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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Stevenson: Bowl or bust for KU's Weis this season

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  • Charlie Weis became head coach of the Kansas football team in December 2011, and this fall will be his third KU team. It’s vital for all concerned the Jayhawks show significant improvement this coming fall.
    If KU stumbles again, it’s going to be — once again — time to hire a new coach.
    Weis was head coach at Notre Dame from 2005-09 and had an overall record of 35-27; that’s mediocre at best for a traditional power like Notre Dame. Weis was fired by the Irish after five seasons.
    Weis inherited a program in total disarray at KU thanks to the mismanagement of former chancellor Robert Hemenway and athletic director Lew Perkins.
    When Perkins hired Turner Gill, after forcing out Mark Mangino because of a personality conflict, KU was guaranteed inept recruiting and two more horrible seasons.
    In Weis’s first two seasons at KU, the Jayhawks went 1-11 in 2012 and 3-9 in 2013. Kansas was crushed by in-state rival Kansas State, 56-16 in 2012, and 31-10 in 2013.
    KU’s coaching staff has focused way too much on the junior colleges in their recruiting endeavors. That won’t work.
    It was acceptable for Weis’s first season, when the Jayhawks were desperate for talent. It’s obvious the JUCO players Weis has recruited have been average — some of those players have worked out, but not nearly enough.
    Over the decades, Kansas has always had some talented players at the skill positions, but the main issue has been a lack of talent and depth on the offensive and defensive lines. So far, the Weis era has been no exception.
    This season should be it for Weis if KU can’t move up the ladder in the Big 12 — athletic director Sheahon Zenger can’t afford another unsuccessful five-year coaching stint.
    When Zenger hired Weis, he passed on Tommy Tuberville who wanted the KU job. That was a major mistake unless Kansas is a lot better than predicted this fall. In fairness to Zenger, Tuberville’s interest in becoming KU’s coach was never fully substantiated.
    What cannot be disputed is this: Kansas cannot live on basketball alone.
    Football is the big money maker in college athletics and the Jayhawks are hurting, as usual. KU is desperate for a winning football program to protect their status in college athletics.
    There is a lull in the storm concerning conference realignments, but don’t think for a moment that it’s all over.  In college sports, unrest is running rampant and major changes are being contemplated.
    If Kansas could win six games this fall and make it to a bowl game, the problems would be temporarily solved. But, how permanent would the improvement be? Kansas will be a senior-dominated team this fall and there’s not a lot of young talent on the way up.
    Page 2 of 2 - KU should have an outstanding football program, but exceedingly poor management and hiring by the chancellors and athletic directors throughout decades have caused catastrophic results. And, the outlook for this fall is far from promising.
    Turning to Major League Baseball …
    Dayton Moore took over as general manager of Kansas City’s major league team June 8, 2006. In the eight years since, KC has improved significantly. The scary question is whether they’ve gone about as far as they can go.
    Moore focused on developing a well-organized and talented farm system and he succeeded to a point. But, it appears the farm system has leveled off, with no big-time prospects looming as future stars. Owner David Glass is known for keeping a firm grip on the purse strings and that hasn’t helped.
    The biggest issue for KC right now is the absence of at least one consistent power hitter who can lead the rest of the team on offense.
    Left fielder Alex Gordon, catcher Sal Perez, designated hitter Billy Butler, third baseman Mike Moustakas, and first baseman Eric Hosmer all came up through the Royals’ farm system and they were regarded as potentially great hitters.
    One or two of the aforementioned players might still develop into superstar hitters who can carry the offense — they are still young. However, it certainly isn’t happening this season. All five players have had great moments, but they lack consistency and power.
    Kansas City won its most crucial game of the season Sunday in Kauffman Stadium as the Royals avoided a four-game sweep at the hands of the Detroit Tigers.
    The final game before the All-Star break was vital both mathematically and mentally for KC: instead of being up by 8.5 games on the Royals, Detroit’s lead is 6.5 games. And, Kansas City was two games over .500 rather than being dead even in the win-loss column.
    Kansas City still has a major issue with hitting that must be resolved if the Royals are going to make it to the playoffs for the first time since 1985.

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