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October 7, 2012There were a lot of challenges facing Charlie Weis when he took the Kansas job. The first phase started off the field when he arrived setting an all-time record for the best GPA in a semester. There have been big strides in the strength and conditioning program.
The toughest task will be finding a way to close out games. That will come with time as the players and coaches have to learn together. They have talked all year about finishing games. They have held the lead in the fourth quarter twice and challenged TCU in the final minutes.
Against Kansas State the Jayhawks had 253 yards of offense at halftime and trailed by a touchdown.
"At halftime it was 21-14 and we are getting the ball," Weis said. "Are they (KSU) playing better than us yes. But we are moving the ball well on offense. They were struggling to stop us. When they go into the locker room there hasn't been one time where the game is over at halftime."
The game was still in doubt when the Jayhawks were set to get the kickoff after recording a safety mid-way through the third quarter. But when adversity hit with turnovers it was too much to recover from. Finding a way to compete and stay in games until the end is something Weis is trying to figure out.
"The most important thing is we have to (including coaching staff) is come up with a better way to get through the last 30 minutes," Weis said. "It would be easy for me say the players have to do this or that. But because the players haven't done it for multiple years I have no choice but to say we as a staff to guide them through that. That's what I will continue to do until I got this thing figured out."
Pierson okay to practice
Going into Sunday Weis wasn't sure what Tony Pierson's status would be. He spent the second half on the sidelines in a jacket. The good news came back from his x-rays.
"The x-ray was negative which was a good thing," Weis said. "He's got a sore elbow. The way they were talking to me I was sure it was going to be an extended period of time. He actually went out there and practiced some today. That was a pleasant surprise. He didn't break anything. I'm sure there is some cartilage damage but he was out there a little brace on his elbow practicing."
Henney makes an impression
Hutchinson native Ben Heeney stood out on defense. He led the team with 14 tackles and two for a loss. His play didn't surprise Weis.
"His mentality is really what you are looking for," Weis said. "He's far from perfect but his mentality is what you are looking for. If we had a bunch of guys that had his mentality you would be much further along."
The biggest play of the game at the time, happened when Heeney tracked Collin Klein down at the one yard line before the half. The clock ran out with Kansas State just short of the goal line.
"Klein had the angle to the end zone," Weis said. "He (Ben) ran him down and pulled him down. It didn't turn out this way but that could have been a game-changing play. That was the difference between going down two scores at halftime. The way the third quarter played out it didn't play out that way."