Kansas Coach Charlie Weis Holds Weekly Press Conference

Oct. 16, 2012

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas head coach Charlie Weis held his weekly press conference at Mrkonic Auditorium Tuesday afternoon. Weis talked about how encouraged he was by the fight his team showed in the fourth quarter against Oklahoma State last week and previewed this week’s game at No. 9 Oklahoma.

Weis opened the press conference by giving the following injury updates: LB Tunde Bakare (head) cleared to play, HB Tony Pierson (elbow) probable, WR Daymond Patterson (head) questionable, WR D.J. Beshears (shoulder) out.

Below is a transcript of Weis’ press conference:

Kansas Head Coach Charlie Weis

On Oklahoma’s coaching staff:
“I have a lot of respect for Coach (Bob) Stoops. He’s been there 14 years and won national championships. He has a really good football team. They’re well coached, they’re good on offense, they’re good on defense and they’re good on special teams. The thing I like about them the most is, in this age where everything is trickery and deceit, they lineup and try to just out-physical you and I can appreciate a team that has that type of mentality. Obviously, his brother Mike (Stoops) came and joined him again this year as the defensive coordinator. Their offensive coordinators Jay Norvell and Josh Heupel, an ex-player from there, run the offense together and Coach (Bobby Jack) Wright, who’s like the assistant head coach and defensive line coach, he handles the special teams.”

On Oklahoma’s offense:
“Let’s start with offense. They really use three main personnel groups and I’ll call them 10, 20 and 30. Ten would be with one back, no tight ends and four wide receivers, 20 is two backs, no tight ends and three wide receivers and 39 is three backs, no tight ends and two wide receivers. I’m not saying tight ends don’t play, but there are three main personnel groupings they use. They’re averaging over 500 yards a game, 221 rushing, 285 passing and a little over 43 points a game. Their offensive line is the most athletic we’ve gone against. Their left tackle Lane (Johnson) is another tall guy, 6-foot-7, 305-pounds, but he’s probably the leader of the pack. He’s a very, very, very good player and the tackle opposite him Daryl Williams is 6-foot-6, 300-pounds, so they’re kind of clones (of each other). (Adam) Shead plays the left guard and (Gabe) Ikard plays the center and (Bronson) Irwin plays the right guard. They’re all similar body types and physicality.

“When it comes to the skill people in this case, you have to start with (quarterback) Landry Jones. We know about the Belldozer (quarterback Blake Bell), we all got that one down; we all got that out of the way. They put in this huge mountain of a man at quarterback when they get down close (to the goal line) and they run Jayhawk formation, they snap it to him and he runs it in and everyone knows he’s going to run it. We will probably stop him and he’ll probably throw a pass (this week). But when they put him in there, it is usually just to go ahead and muscle it in, so everyone knows about Blake Bell, but it really all starts with Landry Jones. He’s 6-foot-4, 218-pounds, has experience, a big arm and accurate. He throws for 270 a game. The things that you have to look for to stand out for good quarterbacks is touchdown-to-interception ratio and in this case it’s 3-1, which I think is always a magic number. He has nine touchdowns and three interceptions, which is a 3-1 ratio.”

“At wide receiver he has got Kenny Stills, who’s a pretty good player. I think he is fourth in the Big 12 in receptions, but it’s not what you’re ranked, it’s just he’s a big-play threat. He’s a go-to-guy and they look to him. The other guy that kind of stands out to me is the Penn State transfer, Justin Brown, a big tall guy at 6-foot-3, 209-pounds and he also shows up in the return game. He’s a guy who goes up after the ball on high-point balls and not afraid to run in-cuts and all that other stuff. He’s a nice solid player. Damien Williams is their running back and it seems like every week we’re going against a frontline running back. Here’s another guy who rushes for over 100 yards, he’s fast, he’s 6-foot, 208-210-pounds, a really solid player. The interesting thing, their fullback Trey Millard, Trey is 6-foot-2, 256-pounds, so everyone just figures he’s a blocking fullback, but they actually get him the ball. He’s different than some of the other people. They’ll throw it to him and they’ll hand it to him. Maybe they’re scared that if they don’t give him the ball he’s not going to block anyone. But in reality he’s pretty good with the ball in his hands and every game they make a concerted effort to try to involve him in the offense.”

