Coach Weis, Crist Hold Weekly Media Conferences

Sept. 11, 2012

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091112aaf_377_8068070.jpegLAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas football coach Charlie Weis and senior quarterback Dayne Crist held their weekly press conferences at Mrkonic Auditorium Tuesday afternoon. Coach Weis reflected on the loss to Rice and looked ahead to KU’s first Big 12 matchup of the season against TCU Saturday.

Crist talked about how he feels like he needs to have “more fun” on the field and play more loose.

Below is a transcript of both media sessions:

Kansas head coach Charlie Weis

On the team’s injuries for the week:
“Let’s go over some injury updates first. Prinz Kande, he tore his ACL and he’ll be gone for the year. He’s doing rehab right now to get the swelling down and then he’ll have surgery. We have three guys that are day-to-day, (Brandon) Bourbon, (Kale) Pick and Lubbock Smith. If you come out to practice today, they won’t be there in the beginning of practice, so don’t be looking for them. They’re going to be getting treatment and they’re going to come out about half way through practice and I’ll try to get you some updates on them later in the week. If we were playing today, I don’t know if any of the three of them would play but all three of them are trying to play this Saturday so we’ll see how it goes. Structurally they’re okay, but there’s swelling and pain and things like that that we have to deal with, so that’s what we’re dealing with, with those guys. I don’t see any of those being long-standing injuries; it’s just how quickly they recover.”

On TCU’s coaching staff:
“On to TCU; you know, Coach Patterson has done a great job there. He’s been there for 16 years; they have no staff changes this year and now they’re coming off winning their conference at 11-2. They’ve made their name over the last bunch of years with Coach Patterson on defense; although, I’m going to be talking a lot about offense here today. But over the last 12 years, five times they’ve led the country in defense, so you know that’s how everyone until recently associated TCU. He’s been with (Dick) Bumpas, who is defensive coordinator, now five different places. Bumpas has been (at TCU) since 2004, but they’ve worked together five different places. He also is the defensive line coach, so they work very well together.”

On TCU’s defense:
“Although, they have this youth movement on defense all three levels are anchored by a very strong veteran player. You’ve got (Stansly) Mapunga on the defense line over there at defensive end, who has got tackles for losses and sacks and a heck of a pass rusher, high effort player leading the charges with the defensive line. (Kenny) Cain is playing in the middle at linebacker. He’s their leading tackler last year and he’s their veteran that kind of holds their whole defense together. Then (Jason) Verrett, who last year played more boundary corner than field corner, but you know he’s playing field corner this year and he, once again, he leads their secondary. Although they’re trying to infuse a bunch of young guys into the defense, on all three levels they’ve got a front line player that they can put out there that could kind of show them the way.”

On TCU’s offense:
“On offense they got co-offensive coordinators. Coach (Jarrett) Anderson has been there forever. (He) and Rusty Burns coordinate the offense together. It’s interesting because they use multiple personnel groups whereas their defense is very similar to Rice in both style and mentality. You know their offense goes anything from 22 (personnel group), which is two tight ends and two backs and a wide receiver to 10, where you’ve got one back and four wide receivers. They go all through the gamut. They go back-and-forth and they’re not afraid to put any personnel group in there and mix and match and try to challenge you, not only schematically but personnel wise to make you sharp. Last year, they were ninth in the country in scoring offense. They averaged 40 points a game and I think they’re better this year than they were last year.”

“The quarterback is where it starts and (Casey) Pachell, who is 6-foot-5, probably 225-230, has a strong arm and is accurate. Last year’s numbers, I believe, were 25-7: 25 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. In his opening game against Grambling he was perfect. He was 9-for-9 and he didn’t have to throw too much. (As a team) they were 17-for-17 in a game and I guess that’s not a bad percentage. But he was 9-for-9 with three touchdown passes and threw for a couple hundred yards; I think just a good game for him to get tuned up. There’s a lot of things to like about this kid and you know, but his arm strength and his accuracy stand out for me. One of the things that makes it a little easier for him is that he has a front line wide receiver who could play for anybody. (Josh) Boyce is a guy, who it wouldn’t make a difference what team he was playing on, he’d be playing. He’s a really, really dynamic receiver and he’s not the only one they have but he’s – if you have to pick your poison that’s the first one you better be worrying about, because he’s a very, very good player. Similar, they use multiple tight ends, like I said before, but (Corey) Fuller is their main guy. He’s 6-foot-6, he’s 255-260 pounds and he’s a really good tight end.”

