University of Kansas

Charlie Weis says KU’s play in final four games will define season

Updated: 2013-11-06T05:57:40Z

By RUSTIN DODD

The Kansas City Star

— Charlie Weis’ weekly news conference had already descended to a pretty weird place, and that was before Weis suggested that Kansas might build a statue for him outside Memorial Stadium if the Jayhawks can win their last four football games and finish 6-6.

This was Tuesday afternoon, three days after Kansas had dropped to 2-6 overall and 0-5 in the Big 12 after a 35-13 loss to Texas. It was the Jayhawks’ 26th straight Big 12 loss. And like many things in the world of Weis, the statue comment was, presumably, a touch of well-timed sarcasm wrapped in a larger point:

“This team will be remembered by what happens in the next four games,” Weis said, echoing a message he gave his team on Sunday. “It will not be remembered by where we are right now.”

Right now, of course, things appear pretty bleak. The Jayhawks, who have lost five straight, will play their third ranked team in four weeks when they travel Saturday to No. 15 Oklahoma State, 7-1 overall and 4-1 in the Big 12. The schedule has done Kansas no favors, with potentially winnable games against West Virginia and Iowa State coming in the next two weeks. But then again, the Jayhawks haven’t done themselves any favors, either.

While the offense has struggled, averaging just 17 points per game, Weis also pointed to a trend of game-changing plays in the second half. The scenario is familiar: Kansas stays competitive for a while, maybe until the second half, but then (name that opponent) takes advantage of a KU mistake and the Jayhawks can’t find a way to recover.

It happened again last week, when a fumble by quarterback Jake Heaps helped turn a 14-6 deficit into a 35-13 rout.

“What we have not done a very good job of, collectively, starting with me right on down is overcoming those bad things that have happened somewhere in the third quarter,” Weis said.

This week, Weis said, overcoming those moments will be an emphasis during practice. The idea also led to the first bizarre exchange of Tuesday afternoon, when a reporter asked Weis if a solution to those third-quarter lapses could be serving coffee to players during halftime.

“Coffee?” Weis said. “I have so many sarcastic remarks.”

For the record, Weis said the Jayhawks have an assortment of energy shakes and energy bars in the locker room. But the whole thing did provide a pretty good symbol for the present state of Kansas football. Weis seems like a coach willing to do just about anything to pull Kansas out of its tailspin. (No coffee, though.) And despite the midseason swoon, Weis is still trying to evaluate the big picture.

“(If we finish) 4-8? There’s signs,” Weis said. “5-7? OK, things are better. 6-6? They start building a statue. But that really is the perspective that we’re taking. …

“You could be 4-0, you could be 0-4, or anywhere in between. But that’s their legacy. Their legacy isn’t where they are two-thirds of the way through the season.”

To reach Rustin Dodd, call 816-234-4937 or send email to rdodd@kcstar.com. Follow him at twitter.com/rustindodd.

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