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.