Weis Holds Weekly Press Conference

Oct. 9, 2012

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas head coach Charlie Weis previewed Oklahoma State Tuesday in his weekly press conference in Mrkonic Auditorium. Due to fall break, Weis held his session with the media earlier than normal to allow for the team to practice earlier in the afternoon.

Below is a transcript of Weis’ press conference:

Kansas Head Coach Charlie Weis

On Oklahoma State’s coaching staff:
“Obviously, (Oklahoma State Head) Coach (Mike) Gundy has done an excellent job at Oklahoma State and he has two good coordinators, in (defensive coordinator) Bill Young, that a lot of you are familiar with from his time at KU, and (offensive coordinator) Tom Monken, who I know some from his time with the Jaguars. He spent a bunch of time there, and took over after Dana (Holgorson) moved on to West Virginia. They are 2-2; they had two tough losses on the road to Arizona in a high scoring game and their last game against Texas, which was a bit controversial at the end.”

On Oklahoma State’s defense:
“They’re 46th in the country on defense. They’ve got two big guys on the inside, (Calvin) Barnett and (James) Castleman that do a lot of similar things to what we saw last week as far as controlling the inside. They’ll have (Cooper) Bassett and (Ryan) Robinson on the outside manning the defensive end position. Coach Young has added a quite extensive package of odd (fronts) to his even mentality front-wise. And when they go to an odd package, they actually play with three defensive ends in there, and Bassett will move from the strong side into the nose. So, that’s a big pressure package for them, and they’ll use it on any down, but specifically on third down. At linebacker, the guy who gets the most accolades is (Shaun) Lewis. He is really their adjuster. He’s their field linebacker. Then there’s (Alex) Elkins; he handles the boundary linebacker. And then (Caleb) Lavey, he’s a true Mike linebacker. When you look at Mike linebackers, that’s what Lavey is. He looks like one, he acts like one, he plays like one. At the (defensive back) position, their corners are both good, (Justin) Gilbert and (Brodrick) Brown. Brown was All-Big 12 last year and Gilbert had five picks, so, I mean, they’re both really good corners. The same could be said for their safeties. They’re very aggressive, both (Daytawion) Lowe and (Shamiel) Gary are very aggressive safeties. They play a lot of cover-four. But unlike last week with K State, where the safeties were way deep, these safeties are way up and getting into the mix. When they do go to nickle, Lowe moves from safety to their nickle, and they’ll bring in Craig to take over his place at safety. But they’ll also take Lavey off the field, and they’ll bring in Mitchell as a coverage linebacker when they do that.”

On Oklahoma State’s offense:
“Now, we go onto their offense. Well, they’re first basically first in the Big 12 and first in the country on offense. (They average) 660 yards a game, 300 yards rushing, 360 yards passing. Actually, it’s 359 yards passing, if you want to be precise. You know, but that’s a lot of yards and they’re averaging just 55.8 points a game. So, I mean, it’s big, big numbers. And it’s big rushing totals. It’s big passing totals, and it’s big point totals. You know, those are big numbers.”

“Now, let’s start with the offensive line. (Parker) Graham is their left tackle. He’s another 6-foot-7, 315-pound guy. And opposite to him, (Daniel) Koenig’s on the other side, he’s 6-foot-6, 310-pounds. So, they start off with two big tackles. And then they’ve got two very physical guards. Their left guard, (Jonathan) Rush, and their right guard, (Lane) Taylor, are very similar. They’re 6-foot-3, 300 (pounds) plus. It looks to me like the right guard is probably, you know a little bit heftier, but they’re both big, physical, strong guys. And in the middle, (Evan) Epstein holds down the center. He isn’t as thick as those guys, although they’re all similar builds, about 6-foot-3, where Epstein looks a little bit smaller than those other guys, at least physically. We can talk about their passing game and their quarterbacks, and their receivers, but it all starts with Joseph Randall. Somebody told me that KU offered him (a scholarship) in fourth grade, well, they should have offered him in third grade. He’s a really, really good running back. He’s 6-foot-1, he’s 200 (pounds). He leads the conference in rushing, 134 yards a game. He averages over seven yards a carry. He’s a home run threat, too, and he’s a home run threat when they dump the ball off to him, too. He’s a very, very good player.”

