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October 15, 2013
When you look back on Charlie Weis career the things that jump out are Super Bowl rings and his ability to coordinate an offense. Even at Notre Dame his offenses are some of the best in school history. And who can argue with his ability to scheme an offense after helping Matt Cassel reach a Pro Bowl with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Along with that success has comes a public perception that Weis has an arrogance and persona that he will only do things the way he wants and won't change. That image has always seemed to hold true especially on the offensive side of the ball in his head coaching days.
But on Tuesday Weis started his press conference with something none of us saw coming. In a way he gave himself a demotion.
Starting this week Ron Powlus is going to handle the passing game portion of the offense and tight ends coach Jeff Blasko will do the same with the running game. Weis said this will allow him to focus on overseeing and working with the entire offense and take some of the extra work off his plate.
Weis said after the TCU game he reflected back to what changes he could make to improve. He did similar things this off season with his staff in other areas.
Today Weis touched on the fact he moved Dave Campo into a position where he oversaw the defense opening a position for Clint Bowen to handle more of the scheming and play-calling. When Bowen made the switch it opened up the special teams coordinator spot.
This year both the defense and special teams have seen significant improvement. The defense at the mid-way point is up close to 50 spots higher than where it finished in 2012. In 2011 it was the worse statistical defense in the country.
The special teams unit led by Trevor Pardula is second in the country in punting. They have done a good job limiting punt returns and most of Pardual's kickoffs have gone for touchbacks. Walk-on kicker Matt Wyman won a game with a 52-yard field goal.
Weis said he is pleased with where the defense and special teams are this season.
But when Weis made the moves he was questioned about not having a special teams coordinator. So far it has worked out with each position coach taking a part of the special teams unit and coaching it. His moves with the defensive staff have also panned out.
Now Weis hopes backing off the offense some will yield the same results his defense and special teams have encountered. It will open him up to focus more on the overall offense and being a head coach. It will provide more members of the staff to give their ideas how to improve the offense.
Who knows if it will work. But you have to give Weis credit for trying something new. His moves on defense and special teams have been successful to this point.
I don't think any of us saw this one coming. Weis reputation of being a bull-headed, offensive coordinator and head coach has been talked about a lot in the past. Today he opened up a new part of his coaching book that showed maybe he isn't so bull-headed after all.
Weis said he would do anything to win at Kansas except cheat. So far he has fixed several issues from discipline, team academics, strength and conditioning, and helped build a structure. This season two-thirds of the team performance has improved with defense and special teams.
He's taking a big step to show he's willing do what he can to fix the other third. Weis has always prided himself on being an offensive mind. Today he proved he's doing everything he can to improve that side of the ball by stepping back and giving control to others.