“Now at running back, they’ll play more – they’ll go a little deeper, it’s interesting because they have (Waymon) James, who is 5-foot-8, 200-205 pounds and is strong and he’s quick. Sometimes people correlate short with small; he’s not small. He’s just short. They complement him with (Matthew) Tucker who is 6-foot-1, 230 pounds, so between the two of them you have your hands full.”

“Then, you get to their offensive line and it starts with the two big offensive tackles, you know you got (Tayo) Fabuluje, at their left tackle and then they have this freshman (Aviante) Collins. They’re both 6-foot-6, well over 300 pounds. Collins, I think, has got a very, very bright future. He plays to right tackle, he’s a freak athlete. He comes from an athletic family and then they’re really solid inside with (Eric) Tausch and (James) Fry and (Blaize) Foltz, who happens to be a Kansas native.”

On TCU’s special teams:
“We get to special teams, the only thing I’m a little confused on is (Ryan) DeNucci is listed as a kicker and a punter, but he doesn’t start at either one of them. (Jaden) Oberkrom was really the starting kicker and (Cale) Patterson was the starting punter, so I’m not really sure what’s going on there with DeNucci. You’ve got two home run hitters in the return game. (Josh) Boyce is the home run hitter on kickoff returns and a backup corner by the name of Deante’ Gray is a home run hitter at punt returns. So, you’re challenged with all three facets (of the game). They’re solid on defense, like they always have been, but now where they’ve made the most progress is now they’ve become a really threatening offensive team and with a couple home run hitters on special teams, so we’re going to have our work cut out for us.”

On if he needs to do anything differently to run the ball against TCU:
“Let’s face it, you got a top line defensive staff, you just played the (same) scheme – the almost identical scheme – last week so you schemed that scheme, besides your players you created some running lanes, but he’s (defensive coordinator Dick Bumpas) going to take that away; he’s not going to sit there and say, ‘Okay they were running that, so I’m going to let him run – let them have those plays’. So what that forces you to do is come up with new ideas, you know, we’re over here meeting, too, in case you were wondering. I think that we feel pretty confident that we have ways to attack them in the running game.”

On how he handled the psyche of the team after Saturday’s loss:

“I let them be in the tank Saturday night, because I was in it, too. I just can’t act that way. But you know, by Sunday morning, after watching the tape, meeting with the staff and getting together with the players and going out there (we were over it). Practicing is the best medicine. The best medicine in sports is to go out there and play again; that’s the best medicine. So I mean – once we got out there Sunday afternoon and got through stretching and start hitting each other again – you’ve already moved on, so I let them sulk for Saturday night and then Sunday we were back to work. It’s good doing it that way, because by the time they leave on Sunday, it’s kind of behind them and that doesn’t mean it’s okay, that doesn’t mean it’s acceptable, but it’s behind them and you can be moving forward.”

On if running back Taylor Cox can help keep the team positive:
“There was not very much negativity from Taylor Cox and there was not much negativity from Tony Pierson. When you look at those two players there wasn’t too much negative you could say about either one of them. I mean, they only can do their job. That’s what they do. Their job is to be given the ball and they run as hard as they can and when they’re in the pass game either catch it or pick up the blitz. That’s what they’re supposed to do. But I’m very happy with Taylor Cox and I’m very happy with Tony Pierson. I can put those guys over in this group over here (of guys who have done their jobs); those are two guys I’m not worrying a whole bunch about.”

On his thoughts on the passing game:
“I wouldn’t say I’m very happy with the passing game right now. To say that might be an understatement on my part, but I do believe that the passing game has a lot of room for improvement. I think that it better come on in a hurry, because the better your opponents are each week, you’re going to need to score more than 24 points. I think that when you run the ball effectively, you can get into the 20’s, but you need more production from the passing game.”

On Randall Dent playing more on the offensive line:
“Well, one guy was making a lot more mistakes (Aslam Sterling) than the other guy (Dent). When it comes down to it, contrary to popular opinion, we’re not dumb; so when one guy is making a lot of mistakes and the other guy is not, you know, you play that guy. It really is not that difficult sometimes. Sometimes you want to theorize ‘Well, why did this happen?’ (It’s because) one guy was making mistakes and one guy was not. It is pretty simple.”

