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Weis to Kansas, Crist to follow?

Dec 9, 2011, 12:06 PM EDT


It’s not like you couldn’t see it coming. Yesterday’s bombshell news that Charlie Weis was leaving his post as the offensive coordinator at Florida to take over the Kansas football program led to me openly hypothesizing about quarterback Dayne Crist joining him in Lawrence. (I even tweeted it 18 hours ago.) Well, just minutes ago Pete Thamel of the New York Times reported that Crist will leave tomorrow for an official visit to Kansas, where he’ll consider reuniting with the coach that brought him to Notre Dame.

The ties to the Kansas quarterbacking job and Notre Dame are all too unique. For Crist, rejoining Weis could lead to the renaissance he’ll need to resurrect any professional aspirations he had. It’ll also put him back in a pro-style offense that’ll fit the fifth-year senior’s skillset, playing in a system he spent two years learning. But before he makes the decision to head to the Jayhawks, he’d be well served to discuss the move with one of his current coaches, offensive line coach Ed Warinner. It was Warinner that led the charge recruiting current Jayhawk starting quarterback Jordan Webb. (Warinner will also likely know just about all of the veteran offensive personnel for the Jayhawks, giving Crist an idea of just what he’ll be walking into.) If Crist is going to play at Kansas, he’ll need to beat out a quarterback that started all 12 games this season and seven during his redshirt freshman season. At six-foot, 195-pound, Webb doesn’t profile as a prototype Charlie Weis quarterback, but he’s got a lot of experience and is one of the team’s leaders.

Even before a coaching change was in the works, competition at the quarterback position was a given. Then offensive coordinator Chuck Long told the Kansas City Star that spring practice would be dedicated to building depth, with redshirt freshman Michael Cummings, entering the fray and two high school commitments, Seth Russell and Bilal Marshall committed to the Jayhawks. Russell is a lanky 6-foot-4 Texas product with an offer to Wake Forest his only other BCS option, while Marshall looks a little bit more impressive, with the dual-threat Florida prospect sporting a handful of impressive offers including Georgia Tech, Virginia, Northwestern, Baylor and Boston College among others. Weis honored the commitments of Ty Willingham’s recruits when he took over at Notre Dame, so you’d expect him to do the same at Kansas, especially this late in the recruiting game.

Of course, bringing in Crist could also lead Weis down the wrong path. One of the pitfalls Weis ran into at Notre Dame was failing to develop depth in his first two seasons in South Bend, and bringing in a one-year quarterback like Crist could be more of the same for the former Irish coach. Turner Gill only won one game in the Big 12 in his two seasons at Kansas, so the “win now” attitude that was needed in South Bend doesn’t likely apply to the demands of Jayhawk football fans. (They leave that to Bill Self’s basketball team.) Does a stop-gap quarterback send the right message to a team that likely needs to be rebuilt from the ground up? His second time around, will Charlie learn from mistakes he made at Notre Dame and develop the youth on a roster that’ll likely need to be fully restocked?

On a day when the Irish lost their offensive coordinator to UMass, the college football world was abuzz with Weis’ sudden departure from Florida, where he was the highest paid offensive coordinator in the country and had his son working in the football program. Say what you want about Weis — and yesterday, far too many media members resurrected tired pot shots and half-decade old grudges — but the man can develop quarterbacks and run an offensive (even if Florida fans didn’t see it in his only season in Gainesville).

If Crist does decide to head to Kansas to finish his career, it’ll be a walk down memory lane for Irish fans. It’ll be bizarre seeing Weis and Crist wearing Jayhawk blue and red, but it’ll also be fun to see Dayne finally get the chance to play in the offense he was recruited to run.

  1. ndrocks2 - Dec 9, 2011 at 12:18 PM

    Don’t do it Dayne!!! There has to be better teams to showcase your talents with systems & players in place that will help you, not help Weis get a year of headlines at your expense.

  2. grantlandrice - Dec 9, 2011 at 12:52 PM

    Brady Quinn and Jimmy Clausen both did pretty well in Weis’s NFL pro set offense. If Dayne can beat out the incumbent at Kansas, I could see him throwing for 3,000 yards and tossing 20 TD passes for the season and be a late round NFL draft pick. I wish him well and will be rooting for him wherever he winds up. Dayne Crist will always be a respected and valued member of the Notre Dame family.

    • ndrocks2 - Dec 9, 2011 at 2:17 PM

      Whatever –
      Kansas is not a passing team and will not have the skill positions let alone O line to prosper in one year, if Dayne’s expectation is to HOPE to have one good year and then follow Quinn and Clausen who prospered under the Weis offensive scheme go for it?? Both QB’s fell down the draft day board and both are second string QB’s obviously some NFL coaches and GM’s are not in love with Charlie’s development skills.

      Take your time and find a team with the proper offensive scheme in place that is lacking a pro style QB not a pro style coach without pro style talented players. round peg square hole, you only get one year for your do over.

      Regardless I wish Dayne Crist well and hope he prospers wherever he lands.

