Charlie Weis, Reggie Mitchell And The Running Backs Interview Tuesday

Aug. 7, 2012

080712aac_839_6409653.jpegLAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas head coach Charlie Weis held a press conference Tuesday afternoon, followed by an interview session for running backs coach Reggie Mitchelland selected running backs. The Jayhawks are in the midst of their first two-a-day practice. KU hit the practice fields this morning and will return late this afternoon for their second session.

The following is a transcript of a portion of Weis, Mitchell and junior HB Taylor Cox’sinterviews:

Kansas head coach Charlie Weis
On his thoughts after the first week of camp:
“Some of the things that you anticipated are being confirmed. Almost everything I have said to you in generalities seem to be true. They are in great shape, you saw them in great shape. They look a lot better; you saw them a lot better. I told you somebody was really big; he looked really big. I told you some guys had redefined their bodies; they redefined their bodies. I think that most importantly there have been no negative surprises. That usually is the biggest problem you have when some surprise comes up. You don’t mind when the surprise comes up and it is a positive. The problem is when the surprise is a negative and there have been none of those at this point. That means the arrow just gradually just keeps pointing up. I have been encouraged in several areas, but it is so early. We have so many holes to fill and questions that are unanswered. We have to keep on trying to answer questions. I told you back in the spring that the defensive line and the defense was going to look different once we got to the summer and it does. That is with two guys not here yet. It looks significantly different. The depth at every position looks different now. It looks different in the secondary, it looks different with the linebackers, it looks different up front. Even the tight end position looks totally different now, when you throw (Mike) Ragone and Charles Brooks into the mix. The wide receiver position with Josh Ford coming in and Tre’ Parmalee coming in (looks different). Josh isn’t the only one competing. Tre’ Parmalee is actually competing for playing time. Turner Batygetting in here, so we have another guy competing at the quarterback position. Across the board, I would say that the only guy that stayed and I don’t see it easy for him to get beat out, is (Ron) Doherty, because he is still our best kicker and he is still our best punter. He has competition, but he is still the best in both of those areas. What I am trying to do is get a guy that can at least kick off, to take off that strain and that guy might not even be here yet. Like I always do, I am working every angle I can to try and find that answer. We are talking to the local rugby club and the soccer club, the guys that practice against the women. Out of 30,000 people in this school, there has got to be somebody that can kick the ball off out of the end zone. Maybe it is one of the guys we currently have, but if it’s not we are going to find whoever that person is. Wherever they are, we are going to find them.”

On the situation at running back:
“There is (Tony) Pierson and then there is (Taylor) Cox and (Brandon) Bourbon. Pierson is his own separate entity. They are not the same guy. Not that you can’t do some of the same things, but you can’t look at them exactly the same. I believe you find out what your guys can do and that is what you do. You don’t just call plays just because you like the plays. There has to be things that fit, or else you are beating your head against the wall. Tony does things way better than those other two guys. Remember James (Sims) is just waiting in the wings for three weeks. Let’s not forget I have given James plenty of reps in this training camp because James is going to be eligible three weeks in. Where as Jake (Heaps) I gave him reps during the acclimatization periods, but his numbers have now gone by the wayside, because I have to be sure I have the No. 1 guy ready to go and then get the No. 2 quarterback settled. So you have Tony on one hand, and those other guys on the other hand. It is a really nice competition to see who is two and who is three, or who is 1A and 1B, when you are using a different mentality other than what you would do with Tony.”

On junior running back James Sims:
“Right now, if I had to pick the most complete running back on our team, I would pick James. I think he responded pretty well. I think James is even better than I thought he was. He just unfortunately can’t play right now. He can run inside, he can run outside. People told me he couldn’t run outside, they were wrong, he can. He has another gear, people told me he doesn’t have another gear, he does. It might be because he is down 10 pounds. That might have something to do with it. It might be because he is in great shape. I am a big fan of James now, he has a lot of natural running ability and he is not afraid to pick up the blitz.”

On what he wants out of his time at Kansas:
“I want to win. That is what I want. I want to win. I want this team to win. They haven’t been winning, that is what I want to do, win. The more wins, the happier I am. I didn’t go to school here, but if you are a student in the student body here, there is nothing better in the fall than a Saturday afternoon where your team goes out and wins a football game and you go out on Saturday night and have a good time and get ready to study on Sunday to get ready for classes on Monday. It is part of college life. That is what it is supposed to be like. It puts a big damper on things, when things don’t go well. I want to get this program where we are winning more than we are losing. I think when we get to that point, then we will aim even higher, but let’s get to that point first.”

Running Backs Coach Reggie Mitchell
On junior James Sims:
“James has been better than I thought he would be. I’ve coached him for two years, but he is a different guy. It’s night and day from the Missouri game last year to where he’s at now. He’s lost weight; he’s probably down to 195 pounds. He looks faster, he’s shown ability to make people miss and he’s had a good attitude this fall. He’s shown a lot of improvement.”

On having running backs that are skilled in different areas:
“I think with Coach Weis, with him being big into personnel groupings, he wants a guy that for a certain type of personnel. It’s fortunate that we have those types of guys in the program. Right now, Tony (Pierson) is the only smaller (running back) we have, but that’s kind of how (Coach Weis) wants it.”

On sophomore Brandon Bourbon coming back from injury:
“You don’t see any of the injury things that are popping up, but he is a little rusty because he hasn’t played since the Iowa State game. He didn’t go through spring (practice). Every day you see him getting better and better.”

On how Brandon Bourbon fits into the offense:
“He’s a big guy that’s fast. The thing he has to do is be more consistent. With the more reps he gets, the better he’ll get. The hard thing is we have a bunch of guys who we need to give reps to, so he’s got to make an impact with the five or six carries he gets in practice.”

On the type of workload that Tony Pierson will get in the KU offense:
“I think Coach Weis has gone on record and said that he wants to get Tony 10-15 carries a game and try to get him through the season. To Tony’s credit, he’s probably gained five or six pounds so he’s over 170 now. I think Coach Weis wants to keep it right around 10-15 carries a game.”

On Marquis Jackson’s transition to running back:
“Marquis has progressed pretty well. We moved him midway through spring. He had a pretty good spring game and this fall he’s coming on. The hard thing for Marquis is that we have those other guys, because there are only so many carries that you’re going to get. But he’s progressing pretty well. We’re going to have to use him to play this fall. Coach Weis will find a place for him in some personnel grouping.”

Junior halfback Taylor Cox
On how his first few weeks at KU have been:
“It’s been really nice. I’ve been getting to know my teammates and getting out there and competing with the guys. I just love everything about KU. It’s been a nice experience. I’m just learning things every day. Obviously, I’m a junior college transfer and I wasn’t here in the spring, but I’m enjoying the learning process. Today was our first two-a-day, so it’s a nice change of pace. We’re starting to get things rolling and starting to prepare for the season.”

On what he feels like he needs to improve on before the season:
“Probably just learning the offense and learning the protections. (I need to) learn the terminology and stuff like that so I have the best chance to compete.”

On his strengths as a running back:
“I think one of my strengths is my vision and the ability to get to the secondary and make plays.”

On what he was looking for when he was picking a school:
“I was looking to come somewhere that I was needed and wanted. I was looking for a program that is going to win. I feel like this program is on the up-and-up and I’m definitely excited to be here.”