Weis, New Student-Athletes Address Media

Jan. 16, 2012

  • Coach Weis 1
  • Coach Weis 2
  • New Players

Kansas Football Announces Signing of Crist, Heaps

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas head coach Charlie Weis, senior quarterback Dayne Crist, junior quarterback Jake Heaps and sophomore wide receiver Justin McCay all addressed the media Monday afternoon. Below is a transcript of the press conferences.

Kansas head football coach Charlie Weis

Opening Statement:
“To get started I would like to wish good luck to Coach Self and our hoops team tonight. I am an avid college hoops fan and am pretty excited about the basketball team tonight. With that being said, let’s get the biggest question answered right off the bat. Yes, we are going to put the names on the back of the jerseys. Don’t ask me what color, don’t ask me what I am putting on them, but yes we will put the names on the back of the jerseys.”

On player additions:
“I am going to start with add ons and then I am going to go to deletions. Shortly you will be able to hear from our three guys that are already here and all three of the guys I have recruited when I was the head coach at another institution. I tried to get all three of them and I got one of them (at Notre Dame), and now I am fortunate enough to have all three of them as a part of my team. Dayne Crist, Jake Heaps and Justin McCay will be available to you when I am done for question and answers.”

On player subtractions:
“There are several players that are no longer a part of our team for different reasons. First of all the following six players have been dismissed from our team… JaQwaylin Arps, Dexter McDonald, Darrian Miller, Adonis Saunders, Brock Berglund and Keeston Terry. This is for a number of different reasons, but they have all been dismissed from our team. The next three players are in school but they are not a part of our football team, and that was mutually decided. Those players are Jordan Webb, Tom Mabry, and Tyrone Sellers. Lastly, there is one young man who is transferring to another institution and that is Travis Bodenstein.”

“In addition to those, there are several guys on the walk-on status that have been dismissed from the team. All of those guys who have been dismissed, have been dismissed academically. I have a little bit of a different feeling and think that walk-ons should be treated the same as scholarship players. My feeling is that if your parents are paying for you to go to college, then you should go to college. You should not be here just to play football, you should be here to get an education. It befuddles me how somebody who could be a walk-on and wants to be a part of the football team, could not do what they are supposed to be doing academically. When they go ahead and get themselves back in good academic standing, they are more than welcome to join the team again, but I think that if it was me paying for my kid’s education and he was not doing what he was supposed to be doing academically, the last thing he would be doing is being involved in an extracurricular.”

On new coaching staff hires:
“Obviously the most recent hire is Dave Campo, from the Dallas Cowboys as our defensive coordinator and our defensive backs coach. He will work very closely with Clint Bowen, our special teams coach, and will also work with defensive backs. Yes, I am hiring one more coach and it will be a linebackers coach. We are in the process of doing that here today and tomorrow and will want to have that done by Friday, because we pushed a lot of our defensive recruits from last weekend to this coming weekend, so we could have everything in place before they arrived. In addition, I retained Buddy Wyatt as our defensive line coach. It is interesting when you talk to the young men both on your team currently and the ones you are recruiting, you usually get a very straight answer, and he was very well respected, both by our own players and by the players in Texas he was involved in recruiting. On the offensive side of the ball, I hired Tim Grunhard, as you know to be the offensive line coach. I hired Rob Ianello as receivers coach and recruiting coordinator, who had previously had that same job with me at Notre Dame. The same is true with Ron Powlus, who will be the quarterbacks coach here. I hired a young by the name of Jeff Blasko, to be our tight ends coach. He has worked with me the last year and was my right hand man (at Florida). He had come from Akron, where he had learned our system from Rob (Ianello), when Rob was there. Also, as I told you from the first day I was here, Reggie (Mitchell) is going to be retained.”

“In addition, I hired Scott Holsopple as our strength and condition coach. He was Mickey Marotti’s right hand man down in Florida, and I could not say enough good things about what the players all said to me, when I asked them whether or not Scott would be a good guy for us (here at Kansas). We have gone ahead and hired two assistants for him, Josh Eidson and Juney Barnett, so that they can work closely with him in the strength and conditioning program. As we know for the next month, and really through Feb. 1, the guys who will have their hands on the program more than anyone else are the strength and conditioning coaches. They had a meet and greet with all the players today, between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Out of respect to Dr. King, I did not organize anything and they will start their off-season program tomorrow coinciding with the start of school.”

