Weis: “Gotta Make a Bunch of Changes”

One thing’s for sure, what was slated in the spring has changed to what Charlie Weis was saying today in the Press Conference following the opening day of camp. However, things can still change. “In the beginning, the depth chart will be fluid,” Weis noted. “The Drop Dead Date is August 17th.” Until then, players can move up and down the chart as the coaching staff sees fit based on their performance at practice. “What I did this year was put down a three-deep… some positions I’ve listed four,” Weis said. He contrasted what he did this year to last year, where he had two-deep in some positions, one-deep in others, and struggled for one-deep for some positions as well.

“We’ve gotta make a bunch of changes if we’re gonna compete in this league.” Weis recollected, talking about a conversation in December/January with his staff. Well, changes have been made, so far, since the Spring Depth Chart was released back on March 4th. (The current one is right here for your viewing pleasure.) For example, on the offense, Christian Matthews is now ahead of Tre’ Parmalee in the Z slot for Wide Receivers. Weis also talked about the true freshmen coming in and could very well get some playing time with the skills he’s seen so far. The overall plan for the offense? Weis thinks “…we’ll be running the ball a lot… I mean I think we’d be stupid not to.” With the skill set and depth at the running back position this season, don’t be surprised if Jake Heaps hands the ball to three-four-maybe even five different guys on a regular basis. However, that’s not the whole story because Weis also said, “If we can’t throw the ball, we can’t win.Our passing game can take pressure off our running game.” By the end of the year, he said wants the team to be about 50/50 between going through the air versus going on the ground. To protect the ball, Weis wants “… big physical guys. I want guys that aren’t the nicest people.”

For the defense, another large change to the game is that “Cassius [Sendish] is a nickel.” This stems from the decision to switch from running a base defense to a nickel defense (in a nickel defense there are 5 defensive backs, rather than your traditional 4.). In Coach Weis’ words a nickel defense is this: “What a nickel does is let you match up versus all the spread.” He also talked about how the game has changed from “The Olden Days” to present. “[Now] the tempo of the game has dictated us to almost no huddle defense.” “There’s no time to flip from one side to the other side.” “You don’t have a lot of time to substitute anymore.” Keeping those aspects in mind, there was no better time to change up the defensive side of the ball than now.

Weis also made mention of how he wants coaches, defense especially, on the field, rather than upstairs. “We have to have the three main defensive coaches… they all have to be on the field coaching.” Another coaching decision was to immediately give two redshirts; one to Marcus Jenkins-Moore, due to injury, and Nick Harwell, due to his transfer from Miami (OH). Also, as of currently (knock on wood), there’s only one player other than Jenkins-Moore who isn’t completely ready to go. “Tyree Williams isn’t 100% healthy,” Weis mentioned.

Right away in the press conference, Weis started talking about his “JUCO guys”. “All the JUCO guys are good to go,” he said. Only two JUCO transfers haven’t reported, and that is due to summer classes, however, all the others are ready to go on the hill. Weis assured that both boys would be in Lawrence in the coming week to ten days.

Of course last season came up… more than once. “I hate losing,” Weis said, thinking back to last year’s 1-11 season. He put the blame on himself for that. He also talked about theoretically winning just one more game last season still wouldn’t be good enough.

Remember the Big 12 Media Days? That came up too. Weis had a lot to say about that as well. “…It’s almost comical,” he said. “Did they not watch our team last year?… Give me a break.” “I put myself as the leader of that group… I always sit there and say “what could I have done?”” He kind of joked about the situation a little and stirred some laughs from the crowd, but that’s Charlie Weis. He is the type of person who says what is on his mind and doesn’t think much of it. “Okay, did I know when I answered the question honestly… that it was going to get that traction… I was clueless, but people have told me I’ve been clueless about other things, so that’s not the first time I’ve been called that.” His “infamous quote” from the Big 12 Media days wasn’t exactly “politically correct”, Weis joked, “How else you gonna describe it? You want me to give a more cleaner way? It wasn’t very good.”

So, with camp underway, in the words of Coach Weis, “It’s time to shut up and go to work.”