On Oklahoma’s defense:
“That’s the good news. Now we get to the bad news and if that wasn’t bad enough, their defense is only giving up 17 points per game and that’s 20th in the country. They are only giving up 300 yards per game and that’s 14th in the country. Out of that, they are only giving up 179 yards passing per game and that’s 9th in the country. So anytime you’re (ranked that high) in the country in those categories, that bodes well for how well you’re playing on defense. They don’t get into a bunch of fronts like everyone else does. If they had their druthers they’d line up in even (front) every play and either play quarters with man-to-man principles or play man with man-to-man principles. They play more man-to-man coverage than almost any team we’ve gone against this year and it doesn’t make a difference if they have 4-3 people in there, 4-2, 4-1 or 3-2 people in there when they go to their out package. They have those principles and all of them when they go long. It all starts with their defensive front.”

“Now their whole defensive front is good, but I think their go-to-guy is (David) King at defensive end. (Chuka) Ndulue on the other side and King man down the ends, but you’ll see a lot of (R.J.) Washington, too. He plays right along at defensive end and plays a good amount. Inside, (Jamarkus) McFarland and (Casey) Walker really anchor their two-gap type of scheme when they play on defense. At linebacker basically, (Tom) Wort and (Corey) Nelson stay on the field all the time. Now (Joseph) Ibiloye is really their field guy, their field adjuster at linebacker. When they go to nickel, they put (Gabe) Lynn in to play the same spot, but he’s basically playing the same position. This is probably one of the most unique secondaries. Their leading tackler on their team is (Tony) Jefferson, the boundary safety. Their second (leading) tackler on the team is their field safety, (Javon) Harris. And their third-leading tackler on their team is (Aaron) Colvin, their corner. So the top three leading tacklers on their team are all defensive backs. (Demontre) Hurst is actually the other corner, the guy who’s most experienced of all of them playing opposite of Colvin.”

On Oklahoma’s special teams:
“Now, in the kicking game, (Mike) Hunnicutt handled the kicking last week. (Patrick) O’Hara had been the guy until recently, I don’t know what happened there, but Honnicutt had a good game (against Texas). I read Bob’s (Stoops) comments and it looks like Honnicutt will be the guy, but O’Hara has done a nice job in there for them, too. And (Tress) Way has been their punter. Normally, I don’t call out a long snapper, but when a guy sticks out for me, this (Daniel) Franklin kid, who’s a long snapper, is a good solid player, because normally you have these slugs that can get the ball back there and can’t cover. Well, you have to account for him (Franklin), because this guy can run down the field. (Brennan) Clay and (Roy) Finch handle the kickoff returns. Clay is 10th in the country on kickoff returns and Justin Brown, who I mentioned before, he really handles the punt returns. He’s averaging over 16 yards per punt return.”

On Oklahoma’s defensive backs being the team’s leading tacklers:
“Let me just give you a little football talk. When you play quarters in coverage, quarters means there’s four quarters of the field – the two corners have the outside corners, the two safeties have the inside corners, there are two mentalities. One is where they back up, play soft and make you throw everything underneath. The other one is where they’re the force guys. So in (Oklahoma’s) case, these safeties are the force guys. When action comes to either side and they’re playing that coverage, which is their lead coverage, they are filling in the alley right now, so that is by design for teams that are trying to get to the edge. Outside of all these big muchachos that I talked about inside, they’re trying to get to the edge and this way puts those safeties in a position where they have to make tackles and unfortunately, they make the tackles.”

On how the reps will be split up between the quarterbacks in practice:
“Do you expect me to answer that question? What we’re going to do, for example, we have two main periods of offense today. One period, Michael (Cummings) will be the lead guy and the next period Dayne (Crist) will be the lead guy. Now they both rep within that period, but I’ll have to wait and see how it goes. I have a whole bunch of things in for this game. We can’t just go line up, go vanilla and sit there and figure we’re going to slug it out and that’s going to work out to our advantage. But both guys know what they’re responsible for and they’ll both get plenty of reps in practice.”

On how he feels about using a two-quarterback system:
“Let’s hope that whoever goes in first is so great that it makes it impossible for me to want to put the second guy in. But I have to think, in a 60-minute game, there will probably come a time where I say ‘okay, let’s flip over to this other package right here’.”

