I’ve been stewing on this for the last week and some change, ever since Kansas head coach Charlie Weis made sports writers’ heads explode with his blunt assessment of the talent pool the Jayhawks possess.
Is Weis refreshingly blunt in an era of coaches who have perfected the art of “coach speak,” meaning they constantly reuse tired phrases that give the media a sound bite but don’t really say anything of value? Or is the second-year KU coach’s words during the Big 12 Media Days last week the latest embarrassment for a university struggling to restore their respectability after three disastrous years?
For those not aware, Weis was discussing his recruiting pitch last Monday in Dallas when he let slip perhaps the most biting criticism of last year’s 1-11 Jayhawk squad in what turns out to be his recruiting pitch.
“Everyone wants to play,” Weis said. “There's no one that wants to not play. I said, ‘have you looked at that pile of crap out there? Have you taken a look at that? So if you don't think you can play here, where do you think you can play?’ It's a pretty simple approach. And that's not a sales pitch. That's practical. You've seen it, right? Unfortunately, so have I.”
That level of bluntness is almost unheard of when it comes to big-time college football. Coaches will, most often, maintain a bright and sunny outlook for their season, even if they haven’t a prayer of winning their conference. A favorite phrase, heard often throughout the rest of the Big 12 coaches at the media days, was ‘anybody can beat anybody.’
Weis’ honesty, then, was completely shocking as he gave, what he felt, was a fair and honest assessment of the 2012 Kansas Jayhawks. For that, it is remarkably refreshing.
Unfortunately, this is what Weis is saying to draw in new players to the program. Weis, as the public face of the Kansas football program, is going around the nation, trying to convince teenagers to come to Kansas and play ‘for a pile of crap.’ With that attitude, it’s hard to fault any player who would pass on a scholarship to KU and seek opportunities elsewhere.
Weis’ comments most likely are designed to light a fire under his team; to drive them to be better than the 1-11 2012 record. One has to wonder, though, if university leadership will be looking to flush Weis if there is a repeat performance.
Chris Swick is the sports editor at The McPherson Sentinel. Contact him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @SwickSentinel.