenkins and (Terrell) Chestnut. I know that (Ishmael) Banks got hurt last week. I was watching

the game on Friday afternoon and I saw him get hurt. I do not know what his status is, but it did not look good watching it on TV, so we will have to track it this week and see how it goes. They are very versatile and what they do is, they can go in and out of fronts. Like I said before, Francis gives them the ability to do that. He is a good pass rusher, but he can also play linebacker as well as defensive end."

On West Virginia's offense:
"Now on offense, Coach Holgorsen does a really good job of running the offense. He really knows how to attack a defense and if you make a mistake and you are not sound, he will make you pay for it. He really knows how to do things right and he is going to get after you. They are averaging 510 yards a game on offense, 165 rushing, another 345 passing and scoring 41 points per game. They use a lot of four wide (receiver sets) and a lot of 10 and 11 formations. They are 11 a lot of times, four wide receivers which is ten, but they will also put two backs in there, and occasionally they will even put three backs in there. They do have a big tight end by the name of (Cody) Clay. We call him a tight end, but sometimes he even lines up in the backfield like a fullback. He is 6-foot-3, 260 (pounds) and a really big, physical bruiser type of guy."

"On offense, I usually start with the offensive line and the quarterback and I would be remised if I did not start with Tavon Austin. This guy is just a special player. The sad part about it is, almost every week I am coming to talk to you about a special player. This guy ranks right up there at the top of the list. It does not make any difference whether he is playing running back or whether he is playing wide receiver, he is just a dynamic player at 5-foot-9, 170 (pounds). You can throw that (his size) right out the window, because at running back he is as good as I have seen there. At wide receiver he is good there. He comes in motion and they do this little touch pass where the quarterback does not even catch the shotgun snap, he taps it forward to him. He is also their kickoff returner and punt returner. Other than that, he provides no worth at all to their team. This kid is really good and the scary thing is, as you are sitting on your couch at home on Friday and you are watching the Iowa State-West Virginia game, you watch him take a punt return back for a touchdown and then you watch him catch a little ball out in the flat and the next thing you know, everyone has angles on him and then he is just by everybody. If that is not bad enough, which that is pretty bad, (Stedman) Bailey is averaging over 120 yards a game at receiver himself and scoring touchdowns left and right, so between the two of those guys that is really a scary proposition. (J.D.) Woods is really the third wide receiver that plays in addition to those two guys."

"Now I have already talked about Austin as a running back, now (Andrew) Buie was really the backup for most of the year and then I am watching the game the other day and all of a sudden I am watching him come in the game and just pounding it right down Iowa State's throat. I had him listed as the third running back on our depth chart last week, but I kind of promoted him whether they promoted him or not, I promoted him. So he got a battlefield promotion on our depth chart on Friday afternoon from my couch in Granger, Ind. But it is just one more weapon for them, if they did not have enough. Coming into the year, the quarterback (Geno Smith) was the one who was getting all the accolades and he is darn good and we all know about him. But his supporting cast has stepped up =and it all starts with that No. 1 (Austin)."

"We can talk about the quarterback and we can talk about the offensive line, but here is something sarcastically new, they have very big physical offensive line. For the sake of being redundant the names will change. (Quinton) Spain is at left tackle and he is 6-foot-5, 334 (pounds). (Josh) Jenkins at left guard, 6-foot-4, 303 (pounds). At center is (Joe) Madsen, 6-foot-4, 305 (pounds). (Jeff) Braun is over at right guard, 6-foot-4, 316 (pounds) and (Curtis) Feigt is a right tackle and he is 6-foot-7, 317 (pounds). So another big physical offensive line grouping that you have to deal with. So between the quarterback, who was a preseason Heisman Trophy candidate, to the running back/wide receiver who should be one as good as he is and like I said--as I go to special teams--their leading kick returner and their leading punt returner.

On West Virginia's special teams:
"(Tyler) Bitancurt has kind of taken over as their kicker of everything. He was not the punter starting the year. I think (Corey) Smith was the punter earlier in the year, but Bitancurt took over at punting and he also kicks off and he also kicks field goals, so he is kind of handling all of the special teams."