On if there are fewer plays available when Michael Cummings is in the game:
“Not with what we’re doing. As a matter of fact, I’m fired up about this to see what this stuff looks like. I haven’t been sleeping very well, but I’ve been drawing (plays) in the dirt now for the last 48 hours.”

On how he’s seen Michael Cummings progress this season:
“Well, he still would be significantly behind Dayne when it comes to reading coverages, but his handling of everything (has been good). Remember now, the kid hadn’t played in two years. He really didn’t play his senior year (of high school) and he didn’t play last year when he was redshirted. So this is three years since he’s had significant time. I have to tell you, you get rusty not playing for real and I’m hoping his best football is ahead of him.”

On what he didn’t like about Michael Cummings when he watched him on film:
“Well, I think there were a couple of things that experience would help him with. The last play we’re in on offense, we had guys open all over the place. (We had a) touchdown (on the) corner route. We had an opportunity to win the game on that play, right there. But because (the Oklahoma State) defensive end usually rushes way outside up field, you went back and watched the play, he’s way outside up field. Instead of trying to jump and throw the ball to the guy in the right flat, just step up in the pocket and hit one of those two guys that are running all by themselves down the field. But, you know, I’m not mad at him about that. It’s unfortunate, but that’s the type of thing that, with experience, he wouldn’t even think about throwing that ball. He would just step up, because there was a nice pocket for him. The protection was good. He wasn’t under duress, but that’s what happens, that’s part of growing up, that’s part of experience and it comes with the territory.”

On if the offensive line’s protections schemes change with the different quarterbacks:
“No, the offensive line aren’t the people that have to make adjustments. The coach’s staff and the skill players, the guys that, we have some things that we have to do, the offensive line isn’t that versatile. I think that we have to count on the coaching (staff) and the skill players to go ahead and handle that. Now, I know somebody requested (Offensive line coach) Tim (Grunhard) for today. He would probably debate the versatility of the offensive line, but he’d be wrong.”

On what he thought of the defense against Oklahoma State:
“I think the thing that showed in person, when you were there and then it was verified on the tape. One thing you can’t watch on tape is emotion. You can feel it when you’re there. I mean, there are some times you watch a tape and it doesn’t really look the same, sometimes good and sometimes bad, in comparison to what actually happened. But, what I saw when we’re out there is that we were physically handling the line of scrimmage and making plays close to the line of scrimmage. And what I watched on tape, it was all verified. They weren’t just a bunch of lucky, one-handed tackles. There was a bunch of gang tackles, and that I don’t think they (Oklahoma State) were really looking for too much of that, to tell you the truth.”

On if he’s had students come to him to try out for the kicker position:
“No, we approached them, they didn’t approach us. I scoured the campus. We had a couple of guys that came in, an Australian Rules football player and a couple of other guys. So, we had them come over. But, they couldn’t kick a football. They forgot it was a little different, it’s a different ball. Have there been guys that have done that? (Yes). There’s been multiple kickers that have showed up in the NFL from Australia that ended up punting and all of that other stuff. But no, we haven’t been that fortunate to have somebody. Hey, I did that (at Notre Dame), I took a kid out of a dorm team one time and two years ago, he was one of the finalists for the (Lou) Groza Award. So, I mean, it happens. There are people like that that are out there. But no, I wasn’t that lucky. We’ll take care of that problem here in the near future.”

On the status of Ron Doherty:
“He’ll punt this week, that’s what he’ll do. Now, I thought (Sean) Huddleston did a nice job under the circumstances, but that’s what Ron will do. He’ll back up at kicker. He’ll back up at kicker and he’ll punt.”

On if both quarterbacks knowing they’ll play takes pressure off of them:
“Well, in Michael’s case, it puts pressure on him, to tell you the truth, because he now knows he’s going to play. I think it keeps Dayne from being totally in the tank, because you come in and say ‘hey, Michael’s the guy,’ that tank can’t get big enough. And then Michael, on the other hand, I asked him to make sure he checked his pants, because he’s going to play this week in Norman. So, I think they were both at ease. I always tell the players exactly what’s happening. I’m probably the least superficial person you have. So I just tell (them), here’s the deal, here’s what we’re doing; here’s why we’re doing it; here’s how we’re doing it. So, when they left the meeting with me last night, we sat there and we told them ‘here’s what we’re doing; here’s how we’re doing it,’ and there’s no miscommunication here. And don’t worry about trying to get the players to talk about it, because I have a strong feeling that when you ask them any questions, they’ll defer the question to Coach Weis. I have a strong feeling that that’s the way that’ll be handled.”

