Kansas coach Charlie Weis didn't waste time delivering the news. For starters, he announced that JaQwaylin Arps, Brock Berglund, Dexter McDonald, Adonis Saunders, Darrian Miller and Keeston Tery had been dismissed from the team. Tom Mabry, Jordan Webb, and Tyrone Sellers were going to finish out the spring semester then leave, and Travis Bodenstein was transferring. How's that for a way to kick off an offseason press conference.
"I'm not getting into what the dismissals are for," Weis said. "Obviously, if there wasn't a legitimate reason for them to be dismissed,or they wouldn't be dismissed. There are laws. I can't sit here and say, 'He's being dismissed for this.' I don't care who they are (regarding talent). It doesn't make any difference. I don't care if they're all starters. It doesn't make a difference. There's a right and wrong way of doing things, and you're going to do it the right way. That's all there is to it. It's a whole combination of things, but there's a right and wrong way of doing business. You can't make decisions, especially coming into a program, based on how good they are. You have to make decisions based on them (the players) doing the right thing because if you don't, you're a hypocrite as a head coach."
Really, it's best for Weis to begin to clean house as quickly as he can. A lot of the players who were outright dismissed had problems that any coach who Kansas hired was going to have to address immediately.
"It wasn't just academics," Weis said. "Academics were one of the issues. We had over 30 kids on the honor roll too. Did we have some kids with severe academic issues? You bet we did. There were other problems here as well. I'm a dad. My kid is going to school and he's a freshman. The last thing I want to do is go read about a kid having five dorm violations in one semester. Do you want your kid around that kid? That's what I have to tell these parents. When I'm going into people's homes I have to tell them that. Do they want their kid hanging around a guy who every time they turn around they are getting in trouble in their dorm? It isn't just academic is what I'm saying. There is a right way and wrong way of doing things. I made mistakes when I was 18 years old. I wasn't innocent. I get it, but there are extremes and those extremes aren't going to be part of our program."
While the dismissal of players will likely serve as motivation to current players to get their act together, that's not the only way they will be challenged during the offseason. Before Weis was hired, Kansas was planning on bringing in 13-15 new players in their 2012 recruiting class. Now that number is looking to be more than 20 new commits, with many of them being junior college players who are going to compete for playing time right away.
"Look, we could use help everywhere," Weis said. "There isn't one position on our team that I can sit there and say, 'Hey, we don't need help there.' That's a fallacy, so we're going to spread that 20-some number across our roster and try to get us help at every position."
Even after landing Dayne Crist and Jake Heaps, quarterback is still a high priority for Weis. While Crist is the clear cut starter for 2012, Weis is still trying to figure out who will be his backup next year after dismissing Berglund from the team and Heaps not being eligible to play until 2013.
"Obviously, you have two veteran guys. You want to have a young guy underneath them," Weis said. "That young guy has to be ready to compete for No. 2 walking in the door. If you look at the roster, that's just the way it is. I have some answers that I'm not getting to at this point, but that's where we are at quarterback. That's one of the ones offensively that kind of slapped me in the face."
Weis also finally got to speak on new defensive coordinator Dave Campo. When Campo was let go from the Cowboys coaching staff, owner Jerry Jones offered him a spot in the front office. Weis sold Campo on the fact that he shouldn't close the door on his coaching career just yet.
"I then flew him in and we spent the whole day together," Weis said. "He went back and talked to his wife and I called him up and said, 'Well, what do you think?' and he hemmed and hawed and I said, 'Ok, What you do think?' and he said 'Ok, I'm coming, I'm coming.' So that turned out really well for us. Then once we went through the proper channels and protocol here, we got that done. I was happy to finally put that behind me so that everyone in the free world didn't have to ask me who the defensive coordinator was going to be."
Kansas spring practice will start March 27th and the spring game will be Saturday, April 28th.
"I'm sure that Monday morning run with Coach Holsopple on the the 26th will be most enjoyable to them," Weis said. "I hope they enjoy Spring Break. I think we might have to bring a few extra barrels around on that morning. We'll get that Spring Break out of their system, and then we'll get going on March 27."