Kansas head coach Charlie Weis didn't mince words when talking about things that were lacking in his first season with the school. In addition to going 1-11, he says there were many faults, including coaching as he has said.
During the 2012 if there was one gaping hole that stood out above any others, it was that of leadership and that is one of the first things Weis said needed remedying in order for his team to become just that.
"A true indicator of that is when we picked captains last year, and look, I love Dayne Crist, but for him to be a runaway leader, as the captain of your team and he's been there three days, that says a lot about his character, but that also says you have a team void of leaders," Weis said.
So, there began Weis year-long mission to build up leadership with players that were already in the program, giving the team more stability and making the rebuilding process that much easier.
"Too many coaches during the game think they have a big say, but in reality, coaches' jobs only lead up to the game. That's when all your work is done. It starts Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. Thursday, Friday, " Weis said. "Saturday is supposed to be for the players, not coaches. People are paying money to watch the players play, not the coaches on the sidelines."
After the team's rough season a year ago, Weis and his staff is hoping the leaders that have emerged will help the winning process and with that, improvement will be noticeable on the field this season.
"Your team is never going to be any good unless your leaders take care of all the issues," Weis said. "Now, it might be something on the field, like a bad play, where everyone is complaining and moaning at someone or something. Instead, someone says "come on, next play, let's go.' Or, sometime ,when the team is a little flat, someone besides the head coach jumps in and gets after it."
This season, the transition is apparent, as Weis announced his captains for the 2013 season this week and if there's one thing about the four, it's that Weis message was heeded and should give fans reason for excitement and comfort.
In 2013, senior running back James Sims, junior quarterback Jake Heaps, junior linebacker Ben Heeney and junior defensive lineman Keon Stowers will serve as the team captains. Weis said the decision was an easy one for the team and each captain has put in their time to the program and has grown within it.
Another telling sign is the announcement of a leadership committee in addition to the team captains, something Weis implemented while at Notre Dame. The idea is that players can go to other players aside from captains to deal with team issues. In other words, the team takes care of the team and from that true leadership emerges.
The leadership committee will be comprised of the four captains along with Jimmay Mundine, Christian Matthews, Tony Pierson, Pat Lewandowski, Keba Agostinho, Cassius Sendish, Dexter Linton, Darius Willis and Blake Jablonski.
When you take a step back and look at the makeup of the 2013 Kansas team, the first thought is that the team is night and day compared to just a year ago.
"Today, there's a very good message that the program's headed in the right direction, because the players have perceived leadership on the team," Weis said.