There are hundreds of high school athletes in the Kansas City Area, and we here at kcyoungguns do not think that they are given the proper coverage. So, we’ve decided to interview one outstanding local athlete a week in what we will call the Chatting with… segment. We’re looking for the KC Young Guns that are making a difference in their respective sports.
This week, we’re here with Baile Winslow, the Kansas City Star’s girls golfer of the year and the Class 5A State Champion. The St. Thomas Aquinas golfer beat out the competition at State by 4 strokes and helped Aquinas win its fifth straight 5A State Championship in a row—as a junior. She plans to start her own blog, called bwinslowgolf13.wordpress.com, which will highlight her experience with golf.
KCyoungguns: To start things off, Baile, we wanted to ask you about your name. The spelling is very unique, is there some significance to that?
Baile Winslow: My mom always liked a show and the main character’s name was Bailey, but when she looked in the name book it was spelled this way…sometimes I think she might have overlooked that one.
KC: Alright, now on to golf. Baile, you won the individual 5A State Championship by 4 strokes. Can you describe what playing those last few holes were like?
BW: The last few holes were rough. I didn’t know where I stood in the tournament so I had no idea I was in the lead. The weather got pretty bad and I had a hard time keeping my hands warm and dry, which is important. The pin placements on the last few holes were tough, but I kept in mind the rest of the field would be struggling too. I tried to only focus on staying in the moment and taking it one shot at a time.
KC: St. Thomas Aquinas has a very strong tradition in girls golfing (the last five straight seasons a Saints player has finished first individually. Former State champions include Ali Kruse and Gianna Misenhelter). How do you think that strong tradition affected your game at State?
BW: People always expect Aquinas to win therefore that only motivates our team more. We work on setting goals throughout the season and are constantly working on how we can improve weaker parts of our game. The weeks leading up to state, Coach Best told us we needed to be the best short game team in the field. We worked longer than ever before on putting and chipping. As for pressure; I don’t really notice it I guess. Walking into state my goal was to win not only as an individual, but as a team. I think goals are the most important part of avoiding outside pressure because only you can determine what you expect from yourself.
KC: Was there anything important that you learned from Misenhelter or Kruse that has helped you with your game?
BW: Where do I start? Ali and Gianna are the first girls I met when I walked into Aquinas they have always been huge role models to me. I had only been playing golf for a few months before I met them so they were able to teach me so much about the game while at the same time we became very close friends. They have inspired many of the girls on our team to work hard and become the golfers we are.
KC: You just were honored with the title of “Kansas City Star’s girls golfer of the year.” What does that mean to you going forward?
BW: This title is really exciting for me. It shows me how much I have improved in a short amount of time which can sometimes be overlooked playing golf. It only motivates me more to see where my hard work will take me in the coming year.
KC: When did you start playing golf in the first place and why?
BW: That’s a tough one but my parents always were trying to get me to play golf but at first I hated it. Then I met some of the girls who played on the team at Aquinas and decided I wanted to do that too. And I had nothing else to do in high school. So, by the end of 8th grade I started practicing and worked at it all summer and was able to make varsity freshman year.
KC: Golf is an interesting sport in that you can win individually and then also win or possibly lose as a team. How do you balance both the individual and team aspects of golf?
BW: The most important thing to me is my team. They come first no matter what. At practice I know I need to be there to help and support them by giving them drills to do and different ways to work on their mental games. But by helping them, I learn a lot myself and discover new kinds of shots and ways of doing things. Plus golf is associated a lot with competing by yourself so I love being on a team working with other people.
KC: This year was your junior year, so you still have one season left. How are you preparing for next season, and what are the expectations?
BW: I’m preparing for next season by working on new shots, gaining distance and working more on my mental game. Golf is a never ending series of practicing and trying to get better. By gaining strength and endurance this winter I will be able to work harder and longer during the season to reach my goals for high school golf this fall. Unlike other sports, I’m not able to take the winter off; I need to keep practicing and working on fundamentals in order to be ready for a strong spring season. As for expectations, I will put myself in the position to win every tournament I play. I come to win and to improve myself from one year to the next which I feel I was able to do well in 2012.
KC: Not that we want to promote a competitor’s blog (we’re kidding), but you’ve told us that you’re soon going to start a blog yourself. Could you describe what the blog will be about, and why you started it in the first place?