On his thoughts of the job defensive coordinator Dave Campo has done this year:
“Well, two weeks ago against Kansas State, he was miserable. But I think that to show what they did in this game (against Oklahoma State) at the end of the game (was a big deal). Campo has been around a long time. He’s seen good play and he’s seen bad play. But the players haven’t seen good play. That’s more important, because when the players say ‘hey, look that’s the best offense in the country and we just roughed them up.’ Then our expectations of how they play should then go up. If they lead in the country in offense and we not only slugged it out with them, but, at the end of the game, had the best of them, the players really gained more than anyone else on this. The players have got some bounce in their step. Do they like being 1-5? Absolutely not. Do they feel they’re improving? Absolutely.”

On if it’s more difficult for a young quarterback to have more time to prepare for a game:
“I’m going to quote one of my predecessors; one of my mentors: ‘He doesn’t know that he doesn’t know.’ (Michael) is just worrying about the next play. I mean, the last thing he’s worrying about is what Oklahoma is thinking. You’ll think that way. I’ll think that way. We’ll think about the psychological ploy and all of that other stuff. He’s worrying about practice today. He’s not worrying about Saturday at 6 p.m. He’s worrying about not screwing up in practice. I mean, it’s very short-term. With the younger guys, they’re just living play by play, day by day, you know. Until it’s Friday night or Saturday morning, I think that’s the first time butterflies will even hit you, because until that time, I don’t’ think you have time really to think about it.”

On what he’s learned about James Sims since he’s come back from suspension:
“Well, I think you guys learned more about him, because he’s doing exactly what I told you (he was going to do) when we finished the training camp. You go back and remember my description, what I said about this kid at that time and he’s almost (exactly) what I told you. All he’s done is verified what I thought. When I described him at the end of training camp, everyone told me he was too slow to run outside. Well, let’s check that one out again. He’s been physical, he can pick up the blitz; he can catch. Look, last week, everyone was talking about that No. 1 (Joseph Randle) from Oklahoma State. Now, they’re talking about, (Oklahoma running back) Damien (Williams). I think that a lot of people better start taking a look at that guy (Sims) on our team.”

On if he’s going to rely on his running backs more with the wide receivers banged up:
“I think that we’ve been doing that for quite some time, to be honest with you. We’ve been a run-first team this year and I think that the better the backs run, the better the chance we have being successful in the pass game, because you can play off of everyone coming up more and more to try to stop the run.”

On James Sims saying he wanted the ball in the fourth quarter:
“I’ll create some James folk-lore. Now, of course, he didn’t say this to me, but right before he scored the touchdown, or a couple of plays before the touchdown, he went into the huddle and told the offensive line, ‘just get me a little bit more time and I’ll get it in the end zone.’ And this was when we were on our end of the field. A few plays later, he’s in the end zone. He said that to them and then he went and backed it up. So, let me tell you something, those linemen and those tight ends, when you say something and then you back it up, they block a little harder and they block a little longer. They try a little harder, because they want to be a part of that. And they score, those offensive linemen score vicariously through those running backs, that’s how they score. And so, I think that that was a good thing.”

On James Sims showing some personality after his touchdown Saturday:
“I think that any time their personality comes out and I don’t get a 15-yard penalty, that’s fine with me. I mean, I like celebrating just as long as it’s within the rules and doesn’t cost you yardage. I’m never against it. I think that you have to make sure that whatever you do isn’t just about you and doesn’t cost your team. I think that’s really the important thing.”

On Oklahoma’s talent level compared to the rest of the Big 12:
“They have a bunch of (good) players. They do, they have a bunch. And they have them on both sides of the ball, too. I’m looking at my current draftable guys and their current draftable guys and it’s night-and-day different right now. Let’s be practical, if they play their best game and we play their best game, they win. They have good coaches and they have good players. But I’m counting on that’s not the way it goes. I’m counting that we play our best game and they don’t. I mean, that gives us the best chance of winning.”