“Between that offensive line and Randall, that’s a great place to start. We all know there are two quarterbacks. You’ve got a red shirt freshman in (J.W.) Walsh, and you’ve got the true freshman in (Wes) Lunt. We have to be ready for either one of them. They’re a little bit different. Walsh is a little smaller, he’s 6-foot-2, 205 (pounds), but he’s got a good arm, and he’s accurate, and he’s a threat to run. The one thing I like about Walsh, when you start studying players, his dad’s a prominent high school coach in the state of Texas, so he’s probably a gym rat. He’s probably been around the game for a long time. And usually guys like that who play quarterback, usually have a little bit of an edge over other people. But let’s not slight Wes Lunt. He’s much bigger, he’s at least 6-foot-4, 210 (pounds), and he’s got a cannon for an arm. So, it’s a nice problem to have if you’re Coach Gundy, to have two young guys that you like.”

On Oklahoma State’s special teams:
“That all being said, their best player on the team might be their kicker. After I’ve said all of those good things about their offense and defense, Quinn Sharp, might be the best player at his position in the country. He might be, I mean, he has 27 out of 32 touchbacks on kickoffs, averaging over 44 yards a punt, 7-of-9 on field goals, 28-of-28 on extra points. I mean, he’s a very, very good kicker. He really takes you out of your punt return game and your kickoff return game a lot of times, because of how good a player he is. He’s exceptional.”

“They have good returners. Their kickoff returner, (Justin) Gilbert, is averaging over 30 yards a return. And then in punt return, they really use a whole different bunch of guys. (David) Glidden and (Charlie) Moore have gotten the most of them. I think they’re trying to work (Caleb) Muncrief and (Ashton) Lampkin in a little bit more, but they’ve used a bunch of guys on punt returns. They don’t punt it very often. They have a good punter, but he doesn’t get a lot work. This is a very good football team with high aspirations, with a little edge. They’re coming off of how their last game ended. It’s going to be a tough opponent here at home.”

On how OSU’s Joseph Randle and KU’s Tony Pierson differ:

“He (Randle) is bigger. Tony is a home run hitter, but Tony is about 170 pounds. When you are 30 pounds bigger, it makes a big difference. Look, I love Tony and I would not trade him for anybody, but it is easy to recognize a really good football player and this kid is a really good football player.”

On if he was aware that he was trending on Twitter during the K-State game:
“No. I was not aware of that. I was not aware that I was trending. Maybe they were looking at my fashion or something like that, but no I was not aware I was trending.”

On how many people will call him now that he is aware that he was trending on Twitter:
“Zero. There are only two people in the world that would find that humorous, one has the same name (Charlie Weis, Jr.) and one is my wife. Other than that, I do not think anyone would care one bit to be perfectly honest with you. They also might be my only two fans in the world, while we are at it.”

On wide receiver Andrew Turzilli’s development:
“You know how we talk about frontline players? Andrew has a chance to be a frontline receiver. He has a chance, because he runs good routes, he is smooth, he has good hands and I think that as he learns that the wide receivers are also a position where you have to establish more toughness. He is a young guy who is still learning how to do things like this, but he is one of those guys. (When) we talked about him this morning, I said, when you look at guys on our team that have a chance of being top-line guys, he is one of the guys who has a chance of being one. I would not call him one yet, but I think that he is one of the ones where you can see a lot of upside to him.”

On if he realizes his potential:
“No. He barely knows that the next play is. I hate to use one of these stupid coaching phrases, but we always have one, ‘He doesn’t know that he doesn’t know.’ I think at this stage all they (the players) are worrying about is coming in this morning, because it is a non-school day, so I have an extended day, which is the reason why we are doing this now, because I am not on the four hour day today. So this is going to be a long day: a lot more meetings, a lot more practice time, practice in the afternoon instead of night and then come in after practice and watch a practice tape and this is going to be a long day for the fellows. But I think at this stage right now, they are just worrying about day-to-day. I do not think they are worrying about anything down the road.”