On who Tavon Austin reminds him of:
"Well, he is faster than most. Most small guys are quicker than they are fast and what you have to worry about more is them as slot receivers, them having that wiggle and not being to tackle them. But now (with him) not only is he quick, but he is just blazing fast too. So he is a very unusual combination. Probably the scariest thing that you see, and this is not coach speak, you are sitting at home and you are watching tape of the Oklahoma game and I have a lot of respect for Oklahoma's defense, he made them look silly. If he can make Oklahoma's defense look silly running the ball, then that is a scary proposition. So he runs with toughness, he runs with power and somebody forgot to tell him he weighs 170, because that is not the way he plays. But he is fast and he is quick and he is tough. He's just a really good player. It would be tough for me to give you an analogy as a player. Usually (players will be) quicker than fast, well that is not the case here. He is quick and he is fast."

On if defenses have figured something out with WVU quarterback Geno Smith:
"Well, I think that anytime you have that type of production, you go all the way back to the Baylor game earlier in the year where it was 70-63, that game right there where he threw like eight touchdown passes and had those types of numbers. He can sling it against everyone. They are averaging 345 passing a game, so it is not like people have come in and just shut them down, but the thing is, their running game has become so much more a part of their offense that he does not have to win the game by himself. In the past I think it has been more dependent on him winning the game by throwing the ball and I think their offense has been more complimentary where they can now run it more efficiently."

On if he sees West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith as an NFL quarterback:
"First of all, everyone is a system quarterback. That is probably one of the biggest misnomers of all time. You play within the system that you are in and when you go to a new system, you go to the new system. All I know is with what they do; he is really good at it. Can he throw the ball down the field? You bet. Can he throw it accurately? Yeah. Can he throw it short? He can do that too. So I mean, when anyone can make all the throws, I think you have a chance of fitting into any system."

On if he thinks KU has to play more up-tempo to keep up with West Virginia:
"Well, I am under the old North Carolina basketball philosophy right now, of playing four quarters. I know some of you youngsters do not have any clue of what I am talking about. But really, that is the type of game that gives us the best chance of winning. Obviously, one of the strengths of our offense is ball control and running the football. Obviously, you win games by scoring and 17 points is not going to get it done. We are going to have to do better than that, but I think that the less that their offense is on the field, the better."

On if he thinks KU will need to score more to beat West Virginia:
"I do try to do that, but at the same time, you have to do what you do. I am not going to all of a sudden come out and begin no-huddle and try to throw it on every down. I think that you have to do what you do and hopefully you do it a lot better and that would give you the best chance (of winning). We just have to do it a lot better. That means instead of just moving the ball and getting a few first downs or getting the ball into the red zone and have to settle for a field goal try, you have to turn those plays into touchdowns, because it could be (a) one-play (drive) like it was the other day. The first play of a drive right after momentum had gone to Iowa State, first play of the drive they throw the ball in the flat to No. 1 (Tavon Austin) and he takes it up the sideline for a touchdown. You just had a six-minute drive and you are feeling really good about yourself and then five seconds later you are back out there, because the guy just took it 70 yards for a touchdown. I think you just have to have a lot of patience and not try to do something that you are not physically capable of doing."

On if he expects senior quarterback Dayne Crist to play Saturday:
"Dayne will play. We will just have to see how it plays out right there, but I think we feel pretty good (about both quarterbacks). Look, we do not have a complete guy right now, but between the two of them, I thought we got pretty good production out the quarterback position. The game did not turn out that way, but I think we got good production out of both of them. As we are evolving until we get that person that we feel is more complete, I think that gives us the best chance of competing to win."

On switching halfback/fullback Brandon Bourbon to defense:
"If Brandon Bourbon were good on defense, he would be playing defense. I love when people say, ‘God he looks like he would be a great linebacker.' Well, come to practice and you would get answers to some of those questions. But those are the types of things you do not do during the season. Those are the kinds of things, if you are going to give it a shot; you do it in the spring when you can do it full-time. I do not think that in a week or two you can transfer a player from one side of the ball to the other, but you can if you see a guy buried on the depth chart where there is no end in sight. Remember, the kid is only a sophomore and he has got a lot of time left here. The kid is a natural runner and he is playing at a position where there are a lot of good players. But if you are buried on the depth chart and it is the spring and you want to take a look, that is the time to do that. But based off the evidence I see, I think he is playing at the position he is best suited for."

On if somebody has to want to play defense to make the switch to defense:
"Well, there is hitting and then trying to avoid getting hit. Offensive guys are trying not to get hit and defensive guys are trying to hit. So when you are spending your whole life trying not to get hit and then have to go start hitting, it is not usually a very good mesh in case you are wondering. They usually do not fit that well together."