On shuffling linebackers on the depth chart this week:
“We’re going to play a team this week that might just line up and try to pound us some, so I mean you can’t play with a bunch of 5-foot-8, 190-pound linebackers. You better be ready to have some girth in case they decide to just line up and drill you. I don’t know whether or not they’re going to be in 10 (personnel group) every snap or they’re going to come out and be in 22. But I do know, you better have some guys that you can put out there that can play with size.”

On Anthony McDonald being listed in the depth chart this week:
“Anthony is ready to play.”

On if the mindset changes after a turnover:
“It depends where on the field you get that turnover. Everyone calls it ‘sudden change’; that’s what a turnover is called, ‘sudden change’ – A change of possession that no one is really expecting at that time. If you get the ball in plus territory, your mentality is totally different than if you get the ball in minus territory, meaning if you’re backed up towards your own goal line you just come out and play offense (like you normally would). If you get the ball in plus territory, the tendency a lot of times, is to be more aggressive.”

On Dayne’s reaction to criticism:
“He’s going to tell you that he’s disappointed; that’s – that’s not a prophetic statement. We expect to be much more efficient in the passing game and I think we’ve made strides. We’ve made strides from week one to week two to eliminate some problems, but still the bottom line is we need to be much better in the passing game if we’re going to have a chance to play against the big boys. I definitely qualify TCU as one of the big boys.”

On TCU offensive lineman Blaize Foltz:
“I’m a fan, too, that’s the problem. He’s about 6-foot-4, about 310-pounds, so he isn’t like the center and the left guard, who are both maybe in the 290 range, but he’s got some size to him now. He’s playing next to that freshman right tackle, who really is kind of a freak athlete right there. So besides the fact that he plays solid, he’s helping bring that kid along and I think that that kid has a chance to be a really good offensive lineman for a long time.”

On running trick plays:
“To be honest with you, going into a game I always have multiple flea flickers. I mean, I have a list of them that they’re all ready to be dialed up, but you know, there’s a risk/reward factor when you call them. And you call them when they work and everyone thinks they’re great. You call them and they don’t work and then you’re dumb, so the risk/reward factor for a play like that is high on both ends.”

On if Dayne Crist takes losses a little harder than other players:
“I think he’ll be a little bit better today. It’s kind of ironic you say that, because my Monday night post radio show conversation (with Dayne) was pretty much on that same subject. Just do your job. I mean, what do we know now about our team that we didn’t know two weeks ago? Let’s start there. We have a couple good runners and we can run the ball pretty efficiently. That’s what we do know. So, if you’re a quarterback, then you don’t have to bear all the weight on your shoulders. I mean, I’m going to feed the ball to the running backs a whole bunch of times. And even if they stop them, I’m still going to feed the ball to the running backs. It isn’t like I’m going to stop running because you know; they stop them a few times. I’m still going to keep doing it. But what does that end up doing? Now it means we don’t have to throw it on every down to win; we just need to be much more efficient when we do throw the ball. I think that’s what I’m expecting to see from him this week.”

On Prinz Kande’s play before his injury:
“Actually he was playing pretty well and he was playing two (different) positions. He was playing both linebacker and also playing out there at that nickel SAM position, so he was providing us some decent snaps in the game right there. It hurts. I feel bad for him more than I feel bad for me. Anytime a kid has gotten into the mix for new program, got energy and everything like that, and then he gets hurt – I mean really feel bad for him. We’ll put another guy in there but for him I feel bad.”

On if TCU will approach the game different because it’s their first Big 12 game:
“That’s what they’re saying, but let’s be practical, okay? Let’s just sit there and we’ll reflect here for a second. So, we just lost at home to Rice, right? We lost at home to Rice. Blew the game in the fourth quarter, up by two scores, so the (TCU) coaches are going to come in and tell all their guys, ‘Hey this team is much better than that’. And the players are going to watch the tape; okay I’ve been there now. I’ve been that coach trying to tell those players the exact same thing so no matter now many times those coaches sit there and tell them how good Kansas is, the bottom line is we got by South Dakota State and we just lost to Rice. So you tell me how much motivation in reality, okay? So they’ll go read these comments here and say, ‘This is what Weis is saying’ and try to use that, too. The bottom line is you still have the tape to look at and based off the body of evidence I just watched them play 49 snaps of defense, play the same front and coverage 46 times and give up about two yards in that game. I saw the quarterback throw the ball 17 times and complete 17 passes; that’s what I’m looking at. So really, it isn’t very difficult for our guys to realize what they have to go do, so that’s part of the psyche of the game that you’re talking about.”