On recruiting efforts:
“As far as recruiting goes, you know I can’t talk about names and all the things that are going on, but we identified, what I felt were glaring holes in our roster with three different mechanisms. Obviously high school kids are always the bread and butter, but the one problem when you come in late in the recruiting mix, that most high school players are greatly influenced by relationships they have with the coaches that are recruiting them. It is a fact. You could sit there and say that they are just going because of the school or the system, but usually there are relationships. So when you do not have time to compete with relationships, you have to minimize that inventory and move in another direction to go fill holes. Obviously one of the holes I have filled, starts with Dayne (Crist). Let’s use this fifth year rule, where a college graduate that has another year of eligibility can move on to another place. We only have one right now (like Dayne) before the year is over, but there will be others that will be a part of the program. Come signing day, they will not be a part of the mix yet, because they have not graduated from college yet. Once they graduate from college in May, have a year left and an opportunity to go somewhere else, we will have additional players in the same status as Dayne. The only difference is that they will not be here for spring ball because they are not yet college graduates.”

“The last inventory of players to get is from the junior college ranks. This is a hot bed rich and fruitful with high level college football players in the state of Kansas. Not only in the state of Kansas, but nationally we are tapping into that resource to try and fill some holes with players that are a little more developed and ready to go and that have a couple years under their belt walking in the door. Those are the three different avenues that we are exhausting to get together the strongest recruiting class we possibly can, and I think things are moving in the right direction. I have a bunch of guys who know what they are doing in recruiting, we have a good plan and I think that, Feb. 1 (signing day), things are going to fall in place fairly nicely for us.”

On the spring schedule:
“Spring ball will start Tuesday, March 27. They will just be getting back from Spring Break. I’m sure that Monday morning run with Coach Holsopple on the the 26th will be most enjoyable to them. I hope they enjoy Spring Break. I think we might have to bring a few extra barrels around on that morning. We’ll get that Spring Break out of their system, and then we’ll get going on March 27. The Spring Game will be on Saturday, April 28.”

On the players who were dismissed from the team:
“I’m not getting into what the dismissals are for. Obviously, if there wasn’t a legitimate reason for them to be dismissed, or they wouldn’t be dismissed. There are laws. I can’t sit here and say, `He’s being dismissed for this.’ I don’t care who they are (regarding talent). It doesn’t make any difference. I don’t care if they’re all starters. It doesn’t make a difference. There’s a right and wrong way of doing things, and you’re going to do it the right way. That’s all there is to it. It’s a whole combination of things, but there’s a right and wrong way of doing business. You can’t make decisions, especially coming into a program, based on how good they are. You have to make decisions based on them (the players) doing the right thing because if you don’t, you’re a hypocrite as a head coach.”

On the number of players he would like to sign in this recruiting class:
“I know exactly where the number is sitting right now, and I know where I can go to. In addition, if I’m bringing in any fifth-year guys in May, I have to save numbers for them, too, because they count. They don’t just count on your 85; they count on your number for the year. We’ll be in the 20’s. Originally, when I got here it was around 14 or so. I told you the number would be higher. Well, it’s higher. It will be in the 20’s.”

On what areas he wanted to address in recruiting:
“I wanted to address quarterback. How’d I do? That wasn’t too bad. We still have some work to do there. Obviously, you have two veteran guys. You want to have a young guy underneath them. That young guy has to be ready to compete for No. 2 walking in the door. If you look at the roster, that’s just the way it is. I have some answers that I’m not getting to at this point, but that’s where we are at quarterback. That’s one of the ones offensively that kind of slapped me in the face. Interior defensive line, especially, was an area that needed concern. Look, we could use help everywhere. There isn’t one position on our team that I can sit there and say, `Hey, we don’t need help there.’ That’s a fallacy, so we’re going to spread that 20-some number across our roster and try to get us help at every position.”

On the quarterbacking situation for the next three years:
“Well, let’s start with Dayne (Crist). To walk in the door and have a guy who carries himself the way Dayne does is good for everybody on the team. Plus, he’s also a resource for these guys to know who I am. I have another guy that I’m hiring. Right now he’s a quality control guy that will eventually be a graduate assistant. I’m going to list these guys when I get them all in place, but you’ll remember them. Maurice Crum, who started for me for a bunch of years, is here, too. He’s already on staff. He’ll end up being a graduate assistant for linebackers, but it’s another guy that the players can go to because he was there when we did this the first time around. By having players like Dayne, who’s on the team, or Mo Crum, who played for me for a bunch of years, it gives the current players resources to figure out how we do business.”

