Charlie Weis is the Next Coach at Kansas.
By Paul Myerberg // Dec 9, 2011
Charlie Weis will be the next head coach at Kansas. I know you’ve heard this already, but give it another moment to sink in: Kansas, looking to replace Turner Gill, hired Charlie Weis. Formerly of the N.F.L, formerly of Notre Dame, then of Florida. Weis, who went to back-to-back B.C.S. bowls with the Irish and then went 16-21 over three seasons with his own players and his offensive system fully in place. A coach whose schematic advantage was seemingly rivaled by his own arrogance. Weis, whose offense with the Gators finished the regular season ranked 102nd in the nation. This was surprising.
Weis did inform Will Muschamp of his interest in the job, contrary to early reports — including in this space — and the announcement, which came as Muschamp was on his way to a press conference for the Gator Bowl, did not entirely take Florida by surprise. In the big picture, however, the Gators weren’t preparing for another change at coordinator.
On Nov. 22, Weis told local reporters that he was going to coach at Florida “for a long time.” Said Weis: “Remember the reasons why I came here. So, I’ll be here for a while, unless you’re trying to get rid of me.” Even if they weren’t ready for the change, Muschamp and Florida can take some solace in the fact that Weis’s replacement can only stand as an improvement.
At least the Jayhawks were able to reach their top prerequisite for the job: head coach experience on the B.C.S. conference level. Weis has five years of such experience, thanks to his time at Notre Dame, and was able to familiarize himself with the college game this past season.
In fact, his background — on paper — doesn’t look too bad. Kansas hired the former head coach at Notre Dame? The current offensive coordinator at Florida? At face value, Kansas just upgraded. But looks can be deceiving. If there’s one thing we know about Charlie Weis, it’s that he’s ill-suited for the college game.
Kansas didn’t necessarily need an offensive genius, even if we stretch to attach that tag to a coach whose most recent offense scored a total of 92 points against its last seven F.B.S. opponents. Kansas needed a coach who can lead a roster of three-stars to consistent bowl play; the Jayhawks needed a builder, not a maintainer.
Weis is neither of those. Notre Dame proved this out: he took his predecessor’s players to greater heights, but showed an utter inability to develop his own players. Think immediate stars are walking into Lawrence? Think again. Weis will need to identify second-tier talent and turn it into first-tier talent to win the Big 12.
Identifying and developing: his Achilles heel in South Bend. The Jayhawks needed a coach well-versed in overcoming the odds: Gill, basically, but with a track record of doing so at a B.C.S. conference program. Are those guys hard to find? Without question. Retreads, on the other hand, are a dime a dozen.
Uncover a rock — open up a B.C.S. conference job — and you’ll see the usual suspects. Fulmer. Nutt. Tommy Bowden. Groh. Leavitt. Is it fair to include Weis on this list? Absolutely. He fouled up his one major job. He fouled it up far worse than any other name on the above list, in fact. Given another shot at the college game with the Gators, Weis put together one of the worst offenses in program history.
What is Kansas thinking? New athletic director Sheahon Zenger told ESPN’s Joe Schad that the hire “puts Kansas on the national map.” Hiring Weis makes Kansas relevant, in short. Not true in the least.
Weis makes Kansas relevant in the same way being on TV makes Kim Kardashian relevant. There’s name recognition and there’s fame, but there’s nothing of consequence to back up Zenger’s claim that Weis makes Kansas a destination to watch, not merely a stopping-off point for Big 12 teams looking to pad their stats.
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Tags: Charlie Weis, Florida, Kansas, Notre Dame, Sheahon Zenger, Will Muschamp
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