LAWRENCE, Kan. -
Kansas head coach Charlie Weis
and senior quarterback Dayne Crist
each held their weekly press conferences Tuesday afternoon at Mrkonic Auditorium. Both men reflected on the Jayhawks' opening night victory over South Dakota State and looked ahead to Saturday's game with Rice.
The Jayhawks (1-0) will take on the Rice Owls at 2:30 p.m., Saturday at Memorial Stadium. Fans that can't make it to the stadium can watch it live on Fox Sports Net.
Below is a transcript of Weis' press conference and a portion of Crist's.
Kansas Head Coach Charlie Weis
On Rice's coaches:
"Coach (David) Bailiff, he's been there for six years. I think that he's established some stability in their program. Coach (Chris) Thurmond, who runs their defense, has only been there for a couple years. He has a very strong background in the secondary and I think that the secondary is one of the stronger parts of their defense. A lot of you know Coach (John) Reagan, who is their offensive coordinator. He's a guy who would like to run the ball on every play if he could and I got to know Coach (Darrell) Patterson a little bit this past year. Besides being their assistant head coach and being a coach on defense, he coordinates their special teams."
On Rice's defense:
"They basically play a nickel defense for most of the time, which is a 4-2 personnel group with a fifth defensive back. I'll talk about the three safety-type players they play. Everyone noticed Cameron Nwosu last week, with his three blocked extra points setting a record. Besides him being their leading tackler last year, where he wore No. 34--he's one of the two players who's changed their numbers. In this case he's wearing No. 57 for a player who I'm familiar with by the name of O.J. Brigance, who, when I was coaching with the Pats, was playing with the Dolphins at the time. As a matter of fact, I think he was friends and teammates with Tre' Parmalee's dad, Bernie, while they were with the Dolphins. I think O.J. might've played with Rod Jones with the Rams for a brief period of time as well. I think the fact that both Nwosu and his roommate have both changed their numbers to honor past legends at Rice that are dealing with, in O.J.'s case it's ALS, but dealing with tough times, I think is a pretty good statement about the kids. Jerry Williams, No. 97, is clearly the leader of their defensive line. (Kansas offensive lineman) Tanner (Hawkinson) will have his hands full, because that's where the guy lines up most of the time. In the secondary, people want to talk about (Bryce) Callahan, because he has six picks last year and he's coming back after being banged up some last year. With the corners, I think they're pretty solid. Interestingly, when you watch their defensive scheme and study them, they have two safeties--(Paul) Porras plays the boundary safety and (Corey) Frazier, who happens to be Leslie Frazier's kid, by the way, from Minnesota, is the field safety. They play (Malcolm) Hill, No. 11, as their adjuster, and because when you have three guys that could bounce from left to right, from deep to down, it gives them some versatility where you don't have to run people all over the place, to adjust to what we're doing offensively. I think it's a nice, sound scheme that they're running. They do have a dime package, where they'll put in six DB's. When they do that, they'll bring in (Alex) Francis, who's a backup corner, and they'll put him as an outside linebacker and play with three down linemen. Sometimes, they even take (Jared) Williams and move him inside to nose tackle, and sometimes they'll leave him at end, but he's the guy that's going to be on the field."
On Rice's offense:
"Their whole offense starts with (senior quarterback Taylor) McHargue. He's different than what we played against last week in the fact that he's more of a dual-threat quarterback. He threw for about 180 (yards) last week and a couple touchdowns, but he ran for close to another 100 yards. Unlike last week, where the quarterbacks really weren't looking to carry the ball, he'll pull in the ball in a second in both the read-option plays and if a play breaks down. I think everything on their offense starts with him. They've got a big running back in (Charles) Ross. He must be 6-1, 230 pounds. He looks every bit of that. When they want to go to their Jayhawk formation--by now you guys should all have that one down--they'll use (Jeremy) Eddington. He'll come in and get some carries when they do that. They have interesting wide receivers. A kid I recruited years ago, Sam McGuffie, who started off at Michigan and is now at Rice, is a very athletic player. As a matter of fact, I'd better get this out of the way, he's the kickoff returner, he's the punt returner, and he's the starting slot, as well. One of the guys they compliment him with, because he's not the biggest, is No. 15 (Jordan) Taylor, who's every bit of 6-5, 210 pounds. So, they have the tall receiver, and then they have the receiver with some shake and bake making people miss, and that's a nice compliment. The same can be said with their tight ends. They've got a couple of big guys in there, they'll use (Luke) Willson, He's about 6-3, 250. They have another guy, (Vance) McDonald, No. 88. He might be 6-3, 260, so they have two guys with some good size at the tight end position. Last, but not least, as far as their offense goes, if you look at the left side of their offensive line, you're going to see some serious height and size. Their left tackle, (Jon) Hodde, is 6-7, 300. Their left guard (Ian) Gray is 6-8, 340. That's two really big men to start off with, and then we get to a little more normal size, with (Nate) Richards at center, (Drew) Carroll at right guard and (Caleb) Williams at right tackle. The one with the most experience is their right guard, Carroll. He's the guy who started every game last year, so he's the guy who kinds of holds them all together."
