Being a loyal University of Kansas alum, I want so very much to believe in head football coach Charlie Weis.
But so far, the guy has been more about bluster than luster.
Sure, he’s a quote machine, which is great for somebody in my profession. I mean, his “pile of crap” comment last fall went national, about the only thing KU gained headlines throughout the country for all year. He is at ease with the media, answering every question honestly — sometimes too brutally honest for KU fans.
I’m tired of Kansas football being everybody’s favorite punchline. I want the days of the 2007 season when the Jayhawks went on to win the Orange Bowl to be an every-year occurrence, not the frequency of Halley’s Comet. I want the Jayhawks to beat Kansas State just as they do in basketball, which is like a drum. The only way that’s going to happen is if KSU would bring back Ron Prince, who never beat the Jayhawks. Bill Snyder, on the other hand, owns KU and seems to feel sorry for them when the teams play as he takes the foot off the gas more often than not. Last year’s 31-10 victory could easily have been 61-10.
Weis this week announced his latest recruiting class. “We have to set the program up for success,” he told the media in a statement that sent the reporters rushing to their computers to reveal the earth-shattering scoop. “And I think that’s what we did with this class.”
My thoughts immediately flashed back to last year. Weis was beaming after he signed two of the most heralded juco players in the country, Chris Martin and Marquel Combs, who were to be part of a defensive line that would rank among the best in the Big 12. Martin wound up playing cops and robbers and landed in jail. Combs wound up being all hype and no substance and skulked off to Southeastern Louisiana. Neither ever played a down for the boys in blue.
That’s how it’s gone for Weis at KU. He brought in former Notre Dame starting quarterback Dayne Crist for his first Jayhawk team. By the end of the year, he couldn’t even beat out freshman Michael Cummings, whose style is best suited for the Wing-T. Then he brought in former Brigham Young star Jake Heaps to lead his second team. He, too, wound up on the bench behind freshman Montell Cozart, who has good speed but is a scattershooter of a thrower. His latest quarterback experiment is UCLA’s T.J. Millweard, who probably will be like the rest.
Weis’ teams so far have resembled the two that Turner Gill put on the field — horribly overmatched defensively (how many times did Kansas State run that stop jump pass before the Jayhawks adjusted?) while the offense is dull and unimaginative. The line is so bad that whomever quarterbacks has no chance and then when there is time to throw, the Jayhawks’ receivers could be the poster boys for the Butterfinger candy bar.
When I look at this year’s recruits, I see KU signed the supposed “No. 1-ranked junior college running back.” Seriously, if De’Andre Mann truly was the best JC running back in the country, would he really be attending KU with that offensive line that barely is passable by NCAA standards? Wide receiver Darious Crawley allegedly picked KU over Michigan State — Michigan State! Why? “Athlete” Corey Avery picked KU over Texas and Nebraska. Really? And Anthony Olobia is the No. 2-ranked juco defensive end in the country. Again, who is ranking these players? Their own coaches?
Fortunately, my expectations for the Jayhawks are very low. As for next season, two Big 12 wins would be an improvement and maybe they’ll win four overall. You have to crawl before you can run. Problem is, not many 3-year-olds are still crawling.