MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The Week 4 firing of Kansas coach Charlie Weis abruptly shuffled the staff in Lawrence but won’t necessarily create a retooled scheme when the Jayhawks visit West Virginia on Saturday.
Mountaineers coach Dana Holgorsen said “it’s a little trickier actually trying to change things in the middle of the season,” and he doubts the Kansas game plan suddenly will undergo some radical transformation.
“We’ve got the film. We know who their players are. We know their personnel,” Holgorsen said Monday. “Basically the coordinators are intact and will be continuing to do the same things.”
Athletics director Sheahon Zenger dismissed Weis on Sunday morning during the aftermath of the Jayhawks (2-2, 0-1) losing to Texas 23-0.
The season’s final eight games now become the purview of interim coach/defensive coordinator Clint Bowen, a former Kansas player who also held interim duties in December 2009 following Mark Mangino’s forced resignation. When Turner Gill did not retain Bowen, he spent the 2010 season as defensive coordinator at Western Kentucky and served in the same role at North Texas during 2011.
Bowen, who returned to Kansas in 2012 as part of Weis’ new staff, hinted at only subtle changes as the Jayhawks try to salvage something from this tumultuous season.
“Our immediate plan for this week … is to operate this thing day-to-day and hour-to-hour and minute-to-minute and roll through it,” he said.
Bowen coached the linebackers last season when the Jayhawks defeated West Virginia 31-19, giving Kansas its lone win in the past 31 Big 12 games. The Mountaineers scored two touchdowns in the last five minutes to make the final score respectable.
“This West Virginia team has changed—they are an explosive offensive team,” Bowen said. “They have some playmakers and they’re a dangerous bunch.”
West Virginia (2-2, 0-1) was listed as a 25-point favorite Monday and possesses the Big 12’s leading passer and receiver. Clint Trickett averages 400 yards per game with more than 158 of those going to Kevin White.
Though the Mountaineers are tied with Kansas in the current Big 12 standings, the teams’ first four games bear scant resemblance. Jeff Sagarin’s USA Today ratings peg WVU with having played the nation’s toughest schedule to date, while Kansas’ schedule strength ranks only 93rd.
Kansas a ‘destination’ job: Though he is considered a long shot to win the job permanently, the 42-year-old Bowen clearly has dreamed for decades about running the program. He told his future wife about that specific ambition on their first dates 20 years ago at a Lawrence ice cream shop.
Bowen bristles at the notion Kansas is one of the least attractive jobs in the power 5 conferences.
“Anyone that would consider this a stepping stone job is an idiot,” he said. “This is a destination job. I’ve heard people say that before and I always defend it. Anyone that knows anything about Kansas, talking to coaches in this business, people understand that this is a sleeping giant of a program.
“You have an unbelievable community, you have an unbelievable university, you’ve got all the resources available to have a successful football program and all the support from the administration. People that know football, they know that this is an unbelievable job.”
No official Worley update: Holgorsen declined to clarify the status of cornerback Daryl Worley, who was suspended two weeks ago after a nightclub altercation with a woman led to a misdemeanor battery charge.
With university administrators evaluating Worley’s actions and motives, some media outlets reported the sophomore could be reinstated on Monday.
Charlie on Charlie: The latest Big 12 coach hired, Charlie Strong, was asked Monday about Weis, the latest coach fired.
“You develop a relationship with the coaches and they become your friends,” Strong said. “You hate to see that happen to anyone. Kansas had to make a decision that they made, but we’re in this business and we understand that it could be pitfalls.”
Criticism for Kingsbury: The father of former Texas Tech walk-on quarterback Baker Mayfield isn’t happy about his son being denied a transfer waiver to play at Oklahoma this season. Texas Tech’s administration and coach Kliff Kingsbury have fought the transfer from the outset, and barring a last-minute appeal, Baker will lose this season of eligibility and be unable to redshirt.
“The driver and the scoundrel behind all this is Kliff,” James Mayfield told The Oklahoman on Monday. “He is so focused or hellbent on punishing Baker.”
Mayfield earned Big 12 freshman of the year honors last season but said he decided to leave Texas Tech last spring when he wasn’t promised a scholarship.