Football Fall Camp: Charlie Weis Press Conference

The Kansas football team closed 2013 fall camp with its final two-a-day practice. After Friday’s morning practice, head coach Charlie Weis held his final press conference of fall camp, updating the local media on multiple personnel topics and the overall health of the team. The following is a transcript of Weis’ press conference:

On Pearce Slater:
“Last Saturday morning a little bit before six o’clock, I was getting ready for our scrimmage, family day and all that stuff. He (Slater) came in my office telling me he had received a phone call at four o’clock in the morning and was told he had a family medical emergency. So of course what we do is we get him to the airport as quickly as we could and he went home. He called us to say that he’d landed safely at home and everything was going okay, without going into details because you know I can’t. We communicated several times over the next few days, both Saturday morning and then once he had gotten back I said to him, ‘It would really be good–if things were okay at home–it would really be good if you could be back by Friday night because Saturday is picture day and I would like for you to be in the team picture. But ultimately the best time to be back by would be Sunday night because school starts on Monday. The bottom line is this is about going to school and with school starting Monday, I think that anyone coming in gets at a little bit of a disadvantage if they come to school late.’ As of right now I have no idea if and when he’ll get here. I texted him again this morning reiterating those things that I just told you. I’ve not heard from him, and I’m just taking him for his word that it is what it is and when I know something you’ll know something. So that’s what I know so there’s no sense going into ‘well what about this or what about that’ because I’ve told you everything I know. On that note let’s move on to the next subject. We haven’t talked since I gave you the captains and leadership committee. This is the end of training camp so go ahead fire away.”

On Pat Lewandowski’s transition to center and the difference of having a taller center:
“Kevin Mawae wasn’t short and he went to the Pro Bowl for a whole bunch of years in a row, some of them when I was with the Jets. Actually sometimes shorter (centers) is because they have nowhere else they can play them. Usually short arms are not a good attribute for somebody who’s going to snap. What it is a good attribute for snapping is getting your hands inside a nose tackle quickly, that is the only advantage of having arms like that. There’s no disadvantage of having a tall center. Early in camp, to be perfectly honest with you, I knew things were going to be a little rough in the very beginning. Although he’s made drastic improvement on shotgun snaps it took him about a week to settle in. It’s a little different when you’re snapping it versus the air in the summer time. When you have someone two inches away from you on each play that’s going to hit you in the mouth its different. We went through a little bit of a transition. For the last week and a half he’s looked really good in there.”

On Andrew Bolton:
“Sometimes you guys have to understand that I’m looking at vision of the future of the program as well. Andrew, I’m going to do everything I can to not play this year, which is contrary to what you guys would want. I’m going to do everything I can to not play him. I’m going to do everything I can to redshirt him. I’ve already had the conversation with him. I wouldn’t say he’s 100% anyway even though he’s over a year out from his knee injury. I think ideally you can’t bring in this many junior college kids and play them all and have them all graduate at the same time next year because then you’re scrambling again for numbers. Just like (Marcus) Jenkins-Moore making that decision to go ahead and have that done, now you’re playing an extra year out when you could supplant a number of those players. So right now Andrew and I have had in depth conversations and right now we both, both he and I, would favor him not playing this year and getting his knee 100% healthy and be ready and getting ready for spring-time with two years to play too.”

On talking to Junior College kids about redshirting:
“I talk in terms of two and a half years because I figure all of these guys aspire to play on Sunday. So I talk in terms of two and a half years–Christmas time of the second playing season. By that time they want to be done with their education have graduated, so now if God-willing they’re good enough to be draft eligible and be able to play they can focus their attention to doing all they can to put themselves in that position. Each guy is different. I think that there are guys walking in the door who have no issues at all, and the best thing for them is to play right away. I’m going to put out a depth chart a week from Tuesday. That’s when I’m putting out a depth chart, that’s the next time I’m going to meet with you. That’s the next time I meet with the press and that’s when I’ll put out a depth chart. You know I have the depth chart done. This isn’t like it’s any big secret. It’s not like I don’t know who the candidates are. When you look at the junior college guys if somebody doesn’t show up in the two-deep without us getting into the conversation you can assume that that’s the direction it’s headed, you should assume it’s headed that way because if not you would probably see them in the two-deep.”

