Charlie Weis was hired in 2011 to rescue the Kansas University football program from the depths of futility left over by previous coach Turner Gill. Instead of a rescue, Weis took a shovel and kept digging. Kansas has announced that Weis has been relieved of his duties immediately and Kansas defensive coordinator Clint Bowen will take over as the interim head coach for the remainder of the season. Here is Weis’s final press conference, given after the embarrassing 23-0 Homecoming loss to Texas.
Q. Coach, let’s start with the effort that your defense put out there today in this ballgame; really kept you in it, never really gave up a drive in the game that resulted in points.
CHARLIE WEIS: Going into the game, that was the complementary game plan we were playing. We were going to play conservative and knew that our defense would slug it out with them and get us in position. Unfortunately when we got down to the red zone both times, one time there was a deflection turnover and the other time we threw an incompletion on a fade ball on the 5?yard line. But it was a two?score game deep into the fourth quarter, and the defense kept us in the game.
Q. You mentioned not being able to convert offensively even though you had as many 1st downs as Texas did. Obviously the four interceptions by Montell didn’t help. What did you see from him in that situation?
CHARLIE WEIS: Well, I’m going to have to look at the interceptions. The deflection, I don’t even know who’s the cause on the deflection because I’m not sure which guy deflected the ball. It was on a three?step drop where we were cutting, but it looked like it was an interior defensive lineman from my view. I don’t really know. But I’ll have to go back and look at it right there.
Hey, stats are for losers. There’s a lot of stats out there that I could say were positive. The bottom line is when you lose the turnover ratio like that, you’re going to lose most games.
Q. You told the fans before the season started that you wanted them to give you September to see where you were at the end of September. Now that September has come to a close, where do you feel the team is?
CHARLIE WEIS: Well, I mean, it’s the fourth quarter of a game against a formidable opponent, regardless of what their record was, and the team is slugging it out. I think the only reason to not support a team is when a team throws in the towel, and I think that our team has shown no evidence of that.
Q. The offense struggled. Is there any way to pinpoint where it was today?
CHARLIE WEIS: Well, I know that you guys hear what I just said in there. I mean, stats are for losers. I could sit there and tell you we converted about 50 percent on 3rd down. I could tell you De’Andre ran the ball really well. I could tell you we intended to run the ball a whole bunch of times and had moderate success. But you know, our Achilles heel on offense is still making productive plays in the passing game, and that’s at the end of the day what ended up costing us.
Q. Third quarter seemed like great adjustments in the locker room and you came out and pounded, pounded, pounded. Did you see something in the first half that made you think let’s run it more?
CHARLIE WEIS: Well, the most important thing was it was a 13?point game, and that’s the first thing I had to drive into their head is, fellow, this is a 13?point game and we’ve got the ball. All of a sudden?? look, I’m not going to go to what?ifs, but even that fade ball to Nigel you talk about, you throw a touchdown pass, it’s 13?7, now all it takes is one play, one play, the difference between winning and losing. We just didn’t make the first play to get it to a one?score game.
Q. You said Tuesday if we’re in it at halftime let’s turn it up on them a little bit and we’ll be right where we want to be.
CHARLIE WEIS: And that’s how I felt. It wasn’t because we didn’t get down to their end of the field. God, I punted from the plus 40?yard line in this game more times than I have in my life. Usually I’m coming in here and everyone is saying how stupid I am for going for it on 4th down, but I played the game exactly the way we designed it. Make them play on a long field as much as we possibly could and try to get on to a short field and see if we couldn’t capitalize. The only problem is we didn’t capitalize on offense.
Q. The personal foul??
CHARLIE WEIS: It was on Nigel, and I believe from talking to Nigel, it was deserved, because the players usually don’t lie to you. I didn’t see it. I could tell you I saw it; I didn’t see it. Because he came to me?? when a guy gets a personal foul, I usually have a couple choice words for them, and I want to know who it was, and he goes, it was me. At first I couldn’t get a number from them, and then when they came over later after the next stoppage of play, they said the play was over, and he took a swing. I saw a bunch of those take a swing after the play is over in the game, but when you get caught, you get caught. That’s just the way it goes.
Q. You said you knew that those bubbles and short passes that Montell got last week weren’t going to be there today. They obviously weren’t too often. Do you think that hurt him not being able to find that rhythm?
