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New Kansas Football coach Charlie Weis appears to already be paying dividends for Kansas as their is a renewed interest in the program around campus. That renewed interest has fans investing cash into the program in the form of season-tickets and football merchandise.
The school is approaching 4,000 new season-ticket accounts, which would represent a minimum of $400,000 in revenue - possibly as much as $1.2 million. That's a significant bump for a program that averaged 42,283 per home game in 2011, ahead of only Baylor in the Big 12.
There is a buzz around the program that hasn't been there the last two seasons although it certainly has been there before. The goal for Weis is to be able to sustain it. Mark Mangino built a winner that culminated with a 12-1 season and an Orange Bowl win in 2007.
Things quickly fell apart after that with Mangino being ousted amid accusations of verbal and physical abuse from his players. Turner Gill brought five wins over two seasons which eventually led the Jayhawks to turn to Weis.
''I am not the greatest coach in the world, I've made a lot of mistakes, but I have learned how to show humility and I have never lost my passion and drive to win.''
Kansas University announced via its official Twitter feed that new football head coach Charlie Weis successfully underwent a hip replacement procedure in Florida on Monday.
Weis, who appeared using a cane at halftime of a recent Jayhawks basketball game to address fans, will stay in Florida to recover. Although not officially acknowledged, the operation was likely timed with the start of the NCAA "dead period" of recruiting (in which coaches are not allowed to make in-home or in-person visits with potential recruits). Weis is scheduled to return to Lawrence after the holidays, according to the school.
Weis has been very noticeably recruiting current Notre Dame quarterback and former Weis recruit Dayne Crist, set to transfer from the Irish, as well as BYU quarterback Jake Heaps, who is transferring from BYU, and was recruited by Weis during his time as Notre Dame head coach.
SB Nation's resident statistical assassin Bill C. ponders the somewhat unthinkable (unless you're a Jayhawks fan): With his prestige in developing quarterbacks, would it be possible for new Kansas head coach Charlie Weis to somehow land both former Notre Dame quarterback Dayne Crist (a Weis signee with the Irish) and transferring BYU quarterback Jake Heaps?
In addition to breaking down the entire offensive roster for the Jayhawks (this is a must read for KU fans), Bill C. examines the possibility of going from famine to feast in the honeymoon phase of Weis' tenure in Lawrence:
Both Crist and Heaps, former blue-chippers, have visited town in recent weeks. Crist would be eligible to play immediately next fall (with one year of eligibility), while Heaps would be more of a long-term solution, with two years remaining after sitting out the 2012 season. Neither have proven to be of All-American caliber just yet (otherwise they wouldn't be transferring), but they are certainly as or more proven than the incumbent.
Crist is particularly interesting to me. After completing 59 percent of his passes, with a reasonably decent 129.3 passer rating in 2010, the former Weis recruit won the Notre Dame starting job this fall, then lost the job to Tommy Rees after a single iffy half of football. If he were to land in Lawrence, he would immediately give Kansas a boost at the most important position on the field. Even if he is not truly an all-conference caliber signal caller, he is solid. That is not something that could always be said of Webb.
USC Wide Receiver Brice Butler visited Lawrence over the weekend per Ryan Abraham of USCFootball.com. Actually, here is a photo of Butler shooting hoops inside Allen Fieldhouse (courtesy of Gehrig Dieter).
Butler, a junior, has already graduated, so would be able to transfer to Kansas and play immediately next season for the Jayhawks.
The 6'4" 195 lb wide out hails from Norcross, Georgia and will leave Los Angeles with 41 career receptions for 554 yards and three touchdowns. His best season was his 2009 redshirt freshman season in which he made 20 catches for 292 yards and two touchdowns. He was named to the ESPN.com Pac-10 All-Freshman team for his efforts.
Butler comes from an athletic family as his father Bobby was an All-American defensive back at Florida State before enjoying a career with the Atlanta Falcons from 1981-1982. His brother Brenton played college basketball at Fordham.
Coming out of high school in 2008, Butler was the 79th ranked player nationally and ranked as the 13th best wide receiver in his class. He would go on to play in the prestigious Army All-American Game. He would choose USC over offers from the likes of Florida State, Georgia, Notre Dame, and Penn State.