On player evaluations throughout camp:
“Really I broke training camp into three phases, one is just training camp, this past week I call transition week because this week we worked on besides the offense going against defense for two-thirds of the practice every day was dedicated things to doing things that the other side of the ball don’t do. For example the defense, Clint (Bowen) came to me we talked first, then I talked to Dave (Campo) and Clint (Bowen), and Buddy (Wyatt), and Scott (Vestal) and we devised a system to rapid-fire plays at the line of scrimmage. It was pretty funny to watch to be honest with you. We were trying to simulate snapping the ball as fast as you could possibly snap it and be legal. That’s something I’ve never practiced before. You realize you have to practice how to practice in that situation because it isn’t let’s go in the huddle look at the card and run. Now you have to practice how to do it and I think that we got better. I think our show-team got better at being able to simulate the speed of the game and all that will do is make it better in the long run for the defense. But this was transition week, and then next week this will be kind of dress-rehearsal game week, so we will do everything like a game week except for Saturday, obviously we won’t do the same thing. But we will do the same thing Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, just so that anyone who is new to the program can see this is how we do things and then we will have a practice on Saturday and instead of playing a game when everyone else is playing them. What I’ll do instead of practicing at 6:05 at night or whatever, I’ll practice in the morning so that I can watch college football games in the afternoon. I want to be able to watch as many games as I can get a glimpse of other teams. Basically I have no life so that’s what I’ll be doing. I’ll be watching college football on TV that day.”

On the speed of each snap in the rapid-fire drills:
“Twelve seconds or less. I’d say that’s faster than most all of the teams. Twelve seconds was the latest, there were times we snapped it in eight, snapped it in 10. We almost couldn’t snap it in time for the guys to get off, so the conditioning was really for the offensive players running off the field after every play. When we first started doing it was kind of comical to watch to be honest with you, but we’ve got it down now so we know how to practice it.”

On watching other college football games:
“I’m a cynic, I’m like you. I sit up there and say ‘what a stupid call’ I just want to feel how you feel on game days [laughter]. Believe it or not there are a lot of coaches that will tell the announcers stuff that you can use. During the game when an announcer goes into an analysis and starts telling you something they usually didn’t figure that out on their own, someone told them that. So I gain more to listening to what the announcers say because you can gain from the conversations that took place with the coaching staff and let you know what they’re thinking. On the game, I would much rather watch the tape that we get than watch that, I don’t like anyone talking when I’m watching tape. I can usually kind of figure that on my own when I’m watching the coach’s tape.”

On why college football is so offensively innovative:
“I think the coaches in the NFL are much more cognizant of playing complimentary football. That is an art that is lost in the college ranks. That is why some of these scores are so high in college and not in the pros. Part of the offense’s job is to score points; the other job is to protect the defense. If you are going at that fast of a pace, you better be scoring because if your defense is gassed and you go out for a three-and-out, there is a good chance they haven’t recovered yet. You have less players dressed for the game in the NFL, there are many more players in college. You can play at a faster pace in college because you have more than just one guy to plug in here or there off the bench, you have entire units you can send in.”

On any team chemistry issues with the old and new players:
“I haven’t had any concerns with the chemistry because I play the best guys. Some of the old guys have earned the position to be out there first. With the guys already on the team, we have said that we are going to play the guys who deserve to be out there and that is what we are doing. The players are not stupid, contrary to popular opinion. They watch the tape, they hear the critique of the tape and they can figure out who is playing well and who isn’t. “

On if Marquel Combs deserves to be a starter:
“He is not a starter right now if that is what you are asking. We have a week before the depth chart is released but as of now, he wouldn’t be a starter. There are a lot of guys in that category that their reputations and ceilings are really high, but are they better than the guy in front of them? That is the big question. Isaiah Johnson has come in and has been our best safety since he’s been here. Kevin Short will be playing Week One. Whether he is playing first or second team, I can’t tell you, but don’t be surprised if he is playing first. Whoever is the best and gives you the best chance of winning, that is who is going to end up playing.”

On the progress of the BUCK position:
“Actually, not just Ben Goodman, but Michael Reynolds has been a pleasant surprise. We have all been waiting for this, you guys and so have I. He has really turned the corner and started to deliver. Believe it or not, he is the guy that had the most pass-rush ability last year but we could never get him on the field because he wasn’t an every down player. He hasn’t beaten Ben Goodman out because Goodman is playing really well, but Reynolds’ development has been very encouraging and alleviated some previous concern.”

On any different dynamic bringing in a transfer quarterback:
“First of all, this is a quarterback-friendly system because everything starts with the quarterback with this system. It usually takes you about a year to get it down, but once you get it, the system becomes very easy. I believe that transfer quarterback have some advantages because they have a whole year to indoctrinate themselves into the system. Mentally it becomes a lot easier to digest when you have a whole year to practice.”

On the quarterback competition:
“I think there isn’t a question who the number one quarterback is, it’s not close. There are apples and oranges of who the first guy is. What’s been interesting is Michael (Cummings) has gotten significantly better from where he was this time last year. I would say the two freshmen have gotten better every day. The guy who is really going to be tough to keep off the field in the future of this program is No. 2 (Montell Cozart) to be perfectly honest with you. Having a guy being involved in the system for a year, who can get into a comfort zone, versus somebody who has been here a month or two is a big advantage/disadvantage for those guys accordingly. I like both the young quarterbacks, but the guy who has really impressed has been No. 2 (Cozart).”

