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For those of you that have so many preconceived notions of who Weis is, here is a poster on another message board that might shed a little insight.
Nobody here will know me, but I'm a big KU BB fan. Have been all my life as my mom grew up in Lawrence and my dad is from Hays Kansas. I go way back to Manning, Cedric Hunter and Kellogg, and probably before that, but too many beers cloud my memory.
I used to run the ND site on Scout, I've since moved on independently, and I know Joel very well. He can confirm it's me.
I've been following KU BB here on this site for quite awhile, and I'm concerned about KU BB recruiting. What the hell is going on????
I'm only commenting here because I have some knowledge about Weis that most here don't. I don't know anything about him being hired. I'm just offering my thoughts if he is hired.
I have a lot of experience with Charlie Weis. IF he is named head coach, here is what I can tell you about him from my 5 years working around the guy.
First, Weis will work harder than any other coach you'd hire. I'm certain of that. He's there at 5 AM. He doesn't leave until sometimes 1 AM. That's how he is. He did this the entire time while at ND.
Second, I don't know where this notion that Weis doesn't like to recruit came from. He works his ass off in recruiting. I've covered a lot of coaches in my time. Nobody worked harder than Weis as a head coach at recruiting, and probably out of anyone I know of, not just as a HC. He puts more effort into recruiting than his assistants did--one of the problems he had. He's the main reason Manti Te'o is at ND, as well as a number of others.
Third, I think the reputation of Weis as a bad guy is overblown and sensationalized. This is the perfect example of how the media, meaning the mass media, spins a story to however they want it to be.
Weis made some mistakes in dealing with the media, but so does every head coach I've covered. Too many cameras and microphones to always say the right things. He probably handled one situation poorly, and that led to his reputation in the national media, but he was protecting his player by doing it. So, you decide if that was right or not. I just know the result in the media was that he is/was a bad guy.
I, personally, loved working around Charlie. He made us laugh every day. He was extremely fair with the local media. Pretty much everyone really liked Charlie who dealt with him as local media. He joked with us all the time. He also told us what was going on. He was very fair with you if you were fair to him.
If he's hired, he'll make you feel a lot more comfortable once he speaks and you get to know him. He's a really likable guy. You'll see what I mean if he's hired.
So what went wrong at ND? Here's my take on it. I don't know if Charlie Weis is a good head coach. I really don't know. I know what the result was. But I also think some things happened that caused that result.....some of which was Weis' fault.
The problem with hiring Weis at ND was he had no college connections and no head coaching experience. He didn't know many people at all in the college game. He had to hire people based on recommendations from others, and that's very hard to do. Plus he had to do it in a hurry as he was still trying to coach the Patriots to another Super Bowl, so he didnít have time to thoroughly go through an exhaustive coaching search. I remember Charlie saying that he felt him helping the Patriots win the Super Bowl would be the best PR he could get going into ND. It certainly helped, but it also hurt in the coach-hiring process. I've learned that chemistry within a staff is a huge thing. More important than most anyone really knows.
I think he made some poor hires. I also think he's a very loyal guy, and probably held onto a guy or two longer than he should have out of loyalty to them, and that really hurt the development of his team in a couple of key areas. But that's just my opinion.
One thing that CANNOT be discounted, and I really canít stress enough, Tyrone Willingham and his staff left Weis an unbelievable hole in recruiting that is very, very hard to crawl out of.
Here is an example to explain what happened.
Willingham was hired in 2002 and his first class consisted of 4 OL and 4 DL. Out of those 8, 2 transferred, one was ruled academically ineligible after being an honors student in high school. The three that transferred out were all four-star prospects.
In 2003, Willingham signed just 1 DT, and 2 OL.
In 2004, Willingham signed 2 DE, 1 DT, and just 2 OL. Willingham signed a total of 17 in that class---way under what they couldíve. And out of those 17 players, 10 ended up transferring. Not kidding. 10 left. And by the way, both OL, 1 DE and the only DT in the class were some that transferred.
So if youíre doing the math, in two classes, ND signed just 1 DT, 1 DE and 2 OL. Thatís for two total classes.
When it became obvious Willingham was out, people stopped recruiting and the next class (2005) also stunk. ND signed just 2 DT and 2 OL. Despite the small class the previous year (17), Weis could only salvage and secure 15 of NDís commits in the final month of recruiting. So the roster was very bare when he got to ND.
So again, doing the math. For three entire recruiting classes Weis had 3 DT, 1 DE, and 4 OL on the roster. In his 2007 season, the 3-9 season, this is what he had to work with for upperclassmen. 4 total DL and 4 total OL in the entire top 3 classes. A lot of schools sign that many in every class, but that is three total classes.
The real question KU fans need to ask, if Weis is hired is: Has he learned from his past experience at ND and will he do things differently this time?
Charlie is a very intelligent guy. He's also a very competitive guy. I think, if given the opportunity, he'll work his ass off to make KU a success. I can't guarantee he will succeed, but I'm certain of his work ethic. I'm also certain he knows how to coach QBs. He will also put together a great offense if given the right pieces in recruiting.
I'll also tell you a sure-fire sign of if he learned anything. If he focuses heavily early on recruiting OL and DL talent, then you'll know he learned from his ND experience. He got a lot of great skill players at ND, but he didn't land enough quality linemen, and they also weren't coached very well.
I think Charlie's struggles at ND boiled down to a severely depleted roster, inexperience as a head coach and being in the largest fishbowl in the world. Also, in the NFL you don't need to be so much of a teacher. Most of the players know how to play FB and the techniques and fundamentals of the position or they wouldn't be in the NFL. I think that is a big difference between the college game and the NFL.
He didn't know many in the college game. He'd never been a head coach, so he hadn't made the many mistakes first-time head coaches make. All head coaches make mistakes, and then hopefully they learn from them.
That's why experience is important. I think the experience Weis gained will be invaluable in the next job he takes. I can't assure anyone he'll be a success. All I know is what happened, why I think it happened, and what I know about Weis and his work ethic. He will also make recruiting a priority, at least for himself. If hired, he better make sure his assistants also work their asses off in recruiting as well. Not all of them did at ND in my opinion.
What will matter most is who he hires, if hired, and his focus on OL and DL recruiting. He needs to hire coaches who will bust their ass in recruiting. But he also needs to find great teachers and focus heavily on OL and DL recruiting.
It will be interesting to see if he coaches at KU and how he does.