Weis Meets with the Media to Open Fall Camp
Kansas head coach Charlie Weis addressed the media Wednesday afternoon from Mrkonic Auditorium at the Anderson Football Complex. The press conference marked the opening of the Jayhawks’ fall football camp, with the season opening contest exactly one month away. Weis touched on a variety of personnel updates and fielded questions from the media in the more-than-an-hour long session. Selected comments from the press conference are included below.
Kansas Head Football Coach Charlie Weis
Coming back, one of my biggest concerns, walking back in the door, were how our academics were and obviously the new players coming in.
I was very, very pleased with our academic performance in the summer time. I don’t know if I’ve ever had grades this good- to tell you the truth. The grade point average in the summertime was a 3.11. Normally in the summer time, trying to keep their focus and attention, even though they’re only taking a class or two, becomes much more difficult, because it’s summer time. Just like everyone else, the weather is warm, you want to be outside, but I was very, very pleased. There were a couple guys that were borderline: are they going to get on probation academically? No one’s on probation, everyone has a clean slate. I was very pleased overall academically.
The next point of order was obviously the big ‘how many guys are going to end up being here’. No matter where I am and I run into a Jayhawk fan, he goes, ‘Is so-and-so there yet?’ or ‘Is so-and-so coming?’. So let’s get that cleared up. Everybody is here already except Pearce Slater and Kevin Short. Pearce Slater’s landing here at 1:55 Saturday afternoon. He’s going to come here, get his stuff on, and I’m going to get his butt off to practice as quickly as I can. Unfortunately you guys won’t miss him, but I told Katy to make sure you take a picture, you won’t miss him. Trust me. He’ll be here Saturday afternoon. Kevin has wrapped up, he had two classes left to go. He had a very, very active, busy summer academically. He had two classes left to go, he finished one of them last night, and he should be finishing the other one by the end of this week. As long as his grades are in order, we hope to have him here in a short time. It could be early as this weekend or it could be as late as another week. The way it works is you have to wait to get the paperwork from the schools that say they have their AA degree and they’re ready to go. But everyone else is ready to go.
You saw on the depth chart I listed two guys on the bottom left-hand corner as already redshirt. Marcus Jenkins-Moore had a procedure done on his knee. I think because where he is medically and because he is a three for two, I think it would be in the best interest for him to go to rehab and make sure he is full-go, ready to go. He can worry about our academics, learn our system, he can regain some of his strength that he lost since the surgery and put him in position where we can have him around for two more years with him perfectly healthy.
With Nick Harwell, obviously you know the information with that one. The bottom line was he was never allowed to complete his last six hours. Unless somebody waves a magic wand and does something that I am not anticipating here in the next short period of time, he’s already in the building here today. So unless somebody waves a magic wand, my intent with him is to treat Jenkins-Moore and Harwell like I did Jake Heaps and Justin McKay last year – just work on everything football related, let them get their academics in order, work on community service, there’s a bunch of things they can do to make themselves better people, better prepared and proud Jayhawks when they end up leaving here. That’s what I intend to do with both of those young men.
Other than that, other than Marcus Jenkins-Moore, the only player that is not 100 percent is Tyree Williams, and I have him listed as a third safety. He isn’t 100 percent healthy so he wouldn’t run with the third group right now. We’ll try to get him to 100 percent as quick as we can to get him into the mix. Knock on wood, walking in the door, he’s the only guy who isn’t a go. All those other guys that you’re all questioning, they’re all cleared and they’re all here. So that will eliminate all those questions of ‘Is so-and-so is here?’ I have to give a lot of congratulations to three people when it came to this. One on my staff would be Rob Ianello. Paul Buskirk, who has done a wonderful job guiding us through this and David Reid in Compliance. Those two guys along with Coach Ianello and myself have been going through a lot of work, obviously when you go through this route that we took to bring so many guys, so many junior college transfers in particular, to get all their academics in order was quite a challenge. As I told you they would be coming in waves, well I was prophetic because that’s really the way this has turned out. I’m very happy that that’s the way and that’s where we are right now.