On if he was able to meet personally with all of the players who were dismissed:
“In every one of the players’ cases that had to be dismissed, these were clear-cut. They were gone, and I was fighting to give them opportunities to be able to stay. Then they decided not to take advantage of the opportunities. There were guys on this list who had opportunities to be here. They just decided not to take advantage of those opportunities. Like I said, I can’t really get into all of those things. In some cases, I said, `OK, this guy is in this standing. What could I have done about this before I got here?’ You give a guy, `Go do this, this and this, and you’ll get one more strike.’ They decided not to do that. That was too much. I’m not trying to downplay it because each situation was unique. One guy was gone before I got here. One of those guys was already dismissed. I’m just listing him because he’s no longer here, but he was already gone from the team before I walked in the door. The rest of these guys, it was for a variety of different reasons, and legally I can’t get into that.”

On what his schedule has been since his introductory press conference:
“As soon as I got here, I stayed until Tuesday, flew to South Bend and had a visit there. It turned out okay because that (recruiting Dayne Crist) was not a slam dunk, just so you know. This guy was seriously considering going to Wisconsin. He went that weekend to Wisconsin. Now my timing was very, very good in the fact that the offensive coordinator from Wisconsin (Paul Chryst) decided to interview somewhere else that weekend. We ended up having a guy of his caliber here. That got me on the front end right here. I continued my recruiting through Saturday when you had to come off the road. I went home on Sunday and got operated on on Monday. I had my hip replaced. I feel wonderful, first time since I got wiped out on the sideline in September 2008 that I feel good. It’s unbelievable. I highly recommend it to anyone. Hips are a lot easier than knees, but I feel great. My wife helped me convalesce. I was wearing out the phones. I probably was wearing my wife out, too. I was probably driving her nuts. Between me and my special-needs daughter, my wife probably deserves a gold medal for those couple of weeks. I got through Christmas. The first day we could be on the road, I went out recruiting, and that’s where we’ve been until now.”

On the former players who are no longer on the team but still enrolled at KU:
“There are some guys that are in a position where they are close to graduating but aren’t going to be a part of the program. In some cases, they have more eligibility left, so they can kind of do what Dayne’s doing somewhere else. Rather than have a kid come here and be miserable that his status has changed, you help each one of these kids. You try to put them in position (to be successful), unless it’s too late and there’s nothing you can do. In some of these cases, it was already too late. There was nothing I could do. You walk in, the situation is what it is, and I come up here and read the list and everyone second-guesses why they’re not here anymore. In some cases, you try like heck to give them an opportunity to come back, and it just doesn’t work out. You want to give them an opportunity so they can do the same thing (as Dayne). They can go ahead, graduate and transfer without having to sit out. That’s why you provide that venue to go ahead and do that.”

On the eligibility of Justin McCay:
“As the current status stands, he would have to sit for a year with two to go. We are going to file a letter to NCAA because he was released by Oklahoma on a hardship to three local schools – Kansas, Kansas State and Missouri. That’s where he could transfer to without there being harsher penalties as Oklahoma was related. He ended up coming here. We will try to get that this year where he is allowed (to participate) and ready to go. Usually, the NCAA, if you have a viable case, they’re not afraid to open-minded on something like this. We don’t know how it’s going to turn out, but he’s going to be writing a letter. We’re going to be sending it out and see if we can’t recoup (another year of eligibility). That would give him three (years) to play three (seasons) instead of sitting for a year and having two to play two.”

On BYU transfer Jake Heaps:
“Don’t misconstrue Jake’s height with an athletic quarterback versus a true drop-back quarterback. Jake can throw it all over the yard, too. He’s just significantly shorter than Dayne (Crist). Dayne’s one of those guys, one of those tall guys, who is athletic enough and can sling it all over the place. One advantage Dayne has over Jake is a little more experience, but also height too. I was in love with Jake when he was out at Skyline High School in Washington. I tried like heck to get him. I went there on a Friday night before we (Notre Dame) played the University of Washington and I watched him throw 100 touchdown passes in a game. I tried to get him (at Notre Dame), but I just couldn’t get him, so I’m really happy to have him (now).”

