The University of Kansas has a new football coach. And his name is Charles Joseph Weis. Known as an incredible offensive mind, he also brings with him an aura of legitimacy not seen in a KU coaching hire since Larry Brown made the move from the NBA bench to the Allen Fieldhouse bench. Weis has four Super Bowl rings, has worked with some of the best quarterbacks in the game, and brings an exciting name to a program devoid of much excitement. He’s also worked for guys with names like Parcells and Belichick. His curriculum vitae is pretty impressive.
Weis also brings with him a fair bit of risk. His tenure at Notre Dame is concerning. His short stop at Florida has not exactly been a success either. Some are concerned with his desire to do all the ancillary things a college coach has to do. Recruiting, glad-handing, taking care of off-field issues, graduation rates, NCAA limitations, etc. do not seem to really be his thing. As Hammond posted earlier in his blog, KU would be wise to pay heed to the old warning, “Caveat Emptor” (‘buyer beware’ of what you’re getting yourself into).
I have argued that Kansas needs a grinder for a football coach. Someone who will put in the work and maintain the attention to detail it takes to compete with teams that are always going to be more talented than yours. I’m not sure Weis is necessarily a grinder. But Weis may not need to be a grinder to win here. He may be able to level the playing field just by being a better coach than his competition. It might just be good enough.
While the move has plenty of risk, it also has incredible upside. Sandwiched in between his stops in South Bend and Gainesville was his time in Kansas City where he turned a bad quarterback and poor offensive line into a pro bowler and top rushing unit in the NFL. He also helped Jamaal Charles reach his true potential. If he finds that magic he had in Kansas City brings it with him to Lawrence, he will be worth every penny Zenger has promised him.
Speaking of Zenger, this hire is also an enormous moment for him too. I think it demonstrates that not only is he serious about righting this ship, but that he’s willing to take big risks to do so. Right or wrong, he is also hitching his name to the Weis Wagon, so you have to think Zenger will do whatever it takes to give him an opportunity to succeed here. This will likely include budget increases, potential stadium and facility upgrades, and money for assistant coaches. Not to mention a long leash to let Weis do it his way.
Weis was not my first choice. I am willing to admit it. But I do recognize that he also has a real opportunity to have the biggest upside. Maybe even higher than my first choice, Mike Leach. Having been to the Orange Bowl and witnessed how fun it is to have a good football team, I hope Zenger, the Athletics Department, boosters, and fans give the man every chance to win. I’m on board. Time for you to be too.
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