KC: Haha, I have been thinking about doing something like this for a couple years now. It will start Jan. 1 and will be a daily update of something golf related for the entire year (bwinslowgolf13.wordpress.com) things like the tournaments I’m playing in and results from that, things that I have practiced that day, or something that just inspired me. Oh, and maybe I’ll put a link to kcyoungguns on it too…hmmm
KC: Well, we would greatly appreciate it. Since you are a junior, the college recruiting process is probably starting or has started. What has the recruiting process been like thus far and how have you handled it?
BW: The recruiting process isn’t easy; it’s a lot of work. Visiting schools is fun and I am starting to get an idea of what I am looking for in a coach and a school, but I am still nowhere near knowing where I am going to go. Being organized is important; my dad and I are working on a spread sheet that includes the schools I’m interested in, the coach, team averages and statistics along with some other things too.
KC: Spring is fast approaching, and let’s just say we here at kcyoungguns aren’t the best golfers. Do you have any tips for us and for our readers for the upcoming spring season?
BW: Practice! It’s the only thing you can really do to improve. Creating a good work ethic and setting goals for yourself is the only way you can reach your highest potential. Plus by doing those things and writing your experiences down you are able to see how you are improving. A few lessons never hurt anybody either!
KC: And finally, any last words or comments?
BW: I want to thank my family for all of their support this season especially my dad for teaching me how to play the game, as well as my teammates for being some of the best people I have ever met! On behalf of the entire team we want to thank the NHSCA coach of the year, Coach Best. Go Saints!
We want to thank Baile for taking the time do this interview. If you know someone who should be recognized for the week in our Chatting with… segment, email Blase Capelli at email@example.com or Spencer Montgomery at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And if you missed last week’s interview, we sat down with Mike Rose, Nebraska linebacker commit, to discuss his upcoming Under Armour All America High School football game, which will be played on January 5th.
In the last round of games before conference play, the Tigers pulled off a last minute victory against Old Dominion, the Jayhawks blew out North Dakota, and the Wildcats of Kansas State had an easy win against Howard. All three teams did relatively well in their preconference schedules: Missouri went undefeated, KU lost to highly ranked teams (except the Davidson upset), and K-State only lost once in double overtime.
Now is the time we’ve all been waiting for: Big 12 conference play. It should be a little interesting this year; half of the teams in the conference could make a run at the championship, but who has the best shot? Well Baylor of course, but the Tigers, Jayhawks, and even Wildcats could all pull it off with the right schemes and defensive play.
What most people don’t know is that the conference looks a little different this year. With the loss of Nebraska and Colorado, the Big 12 will now play a round-robin conference schedule, which will declare a true champion. The basketball conference play is an 18 game league schedule, concluding with the Big 12 tournament in Kansas City, Missouri.
The usual hotshots are not the favorites this year either, the Jayhawks have been replaced by the Baylor Bears, and the Tigers are predicted to come in a close second. The Jayhawks still have a high chance of having a top-four finish, most likely followed by Texas and Kansas-State. Clearly that isn’t good enough though, as Senior Thomas Robinson put it: “This is Kansas. Nothing less than championships are acceptable.”
Can Baylor live up to the hype?
Can the veteran led Tigers continue their undefeated streak?
Are Jayhawks really going to let their 7-year Big 12 Champions streak fall?
Only time will tell.
Here’s a break down of the Big 12 teams:
Since All-American candidate Perry Jones came back from the NCAA mandated 5-game suspension, the Bears have been on a roll. Led by the youngsters Perry Jones and Quincy Miller, the Bears are undefeated and showing no indication of slowing down. Like many other teams though, they have yet to play much fierce competition and even struggled against a few unranked teams. Their size gives them a major advantage over Big 12 contender Missouri, but the Bears average roughly 15 turnovers a game; an area that teams can capitalize on.
The Tigers have been on a roll this season. Led by All-American senior Marcus Denmon who averages 18.7 points a game, Mizzou has dominated easier opponents and even have marquee wins over Cal and Illinois. The Tigers are first in the nation with their .517 average field goal percentage, and third in the nation scoring 86.2 points per game. Missouri opens up Big 12 play with Oklahoma tomorrow, Kansas State on the 7th, and then Iowa State on the 11th. Although Missouri hasn’t had trouble covering big men thus far, they are bound to be challenged in the Big 12 play. Look for the Tigers to win a lot of games this season through outstanding shooting, turnovers, and fast-break points.
