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College Football Analysis: Why Did Kansas Hire Charlie Weis?

On Thursday, December 8th the Kansas Jayhawks announced the hiring of former Notre Dame Head Coach and current (or I guess former) Florida Offensive Coordinator Charlie Weis. My first reaction was questioning if they hired him as a coordinator or as a Head Coach.

I really didn't figure he would be a candidate to be a Head Coach any time soon. Will Muschamp didn't either as he was totally in the dark that Charlie was even interviewing for another job. Now that the dust and cobwebs have settled in my brain and I've gotten over the shock, I wonder if this was a good hire or not.

At Notre Dame, Weis came in and did a great job in his first two years when he was playing with someone else's talent. In his last three years he went 16-21 at Notre Dame. In 2007, Weis's third year at Notre Dame, the Irish finished dead last in the Nation in Total Offense at just 242.3 yards per game. In 2008, they improved to 65th in his fifth year at 355.1. In his final year they finished 8th in Total Offense at 451.8 yards per game.

On the defensive side of the football the Irish finished 34th in the Nation in Total Defense in 2009. So in 2009, they had the #8 offense and the #34 defense and they went 6-6? If you take a deeper look at the stats, ND was 116th in Turnover Margin and 92nd in Penalties. Stats only tell part of the story but what this tells me is that Weis struggled with all of the duties that you need to excel in to be a Head Football Coach. Quite frankly, I see him as a coordinator.

As a coordinator, Weis wasn't very good at Florida last year under Will Muschamp. Yes, the talent that Florida had was not a great fit for the offense that he was trying to run but Florida has talent. I'm not sure how anybody could have watched Weis during his run at Notre Dame and then at his one year at Florida and think that he could be a guy that would be able to take a team that perennially has the least amount of talent in the Big 12 and make them a winner.

In my opinion, Kansas needed to go "outside of the box" like Georgia Tech did when they hired Paul Johnson. Kansas is a team that needs to differentiate themselves to compete in the Big 12. Either go option and hire a guy like Ken Niumatalolo or Georgia Southern's Jeff Monken or they could have gone after a guy like a Mike Leach (before Wazzu snatched him up) or a June Jones that will throw the ball around the yard. As Mark Mangino proved, you can win every few years in Kansas. Kansas is not a job where you will win 10 games every season but you can go 6-6, 7-5, 8-4 and then pop a 11-1 every few years like Mangino did (he went 50-45 from 2002 to 2009 and had his best year in 2007 when he went 12-1).

Coaches by the Numbers gives the hire a "C". Click here for their analysis. For a positive take, check out what Aaron Torres wrote for Crystal Ball Run. I will leave you with this thought, this is the fourth job in four years for Charlie Weis. That's a red flag for me. Can it work out for Weis in Kansas? It's possible that it could be a good fit and he could have success. Kansas obviously felt that Turner Gill wasn't able to get the job done and because of their miss with him they felt they needed to go a different direction. I just can't fathom that the hiring of Weis is the right direction. I can't see Weis being able to lure the talent needed to Kansas to win on both sides of the football in the Big 12.


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