On what he’s looking for out of his kicker:
“I would like to make a field goal, that would be a good start. Like you said, sometimes you can blame everything on the kicker and Ron (Doherty) certainly would accept his share of the blame. But even on that one, you saw the snap was not perfect. You go back and watch that one again, the snap is a little floating and it is a little bit high, so I mean, there are a lot of things that factor in. But when it is the fourth drive of the game and you have scored twice already and now you are down there again with a chance to get more points on the board, those have to be automatic. I think that you have to be willing to give other people additional looks. We will be practicing the field goal every day this week. And we usually do not do that, but we practiced it Sunday, we will practice today, we will practice tomorrow, we will practice it Thursday and we will walk through it on Friday. So field goals will get a lot of attention this week.”

On how it is different to evaluate a high school kicker compared to other positions:
“(The difference is) Pressure. All of a sudden there are fifty thousand people and they are screaming. Pressure does a lot (of different things) to a lot of people. And it is true in the pros to. Certain people handle pressure differently. Some people do not even act any different. Like at this stage in my career, I handle pressure totally different than when I was young. (I) used to get wired up and let’s go and now you are just steady. Good or bad, steady. And I think that as you become a really, really good player, I think pressure ends up becoming a non-factor to you.”

On if he will offer a scholarship to a kicker this offseason:
“Maybe two. I am not going to come on the short end of that stick, I promise you.”

On if he’s ever had to deal with as many struggles in the kicking game:
“Yeah, I have been in this situation before, but there are only certain things you can do about it. I got a kid (Eric Kahn) who can really kick ball well right now, but he is not eligible, he is a transfer student that is going to have to sit for a year. Right now we would not be talking about touchbacks on kickoffs, because he would probably be one of those 27-for-32 guys on touchbacks. But he transferred here and he has got a big leg and you will see him out. You saw him out there a little bit in training camp and you figured ‘oh, we have a guy.’ I saw the same thing you did, but you have to put him on the shelf for a year and wait until next year and that could be one problem that no longer exists. If you go out there and get a touchback almost every time you kick off, now you are not worrying about the kickoff coverage. You are not worrying about the ball coming across the field and getting out to the 30 (yard line), because it is a touchback and they are kneeling on it.”

On how much the kicking game effects how he calls plays:
“Actually, sometimes it does. One time earlier in my previous head coaching job, I got chastised for not trying a field goal from 42 yards at the end of a game when both the kicker and the special teams coach told me there is no way I can make it from here. Well, what are you going to do? Put him out there? ‘Go out there any way, kid.’ So you do not say anything and everyone says well, what a dummy that Weis is. He would not go try the field goal. Can we make it from here? No. What are you going to do? Really, what are you going to do? So you do think along those lines, you absolutely do think along those lines. I hate to laugh at myself, but you just brought up some bad memories.”

On how impressed he is with what Oklahoma State has done after losing Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon:

“Well, they are (putting up) big numbers no matter what, but the one thing that you do have to factor in is, their two wins and you have to look at those numbers from those games and those games were non-competitive. But the numbers all count and it does not make a difference who you are playing, the numbers still count. But the thing is, when your offense starts with the running back, you can build a powerful offense. That is why I have high hopes for our offense going forward, because as we continue to run the ball better and better, which we have been doing. Everything else should get better right along with it.”

On where his risk-taking mentality came from:
“The answers would be in two parts. I have always had that in me number one and number two; I do believe that when you go into a game, you as a coaching staff have to make a valued judgement of, what do you think you are going to have to do to give your team the best chance of winning? Every week we do the same thing. I had a conversation early this morning, you sit down there with your coaching staff and I said ‘okay, throw this kid on offense, throw this kid on defense, here is their kicker, now what can we do to put our players in the best position to have a chance of winning?’ And if you say if you play them straight up it is not going to work out, you have to be willing to take some chances and then you have to be willing to do that. I am cognisant just like the rest of you guys who follow us all the time. I am cognisant that the second half has been our biggest issue. You do not think that I am not thinking about that too? I am thinking about well, ‘What can I do?’ And trust me, it will be addressed here in the next 24 hours. Right now, I have to get to the start of the week first, but it will be addressed, because I would rather go down swinging than not take a swing. I am not taking a called third strike, I promise you.”

