If the Big 12 Conference awarded league championships for blunt assessments, Charlie Weis would be measuring his trophy case for a second straight Big 12 title.
Weis brought his unvarnished thoughts to Big 12 football media day on Monday morning, providing a blunt state-of-the-program message: Kansas was 1-11 last season, dead last in the Big 12 for the third straight season, and there’s no getting around that.
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“We’re 1-11 and picked by everybody to finish last in the league, and that’s justifiable,” Weis said. “If I were you, I’d pick us in the same spot. We’ve given you no evidence or no reason to be picked anywhere other than that.”
The Jayhawks, though, have some reasons for higher expectations. And those begin with a proven rushing attack and the potential emergence of transfer quarterback Jake Heaps. And Weis, despite the on-field setbacks, was also able to piece together a highly touted recruiting class that leaned heavy on junior college players. And when asked about his success in the cutthroat recruiting world, Weis turned on the charm.
His recruiting pitch, he says, was simple — and perhaps a little too honest.
“Everyone wants to play,” Weis said. “There’s no one that wants to not play. I said, ‘Have you looked at that pile of crap out there? Have you taken a look at that?’ So if you don’t think you can play here, where do you think you can play? It’s a pretty simple approach. And that’s not a sales pitch. That’s practical. You’ve seen it, right? Unfortunately, so have I.”
Here are the other highlights from Weis’ media session on Monday:
On being picked last in the Big 12 again:
“I told our players and told our coaching staff that, until they start winning some games in the conference, that’s just the way it’s going to be.
“Obviously, inside closed walls or inside our walls and closed doors, our expectations are much higher than everyone else, but the proof’s in the pudding. Until we start beating some teams in the Big 12, which is quite a challenge with the ability and talent throughout the league, we’re going to be put in the same spot every year.”
On Jake Heaps being able to succeed as a transfer quarterback after Dayne Crist struggled last year:
“Actually, they’re totally different situations other than the fact that they’re coming in new. Dayne was coming off the back-to-back ACLs. So you get your — you tore your right ACL, then you get healthy, then you tear your left ACL. So as a quarterback you could simulate a lot of things, but the one thing you’re not going to do is in training camp let your starting quarterback get hit a whole bunch of times.
“So you don’t know what’s going to happen when the real bullets start flying, and I think that we all saw — Dayne admittedly it, too. He’s one of my favorite people of all times. I mean, wasn’t playing with a lot of confidence, wasn’t playing with that air about him that ‘I’m not worrying about my knees, I’m just going to go ahead and let it go.’”
Jake has no physical issues. Jake just had to sit for a year while he was biding his time for his opportunity to play. So I think that Jake will come in with a lot more confidence.”
On senior running back James Sims not being selected preseason all-Big 12 after rushing for 1,000 yards last year
“I think that James, if you asked him the same question, would say, “I don’t care where you put me, first, second, third,” but he would arguably say that, if you looked at our stable at running backs, you’ll find a tough time in this league trying to find a group of running backs that’s any better than the ones we have. That might be the only position I can say that with.”