On Rice's special teams:
"Their third tight end punted for them, by the name of (Taylor) Cook. Now, the kid's 6-7, 255 pounds, so it's unusual to see a guy who's 6-7 and weighs 255 to come out as your punter, but he was out there and he punts the ball very, very high. They had a front-line kicker in (Chris) Boswell both kicking off--he's got a powerful leg--and kicking field goals. He kicked a 54-yarder last week. He was a Lou Groza Award semifinalist last year, so they have a very, very strong kicking game as far as both kicking off and kicking field goals. In addition to McGuffie, you might see (Julius) White back there (returning kicks). A lot of times, they'll put two returners as punt returners, and in kickoff returns, I think (Donte) Moore will be the other guy who they'll list back there, who's a wide receiver."
On if Rice's inability to stop the run last week gives KU confidence this week:
"Most of it was big plays. If you watch the game, if you give up two runs for over 70 yards a pop, that number gets skewed in a hurry. Now they all count as part of the average. The same guy had another big run, so it wasn't just two big runs, but there were two for over 70 yards. I think you have to look at the whole body of evidence. You can look at the fact that I'm sure they felt bad that they gave up big plays, but they also made a whole bunch of plays too, so I don't think you can just count on the fact, `Well yeah, we're going to get Tony (Pierson) in the open field like that.' Hey, sign me up if you think that's what's going to end up happening, but I think we're going to have to make sure we play physical up front to be able to get that to happen."
On Rice blocking three extra points:
"Honestly, I think all (three times) the balls were kicked low. Now, the kid made the play in all three cases, but I watched both the regular copy and I went back to watch the TV copy, because they've only played one game this year, so I wanted to pick up anything I could pick up. I didn't think just watching the regular tape was enough. As you go back and watch the TV copy, you could clearly see that the announcers are saying, `Hey, there's some pressure here in the protection, but the kicker has got to get the ball in the air.' Sometimes, the protection gets all the blame and it's sometimes the kicker's responsibility to get the ball up some, but he was getting some pressure on all three of them and deservedly got the deflection on all of them."
On if he grades players on Sunday at film sessions:
"It's basically pluses or minuses that add up to a percentage grade. You get one in the run game, one in the pass game and then you get one collectively to see what your efficiency in the game was individually. We grade relatively difficult; we grade hard. I'll grade harder than a lot of the position coaches, so every once in awhile, I'll look at somebody's grade and I'll say, `Man I wish I would've had you when I was in class.' I think it's easier when you're sitting down there. When you have the clicker in your hand, it's easy to nit-pick because you could see every little thing. When you just have to tell with the naked eye, sometimes you don't see all the detail especially the last of attention to detail. Without the clicker in your hand, you sometimes can't see that."
On Taylor Cox's play last week:
"Coming in, I knew that Taylor had a little shiftiness and had some shake-and-bake. I also knew, coming in, that he could run with power, but seeing him do those both in the same game, I think was really encouraging. Probably the best thing for Taylor was after he fumbled, you look at somebody's face--remember, we talked about looking into their eyes--he couldn't get back out there fast enough. Here's one of the guys who wasn't in the tank. He just wanted to get out there and kind of make up for it. As a teaching moment, that's actually a good thing for him. Now, I'll never see a fumble as a good thing, but as a teaching moment, it's actually a good thing."
On Dayne Crist's grade Saturday:
"No one gets graded harder than the quarterback, so I think that his parents would not have been happy if he brought that grade home."
