Charlie Weis made a quick impression with his blunt style, and that didn't change as spring practice in Lawrence began this week.
"At the end of the day, though, what are the two things that people really want to see?" Weis told reporters. "Can the defense stop anybody and what’s going on with [Dayne] Crist?"
Well said, sir. What's going on with Crist, a transfer from Notre Dame, is he's the Jayhawks' starter for 2012. Behind him, though, is a complex situation.
Crist has just one year of eligibility remaining, and BYU transfer Jake Heaps is in place to take over for 2013 and 2014. But who backs up Crist in 2012?
"Heaps is leaps and bounds ahead of the other quarterbacks in the program; it’s not close," Weis said. "How am I going to get him ready to play here in the program knowing that he can’t play in the games next year? When you’re getting your teams ready to play in the summertime, how many reps can you really get him?"
Heaps will work as the backup this spring, but cede those duties to other QBs on the roster once the summer arrives.
Michael Cummings and Blake Jablonski are on campus now, but Turner Baty will arrive before preseason camp and provide even more reinforcements. None of those three have any college football experience like Heaps (a two-year starter for the Cougars), but will have to learn fast with limited reps in the spring and ramped-up playing time in the fall.
"We have a lot of options right now, but this has got to be the time that Jake gets his time because he doesn’t have time once we get to the summer," Weis said.
The goal is simple: Produce impact players like Weis believes Crist will be for the Jayhawks, in need of help at almost every position after a 2-10 season in 2011 that featured six defeats by at least 30 points.
"Having a new quarterback in a new system that knows the system, knows your ways and knows you, and the other guys have a sounding board to go to when they have something to say -- it’s not just him as a player," Weis said. "He makes all of the other offensive players better and every one of them will tell you the same thing. I’ll tell you when you know a kid is special is the day he walks in and the players look at him as a leader and he hasn’t even done anything yet. That’s when you know you have something special."
McCay's status to be decided soon
Receiver Justin McCay, an Oklahoma transfer and Kansas native, is practicing in the spring, but Kansas doesn't know if the NCAA will waive the required redshirt year after transferring and allow him to be immediately eligible.
Weis provided an update.
"I can’t say there’s a good chance because with the NCAA you never know what the good chances are, but from what I understand through our compliance department -- that’s done a wonderful job keeping on top of this -- is that the caseworker in charge of Justin told us yesterday that his case is going to be presented before the caseworker leaves the office on Thursday," he said. "I’m assuming that what the caseworker said is taking place, there’s a chance we could hear something this week. Once they have all of the information -- which they have -- now it’s presented and they say 'yes' or 'no.' It’s not like they have a month-long trial. They hear the information and they make a decision. So I’m hoping to hear something this week and I’m hoping for this month to continue being good."