The 17th ranked Jayhawks haven’t started off their season like they would have liked, but they are still major contenders in the Big 12. With early losses to then #2 Duke and #6 Kentucky, the Jayhawks have really suffered by the play of senior guard Tyshawn Taylor. They also were the victims of an upset in Kansas City, when unranked Davidson came out and beat the Jayhawks by six in front of an all-blue crowd. They have shown signs of light though; Kansas did knock off then #2 ranked Ohio State, and Thomas Robinson leads the team averaging 17 points and 12 rebounds. If the Jawhawks want to defend their 7-year big 12 champions streak they will need better guard play from Taylor, consistent double-doubles from Robinson, and better shooting from Elijah Johnson and Connor Teahan. You can watch Kansas open up their Big 12 conference schedule against #25 Kansas State at Allen Field House on ESPN 3 on Wednesday.
Although K-State has been under the radar this season, they have been playing outstanding basketball thus far. Sitting at #25 in the country with one loss to West Virginia in double overtime, the Wildcats also have a shot to make a run at the Big 12 title. Beating their last two opponents by a combination of 56 points, they are led by junior guard Rodney McGruder. McGruder is inconsistent in his performance though, scoring 28 points against Long Beach State and only four against UTEP. The Wildcats have relied on their defense to propel them in the win category this season, and that’s exactly what will determine whether or not they can be a contender in the Big 12.
The Longhorns have struggled a bit this season with the loss of Tristan Thompson and Cory Joseph to the NBA. They have two early losses to unranked teams: Oregon State and North Carolina State, and then lost to #6 ranked North Carolina later in their pre-conference schedule. J’Covan Brown leads the Longhorns with roughly twenty points a game, and must have a consistent performance to give the Longhorns a shot. They also have suffered this year with the disappointing performance of freshman guard Myck Kybongo. He was 11th overall and 2nd in the country at his position as a senior in high school, but has almost had a negative impact for the longhorns this season. If Texas wants a shot of even making the NCAA tournament this year, they need better play from Kybongo and freshman big man Jonathan Holmes. The good thing is that the Longhorns are young. Look for them to be a force in years-to-come.
The Sooners have been playing decent basketball this season under new coach Lon Kruger. Their rebounding and guard play have propelled them to the position they’re in thus far. ESPN.com ranks them as fourth overall team in rebounds per game with 42.2. 16.8 of these boards are on the offensive end, which gives their scorers more opportunities to knock down shots. Most likely the biggest improvement in all of basketball this season has been junior guard Steven Pledger. He has bumped his average points per game from 10.9 as a sophomore to 19.8 this year. The Sooners will be in the bottom half of the conference this season, but don’t be surprised if they upset one or two teams along the way.
The Cowboys have probably been the biggest disappointment in non-conference play this season. Sitting at a record of 7-6, they are awful in scoring points, shooting, and they only have 10 assists a game. To put that in perspective, UNC guard Kendall Marshall averages 10 assists per game by himself. To Oklahoma State’s credit though, every loss they have is to a potential tournament team, a stat that might make Cowboy fans a little happier. On the bright side, they open Big 12 play up against Texas Tech, another team that consistently ranks in the 200’s in almost all important stats. The Cowboys will be an easy win for other teams this season, and most certainly has no chance of making the tournament.
Texas Tech Red Raiders
Texas Tech went out and hired Billy Gillispie as their new coach this season, and let’s just say, it shows. All of their losses have been to non-ranked teams, and three of these games were at neutral locations. Their only bright spot is freshman forward Jordan Tolbert, who averages 15.4 points and 6 rebounds a game. After they play Oklahoma State on Wednesday, they have to meet Baylor and Kansas in their second and third games of conference play. Let’s just hope Texas Tech can escape Big 12 conference play with more than four wins.
Texas A&M Aggies
Texas A&M has had their fair share of ups and downs this season. Some predicted them to win the Big 12 this year, but after new coach Billy Kennedy was diagnosed with early stages of Parkinson’s disease and a few losses under their belts, this doesn’t seem as possible as it once did. Star 6-7 forward Khris Middleton also missed seven games with a knee injury, and sixth-man off the bench Kourtney is out for a month. Texas A&M was originally ranked #19, but losses to Mississippi State and Florida knocked them out of the rankings. Because of coach Kennedy’s diagnosis, the injuries, and the fact that backup point guard Jamal Branch announced he was transferring, the Aggies will not have as good of a season as we all thought. They also open up Big 12 play against Baylor, which surely doesn’t help.
