It’s possible I was wrong.
Last month in this space, I wrote that Kansas hiring Charlie Weis as its new head football coach was more about getting attention than winning football games. I argued that Weis gave the Jayhawks some big-name legitimacy that will not translate into conference titles and noted that Weis’s record with the players he recruited at Notre Dame (16-21) was far worse than his record with the ones he inherited from his predecessor (19-6). It looked to me like Charlie Weis can coach, but he can’t recruit.
Weis hasn’t coached a single practice at KU, let alone a game, but the early outlook suggests I might need to grab for the bottle of hot sauce for the crow I promised to eat if I was wrong.
Since taking over, Weis has put together an incredible staff. He hired Pro Bowl center Tim Grunhard to coach the offensive line. He got former Jayhawks DB and defensive coordinator Clint Bowen to be his special teams coordinator. He lured Dave Campo away from the Dallas Cowboys to be the defensive coordinator. That’s an impressive group of good coaches. He’s also convinced marquee players to transfer to Kansas — notably Notre Dame’s Dayne Crist and BYU’s Jake Heaps.
It certainly doesn’t look like he is having any trouble recruiting winners.
Yesterday in the Lawrence Journal-World, Weis announced he’d dismissed 10 players from the team. Some were for academic reasons, some for disciplinary ones, and some wanted to transfer out of the program. Some of the players were significant contributors to the 2011 squad.
“I don’t care if they were all starters; it doesn’t make a difference,” Weis said in a news conference. “There’s a right and a wrong way of doing things, and we’re gonna do it the right way. That’s all there is to it.”
For a program that crashed with frightening speed after a 2008 Orange Bowl victory, this can only be viewed as welcome news. Guys who weren’t getting it done either on the field, in the locker room, or in the classroom are gone. People who want to buy into the new program are coming in.
None of this matters if Weis wins as many games in five years as he won at Notre Dame, and, with annual games against Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, and TCU even that might be hard. But on paper, at least, Weis looks like he has the Jayhawks flying in the right direction.
If he does, I can’t wait for a big plate of crow. I’ve got plenty of hot sauce.