* Charlie Weis won the news conference at Kansas today. The new KU football coach was at ease in front of the media, conversational
and charming. But most new coaches win the introductory news conference. It’s what happens on the field, of course, that will determine Weis’ success or failure.
* It’s obvious to me Weis wants to change his college football coaching legacy. He was viewed as a failure after his five seasons at Notre Dame, even though he had a 35-27 record. He did not accomplish what he was hired to do with the Irish, which was to return that program to national prominence. No coach has been able to do that for more than a decade, but Weis was viewed as close to a slam dunk after his incredible run as the offensive coordinator for the New England Patriots.
* That said, there are a bunch of easier places to change a legacy than KU, whose football tradition isn’t in the same hemisphere as that of Notre Dame. Without knowing for sure, I would guess that none of the other schools with football coaching openings approached Weis. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, it just shows that he wasn’t in demand. Or that those schools assumed he was content being the offensive coordinator at Florida.
* Weis was content at Florida, he said. He loved the warm weather and the way his special needs daughter, Hannah, had adapted to her school in Ocala, which is near Gainesville. While he and his son are moving to Lawrence, where his son will attend KU, his wife and daughter are remaining in Florida so Hannah can continue at her school. Weis mentioned that KU has agreed to provide a jet so that he and his wife and daughter can commute regularly. It sounds like a real pain in the rear end to me, but Weis obviously believes it will work.
* The whole separating the family thing struck me as odd. But I don’t know the inner workings of Weis’ family. I hope that doesn’t put a strain on them.
* Interesting that Weis emphasized the Kansas-Kansas State football relationship by pointing out the 180-degree disparity in the programs currently. “Why is the University of Kansas 2-10 and the other university in the state 10-2?” he rhetorically asked during his news conference. “I don’t have the answer for that, but I want to find out. We’re the university of, we’re the University of Kansas and that’s not acceptable in any form.”
* I wonder what Bill Snyder thinks of the KU hire? I wonder if he had any discussions with Kansas athletic director Sheahon Zenger, who worked on Snyder’s staff in the early 1990s?
* Weis will ignite some enthusiasm in a KU fan base that lost it quickly during Turner Gill’s two seasons as coach. Weis, despite his struggles at Notre Dame, has a weighty resume.
* Moving on:
* Really looking forward to KU’s basketball game tomorrow against Ohio State at Allen Fieldhouse. I’ve seen the Buckeyes a couple of times, including their blowout win over Duke, and they look like a real threat to win a national championship. Great guards, tough wings and the best center in the country in Jared Sullinger, who is expected to play against KU after being out with an injury.
* The Kansas home crowd is worth five points in this game. I still think Ohio State wins by six.
* Really curious to see how KU 7-footer Jeff Withey plays against Ohio State. Withey has been one of the most pleasant surprises of the college basketball season so far. He’s been a legitimate factor.
* Feeling much better today about Albert Pujols’ decision to take the money and flee to Los Angeles with the Angels. Not feeling bitter. Don’t need that. Feeling more optimism than anything else because of the money freed up now for the St. Louis Cardinals to go about filling some holes. And even if Pujols had signed with the Cardinals, there would have been holes. If the money and years are right, I’d be all for bringing shortstop Jimmy Rollins and outfielder Carlos Beltran to St. Louis.
Thanks for reading. I’ll try and check in tomorrow with some non-sports thoughts. Because I do have non-sports thoughts. A lot of them, in fact. It’s just been such a busy sports week that my brain hasn’t worked that way.
Have a great weekend, everyone.