Originally posted on Crystal Ball Run  |  Last updated 12/8/11

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it 100 times: The college football coaching carousel is the equivalent of a daytime soap opera for men in their 20’s and 30’s. Come the last weekend of November, names, faces and jobs changes faster than those in Derek Jeter’s blackberry when he’s looking for a booty call.

Still, no matter how closely you follow the coaching movements (and believe me, a loser like me follows it at a disgusting alarming rate) there is just some stuff you simply can’t anticipate. Like an announcement that came late Thursday night, when Kansas University announced their next head football coach.

That man? Charlie Weis.

Yep, that Charlie Weis, the former Notre Dame head coach, current Florida offensive coordinator, and he of a “decided tactical advantage,” will be spending his falls and winters in Kansas. To the people of Lawrence I recommend to you one warning: Hide the women and children!

First, let’s get the obvious out of the way, and say that this came from absolutely nowhere, at least as far as I can tell. Over the last three years Weis has had three jobs (fired Notre Dame head coach, Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator and offensive coordinator at Florida), and in his latest, he seemed to be getting comfortable in Gainesville. While his pro-style offense struggled in the short term (the Gators were just 72nd in college football in scoring this year), it was hard to blame Weis, who inherited mismatched puzzle pieces from Urban Meyer’s old spread scheme. Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps may have made sense playing under Meyer, but they served little value in what the new regime was trying to do. Still, you can’t blame Weis for that. To put it in layman’s terms, he was trying to make a Thanksgiving dinner without a turkey.

At the same time, the Gators did struggle, as they lost six of their final eight games, with the two wins coming against Vanderbilt and Furman. Yikes. The final game against Florida State was particularly tough to swallow, as the Gators offense accounted for just 184 total yards.

 

And because of it, one has to wonder one simple thing: Was Weis trying to get out of Gainesville ahead of the posse? The truth is, people are already wondering if new head coach Will Muschamp is cut out for the pressures of the job, and with the departure of his two stalwart running backs (Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps) and quarterback John Brantley, it’s hard to wonder if things would’ve been any better for the offense next year. None of those guys were a good fit for Weis’ system per se, but at least they were experienced. That wouldn’t have been the case next year, especially at quarterback where the Gators will have true sophomores Jacoby Brissett and Jeff Driskel battling for time. With Brantley out with injury, the two combined to complete less than 50 percent of their 73 total passes, for two touchdowns and six interceptions.

As for whether Weis is a fit in Lawrence, it’s tough to say, but personally I’m thinking it could work out.

Regardless of what you think of Weis’ time at Notre Dame, more than anything, he was guilty of being unable to live up to unrealistic expectations. He inherited a team that was built to “win now” and after they did exactly that his first two years (going to the Fiesta Bowl and Sugar Bowl), he never could replicate that success. Then again, expectations will be nowhere near as high at Kansas, where basketball will always reign supreme. As someone who went to a basketball school myself (UConn), the truth is, if a coach can get his team to a bowl game, and win just enough to distract the fans until hoops starts, that’s considered a success. Seven wins a year will get a man fired at Notre Dame. But at Kansas it’ll get you a raise.

Beyond that, remember that for all the jokes many (including myself) have made at Weis’ expense, the truth is, the guy did recruit well in South Bend. Jimmy Clausen was considered one of the elite quarterback recruits of the past decade (as easy as it is to forget now, people once called him “The LeBron James of Football”) and besides him, Michael Floyd, Manti T’eo, Golden Tate, Dayne Crist and a handful of others were guys that everyone in America wanted. Weis didn’t recruit enough depth to win big at Notre Dame, and his eye for defensive talent was always under question. And while Kansas obviously won’t recruit that caliber of athlete, remember, they’re not going to need to. Again, there’s that whole “expectations” thing.

Finally what this whole thing may ultimately come down to is this: How much has Weis learned at his previous couple stops, especially Notre Dame. More than coaching acumen, humility was something Weis never carried himself with much of, especially with the noted “decided tactical advantage,” quote. The fact that Kansas announced his hire as Will Muschamp was on his way to a bowl press conference in which he apparently had no notice Weis was leaving, may prove that he hasn’t changed much at all. Also, as we learned in the Notre Dame experiment, getting someone competent to run his offense could be key.

But for whatever bridges Weis may have burned in Gainesville and at stops prior, there is no doubt that this hire is about as well as the Jayhawks brass could’ve expected to do.

Again, this job isn’t Notre Dame’s, but that’s a good thing.

It could be exactly what Charlie Weis needs.

For all his opinions, insights and analysis on college football, be sure to follow Aaron Torres on Twitter @Aaron_Torres.

Follow Crystal Ball Run @CrystalBallRun.

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