Charlie Weis insists the following words are not a promise. He will not discuss victory totals. He chafes at offering thoughts that could be misconstrued as a guarantee.
But standing near a stage at Corinth Square on Friday night, the Kansas football coach laid out, in rather clear terms, what his players expect out of the 2014 football season.
“I’m going to tell you what our players think, because I’m not dumb enough to make my own predictions,” Weis said, speaking to a large gathering of KU fans. “Our players expect to be playing in December.
“I’m going to say that again: Our last regular-season game is in November; our players expect to be playing in December.”
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Weis never used the words “bowl” or “postseason” as he addressed a few thousand fans at the annual KU Kickoff in Prairie Village, but his message was plain enough. In the minutes before Weis grabbed a microphone and took his spot in front of the stage, he told reporters that he hadn’t planned any specific remarks. In these situations, Weis said, he likes gauge the crowd before deciding what message to convey.
Well, Weis must have judged the crowd needed some positive vibes after a frustrating week for the program. The Jayhawks, just 4-20 in two seasons under Weis, lost senior running backs Brandon Bourbon and Taylor Cox to season-ending injuries this week. And the injuries cast a sudden cloud over a veteran team that appeared confident heading into its season opener against Southeast Missouri State on Sept. 6 in Lawrence.
On Friday, Weis deflected any specific questions about his team — or fall camp in general — but he sounded a clear rallying cry.
“I’m speaking on behalf of our team tonight, that we’re sick and tired of the national perspective of KU football, being that we’re not worth a crap,” Weis said. “We’re sick and tired of it. But let me tell you something: Until you do something about it, that’s what the perspective is going to be.”
Moments later, Weis conceded the reality of his program. The Jayhawks have spent three straight years in the Big 12 cellar and expectations have dimmed entering a fresh campaign. But as Weis clinched the microphone in his hand, his words appeared crafted to lift some of those dampened spirits.
“We are what we are,” Weis said. “We’re a team that won three games last year. So all the predictions are: we’re going to win three games this year. If that happens, I will be … no, I can’t even go there. That’s not even a consideration.”