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Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Weis' two key lessons from South Bend

By Matt Fortuna

Charlie Weis' struggles during his five-year tenure at Notre Dame are well-documented. Entering his first season at Kansas with a few familiar faces, Weis is looking to learn from those mistakes and bring a winning edge to a program coming off a two-win campaign in 2011.

The two biggest lessons he learned with the Irish? College kids ain't easy, and building a cohesive coaching staff is essential.

From the Hutchinson News' Lucas Fahrer:
"I learned early on at Notre Dame that an 18-year-old kid is not like a 23-year-old young man," Weis said Thursday during a sit-down before his speaking engagement at Prairie Dunes Country Club. "Somebody coming is not like somebody going out. They're not the same. You have to have a clear understanding of how to deal with a freshman that was a superstar in his high school and how to coach him and psychologically deal with him versus the more mature guy who's already gone through the beatdown for three or four or five years and can handle just about anything you throw at them."

Weis didn't waste time looking for silver linings from a roster that won just two games. Hence, the 10 offseason transfers. But he brought in six new players --including the Notre Dame trio of Dayne Crist, Anthony McDonald and Mike Ragone -- to show the younger guys the right way to handle themselves once they enter the latter stages of their college careers.

As for that other lesson, the coaching chemistry?
"When I went to Notre Dame, I was coming from 15 years in the NFL, and other than two coaches who I knew that were coaching with the (Miami) Dolphins and had been let go ... I didn't know any of the guys I was hiring," Weis said. "I was hiring guys based off (their) reputation not from personal knowledge of the coaching staff. I hired a bunch of really good coaches but the chemistry was always crummy. The only one I have to blame for that is me."

Weis was able to take a much more hands-on approach in forming his new staff, as he wasn't balancing coaching the Patriots' offense to another Super Bowl. In any event, as Fahrer notes, it will take much more than chemistry to solve the issues that plagued Lawrence, Kan., last season. Weis knows that now, and seeing him move away from the end of his Irish tenure should make for an interesting 2012 season at Kansas.