On Taylor Cox's toughness:
"I don't think you bring in a junior college player if you don't think they can play now. I think if you bring in a junior college player, and a junior college player that's been seasoned for a couple of years, they're not coming to you to sit on the bench. The reason why they're picking Kansas and your program is because they have a good feel that you'll utilize what they do, what they've shown for the last couple years and in his case, the kid wasn't picked All-American in junior college for no reason. I'm not being sarcastic. He was good. It's just that not very many people saw him. I said it last week, but Weed, Calif., go on navigation and see if you can find it. It's a tough place to find, but I'm telling you what, he was a really good player last year in junior college, and we thought that he could definitely help us and we're really happy that he's with us."
On if there were concerns about the level of competition Cox played against last year:
"Tape doesn't lie, when you study tape, it doesn't lie. I mean what a good player is supposed to do against players that aren't as good is dominate. All they can do is dominate, and that's what he did. Okay, so if he's playing against average guys or playing these good guys, it really isn't the point. It is, what is he doing when he's playing? You know there's other guys that are on this team that were high school players last year that people didn't think were really good either, but you watch on the tape and you say `I don't know what their looking at,' I'm looking at something different than what their looking at."
On how freshmen Schyler Miles and Tre' Parmalee looked in their first game:
"I think that's good for both of them to get their feet wet. There are more of them that we want to get more in the mix this week. But I think that anytime where they get 10 or 20 plays in there, we're on our way to getting the butterflies out. Now the next time out, it won't be as big of a deal. And I think the more players you can get there, the better off you're going to be, because in the long run there's some of these guys that we're going to need. They're going to need to play for us sometime this year, we just don't know when that time will be."
On if he buys that teams make a big leap between week one and week two:
"First of all, if you have two weeks in-between the first game and the second game, you know sometimes people play games and then they have a bye then they play another game, I think that gives you an even better chance for that to happen. But I think that once you get the first game out of the way, I mean there are so many things that you can fix once there's evidence of it on tape. Remember now, we're a brand-new team, brand-new staff, chemistry: you're blending together kids who were here with kids who weren't here, but it's all new. The more these guys now start to play against an opponent together, I think that the improvement should be significant. But I'm expecting with many players at many positions for them to play a lot better this week than they played last week."
On if he would expect improvement from Rice week two as well:
"I would think they would play a lot better than they played last week as well. I mean, for example, the first thing you do is say `what were the biggest problems we have?' You know, even when you win a game, there's plenty of problems, a ton of them. So coaches aren't naïve to think that everything is beautiful just because you won a game. What you do is you identify those problems and you get to work on those ASAP. And you can't wait until Monday to get to work on them. You have to start working on them Sunday. I mean, you need to watch it, say `okay here's what the problems are' and start addressing them right then, because if you wait until Tuesday, you can just go like everything is beautiful and before you know it, the next opponents on and you didn't get any better."
On if players are more receptive to criticism after a win compared to after a loss:
"Oh, it's not even close. It's not even comparable. I said the other day, it's coaching utopia when you win a game and there are a lot of problems. You watch a tape and you can't wait for them to come in, because they're feeling really good and they eat with their parents and all their friends and everyone is saying `good game' and you come in and you tell them how bad they stink and you know, trust me you knock them back off their pedestal very, very quickly."
On how the players responded to his criticism:
"I think they were expecting it. They were expecting us to come in and one thing I do, I take the offense and I make a good play-bad play tape. So I'll take about, after every game, I'll watch about 20 plays, 10 good ones and 10 bad ones. And after a win, I always show the bad ones first, say `yeah you think your good? Well, let's watch this pile of crap.' And then, you go through those 10 plays. Now when you lose, you do just the opposite. You know, everyone is telling you how bad you are, but let's look at these 10 plays for the game, remember this one? Remember this one? Okay, so after a loss, you show them the good plays to bring them back to: it's not as bad as it all seems. But I show them 10 of both, because I try to be even-keel at all times."