On Just McCay’s eligibility status:
“It’s not in our hands. He has some legitimate things. This is just not something that you have to make up. He has some legitimate things. There are some legitimate things that he will write down there that usually, from the track record that I could see, based off of what I know he’s dealing with, I think that he will have a chance.”

On new Kansas defensive coordinator Dave Campo:
“The first thing, I was really considerate to make sure that I did things the right way. I was very slow and meticulous to make sure that I got a defensive coordinator that fit exactly what I described the last time (I talked to the media). If I am going to come in and start off being the offensive coordinator, I don’t want every time I turn around on the field at practice to look onto the defensive side to figure out what they are doing. I wanted to be able to have somebody I could talk to in a half-hour conversation, sit there and say, `Hey what are we going to do about number 19? What are we going to do about number 3? What’s our game plan here? Are we going to double the X? Are we going to roll over the top? Are we going to combo coverages? What percentage blitz are we going to do?’ I wanted somebody that speaks the same language as me. He certainly speaks the same language as me. He is significantly older than me, obviously. We speak the same language, we’ve known each other for a long time, we have a mutual respect, but most importantly–one of the things I said I did wrong the last time was that I tried to do everything myself and I tried to wear every hat. That didn’t work out so well. In this case right here I am trying to pass out some of those responsibilities. That doesn’t mean on 4th-and-1 I won’t be the guy making the call because I will be. I want somebody that I can trust as the leader of the defense. I couldn’t have picked anyone better.”

On when he first spoke with Campo about the job:
“First of all, when you’re friends with people, I don’t how you guys work, but growing up in New Jersey, you don’t have to talk to people (all the time) to be able to pick up the phone and have it be like you talked to them yesterday. So as soon as he got let go, I knew what the deal was in Dallas. (Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry) Jones loves Dave Campo and he loves Jones. When (Dallas Cowboys head coach) Jason (Garrett) let him go, I knew that Jerry would want him to be involved in the organization in some capacity which he had the opportunity to do that. So I said, `Dave, you don’t want to do that. You’re not ready to do that.’ He said, `You’re right. I’m not ready to be done coaching yet.’ Then I said, `If there is anyone that can tell you about it, that’s worked over a decade in the pros, a decade in college, it’s me. So go ahead, fire away with questions.’ So then we did that; we talked for a while. Then I flew him in and we spent the whole day together. He went back and talked to his wife and I called him up and said, `Well, what do you think?’ and he hemmed and hawed and I said, `Ok, What you do think?’ and he said `Ok, I’m coming, I’m coming.’ So that turned out really well for us. Then once we went through the proper channels and protocol here, we got that done. I was happy to finally put that behind me so that everyone in the free world didn’t have to ask me who the defensive coordinator was going to be.”

On if Campo was on his radar for the defensive coordinator position the whole time:
“I was looking for something like this. When everyone else wanted me to go hire this person or hire that person or that person, I was looking for a concept and once saw that somebody I knew and that I could trust, that fit that concept, I knew it would be right. The situation has to present itself. Everyone wants you to do it fast, but I was slow and meticulous waiting for the situation to present itself. Well, here it is. It presented itself and three days later he’s here. It worked out just fine.”

On how winning the Super Bowl with the Patriots the year before he became the head coach at Notre Dame affects recruiting:
“There was big positive residual effect when I was both the offensive coordinator with the Patriots and the head coach at Notre Dame the second year. (We) went and won (the Super Bowl) so now you have all these recruits, you don’t get them for (the first year), but you’re looking at all these kids that say, `Hey, this guy just won the Super Bowl.’ The next year made it easy to recruit. You had to make your mind up on how you were going to handle it. To be honest with you, I feel that if you’re making a run at the Super Bowl, you really have an ethical responsibility to finish the job. I really do believe that. I hope that’s how it turns out for the Patriots. I hope it turns out that way for Bill (Belichick) and Billy (O’Brien). I hope that’s how it works out for them, but the first year it hurts you because you’re now taking a small class. You’re just scrambling to get your staff in line and you get it aligned–case in point watch that (at Penn State) their staff’s in line with two weeks to go in recruiting. So they will get some guys, but they will get some guys that you can get with two weeks left in recruiting. It isn’t like you’ve had a whole year to go ahead and do the thing. Although it hurts you in the first year, which then hurts you in the third, because all those guys you don’t get in the first year, they are all here now, but the next year it makes things a lot easier as far as recruiting.”

