It's happening again. All of it. Charlie Weis didn't learn a thing. After his run at Notre Dame as the greatest flop in college sports history, Weis is doing all the same things in his new job at Kansas.
The patterns, the gimmicks, the bullying, the failure. It's all so familiar. It turns out Weis' ego is even bigger than we thought when he was at Notre Dame. Weis must believe that his failures in South Bend weren't his fault. Why else would he keep doing the same things and think they would work now?
Kansas, you've been conned. Notre Dame knows your pain.
The Jayhawks are 1-4 in Weis' first year, after falling apart late to Northern Illinois, and losing this past Saturday to Kansas State, 56-16. This week, Oklahoma State might score 100 on Kansas.
Weis walked into a mess when he took the job, and a coach needs a few years. But these past two weeks should have been particularly scary for Kansas fans.
Weis started Tweeting angrily about something in the school paper. Then, Kansas was crushed by K-State. Then, Weis apparently directed athletic department officials to bully the school paper, meet with a reporter in athletic department offices and suggest he might not want to ask questions during press conferences.
Ah the memories. I wrote about Weis for the Chicago Sun-Times years ago, when I gave him the nickname The Intern. He had never been a head coach, and didn't know anything about the college game. But based on a close-loss to USC, Notre Dame gave him a huge, 10-year contract to learn on the job. He was the world's highest-paid intern.
Anyway, he once was so upset over a column that he tried to call me into his office in South Bend and threatened to not let me into games anymore. If he did allow me in? I was not to ask questions at press conference again. (Nice try, Charlie).
Let me get back to that later.
The other thing Weis did at Kansas this week? He held practice without his seniors. That isn't getting the same attention as Weis' attempt to bully the school paper. But it's just as reminiscent.
"I took everyone that's going to be on the team next year, and they practiced," Weis said, according to the Kansas City Star. "And anyone who's not going to be on the team next year, after we were done with their film session, they ran and lifted."
Weis said it was about player development. Actually, it was about giving up on the season, and beginning the process of discarding players brought in by previous coaching staffs.
It was about blame. Blame the seniors, blame the idiot coaches who brought these lousy players in. See? In 2007 after a Notre Dame game, Weis explained that he is an excellent teacher and that at some point, you have to put the blame on the students, the players, for not learning.
"You would like to think," he said at the time, "that there would be a direct correlation between the classroom and the practice field to the game."
Five games into his first season at Kansas, and Weis is already flailing. The assumption was that during his years as an Intern, he would have learned.
That internship was so painful. He came to Notre Dame telling players they would have a "decided schematic advantage," not realizing that college football is all about player development. Then, at one point, he gave up his brilliant schemes and announced that he would have an assistant do the play-calling from now on.
That lasted a few games, till Weis started calling plays again.
One year, he had his players go through preseason camp without hitting. A few games into the season, he hit the re-set button and had players hit hard all week because he said he wanted to build their toughness.
At the time, it looked like the most colossal learning curve. Now, he's still grasping, inventing buttons to push.
Note: When he left New England, the Patriots kept winning. When he left Notre Dame, the Irish started winning. Florida has improved now, too.
But back to the Kansas school paper. It ran an illustration on the front page showing a Kansas State Wildcat mascot apparently carrying a Kansas Jayhawk on a stick with the words, "Road Kill Ahead."
Weis went on Twitter: "Team slammed by our own school newspaper. Amazing! No problem with opponents paper or local media. You deserve what you get! But, not home!"
A few minutes later, more rant: "I personally could care less. You are what are. On the other hand, if I don't support the players good or bad, who will??"
The school paper wrote this week that athletic department officials, presumably on Weis' orders, later pressured a student reporter, suggesting he not ask questions at press conferences. Department officials denied that that's what they told the reporter.
Way back, I wrote a column in Chicago concerning Weis' health. He had nearly died on a table having his stomach stapled because he was worried about his health. I wrote that it appeared he had gained a lot of weight at Notre Dame, and talked about how bad the pressure is in the coaching profession.
Weis wanted an apology and a meeting in his office, as if journalists are third-graders and he was the principal. I said I'd be glad to meet in Chicago, but not his office. It never happened.
Unfortunately, the Kansas reporter didn't ask any questions in the next press conference. That's not the way to act around a bully. Next time, kid, ask the first question.
Believe me, Weis will answer. With the Intern, things never change.