Weis Begins With Some “Deep Cleaning”
By Paul Myerberg // Jan 17, 2012
Well, this happens. The new guy comes in. The old guy slinks off. Unfortunately, the old guy recruited and coached all the players, so there’s due to be some attrition. Some places feel it worse than others; I remember the mass exodus over Rob Ianello’s first year at Akron, which in hindsight should have been viewed as a harbinger of sad days to come. The first round of departures under Charlie Weis aren’t nearly as numerous, but they do send a message: “The tenure of Charlie Weis as Kansas football coach began with some deep cleaning,” writes Austin Meek of The Topeka Capital-Journal, and that sounds about right.
As Meek detailed yesterday, the list of departures sends a message that “no one is above the law” — not starters, could-be stars or even quarterbacks, a position Weis attacked with two high-profile transfers, Dayne Crist and Jake Heaps.
Weis added two, but he’ll lose a pair. Last year’s starter, Jordan Webb, is no longer part of the program but still enrolled in school. Meek, through Weis, described the parting as mutual; that’s a nice way of saying that Weis had his guy, Webb wasn’t that guy, and Webb saw the writing on the wall.
But Webb’s departure, along with the loss of freshman Brock Berglund, will test Kansas’ depth at quarterback. Crist will start, as we knew he would the day he opted to leave South Bend for Lawrence, but Heaps must sit out the 2012 season due to his transfer — the N.C.A.A.’s graduate student loophole allows Crist to play immediately.
The Jayhawks will enter spring ball with two scholarship quarterbacks on the roster, Crist and redshirt freshman Mike Cummings, along with Heaps and former walk-on Blake Jablonski. In the fall, that quartet will be joined by current verbal commitment Seth Russell, if not another incoming recruit — a JUCO addition, perhaps — Weis adds before national signing day.
So it’s Crist or bust for Kansas, which will cross its fingers and hope that not only is the former transfer the real deal but also that he can remain healthy for an entire season. That’s been an issue in the past for Crist, who missed the final five games of Notre Dame’s 2010 season with a knee injury.
Webb’s departure stands out, as does the disappearance of running back Darian Miller, one of Turner Gill’s prized recruits. The Jayhawks will bring back James Sims and Tony Pierson — the latter another four-star back reeled in by Gill — but Miller, who came on strong in November, was viewed as an important piece of the K.U. offense.
Weis also dismissed starting safety Keeston Terry, a converted wide receiver and, like Miller and Pierson, one of Gill’s few four-star recruits. According to Meek, the total tally of departed souls is at 11: Webb, Berglund, Miller, Terry, JaQwaylin Arps, Dexter McDonald, Adonis Saunders, Tyrone Sellers, Tom Mabry and Travis Bodenstein.
How many of these losses actually hurt Kansas’ bottom line in 2012? Webb and Berglund would have added quarterback depth. Mabry and Bodenstein were second-team guards in 2011, so losing that pair does affect line depth. Terry started at free safety as a redshirt freshman; Miller ended the year sharing starting duties with Sims.
Saunders was a true freshman. Tyrone Sellers was a backup defensive lineman who had yet to do anything of significance. The same can be said of Arps and McDonald. These losses, and all this attrition, fall under the header of par for the course: new coach in, old coach out, some guys gone.
This is housecleaning, and it happens every time there’s a coaching change. The only reason why this is noteworthy is because it’s Weis, and plenty of attention has already been paid to his second foray into head coaching on the college level.
There are underlying themes to consider, such as the loss of two of Gill’s top recruits, Miller and Terry, and a pair of would-be reserves who would have added much-needed depth to the quarterback position. The latter even furthers the idea that the offense is hinging on Crist’s ability to hit the ground running.
But what better way for Weis to send a message — “no one is above the law” — then by dismissing those players who factored into Kansas’ future? It’s not like Kansas is Oklahoma, for instance, where there’s another star waiting in the wings.
Kansas needs all the help it can get. So if you’re one of those left standing, or one of those not vital to the Jayhawks’ success, Weis’ statement hits home. Stick to the new script or hit the bricks; there’s a new sheriff in town.
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Tags: Brock Berglund, Charlie Weis, Darian Miller, Dayne Crist, Jake Heaps, Jordan Webb, Kansas, Keeston Terry
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