Let’s be a little more specific and let’s talk about the depth chart. Last year at this time I had a tough time giving you two-deep and I probably had a problem giving you one-deep in some cases. What I did this year is put down a three-deep. It doesn’t have every player on the team and in some cases there will be four guys in a position because a third guy might be a ‘this guy or that guy’. In some positions I have listed four, but I have been able to list a three-deep realizing that the first couple days, like with Slater not there the first couple days then obviously he won’t be running the second right tackle. And reality is even though Fondal is listed as the second left tackle, I will probably put Fondal at right tackle in the second group until Slater gets here so we can cross-train Fondal and have him ready to play right tackle or left tackle. I’m using that as an example. Don’t make it an earth-shattering thing, Tate, when we go out there and we’re doing starts and you say, ‘Well Fondal’s at right tackle, he lied to us!’ No I’m not lying to you, we just have to build in some inherent depth with guys that can play right side or left side and that’s the type of thing we’ll do.
Same thing, you see Kevin Short backed up behind Dexter McDonald, ‘Oh no, aren’t they both going to be starters? Why wouldn’t we put them on the opposite side?’ Because one of them is not here! If they were both here maybe one would be on one side and one would be on the other side. So when we go to the second-right corner, Greg Allen will be running the second right corner. That’s the reason why we do that. You have to factor in the two guys you don’t have here yet, you factor that in as you get ready for reps with who you have.
Another issue – who’s going to play center? Well you’ll notice Pat Lewandowski listed as our starting center. We’ve been working on this for quite some time, just because you guys didn’t know it, doesn’t mean that we haven’t been working on this for months. Okay, we did get Dylan Admire up to 280, that’s his main thing. He is probably one of the hardest working guys on we got on our team, he was in competition at center but Lewandowski is over 290 now. Those are two of the smartest players we have on our team, and in this offense you need a center that has intelligence, and that’s the way we’re doing it. Obviously Smithburg played a lot of center in the spring. Okay, you saw the shotgun snap problems, I’m not that stupid in case you were wondering, I saw them too. That’s why he’s back at guard where he’s much more comfortable. And it should be a nice competition over there with Damon Martin right behind him because Damon Martin is testing out as one of the strongest people on our team.
At right tackle you definitely see in the mix is Brian Beckman, we’re really high on Brian but he’s a redshirt freshman. We really think that he has a chance to go ahead and compete for us. At center I talked about Lewandowski and Admire, you will notice that I put Joe Gibson down as a third center, which although he’s a local walk-on he’s really had a heck of a summer and he’s gained about 15 pounds and it’s been very encouraging with him and Joey Bloomfield coming in. Over at the left guard position, I don’t have to look at the depth chart, I kind of have this figured out, at the left guard position Ngalu Fusimalohi has trimmed down about 20 pounds, he’s down to 310, he’s trimmed down and looks way better than he did in the spring. That will be a nice competition with Randall Dent, and Bryan Peters had a nice spring for us as well. You’ll notice we moved Aslam Sterling from the right side to the left side. Aslam is the most changed player we’ve had on our team. Last year at this time, whatever he was down, I lied. He was probably about 400. Okay he’s 315, he’s done a great job on and off the field. Academically he had a lot of work to do, he got it all done and did well. His body’s changed and I mean, he’s a totally different person on and off the field than when he got here and I really believe athletically he’s a guy who could handle the left tackle spot.
Fondal is definitely a guy we are high on athletically and can play left tackle but once again I’m going to cross train him and give him an opportunity to try to get into this mix. We know Reilly Spencer is over there at right tackle, big physical guy who has been here a long time, coming off an injury. So that pretty well sets it for the offensive line.
The tight-end, we think we have a lot of depth there, Jimmay Mundine, has reformed his body, he looks totally different. It will be tough for anyone to beat him out. Smiley’s back from his injury in the spring. Ben Johnson, when I started to recruit him, he was 210 and he’s 240 now. It probably says 238 or something but he looks like a totally different person. Charles Brooks is still in contention there, but I want to see what those young guys can do in a hurry because I’ve been really high on Jordan Shelley-Smith and Ben Johnson had the best summer of any of the young guys on the field.
