Road Kill Ahead: Weekend holds a bad beating for Kansas or calamity for K-State (UPDATED)

After three years of futility against the in-state rival, Kansas coach Charlie Weis needed to try something different if he wanted to give his team any chance in the 111th Sunflower Showdown.

So Weis changed up his practices by making it full contact for everyone—even the quarterbacks.

Weekend holds a bad beating for Kansas football – or a calamity for Kansas State.

“Everything was full speed, including going against my own normal patterns,” Weis said. “The quarterbacks were live the whole week, too. They probably hit more last week than they hit any week this entire season.”

There were two reasons for the change. Most importantly, the coaches felt the players needed to get better at finishing on all levels — tackles, quarters and games. Equally important is senior Collin Klein, K-State’s powerful, run-heavy quarterback whom Kansas will have to stop for a chance at victory.

Klein isn’t an elusive runner, but he’s strong enough to break away from defenders with ease. Kansas defensive coordinator Dave Campo compared Klein to Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and his ability to escape tackles and make plays.

To prepare for a quarterback who breaks tackles, Campo’s defense needed to practice taking down the signal caller — even if it meant hitting senior quarterback Dayne Crist.

“A lot of the guys on defense were excited,” senior defensive end Toben Opurum said. “We’re used to pulling up and making sure to do anything possible to not touch the quarterback. It was better that we could let loose and tee off.”

Ashleigh Lee/KANSAN
Junior linebacker Huldon Tharpe takes down his opponent from South Dakota State University during Saturday Sept. 1 game at Memorial Stadium where the Jayhawks won 31-17. Tharp had six tackles during the game.

But Crist wasn’t opposed to the hitting. The change in jerseys not only helped Crist practice full-game speed but also forced him to step up in the pocket under real pressure. Crist said the last two weeks were some of the best practices Kansas has had all year.

Even though Crist was under duress, he didn’t have the most pressure to perform in practice. That rested on the offensive linemen, who now had the responsibility of making sure their top quarterback didn’t get injured.

“It really changes the offensive line’s sense of urgency,” Marongelli said. “We’re all out there making sure nothing comes close to the quarterbacks. If you lose your quarterback, that’s your season right there.”

Campo said the return of the red jerseys is week-to-week, depending on what Kansas will practice to be successful on Saturdays.

To be successful against K-State, it comes down to stopping the black-and-blue run game that has become synonymous with Klein and the Wildcats.
“This is not a trickery and deceit team,” Weis said of K-State. “They are going to smash it down your throat, and you better be ready to tackle both the quarterback and the running back, because they are going to have the ball in their hands a whole bunch of times.”

Defensive backs coach Clint Bowen said that Klein presents a lot of the same challenges that Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch posed two weeks ago. Lynch ended up gaining 372 total yards on the Jayhawks and leading Northern Illinois to a 17-point fourth quarter that wiped away a 10-point Kansas lead.

Which brings Charlie Weis to the other reason he took away the red jerseys: finishing.

According to Weis, hitting in practice is just the remedy.

“That’s part of teaching people how to finish, which has been one of our bigger problems, as is well documented,” Weis said. “And I think there’s only one way of doing it and that’s old-fashioned football, it’s beat ‘em up.”

UPDATE: Weis responds to today’s cover

Blake is a senior from Chicago, Ill., studying journalism on the news and information track. Read more from .

  • Updated Oct. 5, 2012 at 11:40 pm
  • Edited by Ryan McCarthy
  • Brandy

    You used the quote from Weis twice. Come on…

  • Matthew Nyquist

    Guys, I love the Kansan, but this is just lame. That cover is absolutely disgraceful. Let’s support our University. Doesn’t mean we can’t be critical, but this goes beyond that.

  • Jill

    Another reason why Mizzous Journalism program is better….

  • Alex

    As a Kansas and Kansan Alumn, I find this cover a disgrace. Be critical by all means. Be balanced and fair. I’m well aware of the realities of where the Sunflower Showdown has stood and stands today…but don’t put out a cover like this. It is unnecessary. When KU won three straight against the cats not long ago, I highly doubt the K-State paper was creating graphics like this. I was at the TCU game last month and it was easy to see this team is making progress. I have some younger siblings still at KU and it was easy to see the self-pity party many current KU students were throwing for themselves in regard to the football program. Get over it! Go to the games and have some fun. Show some school pride. With the kind of passion KU fans bring for basketball there is no reason there should be such a wide discrepancy with football. Is that what KU is today? A student body that supports winners and rips apart its losers. Do you really think you will ever have a good football program if you act that way? I’m happy to write a guest column anytime you want. I wrote sports columns for two years, nothing like this. I am happy to send a wake up call. KU and the Kansan are better than this.