On how much his and Dave Campo’s NFL experience helps in recruiting:
“It depends on which kids you’re talking to. Let’s face it, every high school kid or junior college kid wants to play on Sundays. They don’t go to college and say, `Well, I don’t want to play in the NFL. I just want to play in college.’ So if you have that as a resource–let’s not just talking about that with myself and Dave Campo (NFL coaching experience). Let’s talk about (new Kansas offensive line coach) Tim Grunhard. Now you say, `Well he was coaching in high school last year.’ He played for the (Kansas City) Chiefs for over a decade. He’s right here. Now if you’re an offensive lineman, you have a guy that played in the NFL for over a decade, that’s a big deal. He can show you how to get there. It isn’t just the two of us (Weis and Campo). I think that that really helps as a resource when these guys look and say, `Hey, they know how to get there.’ You want to know something? You can get to the NFL from every school in the country. Any school that goes out there and says, `You can’t get there from that school.’ That’s not true. You can get there from any school, but I think when you have resources like that, it usually helps.”

On if people should ignore Dayne Crist’s struggles at Notre Dame:
“I don’t think you can look at anything that has happened with Dayne Crist in the last two years, as far as I’m concerned. It’s null and void. I knew what I had two years ago when I left there and I’m fired up to have him right now. That’s all that I can tell you and you should be (fired up) too.”

On if he has decided who will work with him as offensive coordinator:
“I don’t know who that is yet though. I have a bunch of good coaches. I think that within the next year or two that will kind of take care of its self. You have to let it play out. I think that that’s definitely the direction you want to go. Coming in the door you have to make sure you get to the point that you have confidence that you and (the other co-offensive coordinator) are very close to being on the same page.”

On if improving academics is a big point for the program:
“It wasn’t just academics. Academics were one of the issues. We had over 30 kids on the honor roll too. Did we have some kids with severe academic issues? You bet we did. There were other problems here as well. I’m a dad. My kid is going to school and he’s a freshman. The last thing I want to do is go read about a kid having five dorm violations in one semester. Do you want your kid around that kid? That’s what I have to tell these parents. When I’m going into people’s homes I have to tell them that. Do they want their kid hanging around a guy who every time they turn around they are getting in trouble in their dorm? It isn’t just academic is what I’m saying. There is a right way and wrong way of doing things. I made mistakes when I was 18 years old. I wasn’t innocent. I get it, but there are extremes and those extremes aren’t going to be part of our program.”

Senior quarterback Dayne Crist

On playing for Coach Weis previously:
“Just having the familiarity with the offense, Coach Weis and Coach Powlus was huge for me. Coach Weis and I have had a great relationship since he recruited me out of high school. He’s always been someone I could talk to and rely on. Even the two years that he was not coaching me, he was still very supportive and helpful in everything I was going through. I think the relationship that I had with him was the biggest thing for picking up recruiting and coming back here. Just the honesty that you get from him on a daily basis was always huge in my eyes. The players will quickly find out that he is going to be honest with you every day, whether it’s something you want to hear or not. That’s something that I completely respect, and it is the greatest feature that I find in him.”

On fitting into the offense:
“I was recruited for what Coach Weis wanted to do. You have to adapt and overcome and do whatever it takes to compete. I feel so much more comfortable doing the things Coach Weis asks me to do. That’s why I committed to him the first time at Notre Dame. I’m excited to get going and get to work with my teammates.”

On choosing Kansas over Wisconsin:
“I think both Kansas and Wisconsin were very viable options in my eyes. It was a very tough decision. It really was. At the end of the day, I’m happy being here. I know this is the best fit for me. I haven’t looked back on my decision since making it.”

On factors besides Coach Weis for choosing Kansas:
“I think there were so many things that KU had to offer. You can’t pinpoint one, two or three things in making a decision that big. Overall, I think it was the best fit with the coaches, the facilities, campus, my teammates and just my experience in being here. There are certain campuses you walk on, and you know right away that this isn’t the place you’re meant to be. I did a lot of talking with my family, praying about it. I really went back and forth. Weighing the pros and cons, this was definitely the best fit for me, and somewhere I’m very excited to get working at.”

On Paul Chryst’s decision to leave Wisconsin influencing his decision:
“It was one of many things. That wasn’t the deciding factor. I know a lot of people want to make that the deciding factor, but that wasn’t it.”