Okay, the receiver position. McKay is listed as starting, next Josh Ford earned the right to be listed second based off his performance in the spring. Mark Thomas is in along with Ishmael Hyman, we’ll see how it goes. Right now I cross-listed them as three but we haven’t seen them do too much yet. We’re really high on both those players but let’s see if they can make their way up the depth chart. Over on the right-side at the Z, Christian Matthews has been the leader at the wide-receiver position through the spring and into summer, he is by far the leader and he won’t give the position away to anyone very easily, even though he hasn’t played a lot. Tre’ Parmalee had a really good summer, and we’re really high on Rod Coleman. I got Rod Coleman and Andrew Turzilli listed at the third Z and like I said, we’ll just have to see how it plays out that position. I didn’t mention everyone but there’s four.
Now let’s go to the F position, you’ll notice Tony’s there and an interesting thing you’ll see Bourbon as the backup with Tony. We have too many running backs that have talent to sit them on the bench. So what I’ve done is taken this position and kind of had this hybrid position, this F position, that Tony is the feature. When Bourbon would be in there, we would do some of the stuff we did with Tony and some of the stuff we would do with Tony we wouldn’t. Bourbon’s a little bit of a different category, we’re really high on Brandon and we don’t want him buried in the half back depth chart and not getting himself onto the field. So we’ve put him into a position where he can get himself into the mix.
Over at the halfback position, Sims is the starter, you can see Cox or Miller, Miller or Cox, it really doesn’t make a difference – those are going to be great competition. You could have said Sims or those guys, the halfback position has a lot of good, talented players.
At the quarterback position, Heaps is at number one, (Michael) Cummings is number two, and the two freshmen are three and four. It will be really interesting to see how this will all play out. Mike will challenge Jake, Montell or Jordan will challenge Michael.
On special teams let’s start with the kickoff guys from the place kicker, I really don’t expect it to be the same person. I think the kickoff guy is going to come really from one of two people, I think it’s going to be either Pardula or Kahn for the kick off guy. For the field goal kicker I think that Purdula has the strongest leg, but it’s not going to surprise me if Mesh is the field goal kicker. We have Wyman, we have Barone, we have those other guys that are in the mix right here, but I’m really high on Mesh right now. We’ll have to see him do it out there in practice because he just got here. At punter it’s going to be Purdula or Doherty, you know we’ll handle that. At long snapper we have three candidates. We’re really high Wirtel who we brought in from Chicago, it wouldn’t surprise me if he ends up doing all the snapping. For the time being, Jeffers would be ahead of Zack Young. Zack Young had been here since last year, he’s a transfer from Indiana, but had to sit out last year because he was a transfer. So we got three guys at the long snapper position and we’re high on the new guy.
Last but not least as far as personnel goes, let’s talk about defense. Defense in this league has changed, this league has evolved. So many teams are not only running no huddle, but snapping the ball so fast, I had to do a lot of study in the month of December and January even before we got to the month of February. I had to sit down with my defensive staff and say, ‘Fellas, we got to make a bunch changes if we’re going to compete in this league.’ So the first thing you’ll see is we’re listing our defense as a nickel defense. We’re not listing it as a base defense, we’re listing it as a nickel because everyone has three and four wide receivers out there and you can’t match up base defense against four wide receivers and be competitive in this league. The other thing you can’t do is keep flipping people from side-to-side the whole game and think that you’re going to get lined up in time before they snap the ball.
The other thing that we have to do is have the three main defensive coaches, but they all have to be on the field coaching. Campo has to be on the field to give coaching points to the secondary, Bowen’s gotta be on the field to give coaching points to the linebackers, Buddy has to be on the field to give coaching points to the defensive linemen. All three of them have been coordinators in their careers, and they have to give coaching points. The guy that really has to tie it all together is the linebacker coach. Bowen is going to help put this together more than even Dave is going to if we are going to be able to handle the tempo of the game. The tempo of the game is dictated as going from almost no-huddle defense to match no-huddle offense. And go from base defense to a nickel defense to even dime or quarter or something even more extravagant to get guys on the field that are secondary-type players. You don’t have time to flip-flop them all over.
