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RCT Roundtable: New Coach Edition

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What do our contributors think of the Weis firing? What's the outlook for the rest of the year? Let's find out!

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Was Weis given a fair chance/fired too soon?

misterbrain: He was given too long, to be completely honest.  It was readily apparent after the first two years that he either didn't really care and was just collecting a paycheck, or he had no clue what to do and was just riding this thing out.  And really it seemed that the amount of that paycheck was the only reason he was allowed to stick around into this year.

averagegatsby: In my mind he never should have been hired in the first place.  So having said that, I don't really have a problem with him being fired now.  I don't think he needed any more time to prove that he doesn't have any concept of how to make a team better.

Ivan Portillo: Of course he was given a fair chance. I think we all expected his firing at the end of last season. The only thing that was really stopping KU from giving him the axe was the remaining years/money on his contract. Weis just simply didn't produce. If anything, the firing came too late.

penhawk: A constant cycle of head coaches is never good for a program, but in cases like Gill, who had the program going down in flames, or Weis, who simply wasn't displaying any signs of improvement or even a clear flight plan for what he was trying to do, it's hard to make a case for keeping them. The team was having all the same problems they were having in his first season, and his attitude just seemed to be "what can I do?" It's just too hard for me to envision any success under Weis to make a case against his firing.

Jim Hammen:  I wouldn't necessarily call what Weis received an "unfair chance"....but as I wrote the other day, I'm not a huge fan of firing somebody midseason.  I would've liked to see Weis finish out the year.  That's back-to-back coaches now that haven't been given three full seasons to turn the program around, which doesn't send a great message to future applicants.

dnoll5: Weis was given his fair chance. Although it would be ideal from a financial perspective to pay him to coach at least through the year, the terrible results against Duke and Texas showed how out of his depth he was and the narrow wins against SEMO and CMU were not enough to instill confidence. It just didn't look like it was going anywhere and everyone could see it. We gave him September, and he buried himself.

mikeville: Sure he was, no doubt about it.  I think it was pretty obvious that his vision for the football program was not coming to fruition and that no progress was being made.  That means time for a change.

In your mind, who is a logical, attainable candidate you want to see in Lawrence?  Support your choice.

misterbrain: There are many who are logical.  The main problem is who would be attainable?  Other than hiring a coordinator from a top-level program, I'm not sure that we've been successful with any other model.  The offense needs an overhaul, and with the QBs we have, a triple-option type offense seems like our best chance to be successful.

AG: I don't really know who the top options are right now, but I think you need an innovative offensive mind, because I think it is easier to develop an offense with less than elite recruits than on defense.  I honestly like what Fetch said on the podcast about the head coach for the Colorado School of Mines, I think you need a different coach to win at Kansas, and I definitely think he would be attainable.

Ivan Portillo: I heard Jim Harbaugh wants out of San Francisco, right? In all seriousness, I don't see many coaches jumping at the shot to coach Kansas. Ideally, I'd love Brent Venables here. I'd see him as our realistic best case scenario if the Clint Bowen doesn't pan out.

fetch13: I'm on the Bob Stitt train, or someone who would at least be different. No more retreads. I also did love hearing what Bowen had to say in his introductory press conference (then again I loved Gill's too) so I am going to give him a legit shot in these 8 games to convince me he should be the guy, and I'm even starting from the standpoint that I am viewing him as the guy going forward. That said, if he doesn't work out I am waiting to see if Paul Johnson wants to leave Georgia Tech, or I am calling Ken Niumatalolo at Navy immediately.

penhawk: I really don't have any names to throw out there. At the end of the day, coaching hires are a bit of a shot in the dark outside of well-established coaches with long track records of success. And we aren't getting one of those any time soon. What I'd like to see is a coach who has had some level of sustained success in getting decent players and finding a way to win games with them. Not someone flashy who thinks they can come in and solve all our problems with some 5-point plan, but a guy who can point to his work elsewhere and say "give me some time to do what I do, and I'll put together a competitive program." As such, I do NOT want Ed Orgeron, and I'd prefer to avoid coordinators if possible.

Jim Hammen:  At the time, I LOVED the Weis hire, so now I guess I'll vote for the opposite.  I'd rather have a relatively low-profile coordinator who has had recent success over a splashy big name without much substance.

dnoll5: Ken Niumatalolo is my choice right now although I confess to not being completely up to speed regarding all the possible options and/or possibilities. I like offense and I think KU needs an offensively focused guy who has had success as a head coach. Niumatalolo fits that bill.

He has had a very good career at Navy, a place that traditionally has been a difficult place to win. He has a career record of 51-33 with a ten win season and two nine win seasons on his CV. Obviously, it'll be harder to win at KU considering that the schedule is far more difficult, but the fan base isn't asking for 10 wins every season. Despite his flaws and low winning percentage, Mark Mangino is still highly regarded by many KU fans and he almost lost more than he won. He did have competitive teams which is something we have t seen in Lawrence for some time.

