www.mozilla.com Weather Central
Voices
Headlines

KU's Beaty draws from Texas roots -12/18/2014, 11:32 AM

KSU expects more than 10,000 fans -12/18/2014, 11:32 AM

Indians swimmers compete at Manhattan -12/18/2014, 11:32 AM

Steelers bring a new identity into crucial game against Chiefs -12/18/2014, 11:30 AM

Top stories 2014: Tiger men's soccer reaches new heights -12/18/2014, 5:08 PM

Indians earn sweep before holiday break -12/17/2014, 10:20 AM

Top stories 2014: FHSU football continues steady climb -12/17/2014, 10:20 AM

Lehman's triple-double leads FHSU to eighth straight win -12/17/2014, 10:20 AM

Dome hits game-winner for Victoria boys; TMP girls roll -12/17/2014, 10:19 AM

Shockers rally from 11 down to beat Alabama -12/17/2014, 10:19 AM

Royals land Rios -12/16/2014, 9:27 AM

KU, Mizzou express interest in Ojeleye -12/16/2014, 9:27 AM

Kansas State DT Clinkscales faces additional charge -12/16/2014, 9:27 AM

No WR touchdowns? No problem -12/16/2014, 9:27 AM

KBCA prep basketball rankings, Dec. 14 -12/15/2014, 10:42 AM

Heisman winner Mariota can't wait to get back on field -12/15/2014, 10:15 AM

Kansas State picks up win -12/15/2014, 10:15 AM

FHSU wrestling fifth at Newman -12/15/2014, 10:15 AM

Pair of double-doubles lead Tiger women -12/15/2014, 11:01 AM

Chiefs go long, handle Raiders -12/15/2014, 10:14 AM

Kobe Bryant passes Michael Jordan on NBA scoring list -12/15/2014, 10:14 AM

Patriots, Broncos clinch -12/15/2014, 10:14 AM

Prep basketball scores, Dec. 13 -12/14/2014, 10:04 AM

WSU rallies to beat Detroit -12/14/2014, 6:59 PM

Hill City boys outlast TMP -12/14/2014, 1:17 PM

Friday's area prep baskeball boxscores -12/13/2014, 6:13 PM

Morales close to deal with Royals -12/12/2014, 10:11 AM

Mutual respect before Alamo Bowl -12/12/2014, 10:11 AM

All defense as Cardinals top Rams in St. Louis -12/12/2014, 10:11 AM

Indian girls grab second win -12/12/2014, 10:11 AM

Dryden goes off in Hays High rout -12/12/2014, 10:11 AM

Shockers leave early for practice at Detroit -12/12/2014, 10:10 AM

Sports Scores

Tuesday

Prep basketball

Boys

Atwood 76, St. Francis 65

Dighton 62, Oberlin 47

Hillsboro 50, Goodland 47

Lakeside 42, Lincoln 32

Minneapolis 68, Russell 35

Rock Hills 42, Natoma 37

Salina Central 62, Andover 58

Salina South 62, Sacred Heart 47

Sharon Springs 75, Leoti 38

St. John's Beloit-Tipton 57, Osborne 34

Sylvan-Lucas 61, Thunder Ridge 48

Girls

Dighton 44, Atwood 11

Dodge City 71, Hays High 28

Hesston 51, Goodland 18

Hoisington 60, Victoria 46

Hoxie 65, St. Francis 13

Lincoln 33, Lakeside 26

Minneapolis 47, Otis-Bison 24

Osborne 59, Wilson 34

Sharon Springs 63, Oberlin 42

Sylvan-Lucas 43, Natoma 41 (ot)

Tescott 41, Rock Hills 33

Trego 56, Leoti 27

Thunder Ridge 33, St. John's Beloit-Tipton 30

Click To View All


myTown Calendar

SPOTLIGHT
No bold predictions from Charlie Weis at Big 12 Media Days

[var top_story_head]

No bold predictions from Charlie Weis at Big 12 Media Days

Published on -7/22/2014, 10:19 AM

Printer-friendly version
E-Mail This Story

By Rustin Dodd

McClatchy-Tribune

DALLAS -- Charlie Weis had a cold.

It was Monday morning at the first day of Big 12 football media days, and Weis had surely seen better days. He sniffled a few times, let out a slight wheeze of a cough, and thumbed the knot on his Jayhawk tie.

Just last week, he had been enjoying a horse show in a Chicago suburb with his wife, Maura, a devoted lover of all things equine. No, it wasn't Weis' ideal vacation activity, but it was certainly better than this: A morning discussing his ever-rebuilding Kansas football program while his nose kept running.

"We haven't done a thing in the two years I've been here," Weis said moments later.

This was the first scene from Year three of the Weis era, a season that the coach hopes is more about substance than style or bold proclamations. After two years of losing -- a 4-20 record, to be exact -- Weis says his program is ready to take "some major steps." But that's about as specific as he'll go in the realm of expectations.

