Thursday, September 13, 2012
Kansas trying to rebound from Rice loss
By David Ubben
Kansas has its share of critics these days. It's a natural response to winning five games over two seasons.
Still, even the Jayhawks harshest critics pegged KU for a win at home against Rice.
It didn't come. A last-second field goal put the final touches on a fourth-quarter comeback that sent Kansas to 1-1 and back to reload from an ugly loss to start the Charlie Weis Era.
Weis, though, doesn't have time to sit and feel sorry for himself or his team. There are 10 more games to fix what went wrong in the loss to the Owls.
Head coach Charlie Weis says the Jayhawks need to learn how to finish out close games.
"We had opportunities in all three facets of our team to close out the game. Not only were we up two scores, but we had an opportunity to put it away on special teams, and we missed a couple field goals," he said. "We had opportunity on offense to put it away by a score or run out the clock, and defense we gave up three scores in the last 16 minutes of the game."
It's a long list. It won't be easy. TCU comes to Lawrence on Saturday with a whole lot to prove, playing its first game as a Big 12 member.
Weis' team doesn't know how to win, because they haven't been in tight spots very often. That doesn't happen by magic.
"One thing we’re going to have to do a better job of, and it really starts with coaching, is when a team has been used to losing, we’ve got to help guide them through that," he said. "In close games, you have to believe, and you have to help teach them how to finish games. I put that more on the responsibility of me and the coaching staff."
Weis talked about the issue during the spring and summer after he took the job, and made headlines this fall when he tried to physically teach his team how to win. Pretending his team was 2-0, Weis had his team practice celebrating a game-winning field goal against TCU while media filmed the exercise during one of the early morning open practices.
The circumstances are already short of what Weis imagined, but somebody will leave Memorial Stadium on Saturday with a win. Weis will work this week to help his Jayhawks earn their second Big 12 win in their past 25 outings.
"You can’t just count on these guys to figure it out on their own. That’s one of the responsibilities of the coaching staff. We’ve got to help guide them through that. Of all the teams I’ve gone to, where we’ve gone from sort of reclamation projects -- sooner or later something has clicked when you start to figure it out," Weis said. "Unfortunately it didn’t happen this week, but even if we would have won this week, it would have disguised some stuff we did wrong in the game at the end. The bottom line is, to truly turn the corner, we’re going to have to try and improve that."