On if there were other coaches that gave him that mentality:
“I think both (Bill) Parcels and (Bill) Belichick were just like that. They are considered conservative and neither one of them is conservative. They might be conservative in their normal approach offensively and defensively, but when it comes down to taking a gamble (they aren’t conservative). I think Belichick goes for it on fourth down more than any other coach I have ever seen in my entire life. Going for it on fourth down is like no big deal to him. Oh well and if you don’t make it, you don’t make it. So I have been around two guys that I think are both going to the Hall of Fame and they are a lot better than I am, so why not just follow their lead?”

On what else he can do to turn things around here:
“It is quite extensive. Remember now, some of you have to understand, Sunday was not a penalty to the seniors; the seniors do what they do every week. Seniors follow the exact same routine. The people who really got penalized on Sunday were not the seniors, it was the juniors, sophomores and freshman that played a whole bunch (against Kansas State). They are the ones who really came up on the short end of the stick, because they had to practice on Sunday as if they did not play in the game on Saturday and that is not really what you want to do. If they are banging them for a lot of plays, you really do not want to do that. The injury report on Sunday mornings is always more extensive than it is any other time of the week. (For example) Ben Heeney played just about every play (against Kansas State), but he also practiced just about every play on Sunday. In most cases he would be one of those guys that would be in that other group, but not after you lose 56-16, it is not okay. You as a coach – starting with the head coach – but also as an offensive coordinator and looking at both sides of the ball and special teams have to figure out ‘what can you differently that helps give your team a better chance?’ And if you do not, you are not doing your responsibility and that is what you are supposed to do. Trust me, I am a little screwy, because I do not sleep very well, but I am writing notes down at night and I am going to try to be more creative as the season goes on to just try to give us a better chance of winning.”

On if his approach here is different than it was at Notre Dame:
“No. First of all, they are two totally different situations. Second of all, there is only one time at my whole time a Notre Dame that the whole team practiced on a Sunday and that was after a blowout (loss) at Michigan. If I could have gone for eight hours on that Sunday, I would have gone for eight hours, but by rule you are limited to four hours. I think that, the most important thing is to try to win this week’s game and you have to do everything for your team to put them in the best position to win this week’s game. So for the guys who played a lot in the game that had to practice on Sunday, tough luck. But the bottom line is, you have to do everything to win this week’s game.”

On if he saw what he wanted to out of backup quarterback Michael Cummings against Kansas State:
“I think there are several guys that I do not know enough about when they go on the field. And some of them I do not know enough about, because there are guys that are older playing ahead of them that, in practice play better by a wide margin. Some of the inexperienced guys play, because they did not have anyone in front of them. Let’s use (offensive tackle) Pat Lewandowski as an example. I do not know how well things are progressing against competition other than ourselves, because he is playing behind (senior offensive tackle) Tanner Hawkinson. So maybe the thing I need to do is, somewhere in the first half when the game is in question, not when the game is out of question, plus or minus in our favor or against us, but maybe in the first half I have to put Pat Lewandowski in there for a series at left tackle, so I can see what I have. We want to use Michael (Cummings) and Dayne (Crist) and it is true at every position where there is an experienced guy and an inexperienced guy; maybe the same thing with (Damon) Martin at left guard or maybe the same thing with (Dylan) Admire at center. I am just using the offensive line as an example, but there are some other guys that we need to figure out how they’ll play against other competition in a game.”

“So that is the catch-22 you are in. You want to know, but never at the expense of risking something to happen in that game. The best time to do it is in the first half, not in the fourth quarter. But by the way, it was not like Michael (Cummings) was going against the scrubs now (in the Kansas State game). That was the first defense that was out there that we were moving the ball against and Taylor (Cox) is ramming it down their throat. It was not like they were saying; okay let’s go let them drive down the field. I promise you that was not their mentality.”

On if he would do that with other positions too, such as center:

“The gap’s big there, too, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t see (Dylan) Admire get some reps this week, that’s what I’m saying. You know, everyone wants to look at developing your team as giving up on your team. And they misconstrue the whole thing. You can’t ever sacrifice your current team for the sake of development. At the same time, you have to do both things simultaneously. They work hand-in-hand and I think that you have to put due diligence into making sure you don’t expose your team and put your team at risk.”

On if Dylan Admire plays, will Trevor Marrongelli move to a different position:
“Oh, I can move him, but I would sit him. I would let him sit there and watch them. It doesn’t hurt anyone to take off six or eight plays. I mean, getting a rest in the middle of a big physical game for an offensive lineman, that’s not the worst thing that can happen to you now.”

