A couple of weeks ago, I got off on Kansas for firing Turner Gill after two season, and yes, part of interest in this is because I’m a Nebraska fan. But the sheer arrogance of the move prompted me to write, and since Kansas now has hired Charlie Weis, I feel the need to weigh in again on the move, which I consider to be proof of the fact that Kansas indeed has too high an opinion of their football program. At least now they have the perfect coach for such a program
I know some people would expect me to offer I was wrong speech, saying that I whiffed on my prediction that Kansas wouldn’t get a big time head coach. I will say this: Kansas did get a notable coach in hiring a former Notre Dame head coach, but they could have gotten a much notoriety if they’d hired Ty Willingham or Bob Davie. (Perhaps New Mexico is a job that Kansas football should be compared to.) Yes, Chuck Weis took Notre Dame to two BCS Bowls and had an overall winning record with the Irish, and many Kansas fans probably watched him succeed with the Chiefs a year ago. It makes some sense.
But the fact that Kansas hired Charlie Weis only proves that neither party had a better option. Let me ask the average Kansas fan: Ty Willingham got a much better job at Washington when he was fired from Notre Dame, and people knew he couldn’t coach. Do you really think that Weis would be taking the worst job in the Big 12 (see your record) if he had a better choice of college head coaching jobs?
I know what you’re going to tell me-Weis will be the disciplinarian that Mangino and Mason where, and we’re going to have success again. But let’s look at some things closely. Weis went 9-3 and 10-3 at Notre Dame with Willingham’s players his first two years. Then, when the roster was dominated by his own recruits, the Irish went 3-9, 7-6, and 6-6. Remember what I told you about college coaches: it’s the pretty boy recruiters who win big. Pete Carroll was 5-0 against Weis, and three of the wins were blowouts. Right now, Kansas has tremendous opportunity to recruit in Kansas City, now that Missouri has left the Big 12, and Charlie Weis looks like the perfect sabotage. Expect Mack Brown and Bob Stoops to get their share of wins against Weis.
Now, many Kansas fans will say that this is the buzziest hire Kansas could have made, and yes, there is some value in media attention. But media attention can’t decide a hire. The long-term interests of the school have to be considered. Texas Tech got a lot of buzz when they hired Bob Knight, and indeed, they did make the tournament many of his years at Tech. But the second he retired, Texas Tech fell out of the College Basketball universe. Sure, Weis may be able to pull some strings his first couple years, and maybe you even make a bowl game and on Sports Center for a few bits, but ultimately, what will that get you? In the end, Kansas will just look like a girl at the bar with too much makeup on.
Also, consider how embarrassing it could look from a league perspective. You’re going to run a pro-style offense in a league that runs the open spread and were 45-40 is a typical final. Remember what happened when Bill Callahan tried to run a similar offense at Nebraska? It kind of worked for two years when a pretty good JUCO quarterback fell in his lap, and in the other two years, the program was a mess. And that was with much better athletes than what Kansas has. So if this doesn’t work, not only could you loose a lot, but you could look horrid doing it. Kansas relies heavily on Texas for recruits, and every other school in the Big 12 can sell them on offenses that are just like their high school offense, where they can come in and play immediately. Weis can’t sell that.
To the credit of Kansas media, they haven’t oversold Weis’ hire, some even admitting that it’s a desperate move (again, proof Kansas fired a coach too soon and better coaches didn’t want the job). Of course, they wont take the next logical step and condemn KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger for firing Gill in the first place.
So Kansas, enjoy the attention Weis brings to your program now. Just know that, in the short term, it will likely get you no more than a couple of season with between four to six wins over the next few seasons. And if it becomes obvious in Weis is a bad fit midway through his second season, you may not be able to get rid of him as easily as you got rid of Turner Gill. That’s the greatest risk of Charlie Weis as a coach at Kansas.