Win or lose, Kansas' hire offers relevance
December, 8, 2011 Dec 8
By David Ubben
Kansas? Well, it's not Notre Dame.
The disadvantages of each are unique, as are the advantages. Different programs require different fits.
Kansas hopes former Notre Dame coach and Florida offensive coordinator Charlie Weis is the right fit.
[+] EnlargeKim Klement/US Presswire
Charlie Weis spent last season as the offensive coordinator at Florida.
Weis brings Kansas the one thing the Jayhawks have craved since a 5-0 season in 2009 crashed to earth with a seven game losing streak. Since that start, Kansas has lost 23 of 24 Big 12 games. That losing streak has brought with it paralyzing irrelevance.
Consider that problem fixed.
Who else could Kansas have hired that would have everyone buzzing (even Dick Vitale
!) about the new head Jayhawk?
Maybe you want to laugh about Weis, a bizarre hire who didn't work out at Notre Dame. After two BCS bowl appearances in his first two years, he finished above .500 just once in his final three seasons in South Bend.
Maybe you want to ask, "Why the heck are they doing that?"
But you're paying attention.
For all of Turner Gill's character and good intentions, he didn't offer much in the arena of intrigue.
Weis does. And he gets a fresh start at Kansas free of the intense scrutiny from fans, boosters and media. The sky-high expectations at Notre Dame are a bit more measured in Lawrence.
Why can't that be a recipe for success?
Maybe this hire is a disaster. Maybe it's a godsend, the man that finally gets Kansas back into the BCS. (Yes, believe it or not, three years and 11 months ago, Kansas won an Orange Bowl.)
Either way, mastery or failure, people will be watching.
For Kansas, that's a step in the right direction.
The college game, where Weis has spent just six total years, is obviously different from the NFL, where Weis coached for 16 years.
Recruiting is a unique game in which it's difficult to develop proficiency. Weis has a master recruiter, Reggie Mitchell, already on his staff.
Kansas has lots of young talent, especially on offense, but it needs more.
Like Gill, that's objective No. 1 for Weis.
Objective No. 2 is fixing a defense that was among the worst in college football history this season. As an offensive mind, Weis will likely need to make a strong, calculated hire as his defensive coordinator to fix that problem, which he struggled with at Notre Dame.
Gill didn't win and didn't fill seats. There were just over 35,000 fans in 50,000-seat Memorial Stadium for the final home game.
Weis, by name alone, probably won't fill seats. Losses will peck away at that attendance number, but Weis will produce record amounts of intrigue and skepticism that with one contract signature, landed Kansas back on the college football map.
He's a smart guy. Ask Bill Belichick. Why can't Weis learn from the mistakes made at Notre Dame and win at Kansas?
Win or lose, it'll be fun to watch.
And unlike much of the Gill Era, it will be watched.