  • LadyJay

    I saw the headline for this, and I was shocked. This wasn’t a column headline–it was on the front page of the Kansan. It’s interesting that the story isn’t as controversial or skewed as the headline is. This leads me to ask the copy editors: “What were you thinking?” I agree with the below comments: The Kansan is meant to be fair and balanced–or, at least as much as it can be, as it is the KU student newspaper. But, I think this crosses the line. The fact that Coach Weis tweeted his shocked and disgusted reaction should only prove that. I’ll be interested to see if anyone on staff is able to get an interview with him after this. Like Alex, I’m also a Kansan alum, and if this proposed headline (and even the cover art) had come across my screen, I would’ve fought tooth-and-nail to make sure it never ran. And you should’ve done the same.

  • anon

    amazes me, shut up. If you could last one day doing what it takes
    to play division one football I’d shut up. Go do something with your
    life instead of slamming the people giving their all everyday to try and
    make you proud

  • Jeff McMullen

    Americans (including college students) are too soft. We have spent the last 100 years pandering to the feelings of overly-sensitive people and not addressing the problems head-on with direct and assertive language. Think of how our language in this country is constantly being dumbed down and revamped to be “politically correct”. This is in large part why we are no longer considered the leader of the world. We are not willing to do the hard things and call a spade a spade for fear of hurting someone’s feelings. Face it, KU is bad and K-State is great in football and it will be that way as long as Bill Snyder decides to coach. Praise God that at least you have basketball dominance and be thankful for what you have, not what you don’t have. K-State 54 KU 17. EMAW.

    • Sally

      I agree with everything you said; still, if you are a fan of KU, you need to stand behind them, not badmouth them, through thick and thin!

  • MachineGun

    Having met Coach Weis and some of his staff, I have no doubt that our team is on the right track. The goal this season was to be competitive and we have been in each and every game. It is just as likely that we pull the big upset tomorrow as it is that we lose by 24. This is what the casual fan does not understand. Our Jayhawks are capable of winning any game against any opponent. I am supporting Charlie Weis and our team all the way, sunshine or rain, win or lose!

  • Zack

    This is completely irresponsible as a part of the KU Community. Your edit of putting is Tweets in there is again classless. You are trying to make it look like he is attacking your for saying the Hawks will probably lose. He’s not. We are trying incredibly hard to build a program at KU. We need people to attend games and be involved while this is happening. You publishing “Road Kill Ahead” with the graphic you chose is counterproductive. Why don’t you use your “award winning” outlet to do something productive for the University as a whole, rather than tear down a program that honestly doesn’t have much farther to go.

  • Jack

    Well done, UDK. Journalism programs should all be lucky enough to not pump out unabashed homers.

  • Kyle

    K-Stater here. Thanks for the article; I was sure to send it to all of my KU alumni co-workers along with a zing. I’d expect to see this in the KSU Collegian, but am just giddy that it is here. You’d think your newspaper would have something like “Depite KU’s slow start, this team has a chance to pull the upset over Kansas State because…..” and then offer some insightful analysis about KU not turning the ball over this year, KSU’s ‘bend but don’t break’ defense being susciptle to the pass, KU being ready to finish when they have a lead, etc. Don’t expect a similar story from the Collegian during basketball season. Good luck tomorrow! EMAW!

  • John

    This is a set-up by the Coach. He arranged this so he can now walk into the locker room with this paper in his hand for motivational power. Surely there isn’t a school writer out there that is this dissrespectful to their own players or school.

  • Ron Yates

    As a former UDK editor I think the newspaper is correct in telling it like it is….the UDK should not be a cheerleader for any of KU’s sports teams and needs to point out flaws in performance when it sees them. That’s called “journalism.” R. Yates

  • John_Phog

    What an absolutely pathetic cover. I am surprised Blake didn’t throw in a few chicken hawk references and make fun of Weis’ weight. Don’t bite the hand that feeds you UDK. You don’t need to be a fan of KU, but this is the type of trash I’d expect to come out of Manhattan.

  • Grant

    Wow, I guess that’s why this is just a student paper and not a real one! Way to support your team through the thick and the thin!

