Charlie Weis and his takeover of the Kansas football program in 2012 will undoubtedly be one of the more closely followed stories in Kansas City. After two disastrous years under Turner Gill and just five years removed from an Orange Bowl championship, Weis begins working toward the goal of rebuilding a Kansas program that looked to be on the cusp of something not long ago.
At this point the expectations aren't enormously high. Kansas fans have come to grips with the harsh reality that Turner Gill and his staff did a poor job at developing and managing a program. That means that while Kansas fans do expect improvement, it doesn't necessarily have to manifest itself in the form of a bowl game or a winning season. What Kansas fans will want to see is a team that is competitive in the Big 12 because last year the Jayhawks were far removed from that.
The good news is that Weis has set the tone early. Wholesale changes have been made in terms of the approach and intensity of the strength and conditioning program. Weis has set a precedent and high expectations in terms of player accountability on the field and in the classroom and the new Jayhawk coach has used his first recruiting class to infuse the program with junior college talent and transfers that will provide competition and hopefully help to change the culture around Kansas football.
It really is an opportunity to come in during year one and make some positive strides when the stakes are relatively low. It's almost the opposite of what Turner Gill walked into. The recently fired Gill walked into a program that had recently experienced some success but had also fallen short of expectations one year prior. Gill proceeded to take what was perhaps a sinking ship and find a way to increase the speed with which it was sinking.
Now Weis has his opportunity at a second chance and it's a chance to revive that program. When the hire was made it raised some eyebrows, drew some criticism, but it also put a small spotlight on Jayhawk football. Weis has since carried himself with confidence, made some noise in the transfer market and that momentum has built some positive early returns among a Kansas fan base that was looking for a reason to feel optimistic about football again.
Check out other entries in the series below:
1. Romeo Crennel's first season as Chiefs head coach
2. Missouri moves to the SEC
3. K-State's quest for repeat success
4. Sporting KC looks to continue winning ways
5. Oklahoma City Thunder moves into NBA's elite