Iowa State Cyclones
The Cyclones sit at 10-3 with a great win over #15 Michigan. They haven’t really seemed to find their rhythm or team chemistry, this in part because the team is largely made up of transfers. Their 6-8 forward transfer Royce White is a force to be reckoned with in the paint, and transfer guard Chris Allen can score points as well. All in all, the Cyclones won’t be a huge force in the conference and they won’t go to the tournament, but they will upset a few teams. Look for them to make the big upset of the season, just like their football team did against Oklahoma State in week 11.
How they’ll finish
4. Kansas State
6. Iowa State
7. Texas A&M
9. Texas Tech
10. Oklahoma State
With the new year upon us, there is a lot to look forward to in 2012. Of course in the sports world, a new year means a soon to come National Championship college Football game, the NFL playoffs, and countless NBA games. But one thing we are excited for this year is the Royals. Although finishing the season 71-91, this year the young Royals look like they might just be able to compete… For once. We’ll give you the breakdown of why. Today we’re going to look at the Starting Rotation, one of the major weaknesses of last year’s team.
When we take a look back at the Royals 2011 season, the major struggle was with the starting rotation. Numerous analysts called the rotation the worst in baseball. The Royals managed to have a terrible ERA with a 4.44 which slotted at the 27th worst in the league. They are also ranked 27th in quality starts with only 75 (A quality start is at least 6 innings pitched and under a 3.0 ERA). The all important WHIP stat is not much better. They come in at 26th with a 1.41. The rotation looked like this, Luke Hochevar as the ace followed by Jeff Francis then Bruce Chen. The back end of the rotation consisted of Felipe Paulino and Danny Duffy. As the ace, Hochevar had a horrendous 4.68 ERA. While Duffy showed bright signs, most of his season consisted of rookie troubles.
Although the future may look bright, I still feel the Royals do not have a strong enough starting five. After losing Francis, Dayton Moore decided to trade Melky Cabrera for Jonathan Sanchez who adds a new dimension to the rotation. The thing Sanchez does best is striking out hitters.
I plan on seeing a great deal of improvement from Danny Duffy in his second year. Last years experience will pay huge dividends when Duffy is pitching against the same players he saw last year. On paper the starting five still may seem under par but in my opinion, they may just be good enough. Luke Hochevar, Bruce Chen, and Jonathan Sanchez currently look like the only locks. Danny Duffy and Felipe Paulino would serve as the early front runners, and in this hypothetically, Aaron Crow and Mike Montgomery would be auditioning right along with them. The great thing about having so many young options is competition. These young guys will all be battling for most likely one spot.
I expect the spring training to have a huge effect on how the rotation shakes up. Last year Mike Montgomery almost pushed himself into the number five position, but he went down to AAA and struggled a great deal. I personally hope Danny Duffy or Mike Montgomery get the notch for the starting rotation mainly to keep Aaron Crow in the bullpen. In the minor leagues Crow struggled as a starter. Crow utilized his role in the rotation so well he was named an All Star. The look of the starting rotation will have a huge effect on who battles for a seat in the bullpen.
I would like Dayton Moore to sign either Edwin Jackson or Brandon Webb. By signing either player the Royals will get experience and quality pitching. Because Brandon Webb has had a history of being injured, he should go for cheap. I see this as a perfect chance Dayton Moore can take. By signing another pitcher, it creates more competition and if one of the young prospects are not ready they can mature in the minors. I expect the Royals to compete for some part of the year because of the weak division but not because of the starting rotation.
Spencer: So by now you’ve probably heard about the vacant coaching spot for the Kansas City Chiefs.
Blase: And like us, you probably have certain guys you want to see as the head coach. I mean, let’s face it, seeing Bill Cowher in Red and Yellow would be interesting to say the least.
Spencer: But our hopes aren’t set on getting Bill Cowher (we’re being realistic). We’ve heard the question discussed and thought we would duke it out ourselves.
Should the Chiefs hire Romeo (Bromeo) Crennel?
Spencer: For me, I think the Chiefs should definitely hire Romeo Crennel as their head coach for next year.