On what extra practices do for a team when they are selected to play in a bowl game:
"The development that you get from those 15 days is huge. That is probably the greatest thing that happens, the development. Being able to take a, Courtney Arnick or Tyler Holmes, guys that have really played great on the show team all year, like Tevin Shaw, Greg Allen, you know, there is four freshmen just on the defensive side of the ball who every day give a full day's work on the show team. And then all of a sudden, now you are repping them with our stuff to get them that much closer to get ready to go rather than them just reading off a card and playing on show team. I think the development you get is probably by far your greatest benefit. And when you are not playing in one conversely, that is one thing you miss."

"Now the flipside of that is, it gives you an opportunity to spend every waning second recruiting. So right now, recruiting is really important to us, so about five seconds after this game is over, our staff will be scattering to go into the next phase and the next phase is having seven people on the road every day that you can have them on the road until you have to come off the road that Saturday the 15th. That night, a bunch of weary puppies (will be) coming off the road, because they are going to be out there for two weeks. But the development is probably the thing that we will miss the most that you gain when you get to go through those 15 extra practices."

On what a win would do for the team moving forward:
"If you win the game, just the psychological lift would be, more than anything else, the benefit. Sometimes these guys play with that burden, the weight on your shoulders that would be lifted, and then okay, let's go, let's move on. There are still things that have been left unanswered that, until you answer them, they are going to be question marks psychologically. I think that the framework will already be different and will already be more positive, but still until they do it, they still have not done it."

On if winning the last game can have a positive influence on recruiting:
"Well, first of all, it all depends on your thought methodology. Now, there are two different types of recruiting mentalities. One is, more of the salesmen, I am trying to sell the campus. We try to represent who we are, what our school is all about and where we are right now with our program. So you are a guy who wants to come in and you see yourself as a really good player, but you want to play right now. If that is the way you are thinking, I think I have an advantage over a lot of other schools. See, you see it as a disadvantage and I see it just the opposite. I see it as an advantage. You see, so it is them and us, right? It is down to those two. You feel comfortable about those schools? Now when do you want to play? Do you want to play three years from now or do you want to compete next year? And I think in a lot of players, they sit there, watch games and they see the positions they play and they think they can come in and get into the mix early. That is one of the reasons why they say yes."

On if the team's record has an effect on recruiting:
"The best year I ever had recruiting in the past was after the worst season, because more guys see an opportunity to play earlier. They all want to play. Yeah, they all want to play."

On how to address the team if they have to go into the offseason with a losing streak:
"I am ready to go regardless of what happens on Saturday. I have both plans of attack already ready for Sunday. It will not go past Sunday. It will be addressed on Sunday afternoon, not one second later than that. What I am saying, and I have already thought through both sides of that, you have to (have a plan to) go through both of them right there, and what your thought methodology would be. I just had a bunch of days off, too. I have a lot of notepads to put my thoughts down with what the answers to the test are, or at least how I am going to approach it. So I am ready to go."

On his mindset following Saturday's game:
"I can't recruit fast enough. If I could be recruiting that Saturday night, I'd do it then. I'm not kidding when I say that. I can't get out there fast enough. See, I'm a little weird as a head coach now. Most of those head coaches don't like this recruiting stuff. You know, I don't like being away from home and all that that other stuff, but I do think that recruiting is a lifeline. I think that's what the one thing that they should expect from me, that I'm going to have to just be a grinder and that's what I intend to do.

On how fast his first season at Kansas has gone:
"It went fast until after the South Dakota State game. It's gone very slowly since then."

On how he feels recruiting has gone thus far:
"I'm very pleased; I'm very pleased with where we are as we currently stand."

On if it's more difficult to recruit to Kansas when it isn't a traditional football power:
"No, it's just different; it's not tougher, it's just different. You know, let me just talk about a portion of it. (In past coaching jobs) I didn't recruit junior college players. I didn't do it. Now, I'm recruiting junior college players. I've said it before, so I'll say it again, you take a junior college player and they've already spent at least two years of their life at junior college. They didn't want to go there, but they went there because it was a means to an end. Now, they're two years away from getting their degree from college and every one of them, of course, is aspiring to play on Sunday. It doesn't work out that way for everyone, as we know, but they all aspire to play on Sunday. So you want to go somewhere where you think you have a chance of getting out there and playing. This is an attractive place. What's not to like about this place? What's not to like about Kansas? What's not to like about the school? What's not to like about the facility? And if you want to play, a team that has a record that is deficient is one that opens your eyes. And my comment to them, I'm brutally honest with you, I'll say to them, ‘Have you watched us play? Do you think you can play here, because if you don't think you can't play here, then you probably shouldn't be playing.' It's a very simple (approach), there is no BS involved there. That is a very practical way to approach these guys. And you want to know something, they're interested. They're interested for that reason alone. There's no sale here. Everything else is in play. From the chancellor to the AD, to the administration, to the academic support, to where they live, to where they eat, everything (makes KU a great place to play). Everything's in place. Lawrence is a heck of a college town. Put those things all together, what's missing? What's missing is we're not winning enough games, so come and help change that. It's really not that tough to figure out, if you think about it. And there will be plenty of people saying no. And for those people, the No. 1 reason they say no is because there's a stigma that's attached when a team's losing. So our job is to remove that stigma, that's what we have to do."

