Originally Posted on Rock Chalk Blog: On August 2nd, 2013

For most teams in the country, fall camp is just starting. In Big 12 country, West Virginia got the ball rolling early, August 1st, with players reporting July 31st, as did Oklahoma and TCU.  K-State  and Oklahoma State aren’t too far behind, kicking off camp on August 2nd, with the players reporting the day before. Texas Tech and Texas gear up August 3rd. While, Baylor and Iowa State roll out August 5th. And Kansas? TheJayhawks are among the last in the nation to start camp. Practice begins the 8th, with the reporting date for players being the 7th. Few other teams start camp as late as KU, such as Memphis (American Athletic Conference) , having the same dates as KU, UTEP (Conference-USA), kicking off camp August 9th, andStanford (Pacific Athletic Conference-12), arriving last to the college football party, starts their season with practice on August 12th. (The Jayhawks, Tigers, Miners, and Cardinal teams can get away with having later camp start up dates due to having a week one bye, starting with their season opening games September 7th.)

On July 31st, Quarterback Jake Heaps (@jtheaps9) tweeted: “1 week until fall camp starts! Cannot wait to begin the real work with my brothers! #FOE #RockChalkJayhawk”. 

Other players (and coaches) have also taken to twitter in excitement, such as, Safety Cassius Sendish, Linebacker Ben Heeney, and Defensive Coordinator Dave Campo.

Regardless of how excited the players and staff are, camp is around the corner. Before they know it, the 2013-2014 season will be underway. The first practice with full pads is August 12th.

Some other dates to consider are:

KU Kickoff, in Prairie Village at Corinth Square: August 16th.

Fan Appreciation Day: August 17th. On Fan Appreciation Day, practice is open free of charge to the public from 11:15 a.m. to 1:15 p.m.

Professor Appreciation Day: August 22nd. On this day, practice is open to KU faculty.

KU Day at Kauffman Stadium: August 25th.

Season Kickoff vs. South Dakota: September 7th at 6:00 p.m.

The Jayhawks have a tough road ahead of them. Their schedule is daunting. They play four teams that were ranked in the top 25 Coaches Pre-Season Poll… and if it was top 26, it’d be five. (K-State was just out of the rankings.)

After the home opener against South Dakota…

September 14th: at Rice

September 21st: vs. Louisiana Tech

October 5th: vs. Texas Tech (Homecoming Game)

October 12th: at Texas Christian (Ranked 20th Pre-Season)

October 19th: vs. Oklahoma (Ranked 16th Pre-Season)

October 26th: vs. Baylor (received 80 votes in Pre-Season Poll)

November 2nd: at Texas (Ranked 15th Pre-Season)

November 9th: at Oklahoma State (Ranked 14th Pre-Season)

November 16th: vs. West Virginia

November 23rd: at Iowa State

November 30th: vs. Kansas State (received 113 votes in Pre-Season Poll)

In the words of Sendish during the Big 12 Media Days: “We understand that until we prove something on the field that they’re going to rate us how they rate us. We’re looking forward to producing.”

Looking ahead to that challenging schedule, Sendish is on the right track with his statement. It’s time for the Jayhawks to “produce”. Where else would a team want to produce their skill set? Of course, fall camp.  The only thing a team predicted to finish last in the conference can do: is go up.

Originally Posted: on Rock Chalk Blog on July 23rd, 2013

All press is good press? In the case of Charlie Weis, let’s hope so.

One thing he said during the Big 12 Media Days “blew up” on social media networks and sports writers everywhere ran with it.

When posed a question about how he recruited prospects he replied: “Have you taken a look at that pile of crap out there? If you can’t play here, where can you play?” (The full Weis transcript can be found here.)

As a head coach of a Division One football team, one would imagine that he would be a little more supportive. Back in October of 2012 before the rivalry game against K-State, the University Daily Kansan (UDK), the University’s own campus newspaper, wrote an article about how the Jayhawks were going to take a “bad beating”.

Weis had a couple tweets in response to the cover of the UDK that week.

His first tweet discussing the cover and article read: “Team slammed by our own school newspaper. Amazing! No problem with opponents paper or local media. You deserve what you get! But, not home!”

The second one read: “I personally could care less. You are what (sic) are. On the other hand, if I don’t support the players good or bad, who will??”

With what he said in his interview at the Big 12 Media Days, he may have just answered his somewhat of a  rhetorical question.

Regardless of the press he’s received,  last year’s team, under his leadership, did better than teams under former coach Turner Gill and some of the teams during former coach Mark Mangino‘s era.

In 2012, the Jayhawks (under the helm of Weis) went 1-11. However, as unattractive as that statistic is, one needs to look deeper at the losses. Kansas played five ranked teams that season (TCU, K-State, Oklahoma, Texas, and Texas Tech). One of those games (Texas Tech) went into overtime, with the final score culminating at 41-34.The game against Texas ended in 21-17. Five of their nine losses in the season were lost with 7 or less points in deficit (Rice, N. Illinois, Oklahoma State, Texas, and Texas Tech).

In Weis’ interview during Media Days he also stated: “… the proof’s in the pudding”, when talking about the team’s expectations.  Here’s some of that “pudding” from last season. With those 7 point or less deficit games, KU had better team statistics in several areas than their opponents. In the Rice game, KU had more rushing yards than their opponent (195-167). In the N. Illinois game, KU dominated time of possession (31:30-28:30) and had less turnovers (1-0). In the Oklahoma State game, the Jayhawks had much better statistics than the Cowboys, in many aspects of the game. Kansas led OSU in first downs (22-17), total yards (398-371), rushing yards (187-116), and had a better time of possession (33:35-26:25). Against Texas, KU had more first downs (18-16), more rushing yards (234-211), less penalties and penalty yards (1/5-5/65), less turnovers (1-2), and had the ball longer during the game (32:48-27:12). In the only overtime game for the Jayhawks during the season, they had better statistics than the Red Raiders in rushing yards (390-63), less penalties and penalty yards (3/25-7/74), less turnovers (0-1), and more time of possession (31:55-28:05).

In 2011, KU (under direction of Gill) went 2-10, where they were routed by Georgia Tech (66-24), Oklahoma State (70-28), Oklahoma (47-17), K-State (59-21), Texas (43-0), and Texas A&M (61-7).

When Weis was asked about his JU-CO recruiting, he came back saying: “When you go through a transition coming in and you dismiss 29 scholarship players, which I did for a variety of off-the-field issues — not one of those players did I get rid of because they weren’t any good. You can’t do it for that reason. So now I took a team that already wasn’t very good, and I made them worse talent-wise. So that led to we need to fill the holes right now.”

Keeping the stats from last season in mind, he’s giving the team he walked into less credit than what they deserve, regardless of the previous season’s record.