Niumatalolo is a former QB at Hawaii and has been running a triple option at Navy for years. Seems to be the best of both worlds to me. Kansas has not had a problem getting good running backs, the current QB can't pass, and no other team in the conference does it regularly. He's shown he can succeed at Navy, now is the time to take it to power five conference and work his magic.

mikeville: So many names to sort through.  If we can't get Neuheisel (or Harbaugh!) I'd love to see one of the lesser known guys get a chance, a la Bob Stitt.  Of course, that assumes that Bowen is a disaster, which I don't think it will be.  I think Zenger will have a hard time replacing Bowen at the end of the year.

How long until Kansas is competitive (i.e., challenging for a bowl berth and not getting blown out regularly)?

misterbrain: I think the only real position that is killing us this year is the QB, so if a new coach can scheme correctly or recruit a guy that can step up immediately, there isn't any reason we can't be competitive next year.  Can't really say that I would plan on that happening though.  I'd say a year to revamp the system, another year to finish bringing in the right guys and replenishing what we lose this year, and then in year 3, we should at least be hovering around 5-7/7-5.

AG: I think the right coach can have a team competitive in year 2.

fetch13: Right now! OK that may be a bit optimistic. I think in reality they can be ready to go in two years depending on how Cozart develops. If they have to start over at quarterback, who knows.

Ivan Portillo: Tough to say. We're starting over basically, and until we know who the next coach is, we can't give a proper estimate.

penhawk: Probably year two. Most of this year's talented players are seniors, so expecting much in year one is probably unrealistic.

Jim Hammen:  Until KU is a legitimate bowl threat?  Year 2 in an absolute best case scenario, and that hinges on whether or not Cozart continues to start, develop, and improve into a serviceable QB.  I wouldn't put money on anything before year 4....assuming the next coach makes it that long.

dnoll5: I think KU can be challenging for bowl eligibility in two more seasons. The 2016 season should be a place to start going bowling, but if KU has a chance to win that 6th game on the last game of the season but fails, no one should be too disappointed.

As for this team not getting blown away in games, that needs to start now, at least against the teams that are not named Oklahoma and Baylor. If Kansas is competitive against the Texas Techs and Iowa States of the world this season, the confidence will be a little higher going into 2015 and beyond.

mikeville: Easy question.  Any program can be turned around in two years.  Mangino did it in two years after Terry Allen.  It was difficult to see progress in year one, but in year two they were competitive, fought hard every game, and went bowling.

Does the coaching change affect your outlook for the rest of the season?  How do you think the team will look the rest of this year (mostly blowouts, better offense, etc.?

misterbrain: Unless it comes out that Weis was secretly envious of Pierson and wrongfully kept him from getting the ball, I'm just not sure Weis' firing changes anything for this year.  The fact is that we still have a huge problem at QB, and changing coaches won't automatically make Cozart play any better.  If there is an actual schematic change that will play to Cozart's strengths and will get the ball to our best players, then I think there is a chance we could improve greatly.  But everything I've seen makes me think Weis wasn't very involved in the actual gameplanning, so I'm not really expecting anything.

AG: I don't think Weis is capable of making any team better, so I don't think a different coach is going to make them any worse.  I wouldn't be surprised if they start to improve pretty quickly.  I doubt that means they will be very competitive against the likes of Oklahoma, but I doubt they get blown out anymore against the "mid-majors" of college football.

Ivan Portillo: Yeah. I'm looking at this as addition by subtraction. Weis had already lost the team. Some of the KU players tweeted that the mood at practice was great, maybe this is what the team needed to lift their spirits up. I'll say they'll do better, but the offense really has to step it up. No more blaming Charlie.

fetch13: I tweeted last week that I would be betting on KU to not cover for the rest of the season, but I'm already looking at the fact that West Virginia is favored by more than three touchdowns (24 is the most common number I have seen) and am thinking to myself that hell yes Kansas can cover that.

penhawk: I'm not predicting any upsets, but I think the team will start to look better right away. The offense's issues this year were exactly the same issues we saw in Weis' first two years, so it's hard for me to think that he wasn't still causing some problems. If the offense even mildly improves, the team should look a little better very quickly.


Jim Hammen:  I'd be surprised if Bowen moves the needle that much for the rest of the year; I'm not sure what he can do with this particular squad that Weis couldn't.  Then again, I'm in the majority, in that I was not calling for Charlie's head yet...so maybe I'm way off here.

dnoll5:  I thought KU was going to magically get to five wins, but that was before TCU proved to be good. I also thought they'd have a shot at Texas (they did) and Texas Tech. I still think they'll beat Iowa State.

As for the outlook, I just want the offense to play to their strengths, to give the ball to the playmakers more often. They need to keep the defense off the field as much as possible because even an admirable performance on D sometimes gets overshadowed by sheer time on the field and exhaustion due to playing 3/4 of the time.

From the look of it so far, Clint Bowen was a great pick as interim coach based on player approval. Man, it's so much easier to play for a guy that you have respect for. Bowen certainly has their respect and hopefully that will translate to play on the field.

Also, note to Charlie Weis: today's athletes don't like Bon Jovi. The music is there for the players. If you want to listen to "Lay Your Hands on Me" in your own time, fine, but they players aren't really into that stuff. Those little things seem to be changing under Bowen's leadership and that is a great sign that he's more in touch.

mikeville: It doesn't really affect my outlook.  I believe I predicted four wins?  I'll stick with that, although at this point, any wins the rest of the year would have to be considered fairly significant upsets.