On if you have to play defense against other schools picking up players that give verbal commitments early in the process:
"You lose a few; you don't lose many, because at the end of the day, most of these guys have already kind of bought in to what you're all about. It comes with the territory. You've just got to accept it as part of doing business. It's just what's going to end up happening and it's going to end up happening every year. And rather than getting mad at the other schools, or getting mad at the kid, move on and go get somebody else. I mean, that's what you do. You've got to take a very practical approach. But I know one thing, we've got 27 spots, and there's a good chance there's going to be 27 people to fill those spots that we like. There's a good chance of it. It might be 26, but it's going to be right there."

On the difference between recruiting a junior college player and a high school player:
"They're not the same. You don't talk to them the same. You know, it is the same school you're representing, but the thought methodology is different. (With a high school player) the first thing they want to ask is ‘are you going to red shirt them?' And I tell every high school kid, don't come in with the intent that you're red shirting. Come in trying to beat everyone out. And then, if it ends up working out, and it's in your best interests and our best interests for you to have a red shirt, then we'll red-shirt you. But don't come in with that thought. Come in thinking you would be the best player and just try to go beat everyone out. If you are, you'll play. So I don't know what the numbers are this year, but probably what, a third of the guys (we signed last year) played and two-thirds of them didn't play. And some of those guys who played, we didn't count on playing. I mean, Tre' Parmalee, we thought for sure wasn't going to play. He weight about 120 (pounds), you know, and I'm being sarcastic, but I didn't count on him playing, but he deserved to play. That's why he played. You want to know something, even though he hasn't had a lot of production, it will help him next year going forward, because we won't have to worry about the butterflies. (He won't have to worry about) going through it again when he's going to play next year."

On what to expect when recruiting a junior college player:
"Well, they've already gone through a lot of trials and tribulations that, first of all, they didn't pick. They didn't go to the junior college because that's where they grew up wanting to go. That's just where they ended up. They didn't always say ‘I really want to go to this junior college when I graduate.' So now they're there and they've already invested (in trying to move on to the next level) and they're not 18 years old anymore. And, you know, it's usually not utopia in those places that they're going to. Almost everyone that comes (to KU) on a visit here loves this place. I can tell you for every kid that comes here on an official visit, very few of them walk out of here not liking the place. A lot of you guys talk to them. I mean, I can't remember anyone ever saying ‘I hated this place.' That's usually not the way we come across and not the way the school represents. I mean, there's way more positives than negatives. The biggest negative, as we implied before, is when you are dealing with a 1-10 team, that's what you have to deal with. But you can take that and you can flip that and use that as ‘here's where we are. Do you want to play? Let's go.'"

On James Sims responding to his trouble early in the season:
"I don't want to compare James to anyone in particular, because you don't know how things are going to play out down the road. I remember everyone telling Terrell Davis he was no good. I remember people were telling him you're not fast enough, you're a tough guy, you can run inside, but you can't really run outside. He went to the Broncos and rushed for about 8,000 yards, or 10,000 yards, and, I mean, he was just awesome. And I remember talking to him down at the University of Georgia when he was coming out, and he was in the tank. And I said to him, you're going to get drafted late in the draft, and you're going to have an opportunity for something good to happen. And sure enough, man, did he make me look silly, because he was better than good. Now, last spring, after the spring was over, I sat here with all you guys and, no disrespect to the ladies here, I include you in the guys, okay. All you guys is a figure of speech in New Jersey. But I sat here and I said, I don't know what everyone else is talking about, but this kid (James Sims) is really good. He can run inside and he can run outside and he can pick up the blitz. He can run and he can catch. I don't know what he can't do. I said does he run sub 4.5? no. But he's a really, really good player. And if you're a really, really good player here, there's a better than even chance that you're going to have a chance to be a really good player there. You know, I think that James Sims, his football will not end -- his football will not end next year when he finishes up his senior year. His football will continue."