On the team’s off-season conditioning:
“I haven’t had an opportunity to work with Coach (Scott) Holsopple, but I’m very excited and definitely looking forward to that. I know it will be challenging. It is definitely going to change the culture of Kansas football. That is something that is much needed and something that I’m excited to be a part of.”

On his relationship with Coach Weis:
“He was great. I’m not saying that because he’s in the room. It was a relationship that is really near and dear to me. Going through some tough times in the past two years, he was someone I could always look to. He had so much experience and wisdom that he could share with me. When I started thinking about leaving and taking my fifth year elsewhere, he was the first person I called. He was always supportive first and never gave biased answers. He really had my best interest in mind at all times. That is something that I’m very thankful for, and something that I’ll always be grateful for.”

On his academic status:
“I’ve already graduated, so I met to today with Academic Services and we worked really hard to figure out some Master’s programs. At this point, I’m gearing toward sports management. As a graduate student with NCAA rules, you take nine hours. I’m excited to start my classes and go from there. It’s something that was very interesting to me and I didn’t want to just blow off athletics. I took them very seriously at Notre Dame in the major that I graduated with. It was something that I found interesting (sports management). I wanted to be able to take something away from here as well, or at least have the opportunity to be very close to finishing something out. Academic Services has been great and very supportive throughout the whole process.”

On Kansas head coach Charlie Weis’ success leading quarterbacks to the NFL:
“That was something that was huge for me. It’s not the end-all, but that’s been a dream of mine since I was six years old. I’ve always been told to follow my dreams and follow my heart, and that’s something I plan on doing. I’m a team guy first, that’s always going to be my M.O. I want nothing more than for this team to be successful. I know that if I play as well as I plan on and am capable of doing and can get the team playing better as a whole at the quarterback position, then hopefully I’ll have an opportunity to do that someday.”

On Jake Heaps:
“Jake and I have been able to get in contact going through this process again. I’ve definitely been able to see him play. He’s from the West Coast, so I knew him coming out (of high school). When we would be in the hotel, any time BYU was on, I knew I was watching him. I know a few people at BYU, and they have all talked about what a competitor he is. It will be nice to help him in the ways I was helped by Jimmy Claussen when we were going through things with Coach Weis the first time. Not only having an understanding of the offense in a way that I not only know what I’m doing, but I can help guys like Jake and really help him get along. That will be huge because I’m just as invested in KU football as anybody in this building. I want this program to be successful for a very long time. Anything that I can do to help Jake or any of the other quarterbacks, I fully plan on it. Obviously I’ve had more of an opportunity to talk to Jake than anybody else, but any way I can help any of the players, or any of the offensive guys, I plan on doing that. Jake and I both talked about how we want this place to be successful. We know that we’ll need to push each other in practice. It will be nice having another set of eyes on the sideline that has played and can see things. We can talk in some of the same capacities, so that will be great to be able to share some of those experiences and better each other every day.”

On the day he committed to KU:
“We (Crist and Heaps) remained in contact going through this whole process, knowing that we were both going to leave. We had each others’ numbers and talked pretty frequently. When I knew that this was where I wanted to be and where my heart was, after calling Coach Weis and some of the other coaches, he was the next guy that I called. I said, `Hey man, I committed. What are you waiting for?’ I put a little pressure on him. It was nice, though. It was an exciting day for both of us. I know what it was like for me and I can only imagine what it was like for Jake, his wife and his whole family. It was something that I will always remember.”

On what people can expect from Coach Weis:
“The biggest thing that I talked about is honesty. He is not about sending any false vibes or messages. Whatever he says is the truth. That’s something that all of the players that played for him at Notre Dame will tell you about him. All of the players that played for him in the NFL and will get to play for him here will all know that whatever he’s telling you is the absolute truth. He’s intense and he’s a competitor. He talked in our meeting that nobody is more miserable after a loss than him. He’s such a competitor and a guy that wants to win so badly, it’s contagious. Other guys that are around him just want to win that much more. I’m very excited to get another opportunity to play for him and the rest of the team should be too.”