With that being said, Keon is listed at the nose, McKinney has not beaten out Young yet, so that competition should be interesting. Keon is by far the leader at nose. Now look at the left end/tackle and the right end/tackle positions. The reason is why there are like that is because if we are not flip-flopping sides, these guys could be at a defensive tackle position or a defensive end position based off the defensive front. But, they don’t have time to flip from one side to the other side, sometimes they’re going to be an end, sometimes they’re going to be a tackle. They’re going to be on the left side of Keon or the right side of Keon. At the left-end I’ve got Combs, Tavai, Johnson. On the right side I have Keba, Andrew and Tyler Holmes. So that’s how that one is listed in that depth. To be able to have nine defensive line men who are kinda like some, is a far-cry from when I walked in the door here. We actually are really looking forward to the competition even in training camp because we think we got some solid backup linemen on both sides of the ball that will give us a chance to be much more competitive against each other when we’re practicing.
Now onto the buck position. It has been well documented that we had Chris (Martin) in here and he’s gone. I had Ben Goodman, who is one of my favorite on the field players, drop 15 pounds. He is now 245 pounds, which is the weight I wanted him to get to in order to play the buck linebacker position. He is now listed as the starting buck, and behind him will either be Willis or Reynolds. Willis has much more leadership, Reynolds has much more athletic ability. We’re going to see how that plays out between the two of them. On the other side is our nickel. You’ll see that’s a drastic change from the springtime. You’ll see Cassius (Sendish), now everyone wants to know if Cassius is a corner or a safety – well he’s a nickel. We know we can move Cassius to corner or safety and we’ve practiced him at both positions. But right now with what we’re doing, Cassius would be our starting nickel.
On the timing of Chris Martin’s dismissal from the team:
“Sign me up. You would much rather know what deck of cards you are playing with before you figure out how you are going to play them. We were going in the other direction with Ben Goodman. He was going up to 270 pounds to go play defensive end. That is where he was going. We called him in and said, ‘Whoa, not so fast big boy; Time to go on a diet.’ He went from eating like a pig to starving himself. He wasn’t too happy with me that day. The good thing about Ben is he just wanted to get his butt on the field and that gave him the opportunity. Now, he has been running drills with the linebackers instead of just defensive lineman drills and his body now matches that which it didn’t at the time.”
On the two freshman quarterbacks from Kansas City:
“I don’t think they are the same player. It will be interesting to see how it plays out but, in the beginning, they are going to be doing the same things. Once somebody works their way up the depth chart, then I kind of go with what they can do. Don’t misinterpret that Montell (Cozart) can’t throw the ball because he can definitely throw the ball. He is an exceptional athlete. He has had a really good summer for us.
On the running back scenario:
“I think we will be running the ball a lot. I think we would be stupid not to. We will see how it goes, but you have to start with one. Until James (Sims) has been beaten out, James is the guy. He has earned that right. Do you want Tony (Pierson) to not get any touches? We don’t want Tony not getting any touches either. I talked about Darrian (Miller) and Taylor (Cox), but do you want Tony detached all the time and not getting the ball? I’m not that dumb. He is getting touches, too. So I think that means we better plan on running it a bunch.”
On how offensively innovative you can get with a plethora of running backs:
“I think if we can’t throw the ball, we won’t win as it was proven last year. We could run against everyone, but we couldn’t throw the ball, couldn’t score points and couldn’t win. I think that just the opposite of other teams, I think our passing game could take the pressure off of our running game. I think if we can come out and start slinging it around a little bit, and get to more of a 50-50 ratio where we don’t go into a game saying, ‘we are going to run the ball 50 or 60 times.’ I would personally like to be one of those guys that if you ran it 50 times, that is because you are winning by about 50 points. In reality, I would like to get to more of a 50-50 mix. By the end of the year, I would like to see us throw it and run it about the same number of times. I’m thinking a little different based on last year. If we can’t throw the ball, everyone that we play will spend the next offseason figuring out how to stop our running game.”