On the team's mood after the Thanksgiving break:
"I don't think the offseason is even in their mind yet. Do you think they're looking forward to spending extra time with (strength and conditioning coach Scott) Holsopple? You don't know Holsopple very well. They're not there yet. They're happy we're still playing. Maybe it's the lesser of two evils, but no, I think that they're really looking towards having one more shot, because this happens quickly now. We play that game and then it's the last week of school. Friday is study day. Exams are the next week. This all goes down in less than two weeks. From there they'll be home for Christmas. Everything happens in a hurry."

On what he wants to see against West Virginia:
"I was very disappointed with how the game went against Iowa State. If we don't show up against these guys, it'll be 100 to nothing. They're not going to take the pedal off the metal. That foots going to be pushed all the way to the floor. So if you don't show up, it could be a long, hard day. But just like I wanted from day one, I want to go out there and I want to slug it out for 60 minutes, and let the chips fall where they may."

On his impressions of the Big 12 Conference after seeing it for a year:
"Well, I knew of the numbers, but the offenses are very dynamic. You want to talk about a contrasting styles, to go from the SEC to the Big 12 in one year. You went from all games being slug it out games in the teens to games being 50 to 49. They are two totally different styles. I think that these teams would give anyone problems, as far as scoring points. I haven't like it as a head coach, but I'm sure the defensive coaches like it even less. And there are a lot of good players."

On senior wide receiver Kale Pick:
"(He brings) consistency. He is the same guy every day. He comes to work every day. You know, the coaching phrase, he'd be labeled a blue-collar player. A guy who brings his lunch pail every day and just goes to work. He's the same guy every day. And what more can you ask from a player than to come and work your butt off every single day, and prepare every single day like it's the last game of your career? I'd say, as much as anyone on this team, I'd say he would be right at the top of that list. I have a lot of respect for Kale Pick."

On if a program can make progress despite a 1-10 record:
"Yeah, there's probably close to 20 things that I'm happy about. There's that many that I'm happy about. Forget about the football team for a second. I'm the guy who's in charge of the program and we're 1-10. And part of your job, all those other things, both on and off the field, are all very important ingredients to getting things right. And there's been plenty of them. Tell me a team in the league that runs the ball better than us. I don't know if there is one. Now, at the beginning of the year, I couldn't have said that. So, now all of a sudden you have this rushing attack. You've got the same runners back next year. You fix your passing game. You could see from my standpoint I'm drooling to get to the offseason. I can't get there fast enough, because all of a sudden when you're not a one-dimensional team, you become a two dimensional team, things change in a hurry. The bottom line is you can't, like there's been games where, you know, we've talked about, let's just open it up and just sling it and I said why. You have to lay building blocks to go ahead and fix the problems. What problem does that fix? Okay, you have to fix the problems, and I think we've fixed a lot of problems. But I think until you start winning more football games, even the biggest fan is going to have to be a bit skeptical, and understandably so. But that's our intent. I love when people will say, well why did you take this job? Well, I didn't take the job to go 1-10. I took it because I felt that this would be a challenge, taking this team and turning it from a program at the bottom to back to not only respectability, but being a perennial winning football team. And that's what I intend to do before I leave here. I might be here a long time, John, but that's just the way it's going to have to be."

Kansas vs West Virginia: Charlie Weis Talks MountaineersAdditionally, Weis released the following statement regarding Notre Dame. Coach Weis had received numerous interview requests on the topic.

Kansas Head Coach Charlie Weis:

"I have received several requests to speak about Notre Dame and their terrific season. As the head coach of the University of Kansas, I do not believe it is my place. Notre Dame and the South Bend community will always be a special place for the Weis family. We have a home in Granger, a short distance from our charity, Hannah and Friends. Our daughter Hannah will move there next summer, so the Weis family will always be there to support the quality of life for those fine individuals who deal with different abilities."

"Coach Kelly, his staff and of course the players, have done a great job to achieve their 12-0 record and No. 1 standing. I have personal relationships with several of the older players and will always support them. Though we recruited them to Notre Dame, they have reached their goal together under Coach Kelly's guidance. I believe that I should not be speaking of their success as if I were still the head coach. People all want to take credit when things go well! I simply want to wish them good luck."

"To avoid becoming a distraction, please accept this statement as the last thing I will have to say on this matter."