On the toughness of the tight ends when they have to block:
"I think that the only guy that's behind is Charles (Brooks), because he's more of a pass-catching tight end. But, I've been very pleased with Jimmay (Mundine) with Trent (Smiley) and with Mike (Ragone). I think they've kind of followed Mike's lead where they expect now, at the tight end position, not to get knocked off with the ball on the edge. And I think that's where it all starts at the tight end position. If a tight end can't block a defensive end, especially when most of these teams play four man fronts, if they're going to get man-handled by defensive ends, you're going to have a long day at the office. So, I think that they have kind of taken to that right there. Charles is closing ground, but I mean it's just something he didn't have to do a whole bunch (at his previous schools), because he's more detached running down the field the whole time. When Mike first came out of high school that wasn't what he was either. He was 225 pounds soaking wet. Now he's 257, you know it's a difference, your body is different, you can do different things. You don't run as fast, instead of being that 4-4 guy you might run a 4-6 but, at the same time, you can't block anyone at that time and now you can hold up with those players."
On the mental makeup of the tight ends:
"I think that they've improved. I wasn't really sure what we had in the spring, but coming out of camp, I'm high on both of those guys as far as how much toughness they've demonstrated once we put pads on."
On what plays Dayne Crist was shown after the game:
"Dayne gets the whole kitten caboodle now. I mean, he gets it in different ways now. First thing he gets is every play in the game and then he gets it broken down into good plays in the run, good plays in the pass, bad plays in the run and bad plays in the pass. Yes, you get a minus play on a running play even though you're just handing it off, because if you don't carry out your fake, it's a minus. Even though you're just handing it off, it's still a minus. So he gets every play broken down. What ends on happening then, you wait another day and then you go to more of the big picture thing: Don't press; you're not carrying the world on your shoulders here, just run the play. There's plenty of coaching points you can give to the quarterback depending on their level of experience.
On if he felt like Crist was pressing:
"No, I just told him not to. Whether he was or not wasn't the point, he had this whole list of things that you think earlier in the year you think is important for them to know. To be perfectly honest with you, I think my biggest concerns going into the game with him were: Is he going to be scared? Because it's been a long time since he played. Is he going to be looking at the rush? And with both those questions, he wasn't scared and he wasn't looking at the rush. If things don't go great, is he going to be composed? So he had the trifecta with me. Really, the three most important things that I was looking at going into this year, to see how successful he would be would be those three. And with those three, he came through with flying colors. I can correct the other things; I can create better chemistry in the passing game. I mean it's a combination of him and the skill guys, but I can't do it if he's looking at the rush. I can't do it if he nervous, I can't do it if he loses his composure. And he passed all those with flying colors."
On what he expects Dayne's response will be this week:
"I think he knows what I expect at this point. He knows that he shouldn't be walking around like we lost the football game. You only get 12 of these regular season games and the first one was a win. Nothing bothers me more than when somebody feels bad after we win. You aren't supposed to feel bad after you win; you are supposed to feel good after you win. You deal with the problems in the game, but don't feel bad after you win. To be honest with you, when I was a younger coach, I was the same way. We would win a game and I would be miserable, because I would be thinking about the players that I coached and the mistakes they made in the game. I wouldn't even be thinking about the fact that we won the game, I would be thinking about all the bad things. As I have gotten older, mellowed out and all that other stuff, I have learned to appreciate a win for at least for 24 hours and then get to work on the next one."
On how he thought the offensive line did:
"The quarterback only got hit a couple times. He got hit on one sack, which should have never happened. He got hit a couple other times, but nothing significant. On the third-and-one interception, he shouldn't have gotten hit. I wasn't too fired up about that. We ran the ball for a bunch of yards and gave up one sack. Most games, if the quarterback doesn't get hit very often and you run the ball for a bunch of yards, it usually means the offensive line played pretty well. You don't single out offensive linemen. You don't single out one guy. You don't say, `Well, Tanner (Hawkinson) played good, but (Duane) Zlatnik didn't play so well.' The offensive line, you talk about as a group. It is all five of them. They want to be treated as a whole. Some guys grade better than others, but that is not the point. It is really at the end of the day, what was the production in the run game? What was the production in the pass game? What role did they play in that production?
On the rotation on the right side of the offensive line:
"I think the percentages will eventually change, but I don't think we are ready yet to do that. The one thing I am concerned with is making sure we build some inherent depth. I certainly don't want to take Tanner and Zlatnik off the field, unless I have to. One of the ways you do that is by playing more than five guys. We would like to have the opportunity to play more than seven guys and play nine or 10, but that is not the way the game played out."
On his concerns with the kickoff coverage:
"We have a couple of young guys here, a couple of walk-ons, that have kicked pretty well in camp. (Austin) Barone has done a better job kicking field goals and (Nick) Prolago has done a better job of kicking off. What we will do this week in that one facet, is give these guys a legitimate look to see if we can't take that part of the kicking game away from (Ron Doherty). I will have to see evidence enough that it won't be a detraction from what we do. If it's not, then I will try to do that."
