|Raise your hand if you are largely responsible for Kansas being such a bad team (US Presswire)|
It looks like first-year Kansas coach Charlie Weis is already looking ahead to year two.
Weis announced on this week's Big 12 conference call that he practiced without seniors on Sunday, citing the need to develop younger players for the future.
It's an odd approach for Weis to publicly take considering he is just five games into his first season in Lawrence. The Jayhawks are a miserable 1-4, but two of the losses have come by seven or points or less. Kansas even showed signs of life early against Kansas State before getting blown out.
There's certainly a logical reason to play younger players at some point in such a horribly lost season, but there are more sensitive ways to go about it.
Weis told the Kansas City Star that he would've done the same thing even if his team was 4-1, but it's hard not to be skeptical of that claim. He didn't do it in his previous stint as coach at Notre Dame, so why start now?
“You have to understand,” Weis said, “the steps that you have to take to get there.”
Based on his record as a coach, it's unclear Weis really understands what it takes to "get there." What does seem clear is that he expects his team to go 1-11 this year and he is merely trying to inoculate himself against future charges that he didn't do a good job with the talent at hand. By playing the young guys -- and his own recruits -- he can explain away losses by saying that he just "needs time" for his players to develop and get experience, while avoiding questions like: Why is Dayne Crist, a fifth-year senior that you recruited out of high school, playing so poorly?
Weis is gambling that he can get his young players up to speed in time for his second season. If he loses that gamble, he might not be around for year three.