  • Terran

    For those who have a problem with the headline, why don’t you take a look at the definition of the word calamity? The use of the word in the headline means if K-State looses, it will be an event causing great distress for the team. Just like it would cause us distress if we lost to them. HE’S SAYING EITHER WAY, ONE OF THE RIVALS IS GOING TO LOSE. It is very well known that K-State has a good football team, and we’ve lost to them the past three times in-state. IF YOU ACTUALLY READ THE ARTICLE…It’s about the changes Coach Weis is implementing and DOES SUPPORT OUR TEAM.

  • Terran



    Wow, talk about censorship. Where are the replies to the comments that I read just yesterday? I just sat through watching the guys on The Drive talk about your journalistic integrity in publishing that cover, and afterwards I return to the story to see reasonable, non-profane comments from readers deleted. As an alum, that really bothers me, even more than the degrading cover with it’s poor artwork.

    FWIW, I have no objection to the article itself, and no problem with fair criticism, but that cover represents neither fair criticism nor journalistic integrity. It is a cheap shot designed to attract attention, and a kick in the groin to a group of guys that are failing, despite all their hard work, to represent KU well on the football field. How would you feel if someone you thought at least appreciated your work trying to represent them publicly derided your best efforts? And don’t give me a “they chose to be public figures” argument, they didn’t choose to be laughed at by their own classmates. To me that cover speaks of journalism students that don’t like jocks (and FTR, I was never a jock) taking the opportunity to get their digs in after suffering all those years in high school. That cover was amateurish, childish and worst of all unkind. On the matter of that cover, I am in complete agreement with Weis standing up for his players. Be honest, be fair, be critical as appropriate, but don’t kick our guys when they are down and trying to get up.

    • tshedor

      @ltcusaret:disqus I apologize for the hidden comments and replies. When a comment is flagged as spam, it is automatically hidden until one of us reviews it. I just went through our spam folder and approved all appropriate comments. Please let me know if this is insufficient.

      • Micky Baker

        No Excuses for that. If you have readers that are flagging these kinds of posts, probably not the readers you want to attract.

  • What Burns My Bacon

    I hate to break it to you folks but this is good journalism. Student newspapers, like the professional ones, are supposed to be dedicated to the readers and not to the school or football team.

    These students are journalists, not PR spokesmen/women for the football team. The sooner you realize that the easier things will be.

    • Micky Baker

      There is nothing good about the illustration. We don’t even do this to our opponents.

      • What Burns My Bacon

        Let’s put the cards on the table: If the cat was on the goalpost with the bird holding it you would think it’s funny. And so would I. The problem here is that you love your team so much (and nothing wrong with that) that you can’t be objective about this.

        But since I don’t have a horse in this race, I can give a more objective take on the illustration.

  • xz007

    If one only read the comments to this article: “Oh wow, the UDK posted a picture of the Jayhawk getting bludgeoned to death by an angry mob while a Wildcat is crowned with a seventeen-foot tall crown, oh the humanity.”

    If one actually saw the picture: “Oh, ha ha, yeah, we are pretty scared to be playing a ranked team with a loss to Rice and Northwestern Illinois State Tech on our belts. Good show, graphic artist.”

    Final views: I agree with everyone’s comments here and think that the UDK should do a writeup for our game against Oklahoma State with a picture of us traipsing up and down the back of Cowboy, with the predicted score inside being KU: 1000, Okie State: -6. That is, after all, what a TRUE BLUE CAMPUS NEWSPAPER does to support their team, am I right?

  • Guest

    the UDK does get money from KU; it’s actually funded through student fees. that every student has to pay. also, unless they’re paying the overhead for being the least energy efficient floor in Dole, think they are getting funds form KU.

  • kippers

    the UDK is funded by student fees; that every student has to pay, every semester, as part of being a student at KU. Also, unless the Kansan is paying the overhead for being the least energy efficient floor in Dole, I think they’re getting funding from KU.

  • Prickly_Pear

    And Kansas lost,right?

  • Bull

    The problem with this whole controversy is that this article doesn’t match the illustration or the headline. Seems like the inflammatory headline and illustration were designed to do just that, inflame, because they don’t jibe with the article at all.

  • Drewscousin

    I just pulled all of my advertising from the UDK. I will go to IMG and support the athletic department.

  • Micky Baker

    They weren’t trained to win by Turner Gill. That’s the point.

  • Micky Baker

    If you’re going to try to spell that word, get it right. It’s, ‘imbecile’.