On if Dayne Crist’s confidence is wavering:
“I mean, we’re 1-4, tell me whose confidence is high. You know, (maybe) James Sims, who just had a good game. His confidence might be up there. But, Tony (Pierson), he got banged up. He wasn’t so fired up. Maybe Taylor (Cox), although he rushed really good, he didn’t get as many carries as James. When you’re 1-4, things aren’t going well, you know, and no one’s brimming with confidence.”

On what he does to build up confidence:
“Yeah, when we come in on Sunday, by the time they leave on Sunday, that (last) game is history. And I know you really find that tough to believe, but that really happens. But the best thing that happens, the best way of moving on is practicing. That might sound really messed up, but that is the truth. When you go out there and practice, it’s the easiest way to move on. And anyone who goes to practice and watches us practice, you sit there and say they’re not practicing any different than when they were 1-0. And if we were practicing different, I’d be on the coaches and the players really, really hard, because my expectations are you should practice hard, you should coach hard and practice hard every single day. There should be no one day that you don’t coach hard and that you don’t practice hard.”

On if Tony Pierson’s health is improving:
“Yeah, actually, his elbow was really stiff on Sunday. And I’d call him a drama king, to be honest with you, but his range of motion is way better. Now, of course, we didn’t practice yesterday, because yesterday was game plan day, but it was also fall break. So, they really enjoyed having fall break on their players’ day off, when all of a sudden they ended up finding themselves around the building all day long. But yesterday was a non-practice day, but his range of motion is way better. You know, if anything is different, I’ll let you know tomorrow. But I’m expecting him to be a go.”

On the pace of Oklahoma State’s offense:
“Yeah, it’s very, very fast, but there is one big difference. Most of the teams we’ve been playing have done a lot of changing of personnel groups. A lot more than Oklahoma State actually does. There is not a tight end on field very often for that, whether it be 11, 12, 21, it’s not very often. So, normally, it’s wide open with either three wide receivers and two backs, or four wide receivers and one back. So, because they’re not changing personnel groups as much, your calls and what you’re going to do then become more solidified. There’s only the handful of calls you call from every personnel grouping so that you don’t get too exposed. Some of the teams we’ve played, every play you’re watching guys running on and off the field. And before you can even call a defense, you have to know who’s out there. You could get caught if you’re not paying attention to the personnel. And they don’t, because they call plays at the line of scrimmage, they don’t do that nearly as much as some of the other teams we’ve gone against.”

On if he uses last year’s game at all:
“I think that I can’t be worrying about anything that happened last year. I can only worry about what happened last week and what I want to happen this week. I know that last week we played against a really good football team on the road and had them on the ropes at halftime. And in the third quarter, we got whooped pretty good. That’s what I do know, because that’s my framework and what I live in. And I know that that’s what I’m more concerned with improving. I want to improve from where we were last week and not worry about what happened last year.”

On his impressions of the Big 12 so far:
“Yeah, I’m really appreciative that (Athletics Director) Dr. (Sheahon) Zenger and everyone else voted West Virginia and TCU, before they lost their quarterback, into the league. That was really good. You know, to make a good league even better. So here’s, in a nutshell, from being around a long time. You have a lot of dynamic offenses with a lot of firepower and defensive coordinators probably don’t sleep very well, because every week it’s a different set of circumstances, every week. The team we played last week, which is, you know, a top 10 team, is totally different in what they do philosophically than the team we play this week. And the team we play this week, I’m sure, by the time I start watching them bunch next week, there will be big differences there, too. So as bad as it is being the head coach, I think the worst job in the Big 12 is to be a defensive coordinator. I mean, you should just sign up for gray hair, you know, because it’s a tough job.

On the gap between quarterbacks Turner Baty and Michael Cummings:
“I think that the gap is less experience. I think Michael getting in in January, when we put the system in from its beginning, gave him, mentally a decided edge over Turner. So I think that right now, it’s not necessarily ability between Dayne and Mike. And it’s not necessarily ability between Mike and Turner. I think it’s experience in the offense. I think that for Mike, experience-wise, it’s a big difference right now.”