Junior quarterback Jake Heaps

On his decision to play football at KU:
“First of all, just coming down here and being familiar with Coach Weis and Coach Powlus was a huge thing for me. That was the main reason I got on a flight to Kansas. I didn’t really know anything about it. When I finally landed here and got a chance to get shown around Lawrence, I fell in love with the town and the community and the support it has for Kansas’ sports. Obviously, basketball is a huge thing here, but you could just see in the fans and the way the administration talks about football that they want to see it succeed. You just look at the facilities, the area and playing in the Big 12. They’ve won here before, and it can be done here again. I think under Coach Weis, all three of us believe we can win here for sure.”

On playing at KU being a second chance:
“I think if you don’t look at it that way, then it’s kind of foolish. It is a second chance. We had our first opportunities, and none of us expected to be sitting here today in Kansas when we had all committed to different places. You don’t go in expecting that it’s not going to work out, but at the end of the day, things happen for a reason. We’re all here and excited. In our minds, we couldn’t be in a better situation with Coach Weis and the rest of the staff.”

On Kansas head coach Charlie Weis’ success leading quarterbacks to the NFL:
“To have the opportunity to play at the next level is a huge dream of mine. Ever since I was a little kid I’ve been training, from the time I was in middle school, for that opportunity. I don’t think there is a better coach out there than Coach Weis to help us get to that next level. If that happens at the end of the day, that’s great, but our main focus at this time is to work as hard as we can with our teammates right now and make this experience at KU the best that we possibly can and win as many games as we can as a team.”

On sitting out a year with Dayne Crist here:
“It’s a great opportunity for me. I’m just going to be a sponge soaking up all of this stuff. I have the opportunity to learn from Coach Weis and (quarterbacks) Coach (Ron) Powlus, and also take advantage of the time I have with Dayne here. I’ll be learning from all of these guys and watching how it’s supposed to be done. It’s going to be a fun opportunity for me to go through this time working as hard as I can. I’m going to make sure I work as hard as I can to solidify my spot, but at the end of the day, I’m just going to be trying to learn and soak up as much as information as I can and get as ready as I possibly can to play the next season after that.”

On Dayne Crist:
“Dayne is two years ahead of me, so I got to follow his career when I was in high school. I was able to watch him in the All-American game. I always followed his career a little bit. He’s just a great teammate. He’s good guy and a great player. Unfortunately, some circumstances happened. I know Dayne is going to take this opportunity to make this season the best he’s had, and I firmly believe it will be. Kansas fans should be really excited because Dayne is a motivated guy. He’s a great worker and a great teammate, so he’s going to be huge for this program in moving it forward.”

Sophomore wide receiver Justin McCay

On playing at KU being a second chance:
“Most definitely. I wouldn’t call it a second chance, but more of an opportunity. We all wanted the same thing. We probably didn’t talk to each other, but we knew what we wanted and why we came here. They have great coaches, as in Coach Weis. We all know what he does and what we can do to try to help Kansas football.”

On choosing KU:
“I’m from Kansas City, and it’s real close to home and my family. My background isn’t the best, so I came home to help my family out and have the opportunity to play Kansas football.”

On playing with Dayne Crist and Jake Heaps:
“We haven’t practiced yet, but Jake (Heaps) was my quarterback at the Army game. Dayne is my roommate now so we can get real familiar with each other pretty quickly. I like that.”

On the transition he faces:
“I don’t know how the transition is going to be for me because I’ve only been here a couple of days, but there is a big transition for the players that have been here, too. They’ve had two coaching changes, so there have been two new offenses for them and it’s a new offense for me also. I’m looking forward to it and I’m really happy that these players are here. I’m ready to get to know everyone besides these two new players as well. There are other players on the team that have transitions (to make) also.”

On offensive line coach Tim Grunhard affecting his decision to come to KU:
“He didn’t push the school toward me at all. We’ve always been friends since I was at (Bishop) Miege (High School) playing with him. He just said, `I’m going to be happy with whatever decision you make. Whether you choose to come to KU or wherever you want to go, I’m going to be happy with you. We’re still going to be close.’ That helped me a lot.”

On choosing KU:
“Being close (to home) was a factor and Coach Weis and Coach Grunhard were factors as well. I’m glad I’m here. I’m not looking back on it and I’m not mad I left or anything. I have a great opportunity here.”

On not knowing exactly when he will be able to play:
“It was hard going into it, but being close to home makes it a little bit easier. Hopefully I can play right away. It’s not finalized yet, so we don’t know, but hopefully I can.”

On if being away from his family affected his time at Oklahoma:
“I wouldn’t say it affected me at all. I had to go with what my family and my heart needed. This was the best place for me.”