Monday, January 9, 2012
KU has become the land of second chances
By David Ubben
Charlie Weis hasn't coached a game yet. He hasn't even roamed the sidelines at a practice yet.
The first won't happen for another eight months. His first practice won't be for a month or two.
But has any coach, in just a month since taking a job, done more for a program without taking so much as the practice field?
Former Notre Dame QB Dayne Crist will reunite with coach Charlie Weis at Kansas.
Weis' hiring landed KU football on college football's front page, a location that had long been foreign territory for a program that has won five games in two seasons.
His latest move is bringing in Kansas native Justin McCay, a 6-foot-2, 209-pound receiver that could not find a place at Oklahoma, despite being arguably the school's top recruit in the 2010 recruiting class.
Weis hired McCay's high school coach, Tim Grunhard, to run his offensive line, and when McCay started looking for a new place to play football, Kansas was an obvious choice.
He's not the only person seeking a new start in Kansas.
Weis fixed (or, at least, appears to have fixed) the biggest problem at Kansas immediately. Jordan Webb ranked near the bottom of the Big 12 in nearly every passing statistic last season.
Webb lacked any real big-time targets to catch his passes. That didn't help. Weis has aggressively looked to change both ends of Kansas' passing game.
Weis stocked his cupboard with three years worth of passers loaded with talent, and McCay may be the first of a few receiving targets. Time will tell if that means production, but it'll almost certainly start with Dayne Crist.
Decision-making in the red zone turned a promising Notre Dame career sour. Crist will try to become the next Russell Wilson and, degree in hand, transfer to Kansas to rejoin the coach that recruited him to South Bend, Weis.
Fellow quarterback Jake Heaps threw for 2,316 yards and 15 touchdowns as a freshman at BYU, but struggled before finding the bench in Provo. He'll sit behind Crist for a year before competing for the job in 2012.
And then, of course, there's Weis, whose Notre Dame teams reached BCS games in his first two seasons before winning just 16 games in the final three seasons. The former New England Patriots offensive coordinator and three-time Super Bowl winner was fired.
But this is a whole new place and a whole new situation.
The same is true for McCay, Crist and Heaps.
There's no guarantees. But Weis' arrival and his early impact assures that there are second chances.