Blase: You had to say it. Well, just to warn you, I caught five shrimp tonight at the Japanese Steakhouse (always a competition in my family) and let’s just say I’m on top of my game. So don’t say I didn’t warn you. I have to politely disagree with you: Crennel is not the answer for the Chiefs organization. As much as I love the big guy, I see some major issues with the hire.
Spencer: Let me explain, Crennel has the backing of the players behind him. After taking over the job as the interim head coach, he rallied the troops and managed to beat the undefeated Packers. That was a solid win. Someone needs to get a video of that Gatorade bath. The calm, cool “I’ve done this a million times” look on Crennel’s face was priceless. Not to mention, his headset was dislodged after the Gatorade hit him. Come on, who wouldn’t want a coach like that.
Blase: You’re right the players are behind him. But, just because he has the backing of the players doesn’t necessarily mean he should be hired. Having confidence in a coach is one thing, but if the coach can’t give the players the tool’s to win then that confidence means absolutely nothing.
Spencer: You do realize that Crennel arguably led the strongest part of the Chiefs team this year, the defense?
Blase: I’m well aware of that, but go back and look at the stats. These are the amount of points the Chiefs gave up each game respectively: 41, 48, 20, 17, 24, 0, 20, 31, 17, 34, 13, 3, 37, 14, and 13. That looks pretty inconsistent to me. And am I wrong or was that the exact reason Pioli fired Haley in the first place—he was too inconsistent.
Spencer: Yes, but you have to admit. Having a coach with a lot of jewelry is appealing. He’s been there and done that. His five rings are proof of that. And the stat with the points can be slightly credited to the offense that couldn’t move the ball or control the clock. And don’t you think you’re forgetting something (or someone I suppose): Eric Berry, easily one of the best safeties in the NFL.
Blase: But during his time as head coach with the Cleveland Browns, his combined record was 24-40. I think that’s a tell-tale sign that, while he may be able to handle the defense, I’m not sold he can lead a whole team.
Spencer: That’s what the offensive coordinator is for… We could go on for days, but I think we will stop there. Alright, for the other two serious candidates that the Chiefs are considering, check out the below information.
Blase: And please, Clark Hunt, spend money on Jeff Fisher.
Coach Fisher was previously the head coach of the Tennessee Titans for a total of 16 seasons. While he is known as an offensive line specialist, Coach Fisher has been around the block long enough to know how to handle a team with “special” personalities that the Chiefs have on their hands (we’re looking at you Jonathan Baldwin and Dwayne Bowe). As the head coach of the Titans he led the team to a combined record of 146-120 in his 16 seasons. He led a 13-3 Titans team to the Super Bowl in 1999, but lost to the St. Louis Rams 23-16 (That game went down as an instant classic. One yard. Just one yard. I’m sure Coach Fisher and the Titans have nightmares about that play all the time). He has made the playoffs six times.
The Roast of Josh McDaniels
Josh McDaniels’s resume makes me want to run the other way and beg for Todd Haley to return. At the time of his hiring, as head coach of the Broncos, he was the youngest head coach in the NFL. In his first season, McDaniels managed to go 8-8 in a division that was well below average. The second season was a disaster. The Broncos had a regular season record of 3-9 in 2010, when he was fired. He moved on from the firing and pursued a job as the offensive coordinator for the St. Louis Rams where he was incredible at calling all the wrong plays. With the Rams, McDaniels’s offense put up staggering numbers for all the wrong reasons. The offense led the league in fewest points SCORED and was second to last in yards. The offense also was able to land in the top ten for turning the ball over (21 times). The bright spot on the season is the two wins, one against the New Orleans Saints… we will just leave out the thirteen loses. In regards to the Chiefs, it seems like Pioli wants Josh as a puppet, I mean head coach… Scott wants some one that will not challenge his drafts or his trades. That guinea pig could be Coach McDaniels if Pioli gets his way.
Although the high school football season has been done for quite a while, we decided to bring in Rockhurst senior linebacker Mike Rose, who will be playing for the University of Nebraska next year, to talk about his upcoming All-America game on January 5th.
Thegreatdebate1: So Mike, the Under Armour All-America High School football game is on January 5th. How do you feel going into the game?
Mike Rose: I am excited to go down there and play in a pretty prestigious all American game. I just hope I do my best and play well.
