So. Charlie Weis.
Rumors surfaced on Twitter early Wednesday evening that discussions between the Jayhawks and the current University of Florida offensive coordinator might be, shall we say, heating up.
Twitter rumors are a dime a dozen these days, but this one began gaining a little bit of traction. So we made a cursory inquiry, and were quickly informed by a source that not only had the two parties spoken, but there was some definite interest on behalf of Weis.
Now, as anyone who has followed this coaching search from the start can attest, things can change in a hurry. Look at Larry Fedora - tepid candidate nationally one day, hottest name on the block the next.
So will this happen? There's no way to say with any kind of certainty. We wouldn't even attempt to put a percentage on it. All we can say is we've been told a dialogue exists between the two sides, and Weis has been receptive thus far.
Kansas athletics director Sheahon Zenger has managed his search as neatly and quietly as is humanly possible, which has to be a refreshing change of pace for Jayhawks fans in light of the - likely unintentional - transparency that currently exists at institutions such as Arizona State and Texas A&M.
However, we continue to hear that the administration would like to have the search wrapped up before the weekend, in time to introduce a new head coach during Saturday's prime-time basketball match-up with Ohio State.
A little background information on Charlie Weis:
Current Position: Offensive Coordinator, University of Florida
Current Salary: $765,000
Weis kick-started his coaching career in 1990 at the NFL level, as an offensive assistant and assistant special teams coach with the New York Giants under Bill Parcells. From 1991-1992 he was promoted to running backs coach, then spent the next four years in various roles with the New England Patriots.
From 1997-1999 he held the post of offensive coordinator with the New York Jets, before returning to New England to helm an offense that won a trio of Super Bowls.
In 2005, he was hired by his alma mater, the University of Notre Dame, where during the next five seasons he compiled a 35-27 record in his first major stint as a head coach. He was fired following a disappointing 2009 that saw a Fighting Irish squad with major expectations go 6-6.
It wasn't long before he was snapped up, returning to the professional ranks as the offensive coordinator in Kansas City. After one season with the Chiefs, a season in which they led the league in rushing, it was announced by Head Coach Todd Haley on Jan. 2, 2011 that Weis would be leaving at the end of the season to take the offensive coordinator position at the University of Florida.
Weis is typically regarded as one of the most technically brilliant offensive minds in the sport, so let's take a deeper look into the performance of his offenses at the collegiate level - which is really the experience most relevant to Kansas fans.
2005: Notre Dame ranks 9th in the country in total offense with 5,872 yards and 8th in points per game with 36.7. Most of the damage on offense is done through the air, as the Irish threw for 3,963 yards and 32 touchdowns.
2006: The following year, the Fighting Irish dropped to 22nd nationally in total offense with 5,283 yards, though they still averaged more than 30 points per game (31 to be exact). Once again, most of the yardage was attained through the air (This is going to be a trend), as they threw for 280.7 yards per game and rushed for 125.7. The passing attack accounted for 37 of their touchdowns during the season.
2007: In the third year of the Weis Era in South Bend, things got a little rocky. Gone was veteran quarterback Brady Quinn, to graduation and the NFL draft, and in came super-freshman Jimmy Clausen. Behind a banged up offensive line and with a new face under center, the Irish plummeted all the way to 118th in total offense, and the scoring dropped to 16.4 points per game.
2008: But they say the best thing about freshmen is they become sophomores, right? In Clausen's sophomore year, the offense began to get things back on track, jumping 60 spots in the total offense rankings to 58th nationally (4,616 total yards). The scoring took a big jump as well, to 24.7 points per game.
2009: The overall record didn't reflect it, but Notre Dame was back on track once again offensively in what would prove to be the final year of Weis' tenure at his alma mater. The Irish jumped back up to 24th nationally in total offense, and 8th overall in passing - gaining 451.8 yards per game through the air. They also cracked the 30 point plane again, if only just, averaging 30.1 points per contest.
At first glance, that breakdown probably doesn't paint a pretty picture for Kansas fans. After all, the strength of the offense is clearly in the big offensive line and talented stable of running backs - not necessarily at quarterback and receiver.
However, it's not all bad news. Back in the pro ranks in 2010, Weis proved his adaptability with the Kansas City Chiefs, taking an offense that ranked 25th overall in 2009 and helping them leap 13 spots - all the way to 12th - a year later.
Most of this was done on the strength of the ground game, as the Chiefs were the league's best at running the football thanks to the duo of Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones, and a solid offensive line.
So sit back and let this one marinate for a little bit, Kansas fans. Think about it. Ruminate on Charlie Weis. Would he be a good fit in Lawrence? He'd certainly be a splashy hire capable of energizing the fanbase - and likely the donors. That's a big deal.
He recruited well to South Bend, but despite their recent struggles Notre Dame is still a program that largely sells itself thanks to its history and titanic reputation. But one has to think those three huge, glittering Super Bowl rings will play will in homes - and with the right staff Weis could be a monster on the recruiting trail for Kansas.
We'll see what Thursday brings.
In other news...
Phog.net learned Wednesday morning via a source in Colorado Springs, Colo. that Air Force head coach Troy Calhoun - whom the Houston Chronicle reported interviewed for the job at Texas A&M and had been mentioned as a potential candidate at Kansas - was extremely likely to stay put.
Later in the day, confirmation came from Colorado Springs Gazette reporter Frank Schwab – the publication's Falcons beat writer – who received a text message from Calhoun in which he reaffirmed his commitment to the university and the cadets he and his staff recruited.