On what is left to see from Jake Heaps before the start of the season:
“Carry over what we have seen so far, because if what we have seen so far is what we are going to get, I think we are all going to be happy. That is what we need to see. It is going to be a little different now because the whole tempo is changing; it is not spring ball anymore. This is guys trying to earn positions for the next couple of weeks. It is going to be competitive out there. It is a little different when you have the better players playing on defense putting a challenge on the quarterback. Jake (Heaps) has new players to integrate into the passing game. ‘How can you mesh with them? How is your relationship? Are you on the same thought process when it comes to breaking off of a route?’ I think we have all been very upbeat and pleased with how things have gone with Jake. But now is the next step. We need to get to the next step. If what we are anticipating ends up happening, then I think we have a chance.
On what separates Dayne Crist and Jake Heaps:
“I say one critical thing. The one critical thing is Dayne was coming off a couple knee injuries and a beat down. We are not really going to know until the real bullets start flying. That really hasn’t been the case with Jake. He ran the scout team and got the crap kicked out of him every single day, when he wasn’t throwing a touchdown pass which was every third play. But the other two plays, he was getting the crap kicked out of him. It wasn’t like what was going on with Dayne, he was getting beat up by the defense every day because he was running the show-team quarterback. Jake has been perfectly healthy. Dayne, in his defense, it had been awhile since the real bullets had been flying and I think the situations were totally different.”
On if Jake Heaps has better target than last year’s team:
“You would like to think we are better in a lot of different areas. Let’s start with coaching. I don’t think the coaches did a very good job, starting with yours truly. I don’t think any of us did a very good job. A 1-11 record? I don’t think any of us did a very good job. Maybe Reggie Mitchell (running backs coach); maybe I should give him a raise.”
On if the offseason would have been different if they won more games:
“I would have been miserable anyways to be perfectly honest with you. Because now you are saying we have won two? Whoopee. Not to be sarcastic, but I’m dead serious. I absolutely hate losing. I understand you are what you are. Right now we are a 1-11 team that is 0-0. It wouldn’t make a difference what our record was last year. I would not have been satisfied. Yeah we blew the Rice game and they kicked a field goal and TCU turns it over six times, but we still can’t beat them. Then we go to Northern Illinois and blow that lead. Let’s not talk about Texas Tech in double overtime. Let’s not talk about blowing the Oklahoma State game where we had it cut to six and the ball is on the 30 yard line. How about giving up a touchdown pass to Texas with 11 seconds left? Other than that I did a wonderful job.
“To be perfectly honest with you, I blame me. I truly blame me, so in the Summer time, I don’t think about those good things that happen, like going ahead and beating Texas would that have been good for our program? You bet. Would that have made a difference in the psyche of the team? Without a doubt it would have been different, but we would be sitting there at 2-10 and I would have still been miserable. I promise you I have lived through that season multiple times and I have thought about the good things and the bad things and would that have been one more good thing to harp on? Absolutely, it would have been significantly different, especially at that time. At that time it would have made a big difference, but I blame me, I don’t blame them. I think the players would have had a chip on their shoulder no matter what. That’s been their mentality, not one that I’ve put on them, but one that they’ve had. They hear everyone say how crummy you are. They read it all, they hear it all. They are college kids, they get it. No one wants to be a loser.
“That quarterback that was waiting, that couldn’t play at all, he was waiting in the woods to come out when we got back from Morgantown. I’m surprised he wasn’t sitting in my condo waiting for me. I have been very pleased with their attitude starting the day after West Virginia. I don’t think beating anyone of those teams would have done anything but given us temporary relief, because it’s still not good enough.”
On the offensive line:
“We won’t be as experienced, but I think we will be bigger and more physical. We will lack in experience and that has a lot of value, but I think we will be bigger and more physical and in recruiting, that is the direction that I’m going. I want big guys. I want big physical guys. I want guys that aren’t the nicest people. Every week, when I sit there and watch the tapes, that’s what they are all playing with. I don’t want a bunch of 280-pound linemen, bring me big guys, bring me the guys that they are playing with. That’s the direction we are going in recruiting.”