TGD: How did you react when you learned that you had been selected to play in the game?
MR: I was shocked, I called ESPN and talked to Tom Luginbill and told him they sent it to the wrong guy. He laughed and told me I was chosen. I was very honored, and I still am.
TGD: Have you been preparing for the game in a certain way? If so, how?
MR: I have been working out, running, staying in shape lifting. I realize the competition is going to be better, and there are going to be some bigger guys so I am preparing for that. That is what I am most excited about, is the challenge this game will bring.
TGD: This year, as a senior, you’ve been regarded as a top 150 recruit in the rankings (by both ESPN and Rivals). What does that mean to you?
MR: I don’t really buy in to all the rankings. You have a lot of guys that make these rankings and honestly some have favorites, some I don’t think have played football, and some are bios to certain schools. So to put a lot of stock into a guy because he is ranked, is not a credible source. I have hoped that people would know me by how well I played, not solely on my ranking.
TGD: We know that this year’s finish to the season was a disappointment for the Hawklets football team. As a player, how do you rebound from that?
MR: Well it is not that disappointing for me, because I have been given the chance to play at the next level. My heart goes out to my teammates who will not be able to play at the next level. We had the goal of winning a State Championship again and we did not achieve that goal. Though I have one ring, I am sorry, and I am greedy. We worked very hard but just came up short.
TGD: While this year’s finish was disappointing, last year the Hawklets won the State Championship. What was that like? And can you describe your emotions throughout the game?
MR: That was an amazing feeling, especially the way that game played out with that last drive and the incompletion. We played hard, we had a lot of guys go down with an injury throughout the game but we still prevailed. Just getting ready and coming in and being in a NFL locker room and all the hype around it. Then when the final 0:00 hit the clock, it was just all that hard work finally came to surface… It was amazing
TGD: The start of this past season was a little bumpy. For our readers, can you describe what happened, and how that experience has helped you grow as a football player and a leader?
MR: Yeah, we replaced some key guys from our State Championship run at QB, RB, OL, TE, WR basically every group on offense and some key special team positions. Our defense came in as ranked #1 in the nation, which proved to be too lofty of expectations. We were a team with great individual talent, but at times we could not bring it together to be the best team possible. That is no certain person’s fault; we all had our flaws and our mishaps. We didn’t put it all on the field and we lost because of that. That is my biggest regret, I became a better leader as time went on, but in the moments I look back, when my team needed me the most, I could have done more. I hope to go into Nebraska remembering from this year, that you only have a certain amount of time to accomplish your goals.
TGD: As you begin your career at Nebraska as a linebacker, what do you think of the legendary status of the Nebraska’s starting defensive players nicknamed the blackshirts?
MR: Right now we have not lived up to the legendary expectations, but those are some tough expectations. One of the best defenses ever, some say, came from the national championship Nebraska team (95′). I think as we get more familiar with the Big 10, we will play better. With the changes going on in the coaching staff, I think the intensity will come back. The expectation will not hide, so neither shall we.
TGD: We here at the greatdebate1 have heard that you are a big help to Bo Pelini on the recruiting trail. Can you describe how you try to persuade players to go to the University of Nebraska, and maybe give us some information on some players your hoping will decide on the University of Nebraska that you’ve been talking to?
MR: At this point I talk to a lot of guys, and you know it’s more than just about coming to Nebraska. It’s all genuine. I talk to some pretty good players that I have met from going to all the combines and camps over the past four years. I just talk to them about football, about how great the tradition is at Nebraska and the people. The people at Nebraska are some of the best people I have known, I love the Husker fans and coaches and players. People will be interested; I’m just a bridge from the players to the university. If you are genuine about what you’re talking about and you’re not giving these guys a bunch of fake stuff then they will listen. I’m talking to Jordan Diggs, Quanzell Lambert, Devin Fuller, Brandon Beaver, Alonzo Moore and a bunch of other guys. We have a chance at all of them. Hopefully we will be getting some good news here soon.
TGD: Any last comments you want to make to readers?
MR: Go Big Red!
Alright, well that’s it from Michael Rose. We wanted to thank Mike for his time and wish him the best of luck as he continues his football endeavors at the University of Nebraska. Who knows, maybe we will have another interview with him in the future.