      • 1historian - Dec 10, 2011 at 7:40 AM

        Both Clausen and Quinn went high in the draft. That they are not doing well now speaks to the fact that they don’t have the talent to succeed at the highest level. Remember that the Patriots have not won it all since Weis left there.

        Ask Tom Brady about Weis’s skills.

      • nudeman - Dec 10, 2011 at 11:04 AM


        Technically you are correct. They both were “high” picks. But Quinn, at the beginning of his senior season, was thought to be on a Heisman and #1 overall pick trajectory. The story of draft day was how far he fell, as team after team passed him by until the Browns took him at 23. That’s a big drop.

        Same with Clausen. Thought to be a sure fire 1st rounder with many saying top 5. He slipped to the 2nd round which is a precipitous drop from top 5.

        More to the main topic, I have little respect for Weis as a coach. He lucked into a great situation in NE with a hugely talented team and a HOF QB and coach. He’s done NOTHING on his own since. Except for a small handful of players like Floyd and T’eo, he left ND as a complete mess. Stunk at KC and they were glad to see him go in Florida.

        And any coach of any sports team who is so obviously undisciplined about his own physical condition just should not be in charge of a major athletic program. Definitely not ND football.

  3. alsatiannd - Dec 9, 2011 at 1:14 PM

    A Kansas team that was 2-10 and 101st in passing in 2011 means Crist should be able to step right in…but into what? Crist could take a beating if Kansas’s problems are with the o-line.

    I wonder where Weis will be coahing in 2015?

    • nudeman - Dec 9, 2011 at 2:06 PM

      Not KU

    • trbowman - Dec 9, 2011 at 9:11 PM

      Once he builds the Kansas program up he’ll head for greener pastures.

      • nudeman - Dec 10, 2011 at 11:05 AM

        Can you tell me where he’s previously built up a program?

  4. alsatiannd - Dec 9, 2011 at 1:14 PM

    A Kansas team that was 2-10 and 101st in passing in 2011 means Crist should be able to step right in…but into what? Crist could take a beating if Kansas’s problems are with the o-line.

    I wonder where Weis will be coaching in 2015?

  5. kiopta1 - Dec 9, 2011 at 1:22 PM

    I actually wish both of them good luck.

  6. nudeman - Dec 9, 2011 at 2:14 PM

    If Webb is a developing QB and a team leader as Keith says, then this one smells bad (for Dayne).
    To make it worse, Charlie will probably stack the deck in Dayne’s favor.

    This sounds rife with land mines. I’d rather see him go somewhere where there is ZERO doubt that he’s the most qualified guy, day 1 even if it’s a lesser program. Above all, the guy NEEDS TO PLAY.

    Don’t know what the QB situation is at SD State or some of the other schools that have been mentioned here. I guess we can cross Florida off the list.

  7. bernhtp - Dec 9, 2011 at 4:01 PM

    Talk about a my guys vs. the old guys problem, geesh! There would be instant turmoil on this team. This is way deeper doo doo than Kelly stepped into with his comment. With that said, Dayne is a special guy and if anyone can bring a positive attitude and leadership to an existing team, even under this circumstance, he is the guy.

    Dayne also needs to evaluate whether this is a situation is best for him given their terrible offense and weakness at the skill positions he needs. It would be great if he had other/better offers.

    But the one good thing about this situation is that Dayne already knows Charlie, they have a good relationship, the system is right for Dayne’s goals, and Charlie can give him assurances that he will get the starting job whereas few other coaches would.

    • nudeman - Dec 10, 2011 at 11:09 AM

      I wouldn’t follow Charlie Weis anywhere.


  8. kgirish - Dec 9, 2011 at 4:43 PM

    actually…..who cares.

  9. irishangst - Dec 9, 2011 at 5:09 PM

    Remember the early press conference at ND when Weis talked about “thick, quick, and nasty”? Now I finally see what he meant – he wasn’t refering to his players, he was talking about himself!

  10. jerseyshorendfan1 - Dec 9, 2011 at 5:55 PM

    Fact is, during his short tenure with the Chiefs, he found an awesome buffet out there with all the barbecue you can eat for twenty bucks.

  11. don74 - Dec 9, 2011 at 7:00 PM

    Best of luck to CW. Hope he gets a strength coach and defensive coordinator. Most of all I hope he finds a way to give Texas, Oklahoma and the OSU Cowboys fits. Even if they never get to elite, making the conference schedule stronger is good for CFB.

    Hope wherever Dayne goes he rides the elevator to the top, this year all he got was the shaft.

  12. bernhtp - Dec 9, 2011 at 7:09 PM

    People need to give Weis a bit of a break. I totally agreed with his firing – in fact, I thought it was a bit overdue – but the guy is an ND grad, gave all he had as coach, is an excellent offensive strategist/coach, and has a big heart despite his Jersey hard-ass schtick.

