Charlie Weis isn’t going anywhere, except recruiting.
Kansas football completed its second year of the Weis regime with a 31-10 loss to Kansas State in a game littered with turnovers for both sides, but especially the Jayhawks. They had six, including four to open the third quarter, which blunted their comeback attempt.
The outcome left Kansas with records of 3-9 overall and 1-8 in the Big 12, slight improvements over Weis’ first season. Still, his 4-20 overall record at KU is one victory shy of Turner Gill’s 5-19 mark in his two years before Gill was fired in 2011.
But Weis, presented a five-year contract upon his hire, will be back next season, said Kansas athletic director Sheahon Zenger.
“I’ve been through rebuilding projects many times, and we’re going to stay the course,” Zenger said. “Wins and loses aren’t always indicative of the effort put in by this coaching staff and these players over the past couple of years.
“I’m proud of their effort and their work ethic, and we’ll continue to chop away at this.”
The process has been painful in Lawrence. Since 2008, the program’s last bowl year, Kansas has amassed a 14-46 record — winning the first five games in that period. In conference games, the Jayhawks are 3-40.
There was hope for a fast finish this season when Kansas emerged from the rugged portion of its schedule and defeated West Virginia, ending a 27-game Big 12 losing streak. But a shutout loss at Iowa State and Saturday’s mistake-filled defeat to K-State dashed those ideas.
Still, senior safety Dexter Linton said he thinks the program is moving in the right direction.
“Things didn’t work out our way, but I definitely felt a positive vibe,” Linton said.
After falling behind 21-0 and having starting quarterback Montell Cozart pulled for Jake Heaps, Kansas did experience a few positive moments.
The Jayhawks scored the final 10 points of the first half, first on an 11-yard strike from Heaps to tight end Jimmay Mundine on fourth and 2.
Kansas followed that by recovering a fumble on the ensuing kickoff and getting a good bounce off the upright on Ron Doherty’s 31-yard field goal before halftime.
“Even when the score was 21-10, I never felt the game getting away from us,” Weis said. “In one year, that’s a major difference.”
But Kansas couldn’t edge closer because its first four possessions of the second half ended in turnovers. Running back James Sims, typically reliable with the ball, lost his second fumble of the game. Mundine bobbled a ball enough times to keep it alive for an interception. Heaps tried to drop a pass over coverage to Mundine at the goal line but slightly underthrew it and K-State’s Dante Barnett made his second straight pick.
In the locker room, Sims approached Weis to apologize, and the coach put up a stiff arm.
“Don’t even start, we’re not going there,” Weis said he told Sims. “You can feel sorry for yourself for a short amount of time, but you have a lot of football to play yet, I’m a big fan of James Sims.”
Sims was among 23 seniors introduced before their final college game, and the most productive. He had 82 rushing yards Saturday and finished his career with 3,592, third on the school’s all-time list. His 34 career rushing touchdowns stand second.
But Sims never played for a winner. None of the seniors did, even those who redshirted and were in the program for five years. Weis said any state-of-the-program conclusions would be expressed after the December recruiting period, but this much is known: He’ll be the one offering the assessment.