College football: Weis tells it like it is in recruiting

The Kansas City Star

DALLAS -- Mere seconds into his news conference Monday at Big 12 Conference Media Days, Kansas coach Charlie Weis embarked on remarks that were construed as offensive.

And that was just to Jayhawk fans.

“Well, we were 1-11 (in 2012) and picked by everybody to finish last in the league (this season), and that’s justifiable,” he said. “If I were you, I’d pick us in the same spot. We’ve given you no evidence or no reason to be picked anywhere other than that.”

But that was only the appetizer.

“The problem with me is ... I’m a very straightforward person, and these players either really like you or they can’t stand you; it’s one or the other,” said Weis, before revealing the creative recruiting pitch he began using during his woeful inaugural season in Lawrence: “ ‘Have you looked at that pile of crap out there? Have you taken a look at that? So if you don’t think you can play here, where do you think you can play?’ “

His words might not go down with rallying cries like “I have not yet begun to fight” (John Paul Jones) or “I shall return” (Douglas MacArthur) or even “Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?” (John Belushi as Bluto).

But Weis wasn’t apologetic when later asked to clarify, and even if he didn’t seem to see the room between honesty and full disclosure, between tactful criticism and raw insult, he defended his stance well.

“I’d rather just tell the truth,” he said. “I want a guy that five years from now, when they walk out the door, they (can) say, ‘That’s the same guy who recruited me.’ I’m not saying that other people don’t, but when you have a personality like (me) a lot of times that can be misconstrued, OK, as just being arrogant, obnoxious all those other things.

“Sarcasm is part of who I am. I’m not trying to be funny when I use it, It’s just part of who you are. ... News flash: I’m going to be sarcastic five years from now. So I think that when kids know that you’re going to treat them honestly, they’re going to respect you.

“They might not all like you, but they’re going to respect you.”

As an example of how he might be misconstrued, Weis noted Monday afternoon that his words of the morning already had been taken by some as giving up on the season.

“If you were paying attention at all, you knew that wasn’t what I was saying,” he said.

And he was right. It was clear he was using that as a jumping-off point, even said “inside our walls and closed doors” the expectations are much higher.

But just in case, he amplified it again later.

“I’m talking about what they saw last year. We have yet to play this year,” he said. “So we have 12 games at least for them to change that impression for this next set of recruits that’s going to be coming and watching games.

“Hopefully, I can’t use that (selling point) this year ... But it is what it is.”

Kansas football coach Charlie Weis answers questions during the Big 12 Conference Football Media Day Monday in Dallas.