    I was reminded of this recently during an ND Stadium tour given by Bill Lewis, former head coach at Wyoming, East Caroline, and Georgia Tech, and finally brought to Notre Dame by Weis as an assistant. Bill couldn’t say enough good things about Charlie, his warm heart, generosity, etc.

    While Charlie had his problems as a head coach at Notre Dame, people need to chill a bit on the personal attacks as they are undeserved.

    I wish him luck at Kansas, and if Dayne makes it there as well, I wish them both double luck.

    • nudeman - Dec 10, 2011 at 11:18 AM

      I agree that he is at heart a very decent human being. He has a special needs daughter who he and his wife love more than anything else in the world .

      But …

      … you have to admit he sort of brings some of this on himself. His bravado about a “schematic advantage” – who the hell else would say something like that? His mentors Parcells and Belichick wouldn’t. He was totally full of himself, and in the end heleft ND football as a smoking abyss.

      Last point, fair or not when you are morbidly obese (which he certainly is), fair or not you make yourself a target for criticism, especially when you’re in the business of coaching young men in an athletic endeavor. He is the one who chooses to lead a lifestyle that keeps him >400 lbs. Criticism and fat jokes come with that territory.

      • bernhtp - Dec 10, 2011 at 2:42 PM

        Regarding “schematic advantage,” Weis does believe in the advantages of his system and that it does provide benefit to both the program and the players at the next level. He used it as part of his recruiting pitch to pretty good effect. ND’s offensive system under Weis was also not the problem. His D was pathetic and had problems with the o-line, but he did get some phenomenal skill players like Clausen, Tate, Rudolph, Floyd, Te’o, Eifert, etc.

        Yes, we all got a bit tired of hearing about the schematic advantage, the flash of his Super Bowl rings, big “nasty” play, the Jersey bravado, etc., especially in the midst of losing badly and taking the program backwards. I suspect our reaction to the same characteristics would have been completely different had he instead won BCS bowls, just as we all warmed to Holtz’s folksy manner because of the success on the field.

        His obesity is obviously a lifelong problem. There is no one on the planet wanting to fix it more than Charlie. Hell, he underwent surgery that almost killed him in an attempt. It’s very hard for most people to shed their unwanted pounds; it’s clearly far more difficult for people like Charlie, and for reasons we don’t fully understand.

        While I’m happy Weis no longer coaches the Irish, I think he’s a good guy that deserves basic human respect. The personal attacks and cheap shots are unwarranted and beneath the charitable ethos this great university espouses.

        Again, I wish him well.

  13. 1historian - Dec 10, 2011 at 7:44 AM

    irishangst & jerseyshorendfan1 – are you ‘Notre Dame men’ or just wannabes?

    Personal attacks from the safety of cyberspace – you both must be very proud.

    • jerseyshorendfan1 - Dec 10, 2011 at 4:46 PM

      Seriously, you can’t even tell a fat joke anymore? I’m kind of fed up with the sanctimonious, holier than thou attitude of some ‘Notre Dame men’ on the internet. First of all, its usually the hobgoblin of small mindedness and second, it is frequently hypocrisy at its finest. I believe that God imbued all of us with a sense of humor so we could appreciate the occasional fat joke. Here’s another for you: Did you hear Charlie got strip-searched at the Gainesville Airport? They heard he had 200 lbs. of crack in his underwear. Ok, one more: I heard Charlie punishes his players by making them run laps…..around him. Try the veal I’m here all week.

      • nudeman - Dec 12, 2011 at 3:49 PM


        LOFL; 200 lbs of crack.
        Somewhere there ought to be a good line about a Charlie Weis line of thongs.

        He CHOOSES to be morbidly obese. For him to have had a stomach procedure and STILL be in that kind of shape is disgusting. Fat jokes come with the territory. I also see he’s now walking with a cane. I don’t see how he can keep up with the physical demands of coaching a D-I college football program.

  14. thefiesty1 - Dec 10, 2011 at 3:49 PM

    It doesn’t really matter. It’s just KU. Nothing much will change with Weis or whoever he brings in to QB. You’ve got to remember it’s Kansas.

  15. sportsbastard - Dec 11, 2011 at 6:58 PM

    Tom Brady could QB the Jayhawks and they still wouldnt get to a bowl game. They might have the worst talent of any BCS program. Overmatched in every way this past season.

  16. bernhtp - Dec 12, 2011 at 9:35 AM

    Whether Dayne goes to KU or not, he will talk to Weis and get some advice. If KU isn’t the right situation, I also expect Charlie to make some calls for him.

    • nudeman - Dec 14, 2011 at 11:30 PM

      KU isn’t right for Dayne

  17. 1historian - Dec 17, 2011 at 8:03 AM

    A lot of the ‘Notre Dame men’ here seem to have a whole lot of hate for Charlie Weis.

    No one MAKES himself a target for criticism, rather people – you know who you are – CHOOSE to attack him on that basis.

    bernhtp – your 12/10 @2:42 – “The personal attacks and cheap shots are unwarranted and beneath the charitable ethos that this great university espouses.”

    Well said.

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