For a team that is short on talent, Butler would bring a veteran presence to the Jayhawks and likely would be in line to compete for a starting spot. Though he'd only play one year, he'd help bridge the gap until new head coach Charlie Weis could bring in more guys to mold towards his own playing style.
Charlie Weis was a surprising hire for the Kansas Jayhawks as Turner Gill’s replacement for several reasons, but perhaps the most cited has to do with his penchant for leaving. He was the offensive coordinator for Will Muschamp’s Florida Gators this year. He held the same position with the Kansas City Chiefs before that. He was the head coach of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish before that.
That’s quite a record for a guy now making his fourth stop in four years. Yet Weis insisted in a recent interview with Bob Fescoe that he’s here to stay a while. “It’s going to be a quick stop. It’s going to be five years. That’s the quick stop. I’m going to be here for five years, because my wife and I had planned for me to be working at Florida for the next five years and then try to be put in a situation where we can walk away. … What we’re going to do here is we’re going to go try to turn this program into a perennial winning program and then try to have it where one of the guys on this coaching staff takes over.”
KU fans can only hope Weis lasts that long — not only for the sake of longevity but it also means things are going well in Lawrence.
Now that Charlie Weis has been installed as the next head coach of the Kansas Jayhawks, the first order of business is to find a quarterback to run his passing attack. While word had been out that Weis was courting former Notre Dame quarterback Dayne Crist, but now it seems that another gunslinger from out West could be making the move to Lawrence.
Former BYU quarterback Jake Heaps will be making a visit to KU soon, and there's a possibility that Weis could land both Heaps and Crist for 2012 and 2013.
Per Rivals site JayhawkSlant.com,
There's actually the possibility Weis could land both Crist and Heaps with no fear of overlap. The former has already graduated and would be permitted to use his final season of collegiate eligibility immediately in 2012, while the latter would have to sit out the 2012 season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules and wouldn't be eligible to play until 2013. Heaps would, however, be permitted to practice with team next season and learn Weis' offense.
Could the Jayhawks be turning the corner starting with a quality quarterback? If Charlie Weis gets a quarterback, you never know.
Most of the analysis suggested that the new football coach of the Kansas Jayhawks would be among a few candidates: Mike Leach, Larry Fedora, Brent Venables. Maybe a few outsiders were also mentioned. But no one saw Charlie Weis coming out of Florida and the move not only caught sportswriters off guard, but they also don’t believe the move is a good one. Even after the news has settled, Brock Huard of ESPN says the move ranks as the worst of the major college football hires:
Mark Mangino went 50-48 in eight seasons in Lawrence and was just 23-41 in conference play. If those are the expectations for Weis, who finished 16-21 in his final three years as coach at Notre Dame, then this move is understandable. However, Weis brings a pedigree, name, Super Bowl rings and a resume of success as the Kansas City Chiefs’ offensive coordinator that far exceeds mediocre standards.
This rebuilding job will take significant time. Turner Gill went the developmental route through the recruitment of high school players and the disparity in size, speed and strength on the field was pronounced in 2011. Weis will bring Kansas recognition and conversation, and Jimmy Clausen, Brady Quinn, Matt Cassel and Tom Brady can attest that he knows how to make a quarterback and an offense better.
The challenge will be whether he can attract enough difference-makers to Lawrence and do so at the level his fan base will be expecting from him.
Starting with new head coach Charlie Weis, the Notre Dame roots are starting to grow at Kansas.
There are several new faces to be found in each and every conference within the college football landscape, so it’s a nice time to gauge how each of the coaches fit within their new digs. Bill Connelly of SB Nation recently posted his look at the safest and riskiest bets among the new coaches, and the Kansas Jayhawks ended up setting the bar for the latter — not exactly what they had in mind when they named Charlie Weis head coach for certain.
But these things are rather subjective and Weis’ hire has been polarizing since the beginning. Sheahon Zenger calls it a “relevant” hire while others dismiss it based on Weis’ recent track record of a subpar Florida offense and his tendency for moving on rather quickly.