On his message to his team:
“Well, obviously you have no chance fellas; maybe we just shouldn’t show up. Maybe we just go to brunch on Saturday morning instead. I mean they’ll show up on Saturday; we’ll show up.”

On if he was in the spot of TCU’s coaches:
“Use every tactic you can. I mean we’ve gone as far as laying mouse traps around the locker room saying the game is a trap. Seriously, we’ve done everything. You try all sorts of things that are symbolic, but at the end of the day they’re a good football team and I’m not blowing smoke, I mean they’re good in all three facets. They used to just be salty on defense and that’s no longer the case. They’re really good on offense now, too. I mean they’re really good.”

On how he thinks TCU will fare in their first year in the Big 12:
“They’re definitely an upper level team in this conference. I’ve looked at the tape of all these teams in the conference. This team can hang with all the good ones. They’re well-coached. I mean, this guy (Gary Patterson) is a good head coach and he’s a good defensive coach on top of it. They’re well coached. They used to win games on defense. Now, they can win games in multiple ways. When you get to that point, which they’re going to need to when they’re playing against a bunch of good football teams in this conference on a weekly basis. I mean, you can get beat every week in this conference now. There’s no week that you go into a game, we can definitely win this game – not that most people think that. But, it doesn’t make a difference who you’re playing. Every week you go into it, you better be ready to go, because you can lose every week you play or you can win every week you play based on your preparation.”

On if after scouting other teams his impressions of the Big 12 changed at all:
“No. I expected the Big 12 to be talented. I mean, I’ve known a lot of these programs from afar. I looked at the scores of the games and it’d be 100-99 every week. So you knew that there was going to be offensive fire power all over the place and the league hasn’t disappointed. There’s tons of offensive fire power. What this team (TCU) brings is a team that’s had a reputation for being a top-line defense. I think that brings an added dimension. They’ve been good on defense for a while.”

On what could improve in the kicking game:
“Could the snaps be a little bit more accurate? You bet. Could the hold be more on the spot? Yep. Could there be a little bit less pressure? Okay. But you still got to put it through the uprights. That’s still the bottom line. Unless the ball is getting blocked, you’ve have to kick it through the uprights. Now, it’s one thing if you’re kicking a 53-yard field goal where you’re taking a chance. ‘Do we punt from the 35 yard line and maybe gain 15 yards or give him a shot with wind behind him, with the wind at his back, to try a field goal?’ That’s one that you’re not betting on making. But when you’re kicking it from 40, you know, you’re kind of playing the odds that you’re chances are pretty good.”

On if he will have to change his fourth-down play calling:
“Unfortunately, I’m one of the people who likes to go for it on fourth down anyway. That’s been part of my MO in the past. I’ll try to hold off from doing anything rash too early. Let me say this: A time could come where I would think that way. I’ve not reached that time yet.”

On how Tony Pierson has handled the extra workload:
“Remember, we’ve been on the sideline a lot. There was one time when Taylor (Cox) was supposed to go in and they had just had a 17-play drive. He (Pierson) could have gone and taken a nap. I mean, Taylor was dialed up to go next, but we were on the side forever. And, not only that, but at the end of a 17-play drive, what happened? They scored a touchdown to make it 10-10. Well, when its 10-10 you want, when arguably your best player on offense is No. 3, do you want him on the sideline after they just tied up 10-10 when he’s been standing there for 20 minutes? He’s as fresh as a daisy at the time right now. So, the way the games have played out, it’s presented them in such a way where I don’t think he’s experienced any bumps and bruises or tiredness – knock on wood – to this point.”

