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UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA MEDIA CONFERENCE
March 14, 2011
Q. Talk about the transition of coming back to the college game, why Florida, and what do you see so far that you like?
CHARLIE WEIS: Well, first of all, it was a fairly easy decision. But almost all of it was directly related to family issues.
And not to get into a long to-do about it, but I have a daughter with special needs named Hannah, and my wife and I had decided during this football season that we had to bring Hannah back to South Bend sometime late spring to get her back into her normal comfort zone. We have a charity back in South Bend where Hannah eventually is going to reside.
And she had a really rough year. Sometimes when you move, you forget about things that are really important in life and my daughter had a very tough transition going to Kansas City. So after Charlie wrapping up his senior year of high school, we had decided midway through the year that we had to do that for Hannah. When that took place, we then were going to end up being in three different sites, my daughter and my wife were going to be most of the time in South Bend. My son was going to graduate and go somewhere else, and I was going to be in Kansas City. We really didn't think that made a lot of sense.
So when Will called and I thought of how I could best take care of my family, the fact that my son could end up going to school here, my wife is a horse person; so I'm buying a house in the Ocala area; so I've got serious brownie points on that end right there, too.
So the fact that I can take care of my wife and my daughter and my son and kind of mesh everything together, it's really as simple an answer as that one. As far as the transition goes, it's been a very smooth transition. I didn't really know Coach Muschamp other than conversations with Mack who I know very well and I'm a big fan of and he's a big fan of Will's.
I think that we mesh very well together. He's the boss and wanted a guy to turn the offense over to, so I was a very good complement to what he was looking for. I've admired Urban in this program from afar for getting beat on the recruiting trails a whole bunch of times. And seriously, when you get beat on the recruiting trails, a whole bunch of times, which I did, and he ends up winning two National Championships and I get fired, I think maybe I came to the right place. That's pretty simple. No one ever said I was stupid.
Q. What do you think some of the challenges will be with working with a head coach who is so much younger and has less experience than you do?
CHARLIE WEIS: Actually, it's been really enjoyable for me personally. When you go through your first head coaching job, for me, my first head coaching job was Notre Dame where everything you say, everything you do, is national news. And you live -- when you go through for the first first go-around, there's a number of things, you sit there and do, and you say, why did I do that.
You sit there, so many things come across your desk, more than you ever would have imagined. And I think that the fact that he'll have somebody like me who has gone through that experience to kind of lean on, I think it's a very comfortable situation for me, because I didn't come here to take his job. I just wanted to come run the offense. And I think that it's good for him and I think it's good for me, first of all, but I think I could be of some help for him, too.
Q. How much potential do you see for John Brantley in your office?
CHARLIE WEIS: First of all, he's a good fit. I think that from the quarterback standpoint, you know, you have to be a good fit. And you know, fortunately for him, with what he does the best, you know, what he does the best athletically, it fits with what I like to do.
Now, that doesn't guarantee him a spot, but it gives him an upper hand with the experience that he has now fitting into an offense that fits what he does. I think that gives him a pretty good chance.
Q. People with no more expertise than, say, me, would describe your offense as pro-style offense. When you went from new England to Notre Dame, was there much of a change in what you did, and when you went from there to Kansas City Kansas City here, is there a change along the way or pretty much the same deal?
CHARLIE WEIS: What you do -- well, there's two different parts of that answer. First of all, the 20-hour work week versus the unlimited hour work week, college versus the pros, that is the biggest difference. Because you have to understand that there's only so much you can expose the players to in 20 hours. Whereas in the NFL, they come in at 6:30 in the morning and leaving at 6 o'clock at night and you're with them 12 hours a day and there's so much more. There's no classes. There's only one class and it's football. Here, the kids have to go to class and you don't get them until mid afternoon and ta-dah, ta-dah, ta-dah. That's one part of it.
When it comes to football, I've grown up in a system that's very expansive, and it's all predicated on personnel and formations and I think that all you do, wherever you go, whether it be New England or Notre Dame or Kansas City, you find out what you have as far as personnel and then you try to get the guys to make plays with the ball as many times as you can do it; and you try to do it with a trickery and deceit so the defense just can't zone in on you, and that's what you do.
When I was at Notre Dame we threw it a whole lot, and last year at Kansas City we ran it a whole lot. It all depends on what you have and who you have, that's what you do, and that's yet to be determined. I have not seen these guys put a football in their hands yet. That will be the first time on Wednesday, and I'm anxiously looking forward to it.
But I can tell you this: We get a bunch of guys that can run. I've seen that in the time I've been here. I think 5-3, six meters, I might be able to figure out something to do with him.
Q. The evaluation of the players that you have, how many tweaks or adjustments do you think you'll have to make to their skill set and how have they adjusted to picking up a different style of offense?
CHARLIE WEIS: Well, the second part is, you have to be determined, because they have not been out there with footballs, X's and O's at this point. I think that the first part of the question you ask is probably the more important one. I think that as I watch through the spring, as you go through 15 practices, I think the one thing, one of the biggest mistakes coaches make, especially when they are implementing a system, is to try to do more than your players can actually handle.
They want to do everything and sometimes it's just a little too much. But I think that spring is the time to challenge them mentally and physically to find out what you're doing with, because then that gives you the time in April and May, into June, July, before you get to August where you can really zone in on what you think your team will do the best. And we have a lot of time to make that determination, but I think that this is the time of year that's kind of exciting for the coaching staff because we are finally getting an opportunity to go ahead and make those judgments.
Q. How much of an impact did you have to start off with -- what was the reason behind getting a guy like Jordan (ph), especially the caliber of player he is?
CHARLIE WEIS: Did they get handed depth chart?
