KU coach Charlie Weis has plenty of respect for K-State coach Bill Snyder, head coach of his program’s biggest conference rival. But he also has a Snyder story that gives credence to Snyder’s legendary focus and hatred for the tiniest of distractions.
In the late 1990s, Weis was working as an New York Jets assistant coach under Bill Parcells. Weis had an assignment to travel to K-State pro day in Manhattan and scout offensive lineman Todd Weiner, and Parcells asked him to ask Snyder about the young player.
“I go into Snyder’s office, early in the day,” Weis said. “… I tell them who I am, and what I’m there for. (His secretary) goes into see Coach Snyder, and she goes ‘He’s on the phone, he’ll get to you in a little bit.’ Four hours later, I’m still sitting in the office. Coach Snyder comes out, talks to me for about 30 seconds…”
From then on, Weis said, smiling, he knew exactly who Snyder was.
“I think he’s pretty good,” Weis said.
New digs for Baylor — As much as Art Briles is looking forward to coaching the Baylor football team this season after all the program’s recent success, he wouldn’t mind jumping ahead two years.
That’s when Baylor is scheduled to debut a new stadium. Not only will the new venue offer the Bears a state-of-the-art facility, it will move football on campus. Their current stadium is located between a grocery store and a neighborhood a few miles off campus.
The need for an upgrade is enormous, and couldn’t come at a better time for a Baylor team that is on the rise.
“It’s a big-time deal now,” Briles said. “I’m not kidding you. It’s going to change the whole image of Baylor to people that never really considered Baylor … from now on for the next 50 years.”
The new stadium will be visible from both the Brazos River and I-35 in Waco.
“There’s 42 million people that drive down I-35 and beginning in 2014 that are going to see this beautiful stadium, which is going to be one of the most beautiful stadiums in the United States of America,” Briles said. “They’re going to look over and say, ‘OK, those people at Baylor are doing it right,’ because it’s going to be unmatched in beauty.”
Nothing new — TCU and West Virginia don’t need the full tour of the Big 12 the way some teams might when they join a conference.
The Horned Frogs used to belong to the Southwest Conference along with Texas, Baylor and Texas Tech and have played Oklahoma in nonconference games within the last decade. And coach Gary Patterson is from Kansas. To them, the new schedule is nothing new.
The Mountaineers aren’t that familiar with the league, but their two highest profile coaches are. Holgorsen previously served as an assistant in the Big 12 and basketball coach Bob Huggins used to coach at Kansas State.
“I was in the Big 12 for nine years,” Holgorsen said. “I’ve got a pretty good idea of what to expect.”
Quarterback demands —
Texas coach Mack Brown is less concerned with who wins the starting quarterback job at Texas between David Ash and Case McCoy than how the winner plays when he takes the field.
Quarterbacks have held the Longhorns back in recent years, and the guy who started each of the past two seasons under center, Garrett Gilbert, has transferred to SMU. Texas needs more this year to make a run at a conference title.
“Obviously that’s a key to us being better,” Brown said. “We need to play better at quarterback. And I think that means we need to have more explosive plays from that position and at the same time we need to protect the ball better.”
Position swaps — Weis will release an official depth chart next week, but there are already some minor position changes.
After spending three years as a defensive lineman, redshirt junior Randall Dent has moved to offensive guard. He joins sophomore Pat Lewandowski, who also converted to offensive line this summer.
“Randall was an offensive lineman playing defensive line, anyway,” Weis said. “That’s what he was. He’s a powerful guy that was taylor-made to be a guard.”
Freshman Tevin Shaw, a standout running back and defensive back from Piscataway, N.J., will begin his career at safety. The decision, Weis says, was made after a conversation earlier this summer.
“I told him that he would start fairly far down on the running back dept chart,” Weis said. “But he would start very high up on the safety depth.”
Double duty — Weis is mum on most specifics, but he seems set on one offensive plan. It appears all but certain that senior linebacker/defensive lineman Toben Opurum will be utilized as a running back in short-yardage, goal-line situations. Opurum began his career as a running back before moving to defense under former coach Turner Gill. Weis, in fact, recruited him to Notre Dame as a running back.
In addition, offensive lineman Duane Zlatnik could also see time as an interior defensive lineman on short-yardage situations.