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March 26, 2013

Football Notebook: Depth Chart Changes

Charlie Weis 3/26 Press Conference Transcript

Last week the Kansas coaches and players took the week off and scattered across the country for spring break. Before the coaches left they got the chance to reflect on the first portion of spring practice.

The positive: Weis said the team has cut down on their mental mistakes.

A big reason for that is now that the players have played a year in the program they are more familiar with the language and nomenclature of KU's system. Even little things such as calling out the Mike linebacker ID for the offensive players involved learning new terms and phrases to fit the new system.

"You are changing a system you are essentially changing their language," wide receivers coach Rob Ianello said. "Players went from maybe speaking Spanish in one system to speaking French in this system."

Two players who Weis mentioned today who have shown improvement through five practices are wide receivers Justin McCay and Christian Matthews. Both started the spring on the second team but have recently moved to the top of the depth chart.

If you remember, Matthews was mostly used in the Wildcat package last year and was seldom used at wide receiver. Mathews has lost close to 15 pounds from last year and has picked up some speed. McCay struggled last spring as questions about his eligibility clouded over him. He slowly improved during the year on the scout team and has the coaches excited about his potential.

Still, the next batch of receivers will arrive this summer and Weis hinted that there is a good chance they will challenge for playing time. For the current players the spring is a valuable chance to showcase their skills to get an edge.

"Now is the time when they can position themselves based off of their performance," Weis said.

The negative: Weis said that the defensive coaches have had to really emphasize finishing plays this spring. The coaches track how many "loafs" a player has during a practice. A loaf is when a player doesn't exert an optimal amount of energy in trying to finish a play. The Kansas coaches have a system set up where after practice the team will do up-downs to every loaf. The added caveat: the players have to yell out the perpetrator's name who committed the loaf while doing the exercise.

"Every player is accountable for the effort they give in each and every practice," Weis said. "It definitely stresses the point we are trying to make."

Future Depth Chart Changes

This week Weis said they will be moving several players around to different positions. We'll likely have to wait until the next press conference to find out which players moved where. The moves could possibly lead to more depth chart changes before the spring game. Weis gave his philosophy on how to be sensitive with players who might be upset with their change in the pecking order.

"I don't care how they feel about it," Weis said. "If you're a football coach and you're worrying about people's feelings, you're not going to hang around in this business for very long."

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