Good news for Kansas City fans came out tonight. While our team might not be playing football into January, we will still have players to watch that will be representing the Chiefs at the 2010-2011 Pro Bowl. Yes, Kansas City fans, two Chiefs players from your beloved team were given the Pro Bowl honors and will be traveling to Hawaii: Tamba Hali and Derrick Johnson.
Although both were integral parts of the Chiefs’s defense, they had very different roles when it came game time. For Hali, the man was a pass rushing machine. He gave teams all kinds of fits, becuase of his speed coming off the edge and his superior hand to hand tactics (watch him warm up, it’s insane). This has led to a team leading 12 sacks and countless holds by offensive linemen that aren’t always included in the stat line. I know if Hali was running full speed at me, I would probably pass out. He’s a pretty scary-looking guy.
While Hali was voted in because of his ability to get to the quarterback, Johnson was voted in because he was the overall leader of the defense. Johnson not only led the team in tackles, with 126, he also was the defensive play caller and was in charge of making the correct audibles when he saw something he didn’t like at the line. Chiefs fans have been given the delight of watching Johnson mature before their eyes.
For me, I can’t help but wonder if Eric Berry, Tony Moeaki, and Jamaal Charles weren’t injured. Not only would we have potentially had 5 pro-bowlers, we might have still been playing into January-as a team.
I’m going to put this in the simplest terms possible: Charlie Weis was one of the best hires Kansas could have made with the cards they were dealt. Think about it. “Our coach is fatter than your coach jokes” back?…. Check. T-shirts that say “our coach is fatter than your coach” on them back?… Check. I thought this considered a unanimous great hire throughout the Kansas fan base, but apparently I was wrong. The ESPN guys are calling the hire a “head scratcher,” and it seems like everyone on Facebook had something negative to say about Weis. Here were some of the most insightful statuses…
“If you can’t win at Notre Dame, how in the hell can you expect to win at Kansas? Bad hire in my opinion”
“Charlie Weis to KU? haha huhhhhh”
“I’ve had enough of the fat coaches”
Anyway, to all the naysayers who think this is a bad hire, I have one question for you. What was a team with a 2-10 record supposed to do? Heck, even Coach Weis pokes fun about how one team in the state of Kansas (K-State) can be 10-2 and KU be 2-10.
I’m sure when Mike Leach heard Kansas was interested in hiring him he immediately turned off his cell phone, didn’t answer his home phone, and refrained from checking his emails for a couple of days. I can only imagine his thoughts:
Is Kansas honestly considering giving me an offer? They do realize Washington State, Arizona State, and UCLA all are on the table. Why would I choose a 2-10 team with one of the worst defenses in college football over any of the three schools in the Pac-12? That’s like choosing a Toyata Prius over a Mercedes. Why would I go to the corn field when I could go to the sunny west coast?
If Kansas would have hired Leach, after what happened with Mangino, we would have witnessed the biggest joke in college sports not called the BCS.
When criticizing the hire, a lot of fans bring up Weis’s feeble college football résumé, but numerous fans forget about his success he had bringing in top recruits. In 2006, at Notre Dame, he had the sixth best recruiting class in the nation. Two years later, in 2008, he brought in the second best class behind Alabama. At Florida, he was able to bring in numerous pro-style offensive studs, but with only one year, he didn’t have time to polish them. I’m willing to bet that any high school senior from the Kansas City area would gladly play for Weis after his extensive experience in the NFL.
And Kansas fans won’t have to wait long for some talent to be brought in, as Weis has already begun this by bringing in Notre Dame’s QB Dayne Christ and Jake Heaps from BYU. In addition, there appears to be speculation that Justin McCay may be transferring from Oklahoma and may potentially rejoin his former high school coach, Tim Grunhard. Grunhard also will bring along his former Bishop Meige High School wide receiver Tre Parmalee, an explosive offensive threat. Such personnel moves by Weis will help him on the recruiting trail, especially within the Kansas City area.
While Weis was the offensive coordinator for the #102 ranked offense in the NCAA this past year (Florida was only four ahead of KU), this can mainly be attributed to a freshman starting quarterback playing for the injured Senior John Brantley for most of the season.
Weis will need at least four years to implement his offense, recruit his kids, and instill his team philosophy and ideology. Give him a chance to bring Kansas football back to mediocrity.
And if he isn’t winning? At least we can crack fat jokes until the next sorry soul is pulled into the nightmare that is the Kansas Football Program.