LAWRENCE — One day after suffering another beating at the hands of a rival, KU coach Charlie Weis used Sunday to continue to build toward the future. And in this case, Weis specifically had next year in mind.
By RUSTIN DODD
The Kansas City Star
“I took everyone that’s gonna be on the team next year and they practiced,” Weis said on Sunday night. “And anyone who's not gonna be on the team next year, after we were done with their film session, they ran and lifted.”
It’s a question that every coach must ponder. How do you coach for today while planning for tomorrow? But the Jayhawks’ 1-4 start, including a 56-16 loss to Kansas State on Saturday, puts a little more spotlight on the Jayhawks' future. In short: How does Kansas dig out of its extended, program-wide slump?
"You have to do two things here,” Weis said. “You have to develop your current squad, but you also have to develop your future squad. What happens is, if you practice everyone who played all the reps in the game yesterday, then you’re never developing anyone else at the same time.”
Weis was clear that he would be doing similar things if the Jayhawks were 4-1. He also said he laid out the plan to the entire team, including the seniors who didn’t take part in Sunday’s practice.
If the Jayhawks were a .500 program, Weis explained, the goal would be to become a perennial winner. If they were a perennial winner, the goal would be a championship. But KU is still far from that, so the plan begins with small steps toward winning games.
“You have to understand,” Weis said, “the steps that you have to take to get there.”
Some good news after a rough Saturday: Sophomore running back Tony Pierson had an X-ray on his injured elbow and the results came back negative. Weis said Pierson, who was injured during the first half against K-State, practiced some on Sunday.
“He’s got a sore elbow,” Weis said, “but I thought the way (the training staff) were talking to me, I thought for sure we were talking about an extended period of time.”
The KU defense’s performance against Kansas State was reminiscent of some of the lowlight days of the last two seasons. The Wildcats finished with 346 rushing yards and the defense was repeatedly burned on big plays.
After watching the film, Weis was most frustrated with the breakdowns that ended up with his players out of position to make a play.
“It’s one thing if you have a guy who's overrunning the play and just missing them, or a guy breaks through an arm,” Weis said. “But there were too many plays in the game where we just weren’t in the right spot at the right time. And that can only be attributed to a combination to the players and the coaches.”