On if he thought the defensive line improved the most:
"What I have said all along is that players are coming in and we are going to have more quality depth. You still don't know how good we are going to play, but you can say we have more quality depth. You put those first four guys out there, that is what they are supposed to look like. You look at Josh (Williams), you look at (Jordan) Tavai, you look at Keba (Agostinho) and you look at Toben (Opurum) and you say, `okay, that is what they look like.' That is what your standard nickel defense front four looks like. Then you start adding those guys behind them and you say, `okay, got some fast twitch from that No. 55 guy (Michael Reynolds) coming off the edge'. (Ben) Goodman, he showed up better than everybody thought he was going to play. Then you have John Williams and (Kevin) Young and (Keon) Stowers, there are nine guys right there I just named off the top of my head that all played meaningful, significant reps in the game. I think that is a good thing, because it is a long year and there are a lot of teams in this league with firepower, lots of firepower. You are going to have to keep them as fresh as you possibly can."
On the special teams captain this week:
"We will vote as a staff. We will do that after we get through a couple days (of practice). If you were asking me off the top of my head, who would be the two guys that came to mind as contenders: Jake Love had three tackles on special teams, he would be a contender. Josh Ford had a lot of production on special teams, he would be a contender. What I do is I vote last, because I don't want to intimidate the staff into voting a certain way, so I vote last. Every week, it will be whoever plays the best on special teams the week before."
Senior quarterback Dayne Crist
On if he has a better idea of things he did wrong after watching film:
"I think there were just a lot of throws that I left on the field. I have to practice better. I have a better understanding for how the game went. But at the end of the day, I know that I can play much better than the way I did on Saturday. I'm excited for the opportunity to get better this week in practice and go out and have a better showing (this) Saturday."
On if it was easier to be critical of his performance after a win:
"It's always easier. Then at the end of the day you're happy with a win however you get it, it's the most important thing. It's a little bit easier, but at the same time I have very high expectations of myself, so I'm always striving to be as close to perfection as possible. I was very far from it on Saturday and I'm going to do everything in my power to do better (this week)."
On if he has trouble feeling bad after a win if he doesn't play up to expectations:
"At times, but I completely agree with Coach (Weis). He addressed the whole team and told guys that no matter how you played, you have to be happy with a win. That's what I try to do. Like I said, at the end of the day (getting) a win is the most important thing."
On Coach Weis being tougher on him than on other players:
"Yeah, but I'm just as hard on myself, so it's not like I'm disagreeing in any way. I agree with him completely and I'm doing everything in my power to be better on Saturday."
On what role his receivers have played in trying to get in sync with him:
"From time to time, but I hold myself accountable for my play. It's encouraging that the group of receivers that we have, they're always trying to get better and improve. I think the communication between us is great. At the same time, we all have the same goal of playing better and being more efficient and that's what we will aim to do all week this week."
On what he looks for when he studies a defense on film:
"You're going to go over more schematic things with your coaches during meetings, and while that's important, it's just as important to look at personnel. You want to see how guys play and not just what they do. To see how they play, certain technique and just see speed on film, you can really get a good feel for the players that you're going to play against. Once you get past the schematics, which are very important, you definitely need to know the players that you're playing against."
On the challenges the Rice defense presents this week:
"They have a lot more speed on the field (compared to last week). When you throw another safety on the field, you have a guy who is typically better in coverage than a traditional third linebacker. It's going to look a little different, but I think we'll have a good bead on them from the film that we have watched and will watch. It's just like any other week, you have to respect what they do and try to plan accordingly."
On what the team would like to improve on in Week two:
"I can really only speak for the offense, but I think the biggest thing for us is playing more efficient. (In the first game there were) too many mental errors, too many points left on the field and missed plays. At the end of the day, we have to be more efficient. That starts at practice, so we have to have a great sense of urgency today and all week at practice. We need to have practice efficiency as well."
On what specifically he saw on film that he can adjust:
"For me it was all about accuracy. I am much more accurate than the way that I played. A lot goes into that: you have to tie your feet into your throws, your mechanics (have to be good) all week in practice and you have to be comfortable with the play. It's something that I have to work on and continue to improve all year long."