On conversations with the defensive coaches during the week:
“My conversations the last 48 hours have been more about personnel than they’ve been about scheme. They’ve been about personnel, and two fold now – our personnel and then TCU’s personnel. Once we get into game plan, I’m not telling the defense what to do, but I can tell them what concerns I have: the concerns I have with our guys and then concerns I have with their guys. I think that a lot of times, in football, what the average fan wouldn’t know is you spend a lot of time game-planning based off of personnel. It’s not just what they do, it’s who they are. You have to know who you’re playing against. I think that’s where I try to influence the decision-making or the game plan of the defense more than anything else. I give them my insight – like that No. 82 is really good. So, are you going to be one-on-one on him all day? I don’t think so. I don’t think that’s where we want to go. I’m using that as an example.”

On how the right side of the offensive line has developed:
“Last week it basically was – for the most part – (Randall) Dent and (Gavin) Howard. The two of them played almost a whole game. All I can go off of, when I’m judging the offensive line, I only can go off of production. We’re averaging 5.5 yards a carry – probably a little higher if you take out a couple losses by other positions, right there. So, closer to six (yards per carry). You’re averaging between 5.5-6 yards a carry and you’ve given up two sacks and one of the them was coverage sack in two games. So, I look at it as a group. I don’t look at it as the right side; I just look at it as a group. Based off of those two stats – which is really what they’re out there for – to protect the quarterback in the pass game, and help you run the football. Based off those two stats you’d have to say they’re playing pretty good.”

On if he feels comfortable running to the right side:
“I’ve been running to both sides the whole time, just the first game I went heavier left. We ran to the right side a whole bunch of times (against Rice). Remember one of the biggest touchdowns in the first game was a run to the right as well – the 47 yarder.”

On how important it is to get off to a good start Saturday:
“I think that it’s important for our guys to have good things happen early in the game. They don’t have to be first or second play, but I think that good things have to happen early in the game and that could be in any way. I am fine with us intercepting a pass and running it back for a touchdown. I’m fine with us taking a kickoff back for a touchdown. I’m fine with us blocking a punt. I mean, I’m fine with all those things. It doesn’t have to be some trickery and deceit play on offense. It could be any play that kind of ignites the team and gets them thinking we might just win this game.”

On what has impressed him most about what Gary Patterson has done at TCU:
“I think that the most important thing that he’s been able to do, he’s played very good defense against teams that like to spread it out and throw it all over the yard. I mean, he’s beaten Boise State and he’s beaten BYU. He’s beaten legitimate teams now. It isn’t like he’s just dialing up every team that can’t play. But, on top of that – you think about it – no matter where you’re playing, if in their last 12 years you lead the country in defense five times, that’s a tough stat now. That’s a big-time stat. Now, all of the sudden your offense gets better and better players. Now, when your offense is matching your defense, you put yourself in a position where you come into this league not afraid to go against anybody. He’s really done a nice job.”

Senior quarterback Dayne Crist

On if Charlie Weis talked to him about putting too much pressure on himself:
“Yeah, he definitely has. He and I had a great conversation at length about that last night. I think that we both came out of that conversation very positive and having a better understanding of what’s going on around me on offense. I really truthfully felt a lot better after that conversation.”

On the best point Coach Weis made during the conversation:
“(He said) that, ‘We’ve got a ton of athletes around you.’ I’ve gone out and said it publicly before, but with the way our running backs have been able to run the ball, it’s really about going out, running the offense and having fun. It was clear that in watching myself on film that I just wasn’t having enough fun out there. That’s why I play the game, so it was a little frustrating and confusing that the two weren’t going hand-in-hand. I plan on having a lot more fun from here on out, just relaxing, being one of the guys and just helping manage the offense.”

On if he has felt any outside pressure to succeed at Kansas after coming from Notre Dame:
“I don’t really listen to the outside stuff. I think that the pressure that I was feeling was stuff that I put on myself. I’ve always been internally motivated. I know what I need to do, but sometimes I think I’m a little too hard on myself. I’ve just got to go out there and let it loose. I plan on doing that.”

On if having a strong running game helps take some of the pressure off of him:
“It’s huge. You’re not going out there and saying, ‘Hey, we can’t do this, and we have to be perfect here.’ It’s great. Any great, winning offense is going to have a solid running game. That’s awesome that we have that. Now we have to build on the passing game, I think that’s something that takes a lot of pressure off the quarterback.”

On if he’s been happy with the pass protection:
“I really have. I haven’t had to worry about that at all. You’re going to take hits. It’s part of the game, but I think the guys up front have done a great job in protection.”