Connelly writes, "Unlike Mora, Charlie Weis does in fact have a track record at the collegiate level. The problem: said track record isn’t actually any good. An incredible success as an NFL offensive coordinator, Weis won 19 games in his first two seasons as Notre Dame head coach, and he reeled in a series of highly-rated recruiting classes. But when Tyrone Willingham’s recruits cycled out in South Bend, so did the wins. Weis went just 16-21 from 2007-09 and was fired. After a successful year as offensive coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs, Weis went to Florida to coach for Will Muschamp in 2011, and an already disappointing offense tumbled from 53rd in Off. F/+ to 72nd.
“A supposed offensive mastermind known for proclaiming that Notre Dame would have a “decided schematic advantage” when he came aboard," he continues, “Weis’ college offenses have just once ranked better than 60th in Off. F/+ since Brady Quinn and Jeff Samardzija left South Bend following the 2006 season — Notre Dame ranked 114th in 2007, 63rd in 2008 and 12th in 2009. (Meanwhile, his final four Notre Dame defenses ranked 41st, 38th, 49th and 75th in Def. F/+.) Now he inherits a Kansas squad almost entirely bereft of playmaking ability on either side of the ball. He will receive a level of patience he was not privy to at Notre Dame, but patience alone won’t make him successful. (And this says nothing of the potential health-related issues Weis brings to the table.)”
Anything is still possible and Weis is already out reaching for top shelf recruits. If he can turn things around in Kansas, Weis’ reputation is the type that will quickly be restored.
One thing that the whole Charlie Weis hiring is not is uninteresting. Outside of that, it’s hard to find people who agree on much of anything concerning the new Kansas football head coach and the predictions about his future performance. Some love it and laud it and believe it will restore Kansas football to relevance — at least that’s what the university is selling. Others, such as Paul Myerberg from Pre-Snap Read, say that it’s a desperation move that makes no sense for what the program really needs.
He writes, "Kansas didn’t necessarily need an offensive genius, even if we stretch to attach that tag to a coach whose most recent offense scored a total of 92 points against its last seven F.B.S. opponents. Kansas needed a coach who can lead a roster of three-stars to consistent bowl play; the Jayhawks needed a builder, not a maintainer.
:Weis is neither of those," Myerberg continues. “Notre Dame proved this out: he took his predecessor’s players to greater heights, but showed an utter inability to develop his own players. Think immediate stars are walking into Lawrence? Think again. Weis will need to identify second-tier talent and turn it into first-tier talent to win the Big 12.”
In the end, Myerberg believes that Weis is “ill-suited” for the college game overall. Sheahon Zenger, the KU athletic director, can only hope Myerberg and others like him are totally wrong or else Weis won’t be the only one let go.
From the moment Charlie Weis was confirmed as Kansas' next coach on Thursday afternoon, speculation swirled that his first recruiting coup would be former Notre Dame quarterback Dayne Crist. Pete Thamel of the New York Times is reporting that Cris will visit Kansas and meet with Weis tomorrow.
Crist was once considered the quarterback of the future for the Irish under Weis and his successor Brian Kelley, but was benched in Notre Dame's season opening loss to South Florida. Since that time he's slid to third on the depth chart behind Tommy Rees, who Crist previously beat out in spring practice for the starting job, and Andrew Hendrix.
Crist has played in 17 games for the Irish, completing 199 of 338 passes for 2,327 yards with 16 touchdown passes and nine INTs. He threw for only 164 yards and one interception in the 2011 season.
While no one would argue that Will Muschamp has not yet lived up to the expectations associated with the Florida program in one turbulent 6-6 season, the fact that, according to reports, Charlie Weis' payday at Kansas could exceed Muschamp's at Florida is certainly notable relative to the prestige of the two programs. Per Alligator Army:
According to a source, Weis' contract with Kansas is likely to reward the four-time Super Bowl champion coach richly, perhaps in excess of the nearly $3 million per year Will Muschamp is making as Florida's head coach.
School officials have not disclosed the specifics of Weis' deal, but Kansas is still on the hook for $6 million of the five-year deal they signed with former head coach Turner Gill. Per the Palm Beach Post, Weis' deal at Florida was for three years and $2.6 million.