On seeing the fight that he did in the team in the fourth quarter:
“I’ve never seen it here. That’s the whole point. Not since I’ve been here have I seen it. That was the first time. That’s why as miserable as I was after that game (against Oklahoma State), that was the first time I was really proud of our team. Actually, it’s the second time I’ve been proud of our team. The first time was when I got the grades last semester and I said that to them in the locker room after the game. And you want to know something? It’s the first time since that 3.0 grade point average where you could see any pride – true pride – in the locker room after the game, even though they had lost the game. And you want to know something? That’s a good thing, and I told them that.”

On Darius Willis:
“Darius Willis has earned his way on the the depth chart. He’s the second rush end behind Tobin (Opurum). Let’s talk about Darius just for a second. Here’s a guy, (he had) been starting here, at middle linebacker. Then he got beaten out by a bunch of guys (in fall camp) and instead of whining and complaining, he went down the show team. And we put him at rush end because I thought that he needed to play another position to get in a position where he could compete. And he just went hard (every day). And eventually, I said to the defensive staff ‘you ought to take a look at this kid on defensive end’, because the defensive staff isn’t watching that, they’re watching the other end. And now he’s put himself in a position to be in the two-deep and get on the field and play.”

On what he likes about Darius Willis:
“I’m a promoter of making plays. You know, it’s one thing having him on there. The other one’s actually making plays. He’s disruptive. You know, he’s something.”

On how many draftable players he needs to compete at Kansas:
“First of all, you need a bunch of good players. You need a bunch of them and you need them all throughout your program. Some could be developing that are good players, but there’s the ones that are exiting and ones that are entering. So they’re coming in two directions. There won’t be that many of them here immediately, but there’s more in the program now that aren’t ready to come out yet. There are more in the program now and there are more on the horizon. So I think that if you’re going to go compete against all these teams, this is a tough conference now. Every single team is tough. You can’t look at one team that we go against and say they’re not tough. Every one of them. So the best way to get better is to work as hard as you possibly can and just go recruit more (good) players.”

On if he sees James Sims as a guy who could play in the NFL:
“I can’t see any reason why he wouldn’t play on Sunday. I can’t see one reason why he wouldn’t play on Sunday. Tell me what his weakness is. I mean, your perspective might be different than mine. I mean, he doesn’t run a 4.3 (40-yard dash), okay, I get it. There are guys in the Hall of Fame that didn’t run 4.3, either. I think he’s a nice solid player. I’d want him on my team.”

On Michael Cummings still looking to Dayne Crist for leadership:
“Dayne will never change who he is. You know, if Dayne had his druthers, he’d be playing every single play, but (if he doesn’t) that’s not going to change who Dayne is. When he isn’t in there, Dayne will be the first guy trying to help (Michael). I’ve known Dayne for a long time, I would be disappointed if it were anything other than that.”

On if Dayne Crist can be a leader if he doesn’t play:
“I think for half a season, you could probably get by with that. But realistically, it’s tough to be a leader when you are not on the field. I had that exact conversation with Phil Sims one time (when I was coaching with the New York Giants). I asked him why he wouldn’t talk to the team when we were struggling. And at that time, he was the backup quarterback. He said to me, ‘Charlie, the players don’t want to listen to you if you’re not the one who’s out there.’ You know, I think that our team is not that immature at this point where they would not listen to Dayne because they all respect him and he gives good advice, so I don’t see that becoming a problem. I think if it were a long-term situation, it would not be the best thing.”

On how to stop Oklahoma quarterback Blake Bell:
“Well, we’ll probably stop him and then he’ll probably throw a pass. I mean, that’s my luck. It’ll be his first touchdown pass. I don’t know if he’s thrown out yet, but if he hasn’t, it’ll probably be this week. He’s a really big man, he’s really physical and he gets his pads down. It sounds like and looks like they know what to do with them. They’re not using a bunch of trick plays right there – snap it to him, does a little fake and then he’s in the end zone. So it doesn’t look like too many teams are having too much success. But obviously, you’ve just got to load up on him and hope to hit him in the mouth.”