On game tempo:
“We have always had it, but it really goes back to the same thing. If we don’t score, and we go three and out and punt, with the tempo that our defense is going to face most games, we could lose 100-0. I love going up-tempo. I don’t necessarily like snapping the ball every 10 seconds mind you, but I do like going no-huddle up-tempo, but you have to do what you feel is going to give you the best chance at winning. Last year it was just the best way of playing the game. You would like to think in year two you weren’t thinking in that mentality and you’re thinking more along with what’s the best way to win the game.”

On evaluating the kickers:
“Whoever kicks the best. Is that a lay-up? Is that a bounce pass for a slam dunk? I think the kicking competition is just about done. There’s not much gray area left. You guys have seen it. I don’t have to tell you where we are. I’ll give you a depth chart a week from Tuesday, but I think you can do the math right now and tell me who’s kicking field goals, who’s kicking off, who’s punting, who’s long snapping, who’s short snapping, the only question you will have is who the returners are and I want another week to take a look at Kevin Short because that is one thing he is really good at and give me another week to go through these guys and we will announce the two-deep in returners too. You have seen the kicking situation. I don’t need to tell you who they are, I think it should be pretty obvious.”

On  K Matthew Wyman:
“We have this thing where we advertise to people who go to school here to walk-on. He walked on last spring and he went through conditioning, because we even make them go through the conditioning to see whether or not we can have them out there and he kicked okay. He got to the spring game and he made a few and kicked better in the summer time and came in here distant in the initial thought of depth chart, but he is a candidate to be the field goal kicker because he has kicked so well. He’s got good pop, he’s got good range and he’s got no problem making it from 50 yards and he has been very consistent. He has a legitimate chance of being named the field goal kicker a week from Tuesday.”

On health during camp:
“I think we have some bumps and bruises, but no one other than (Marcus) Jenkins-Moore. We actually had a couple of appendixes. In three days we had two appendixes taken out, but it looks as though we won’t have anyone who is not ready to go for the opener, other than Jenkins-Moore and maybe Tyree (Williams), but he looks like he is going to be ready too. I can’t ask for much more, because we have beat the hell out of them in practice.”

On transfer QB T.J. Millweard:
“I didn’t have to recruit him. His high school coach reached out to one of our staff members and said that he was being released and asked if we would have any interest, of which I said, ‘Of course I have interest, I’m getting the kid for nothing.’ We did homework on the guy and he is a top-line talent. He’s not just another guy. It’s not like this is some guy coming into your program that is some kid off the street that is going to be your fifth quarterback. This is a kid who is going to come in and compete to play. So you do some homework and you find out that his Mom went to KU, he’s from Kansas, he lived here until he was eight years old, moved to Fort Worth, he was either going to go to school in the Midwest or down in Texas, they are driving back from UCLA and they want to know if they can stop through. It wasn’t like it was preconceived. We made sure that we got permission from UCLA to talk to him through their compliance guy. He sent us a letter and you can only talk to him once, unless you are scholar-shipping a guy, he becomes a recruited walk-on. So I called him up, I had a long conversation, he came in and spent a whole day and we went through our whole deal. After watching him on tape, this is an easy one. It’s nice when you get a top-line player that wants you even more than you want him. I had my number one the board this year for recruiting to be 0/1 and the one was if a special situation presented itself and he was the special situation, so we are glad to have him on board.”

On if his reputation for taking transfers helped in landing Millweard:
“I would like to sit here and think that was a big reason. He told me that it was a reason, but I would like to credit his Mom more than anything. I think they are a very close family. His sister is a TV anchor within a couple hours of here somewhere, who’s a Missouri fan, which that brought a couple chuckles to me by the way, but their whole family gets involved in these type of things and he had a nice day, but his Mom felt really comfortable and the kid felt really comfortable and he went back to the hotel and talked to his dad and talked to his sister and then called us the next morning. We had already gotten going. He’s a very bright student, which helps because now you aren’t just talking about a football player, you are talking about a kid who can walk into the school of business, which is not an easy school here and get admitted quickly because his academics are so strong. So that from my end, when somebody comes late, I have to do all the due-diligence academically because we don’t dump that on somebody else. We want to know exactly what we are dealing with academically so when I start dealing with Paul Buskirk and the academic support staff I know that we can identify strengths and any risks and in this case that was another thing that appealed to me, that he is such a bright young man and a good student. It made it easy for that transition.”

Looking Ahead
The Jayhawks will go through “picture day” Saturday morning. Along with a team photos, the players and staff will take all of their position group photos, individual shots and other miscellaneous photos. 

Kansas will open the 2013 football season by hosting South Dakota on Saturday, Sept. 7 in Memorial Stadium. Game time is slated for 6 p.m. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by contacting the Kansas Ticket Office at 1-800-34-HAWKS or via the web at The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.