Charlie Weis' recruiting acumen kept him in business at Notre Dame for four seasons and certainly helped his cause in Gainesville, Florida for a season, but as SB Nation's Bud Elliot notes, the state of Kansas' program and the relative dearth of top football talent in the state create a situation Weis has never tackled before.
Unlike the Irish (a nationally branded program capable of going into California and Texas) and the Gators (sitting in the backyard of a rich area of prep talent), Weis will likely have to find a foothold in Kansas' unique JUCO ranks in order to succeed, but that's a path fiercely guarded by rival K State:
Kansas has a great network of junior colleges, aka JUCOs. Kids, typically from other states, will attend these junior colleges because they don't have the grades or skills to get into the programs they'd like to after high school. In the junior colleges, they grow, develop and fix their academics with the hope of transferring to a four-year university.
While many states have done away with JUCO football, Kansas has not. And it has some of the best JUCO football in the country, along with Texas, Mississippi, California and Arizona.
Rivals.com has five Kansas JUCO players among its top 50 in the country. That's leaps and bounds better than the high school talent being produced by the state.
Bill Snyder has famously made a living at Kansas State by keeping some of these top JUCO players from returning to their home states.
The amount of progress Weis can make in his first, shortened period of recruiting for the Jayhawks will be huge for a recovering KU program now toiling in the shadow of a K State program that's returned to form.
Will Muschamp is losing his offensive coordinator to the Kansas Jayhawks, and given his quotes he seems quite pleased. Perhaps that’s because the Florida Gators head coach wasn’t too happy with the results of the 6-6 season the Gators just endured with Charlie Weis as their offensive coordinator. Then again, maybe he sincerely believes it’s a good opportunity for Weis and the University of Kansas.
“There aren’t many opportunities you get to be a head coach,” Muschamp told the Associated Press. “I know Charlie. The last one [Notre Dame] didn’t end the way he wanted it to.
“I asked him, ‘Is this something you’re really interested in doing?’” Muschamp continued. “He said, ‘Yeah, I want to talk to ’em. If I wasn’t interested, I would not talk.’ So I said, ‘I support you 100 percent if that’s what you want to do. I think that’s great.’ Now, when guys make parallel moves, I don’t necessarily agree with that. When guys can further their career, I think it’s great.”
Weis now becomes the 37th head coach in Kansas football history.
Kansas is undoubtedly a basketball school given the tremendous success of their men’s program under Bill Self. Thus, it makes sense to ask Self just what he thinks of the latest hire on the football side of things. When asked his opinion on the hiring of Charlie Weis as the new Jayhawks head coach, it’s clear that he likes it.
“I think Kansas fans should be excited about Sheahon’s (Zenger) football hire today," Self said. "We hired a guy that has an unbelievable resume and has experienced success at the highest levels.“In his first two years at Notre Dame, he coached in BCS bowls. With the (New England) Patriots he won three Super Bowls. With the (New York) Giants, he won one Super Bowl and has participated in another Super Bowl. He’s been a coach for a long time and obviously has a great mind. I think this is one that will definitely ripple waters in our league."
The KU coaching search finally came to an end with the hiring of Charlie Weis on Thursday. So now the question becomes how does Weis compare against the other possible candidates that had been mentioned previously.
When Charlie Weis first rolled in to South Bend to take over the program and tradition of Notre Dame football, he was supposed to save it. Waving Super Bowl rings in the air, his pro level of success matched the Fighting Irish tradition of the same — the two seemed destined for each other. The former New England Patriots offensive coordinator had the NFL clout to speak to recruit well knowing he could blaze their trail to the pro level while his offensive schemes would help steer the collegiate program back to greatness and glory.
The story, of course, is easy to tell from here and we all know how it
worked didn’t work out. Suffice to say, Weis moved on from there to the pros (OC for the Kansas City Chiefs) and back again (University of Florida) and now he’s been announced as the new head coach of the University of Kansas. Not exactly the trail he thought he’d blaze just a few years ago when he first left the New England Patriots.
