KU hiring Charlie Weis looks like a desperate move
By SAM MELLINGER - The Kansas City Star
This is what desperation looks like. Watch for yourself as Kansas introduces Charlie Weis as its new football coach today.
KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger will try to sell this as national relevance, but if Twitter is any indication, most people nationally are doing little other than laughing.
Weis will try to sell this as his second chance to run a college football program, while most people with even short-term memory can see him as a failed head coach with a list of health problems now taking a fourth job in four years.
Desperation can distort reality.
Zenger wanted someone with name recognition and the kind of charisma to energize a beaten-down fan base and inspire both ticket sales and donations. And as a trophy hire, Zenger landed a guy with four Super Bowl rings and two BCS appearances. Win or lose, people will pay attention, and that’s important at KU.
But is there substance? Weis has name recognition, but nothing to suggest he’ll work to win over fans. His time at Notre Dame suggests quite the opposite, actually.
Snap judgments on coaching hires should always be taken in context — Bill Snyder was a snooze, Quin Snyder a star — but right now this only makes sense like two consenting adults fresh off divorces getting together for a short, fun and low-expectation try for better self-esteem.
This is Weis’ fourth job in four years. He was fired from Notre Dame, left the Chiefs after mild success and wild personality conflicts and coordinated the nation’s No. 102 offense this season at Florida.
Kansas ranked 106th.
So now, the jokes are coming on strong. His regrettable line at Notre Dame about giving the Irish “a decided schematic advantage” is now being adjusted as Kansas going for “a decided caloric advantage.”
KU fans wanted a coach with a strong motor to do the heavy lifting required but instead they get a coach who spent much of his last season with the Chiefs on a motorized cart.
Upon hearing of Weis’ move, former Florida State coach Bobby Bowden told a reporter from the Palm Beach Post, “You got to be kidding me. He’s going to be the head coach?”
You probably remember that Weis was the NFL’s hottest offensive coordinator for most of his time in New England. He oversaw Tom Brady’s evolution from sixth-round pick to NFL superstar. As an offensive mind, he is respected by nearly everyone in the football industry.
But it’s also true that he’s mostly failed since leaving New England. He took Notre Dame to BCS games in each of his first two seasons but went 16-21 his last three years playing without Brady Quinn and with his own recruits.
Weis is remembered fondly in Kansas City, even if it was only one year. The Chiefs led the NFL in rushing and Matt Cassell went to the Pro Bowl (27 touchdowns, seven interceptions, and 17th in passer rating), making it Weis’ biggest success outside the Patriots’ bubble.
But is that enough to energize a fan base?
Is it enough to land recruits?
Is it enough to cover for significant and proven flaws?
When Weis left Kansas City he talked about watching his son “matriculate” as a freshman in college, and when he arrived in Gainesville he said he was “buying, not renting.” Just two weeks ago, he referenced other family considerations when saying “I’ll be here for a while unless you’re trying to get rid of me.”
Some perspective is in good order here. Kansas football makes for an easy punchline. Weis, in his own ways, is a comedian’s dream.
But maybe each is exactly what the other needs. KU has a power-conference platform and competitive facilities for Weis to show he can be a head coach. Weis has Super Bowl rings and name recognition to at least make people pay attention.
There are questions to be asked, starting today. Most of the important answers will come from Weis.
He must show that he’s learned from past failures, toned down the arrogance that turned off so many at Notre Dame and is willing to do the required recruiting and public appearances of college coaching.
There is enough here that it might work, and certainly enough for the inclined to find reason to believe.
Kansas football will always have to hire coaches with risk. It’s just that this one comes with a tint of desperation, too.
And that’s no way to begin a relationship.
http://www.kansascity.com/2011/12/08/33 ... tball.html
THE WINDING ROAD OF CHARLIE WEIS
Notre Dame head coach Weis leads the Irish to back-to-back BCS appearances in his first two seasons in South Bend, but Notre Dame plummets to 3-9 and finishes last in the country in offense in 2007. He is fired after a 6-6 finish in 2009 and a 35-27 record in five seasons.
Chiefs offensive coordinator After failing in the college ranks, Weis returns to his roots as an NFL coordinator and helps the Chiefs return to the playoffs.
Florida offensive coordinator Citing a need to spend time with his family, Weis leaves Kansas City for the Sunshine State. The Gators finish the regular season 6-6, and Weis’ offense ranks 102nd in the nation at 334.2 yards per game.
KU head coach Weis takes over a program that finished 5-19 over the last two seasons and has reached back-to-back bowl games only once. He’ll need to find a quarterback — Jordan Webb, Brock Berglund or someone new.
Three guesses on where Dayne Crist is heading?