On Marquel Combs:
“I think with an interior defensive lineman, it’s how quick they get off of the ball. I think that is a strength of his. Especially in this league, there is a lot of value to that. Being in right position is the next part, but he is very quick off of the ball. Tonight I’m going to tell him to shut up. I’ve let him talk all he wants to, but now I want to hear me talk. He’ll probably hear that several times in the next couple of weeks. I’ll let him crank it back up in September, but for the time being, I just want everybody to shut up and go to work. Talk is cheap. We all have had a lot to say and haven’t done a damn thing, so it’s time to shut up and go to work.”
On the transformation of Aslam Sterling:
“I think you will like Aslam, or else I wouldn’t have him listed first. Me moving him to left tackle, should be all you need to know about that one. Other than center, that is the one that you have to take care of. That is the number one position with a righty at quarterback is a left tackle. You are losing a lot of experience at those two positions, but I’ve got smart guys right through the depth chart at center. All three of those guys are very smart. I wouldn’t put Aslam over at left tackle if I didn’t think he could compete over there.”
On Lewandowski playing center:
“Actually it was nice to see someone land a shotgun snap in the quarterback’s hands. That’s a good place to start. He spent a lot of time with (Jake) Heaps this summer. I wasn’t around to watch it, but Jake was happy. If Jake is happy then I am happy.”
On his comments at Big 12 Media Day:
“It’s almost comical. Did they not watch our team last year? Give me a break. Anyone who came over to our table and talked about it, or anyone who knows me personally knows that I put myself as the leader of that. The national guys immediately want to say you are throwing your team under the bus, but I always sit there and say, ‘What could I have done?’ Whose record does that 1-11 go on? The last time I checked, that goes under my name – Kansas football and me. I am the leader of that. How else do you want me to describe it? Do you want me to give it a more cleaner way? It wasn’t very good. I could have said that, but what I said is how I really talk to recruits. It would be a Sunday afternoon after a guy comes into the game, we just played Iowa State. I have a recruit in my office. We wear the black uniforms, it’s senior night and I got everything planned and we go and get whooped at home. All this great motivation that I was planning…How did that work out? So now it’s Sunday morning and I’m sitting with a guy in my office and he is saying, ‘Do you think I can play?’ I said, ‘Did you watch the game?’ That’s one of the reasons that they say yes. One of the reasons they say yes is because they envision themselves playing early on.
“I think it’s unethical to sit there and tell a recruit that they are going to start. I don’t think you should ever tell them that, but I think you can say, ‘You saw the product. Do you think you could start here?’ If you don’t think that you can, maybe you should go somewhere else, or maybe you are playing the wrong sport. That’s not a dumb thing to say. Did I know when I answered the question honestly like I did that it was going to get that traction? I didn’t even have a clue. I was clueless, but people tell me about several other things, so that’s not the first time I have been told.”
On the safety position
“Isaiah has very excellent range. That’s one of the reasons he is running one, because you need somebody with range. We really liked in the spring time both Tevin Shaw and Alex Matlock, but they weren’t consistent enough for us to list them as a one. If we aren’t happy with the safety position, you already know we can take Cassius (Sendish) and put him at the safety position. Right now we want to give Tevin and Alex every opportunity to play themselves into the mix. Alex is more of a free safety and Tevin is more of a strong safety, that is why they are listed where they are listed.”
On Bill Parcells getting into the Hall of Fame:
“That is kind of funny you say that. About a week before hand I texted him and told him that I wasn’t going to be there, because everyone in the free world was there, from what I could see. I wanted to thank him for what he had done for me and congratulate him. He texted back about two minutes later. Now it’s early Saturday morning and I’m sitting in Andy Reid’s office over at training camp and the two of us are sitting there talking about Parcells and sure enough, who texts at that exact time that we are talking about him, Parcells. So naturally we had some fun with it and said, ‘Reid and Weis are talking about you as we speak.’ So it was cool that Saturday morning you are communicating and Saturday night you are watching TV and listening to one of the more inspiring talks you will ever hear. Fortunately for me, I have heard that talk a whole bunch of times. There are a lot of things in that talk that I heard on a regular basis. I’m really happy for him, I’m proud of him, he’s well deserving, he belongs there and I’m really happy to call him one of my mentors.”