The same could be said for the Jayhawks football program. Mark Mangino brought national recognition to the program with the school’s first 12-win season and a trip to the Orange Bowl back in ’07, but the Turner Gill hire could not have went any worse. While he fielded the most polite team in the Big 12, they also only won three games in two seasons, including a single win in Big 12 conference play in that time. Suddenly KU became the worst team by a country mile this year in Big 12 play.
That didn’t bode well for them this off-season. While the Jayhawks could hope to be in on head coaching candidates like Mike Leach or Larry Fedora, both took positions elsewhere. It seemed that everyone was clamoring over the same group and Kansas was hardly ever mentioned by the national media as a possible destination for some of the bigger names. It seemed KU was going to go the coordinator route in order to find someone from a legitimate school. Then came Weis.
Suddenly Kansas football matters again. The Jayhawks are all about basketball in a conference (and greater college athletic scene) that’s all about football. KU football has to matter in order for the school overall to really matter. (And if you don’t believe that to be true, ask yourself how many times you saw KU basketball mentioned in any Big 12 realignment issues.) And now, with the hiring of Weis, it has bought an immediate ticket to mainstream attention.
David Ubben speaks of this lack of respect when he writes, "Maybe you want to laugh about Weis, a bizarre hire who didn’t work out at Notre Dame. After two BCS bowl appearances in his first two years, he finished above .500 just once in his final three seasons in South Bend. Maybe you want to ask, “Why the heck are they doing that?” But you’re paying attention.
“For all of Turner Gill’s character and good intentions, he didn’t offer much in the arena of intrigue. Weis does. And he gets a fresh start at Kansas free of the intense scrutiny from fans, boosters and media. The sky-high expectations at Notre Dame are a bit more measured in Lawrence.”
Of course, it doesn’t automatically work out and there’s all kinds of reasons to doubt Weis’ ability to succeed here. Will he last or even stick around? What has he done in the last five years to inspire anyone that he can coach successfully in the Big 12? Those are legitimate questions, but it’s possible to poke holes in any new coach. At the very least, in this present moment, we’re talking about Kansas football once again in a way that’s both hopeful and meaningful. Weis still has that to his advantage and KU provides a perfect place for him to iron out his own wrinkles from the past few years.
If you're a Jayhawk fan stunned at the seemingly out-of-nowhere move from Kansas to hire Florida offensive coordinator and former Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis, you're still not as surprised as Weis' current/ex boss, Gators' head coach Will Muschamp:
While Weis isn't practicing a lot of diplomacy with his peers, the immediate reaction among Kansas' Big 12 / SEC rivals has shared the same attitude Muschamp's probably feeling right now:
With the new announcement that Charlie Weis will become the new Kansas Jayhawks head football coach from Athletic Director Sheahon Zenger, the question must be asked: Will Dayne Crist follow him? The Notre Dame quarterback has been ready to transfer for some time and the questions have been asked whether he would go to Florida to pair with Charlie Weis or even to Texas to join the Longhorns. He’s often been compared to Wisconsin’s Russell Wilson, who transferred there and experienced much success this year. But what about KU now that Weis is the new hire?
It’s clear that he will transfer somewhere. Adam Rittenberg writes, “Crist started the past two season openers for Notre Dame but had his struggles and some bad luck in South Bend. He tore the ACL in his right knee during his sophomore season in 2009 and ruptured the patella tendon in his left knee in late October of last season. Crist won the starting job entering this fall but was benched at halftime of the season opener against South Florida. Tommy Rees has been the Irish starting quarterback ever since.”
Despite the injury issues, Crist has been a highly celebrated quarterback in the past and was the Fighting Irish starter just last season. KU gives him a great shot to start in a conference that will provide plenty of attention and opportunity for great offensive output considering the lack of strong defenses in the conference. It will be interesting once the initial buzz over Weis dies down to see whether Crist follows him here.
Kansas delivers a shocker - the former Notre Dame head coach will leave Florida to take over the Jayhawks.
For now, Weis brings exactly what Zenger could have wanted -- an instant command and display of credibility to a team that was needing a shot in the arm of excitement.
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