CHARLIE WEIS: Well, it hurts your completion percentage because now you’re throwing different styles of passes. I think that?? I have to really see?? I have to see what happened when he was in the pocket, and I also have to see what happened when he was rolling out of the pocket because I can see people in a space but I like to know how they got there. You can’t see all 11 guys, how they get there. You know where they are, you just don’t know how it matriculated. That’s what the tape is for.
Q. On their second forward touchdown, you had a discussion with the referee??
CHARLIE WEIS: Yeah, I felt, whether I’m right or wrong, I felt that our linebacker who was going to make the play, I felt he got grabbed.
Q. Did they give you an explanation??
CHARLIE WEIS: No, that was a one?sided conversation. That was me giving my explanation, because he wasn’t going to say that was the case, but I could be wrong. You know, that’s what I thought from what I saw when the ball was bouncing out to their left, our right. I think it was Courtney Arnick, but I’m not positive on that, either. But the one guy who was out there to go make the play, I just felt?? now, maybe I’m wrong, but at the time I was getting an opportunity to let them know that I disagreed with them.
Q. With the passing game being so unproductive for so long, do you ever reach a point where let’s do something drastic, let’s figure out a way to just run all the time?
CHARLIE WEIS: We did that two years ago, and the problem with that is now when teams can just put?? it used to be they just put seven or eight up in the box, but then when they start putting nine and ten up in the box, then no matter how much you want to run it, you just don’t have the numbers. You need to be able to throw the ball to win. You need to be able to throw the ball, so we’re going to keep throwing it. We didn’t throw it 100 times, but what did we throw, four picks? When that happens?? I throw out the one at the end of the half. That’s really just a garbage one, but the other ones I have to?? I’ll have to see?? like the one that they threw to, I don’t know, it was over on their right, our left. I don’t know why the ball looked like it was intended for him. I don’t know what happened on the play, so I’ll have to wait until I see it.
Q. From the untimed down, did you consider going for the field goal?
CHARLIE WEIS: On the 37?yard line against the wind? Not a chance. Because now you’re kicking a ball against the wind over 50 yards that wouldn’t have had a chance. If we were going the other way, if we were going the other way, because that was the discussion, field goal or?? I knew before the game when the field goal kicker goes out, we always have a discussion going this way, what would be the longest field goal they could try, and going that way what would be the longest field goal they could try, and this one was far out of that range.
Q. Montell is the best guy on your team in practice; is it possible that he’s not the best in the games?
CHARLIE WEIS: It’s possible. I can’t rule that out. It’s possible. But when I’m not going to do is right after a game is over place the blame on?? all the blame on Montell. I’m not going there. I’ll go back and watch it and let the offensive staff watch it independently because I don’t push anything on them, and then we’ll get together and kind of figure out how to move forward towards West Virginia.
Q. How concerned are you about Montell’s confidence?
CHARLIE WEIS: I mean, I was concerned enough that walking off at halftime I called him over to talk to me because he had just really?? even though one didn’t count because of the roughing the passer penalty, he had really just thrown back?to?back picks, and I said, forget about those two. Those don’t matter. I go, what matters is it’s 13?0. That’s what matters. It’s not like it’s 38?0, it’s 13?0. I go, let’s find a way to score one touchdown to get it to 13?7, and then let the chips fall where they may.
Q. Along those lines, how concerned are you just with all the players’ frame of mind, they keep putting out, putting out, but don’t get the joy of the win? Where are their heads?
CHARLIE WEIS: That’s a fair question because what do they get for all that blood, sweat and tears, and all I can tell them is this is what people do. This is what people that persevere do. These are people who are winners in life at what they do. They keep pushing, because your only other choice is to quit. I don’t think you saw a lot of that out there today. I don’t think you saw?? as a matter of fact I don’t know if you saw any of that.
Q. Montell had 15 non?sack carries. I know a couple of those were scrambles, carries??
CHARLIE WEIS: A lot of those also were calls.
Q. Was it more the decision to involve him in the running game a little bit more this week?
CHARLIE WEIS: Well, we thought that some of the runs where we have better numbers actually this week, a lot of them were going to involve him. But yes, it was a more conscientious effort to have him carry the ball more.
Q. It seemed like you guys really started to have a lot of success running the ball when Texas had sort of the three?man front.
CHARLIE WEIS: Yeah, and they run it about 20 percent of the time, so they had mixed it in earlier. They went into a little heavier dose of it right there, but where there’s only three down linemen on the line of scrimmage, now there’s only that second level, so you’ve still got to go block them.