On if he modeled his JUCO recruiting after K-State:
“The answer is absolutely yes. Before I took the job, I actually went online and said, ‘How are they winning? How are they winning and Kansas isn’t winning?’ Basically the first place to go is to look at the roster. If you look at that defense last year for Kansas State, nine junior college starters. So I’m saying to myself, this team is taking all these junior college guys and in the same state these guys aren’t taking any junior college guys. So maybe (Bill Snyder) is on to something. I told him that to his face. Not only did I tell him that I thought he was a heck of a coach, but that some of the things he has done, I would like to emulate because you can do a lot worse than picking up things from that guy, because I think he is one of the best.”
On recruiting JUCO players at his previous schools:
“It’s just different. Let’s look at it. Let’s go back to my infamous three word comment that I had down there. You are 1-11 and you are recruiting for this year’s class. No high school kids outside of your local area are going to be saying, ‘I want to go play for that!’ Except for the kids that no one else in the country wants. That’s what will end up happening when you are recruiting. So what methodology could you possibly come up with to improve your team and be competitive in a hurry. The mentality is different with junior college players than it is with high school players. Now as you noticed, every kid that we have signed for next year is a high school kid. So now you can start recruiting better high school guys, because what good does it do if you get guys that can’t play? You want guys that can play and that is a critical factor in recruiting. I think that there can be a nice blend of high school guys and junior college guys, with the number of juco guys being significantly less than what we have.
“Parcells used to always give me this comment, he said, ‘If you need a third baseman, go get a third baseman. Don’t move somebody from short to third, go get a third baseman.’ So if you need a kicker, go get a kicker, that is what he would say and that’s what he did a lot of times in free agency. He may not go get that second year guy, he may go get that 11 year guy that has very little tread left on his tires. That is the kind of guys he would look. That’s what juco recruits are. You are going and trying to fill holes. You are saying, ‘I’ve got a big hole. Do you want to come fill it?’ I think that in the long run, your program cannot sustain the type of numbers that we brought in this year, because over the years, you won’t have enough scholarships to fill the roster spots. In the short term, it is definitely the way to go because you didn’t want to recruit guys that weren’t groomed enough to win with.”
On if not winning any games gave him added experience:
“I think when you get into a program that is down and you are trying to turn it around, I think the first year you have to clean the slate. You would like to have won a lot more games than the one we won. Still at the end of the day, you would have never been happy with the production if you aren’t playing a meaningful game in December or January. Really in college football, if you are home for Christmas then you had a bad year. If you are singing ‘I’ll Be Home for Christmas’ then it wasn’t a good year. Realistically in the grand scheme of things, once you have gotten to that point, you should also expect significant progress made in the next year and that’s where we are right now. You don’t make any outlandish predictions on number of wins, but you expect significant progress out of everyone in the organization. It starts with me, I need to do a better job in those close games, so that instead of losing with 11 seconds to go, you get over the hump.”
On his work-life balance:
“Hannah has moved into Hannah and Friends in South Bend. She moved in there June 8. Fortunately, she has transitioned wonderfully, which is a shocker. My wife’s feelings are actually hurt a bit that she enjoyed it so much. That will allow Maura to come back and forth during football season, but if things go the way they are going with Hannah, she will be moving her full-time in November. She will spend half of the year here and half of the year in South Bend, so that she can be around Hannah. Hannah is where our family starts. Me and Charlie, we’re just throw-ins. I’ll spend the summers with her and it will be a lot better for the Weis family this year than it was last year.”
On Charlie Weis Jr.:
“He will be around a little bit. He’s done a wonderful job and a lot of the young offensive players really lean on him, because he is a brilliant young man and he is a nice young man. My wife did good, because I don’t know how he is related to me. He’s quiet, he’s reserved, he’s a fine young man and I’m really proud of him.”