Campus Corner

KU’s Weis uses the off week to scout opponents on TV

Through the wonders of technology, Charlie Weis got an early start on some scouting on Saturday afternoon.

Kansas had a rare week-one bye, and Weis had mapped out a television schedule, attempting to watch as many of KU’s future opponents as possible.

And while Weis says he’d much rather be coaching than observing, he appears to have this man-cave thing down. He even shelled out some money to watch South Dakota, KU’s opponent next week, take on UC Davis on something called the Coyote Network. (Look out Longhorn Network!)

“10 bucks,” Weis said Monday on the Big 12 coaches teleconference.

The online stream offered a nice and cheap primer for South Dakota — the Coyotes edged UC Davis 10-7 — but it was a result from Friday night that provided the best teaching tool for Weis as the Jayhawks prepare for their season opener on Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

Less than 12 hours after Kansas State fell to a lower-level opponent, North Dakota State of the Football Championship Subdivision, 24-21 on Friday night, the Jayhawks were on the practice field on Saturday morning for an early-morning workout. The Jayhawks, of course, are in no position to look past anybody, but if they needed a refresher on focus, K-State’s loss certainly offered as much.

“Obviously, (that’s) an in-state rival that got a lot of attention,” Weis said. “We had a really early-morning practice, and they were the first words being uttered. I said: Did you pay attention? Did you see what happened? This isn’t big surprise here fellas. This is what can happen.

“That game glaringly got our players' attention.”

It’s worth pointing out that while North Dakota State is something like the “Alabama” of the level formerly known as Division I-AA, South Dakota may as well be the “Kansas” of the FCS.

The Coyotes finished 1-10 last year and failed to win a game in the Missouri Valley. Still, KU has players on its roster that were in the program when the Jayhawks began the 2010 season with a 6-3 loss to North Dakota State. So, yes, it’d be smart to take the Coyotes seriously.

“I think they’re coming off a similar season to us,” Weis said of South Dakota. “And I think that having early success in their opener gives them a little bit of a jump-start on us, because they’ve already got one under the belt with a victory.

“I think that it’s always a concern when a team has a victory, to iron out some kinks, (because) the second game is usually gonna be better than the first one.”

The rash of FCS-over-FBS upsets wasn’t just limited to the shocker in Manhattan. Among the other surprises: Iowa State lost to in-state foe Northern Iowa, another member of the Missouri Valley, and Eastern Washington took down No. 25 Oregon State.

Weis said he doesn’t necessarily think the results were that unexpected. But you can believe he’ll still be using the theme as a point of emphasis during this week’s practices.

“I think that when you have an offseason to get ready to go, the first game is going to be dialed up,” Weis said. “I think that too many times people underestimate preparation. And I think that watching those teams win the games was not a big surprise. I mean, there are certain games that are surprises.

“But there are a lot of good football coaches out there, there’s a lot of good football players, and I think that time is a great equalizer.”

Weis, of course, was granted the gift of an extra week of preparation for a KU program that’s attempting to rebound from a 1-11 campaign. And Weis made use of the time by watching snippets of K-State, Baylor, Oklahoma State and Rice — the Jayhawks’ week-two opponent.

The Owls put up a respectable performance against Texas A&M, which was missing quarterback Johnny Manziel for the first half, and Weis came away impressed with Rice’s offense. (The Owls hung 509 total yards on Texas A&M in a 52-31 loss.)

“Everyone wanted to talk about the quarterback and what's going to happen there,” Weis said of Manziel. “I just was interested in watching Rice. Offensively they were pretty impressive, to tell you the truth. They took it to them wire-to-wire in the game.”

For most, Weis’ day of television scouting sounded like paradise. Multiple games. Hours of football. And so on. Weis, however, made it clear he was ready to get the Jayhawks’ season started.

“It was actually a miserable day, to sit around from noon until midnight, just watching college football,” Weis said. “(It) isn’t exactly my cup of tea. But you have to use it to your advantage and be able to use whatever TV scouting you can do.”