Q. Did this qualify as one of those slugfest games that you talked about?
CHARLIE WEIS: This was a game that we thought that we had a legitimate chance of winning. Now, every week you go in there giving the way we need to play to win this game. You never go in and present to the team, well, this is our losing game plan. So you say, this is what we’re going to have to do to win the game, but what felt against this team that we were playing that our defense would let us hang in there, and we felt that we had enough things that we could do on offense to move the ball, but we were going to have to play error free as far as turnovers go, and we were going to have to score when we got in the red zone. Well, there’s the?? we weren’t error free as far as turnovers go, and we got in the red zone twice and came up empty.
Q. On the defensive side it looked like Andrew Bolton had maybe his best game so far. How did he play?
CHARLIE WEIS: We’ll have to wait and see. I know Andrew made a couple big plays in the game, but for me to be able to give you the exact answer on how Andrew played?? I look at the defense more as a unit. We know Ben is our leader, and I get that and everything. But I think the defense played very, very physical today. Texas was trying to pound them, trying to pound the defense, and the defense hung in there pretty well.
Q. Have you learned anything about your defense this season or is that about what you expected?
CHARLIE WEIS: To be honest with you, that’s what I do expect. I have a lot of confidence in them. I have a lot of faith in our defense. It really comes down to the same thing. If we can’t pass the ball more efficiently and score more points, you don’t win games.
Q. How much of that is the confidence booster for the offense?
CHARLIE WEIS: A lot of it has to do with having a lot of the same guys starting that played last year. Really it has nothing to do with the offense.
Q. In terms of knowing your defense, how it would hold up ??
CHARLIE WEIS: Well, you’re playing the game for a different score. Like we played today to win the game in the teens or 20s. That’s the game we were playing. Now, how many colleges go in saying, hey, let’s win a game 24?17. People don’t do that anymore. But that’s kind of who we are, and that’s?? again, their defense is pretty salty now. It isn’t like you’re not playing a good, solid, athletic defense. But like I said, moving the ball is one thing, but putting the ball in the end zone is really what it comes down to.
Q. Does it shock you to say that or hear yourself say that three years in, that the offense 24?17 is who you are?
CHARLIE WEIS: No. I mean, it doesn’t?? I’m playing into our defense. When you’re the head coach and you’re looking at what gives you the best chance to win, you identify what your strengths are and you play to your strengths and try to minimize as best you can your weaknesses. That’s sound fundamental football.
Q. Are these tougher to get the guys to move on? We asked you that after Duke, but??
CHARLIE WEIS: This is?? I know it’s tough to imagine, but this is worse than the Duke one because in the Duke game I really felt the team was embarrassed. I was embarrassed, the coaching staff was embarrassed, I thought the team was embarrassed. I don’t think the team was embarrassed today. I don’t think they were embarrassed with their performance. I mean, there’s guys that are embarrassed with their performance, but I don’t think the team was embarrassed. Duke was different. When you lose 41?3, I don’t care who you’re playing. It’s a different deal. It won’t be a happy day around the office, that’s for sure. And it won’t be because you were hammering them now. It’ll be because you’ve got to teach. That’s what we do. That’s what we do. We’ve got to show them the good things, we’ve got to show them the bad things and show them missed opportunities, and we’ll do all of the above.
Q. As far as the perseverance point that you’re making, is there type of mental thing you do or psychological than Xs and Os?
CHARLIE WEIS: It’s mostly psychological. The only thing is you can’t do the same thing, keep going to that well, because when you do, then it goes in one ear and out the other. I haven’t had a time to kind of figure that out. I’ll have that figured out by early tomorrow morning.
Q. Is that a week?by?week sort of thing with your messages?
CHARLIE WEIS: Yeah, it’s always?? the message is always the same. It’s the presentation. It’s different. Put it like this: In no uncertain terms, when I finished talking in the locker room, they knew that that’s not okay. That’s not okay.
Q. It’s not okay is part of what you want to get across, but also you want them to have the resilience. How do you communicate both?
CHARLIE WEIS: Because I had already talked about the resilience before I got to the not okay. I started with the resilience. After a loss, you always start with the biggest positive that you can, and that was clearly the biggest positive. And then you work your way down the ladder, which I hit most of those rungs going down the ladder. It was not a happy locker room.