"We won one game two years ago," Weis said. "We won three games last year, we've only won one game in the conference. And we haven't won a game on the road. And what do you want me to do -- give a prediction of how many games we're going to win this year?"

The numbers, of course, suggest that Weis is in need of a significant breakthrough. When Weis arrived at Kansas in late 2011, he signed a five-year contract and vowed to pull the program back to respectability. So far, the plan has been slow to take.

Provided the gift of hindsight, Weis conceded one early miscue during his coaching tenure. When he took the reins, Weis quickly ran 29 players out the program, citing the need to clean the place up and instill some discipline. From the outside, Weis did manage to tidy up some discipline matters, but the mass exodus sucked some of the talent out of a program already lacking depth.

"I miscalculated the impact of when I threw 29 guys off the team the first year I was there," Weis said. "I walked in there; there were a lot of issues I felt had to be resolved and one of the ways to resolve them was to get rid of them."

Weis can recite what happened next. He knows all the ugly numbers by heart. Four victories. One Big 12 win in two years. A road losing streak that dates back to the early years of President Obama. And now, he enters his third campaign with a senior-laden defense -- stocked with former junior-college transfers -- and a hopefully rejuvenated offense.

"We just want to make a bowl game, we want to win a bowl game," said senior linebacker Ben Heeney, a preseason All-Big 12 selection. "And you know, as ignorant as it might sound, we want to win the Big 12. But if you don't want those things, why are you playing?"

While the losses have piled up, Weis has kept searching for answers.

In the offseason, he "fired" himself as offensive coordinator -- those are his words -- and hired former Rice offensive coordinator John Reagan to install a new spread attack. Sophomore quarterback Montell Cozart won the starting job in the spring, and Weis is hopeful Cozart's athleticism and mobility will diversify a unit that has languished among the nation's worst during the last two seasons.

Twice, Weis hitched his offensive hopes to a transfer quarterback, and twice the plan produced little fruit. Notre Dame transfer Dayne Crist struggled in 2012, and Jake Heaps faced similar problems last season -- before losing the job to Cozart. Now Weis plans to open it up, joining the legion of spread attacks in the Big 12.

"With the nature of the offense we've been running the last couple years, I think the true drop-back quarterbacks have gotten exposed," Weis said. "And that's one of the reasons why I changed what we're doing. I think that the only position that has been at Big 12 caliber for the last two years has been the running back position."

On that front, the Jayhawks lost leading rusher James Sims, a two-time 1,000-yard running back, to graduation, but they still feature a backfield that includes seniors Brandon Bourbon and Taylor Cox and junior-college transfer DeAndre Mann. Former Gardner Edgerton standout Traevohn Wrench will be a freshman.

"I think our running back position will be a position of strength once again, even though James is gone," Weis said. "But when you have a true drop-back quarterback, and you're playing with marginal offensive line and marginal receivers, marginal at every position except for running back, you get exposed."

Two years ago, Weis often spoke of his dream scenario. He had signed a five-year contract, and his plan entailed a fairly specific five-year plan. He wanted to get the program up and running and then hand it off, riding off into the sunset after resuscitating a moribund football program in the heartland.

Nowadays, he says, his plans have changed. He would to stay a few more years, he says, maybe five more total. The hope, Weis says, is that the plan is just starting to fall into place.

"When I came in and made a statement initially," Weis said. "I'm looking at a five-year deal here. What I mean was, it's going to take five years to take a bottom program to get it to be a winning program. That doesn't mean I don't expect to win this year. It's going to take a full cycle. I think it takes five years -- a full cycle to actually get it right when you're starting at the bottom."

Marketing Heeney -- Heeney doesn't mind flying under the radar. In fact, Heeney says, he kind of enjoys it.

But Kansas' marketing arm is hoping Heeney, a first-team All-Big 12 middle linebacker, won't go unnoticed during his final season. Earlier this month, the KU athletic department launched CaptainHeeney.com, a site dedicated to promoting Heeney's on-field exploits. The site features a superhero theme, complete with a bearded cartoon Heeney stylized as "The Diabolical Defender."

"It's kind of cheesy," Heeney said.

Heeney's reputation, though, has suffered while playing for a program in the Big 12 cellar. Heeney ranked third in the Big 12 with 112 tackles as a sophomore, and he followed that up with 87 tackles as a junior, despite missing two games because of knee injury. But on the national scene, Heeney remains an unknown.

While Heeney is nonchalant about the site, he did enjoy representing for his hometown of Hutchinson, which apparently served as an inspiration for Superman's hometown, "Smallville."

"It's all right, I guess," Heeney said. "I'm not really going for Superman or anything, but that's just what they put me as, I guess."

digg delicious facebook stumbleupon google Newsvine
More News and Photos

Associated Press Videos