So if you look at the depth chart you realize what looked like a heavy position quarterback wise was actually light. Some of those determinations had been made very quickly when I got here, you know, we had already moved a couple of guys through mutual conversation that I had with them and Will had with them.
So Jordan was already at tight end -- (inaudible) -- safety. You know, so I think those two guys, because they were already gone, if you were are to look at the depth chart, now the quarterback position actually was kind of light, and not that you're ever really looking, trying to bring in two guys in the same year of such high calibre as Jacoby (ph) in and -- but how could you pass on two guys that are that good? They are both really good players.
And yes, I got actively involved as a matter of fact, actively involved enough where when we lost a playoff game on Sunday, I was taking the compliance test on Thursday and I was out of school on Friday morning. So I went there as many times as I could and I'm glad he's coming on board.
Q. From what you've seen of maybe anything of Tyler Murphy on practice film or whatever?
CHARLIE WEIS: I really like Tyler Murphy. I said, just because people don't know who he is doesn't mean he's not good. That's why when you see the depth chart you'll see John first and then you'll see Tyler or Jeff second, because Tyler or Jeff have not played a down of meaningful football here the last time I checked.
So I think until they do, I am not going to have any preconceived notion of anyone until I see what they do when they are out there.
Q. What are some of the things you learned about -- what would you do differently here.
CHARLIE WEIS: I really like this age group. I've got a kid who is going to be a freshman in college. I think I've been around this age group for quite some time. I think I get it. I think that there's a lot of kids here who have been hiding from me because I was recruiting them myself. There are some people that still, one guy popped into my office for the first time that's graduating today that's been hiding from me since I got here.
I really like recruiting and I think that the one thing you need to understand is an 18-year-old kid is not the same as a 22- or 23-year-old walking out the door. As any parent would know, probably the number one thing that happens when your kid goes to college is grow up. An 18-year-old kid is not like a rookie in the NFL.
You say there's a great analogy there but it's not really the same, because they areal 18 years old. They have gone where they are the big man on campus, walking around high school, sticking out their chest everyone saying you're the star and now all of a sudden -- the other thing that happens, even though most of your kids here, or a large portion of your kids here are from in-state, kids get home sick. They want mom to be making that dinner instead of going to the dining hall. They want somebody to do their laundry for them.
So I think that by the time they matriculate through college, you start to see the sophomore year, the junior year, you start to see the changes as they start to get it. I think that's one of the things that's really, really different between college and the NFL, because you watch them grow into young men; they come in thinking they are men but still big kids when you first get them. Watching them evolve, turning to the fine young men that most of them turn into is really one of the most rewarding experiences you have as a college coach.
Q. Coach Muschamp said you bring instant credibility. When you recruit, do you wear a Super Bowl ring? Do you talk about Tom Brady?
CHARLIE WEIS: No, I actually keep one in my pocket that I really do do that. When I first got the job at Notre Dame, I used to wear it then. I got chastised so many times by the media by every coach about wearing those gaudy rings; so I stopped doing that because my son has already claimed it as his. And my line, I used to have the same stupid line -- you want the same stupid line? I'll give it to you. I said, "Honey, if I could just get them to look at my hand instead of my face, I'll have a good, legitimate chance of recruiting."
Now, I have it in my pocket right now, and --
Q. Which one?
CHARLIE WEIS: I always keep the biggest one because it makes the biggest impact.
Q. Which one is that?
CHARLIE WEIS: That was the last one, Super Bowl 39 Jacksonville, Florida by the way, Philadelphia Eagles, my boy, Andy Reid; it cost him a dinner for four.
Q. He said one of the things about bringing in great coaches is he doesn't want yes men and guys who will agree with him on everything. Will you promise that you won't agree with him on everything? Is it a creative tension?
CHARLIE WEIS: No, I think that the good thing is knowing how to disagree with the head coach. I think that there is a protocol, there's a way of handling that. Like you never do it in front of -- you never do it in front of the other coaches. I think that there's a proper way of doing it. Everyone needs to know what your role is.
Coach Muschamp is the head coach, so there might be times -- it might be through experiences, the personal experiences that I have had; that I will wait until after the meeting is over and say, hey, you might want to rethink this one. Or, you know, there's a right way of doing exactly what you said. But you know, I have no problem saying it, but I think that you have to make sure you have a very strong conviction. But it's not what you say; it's when you say it. I think it's very important to how you handle that.
Q. (No mic).
CHARLIE WEIS: You're away from your family so much. It's really, they don't get the proportionate amount of time. It's a disproportionate relationship between the love of your family and love of football, and who wins out, because time-wise, football wins out. But this is what he wants to do. He wants to be a coach. And it's really interesting, because you would think I would be his mentor, but actually, Belichick is his mentor, because Belichick was a coach's son. So that's the guy who he talks to a lot of times. Bill talks to him all the time. It's kind of cool to watch where Charlie will say, "I talked to Coach Belichick today."
"I haven't talked to him in three weeks; thanks." (Laughter).
It's kind of fun, but you have to understand, it's the only life the kid has known is pro football or as the son of a head coach at Notre Dame. That's all he's known his whole life. He was born, I was coaching in the NFL, coaching in the NFL the whole time, took the Notre Dame job, then went to Kansas City. So it's either been the NFL or son of the head coach and that's all he's known.
Q. You guys have been turned off --
CHARLIE WEIS: That's a touchÃ© for you. No, he has not been turned off.
Q. Defense guy?
CHARLIE WEIS: Let's hope not.
Q. Coach Muschamp says he feels like you are thin on the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. How big of a concern is it for you on offense, and what challenges does that pose for you?
CHARLIE WEIS: First, I have a lot of confidence in Frank Verducci, who is the offensive line coach here who worked with me at Notre Dame. I think that we have been in this position before where we have to create position flexibility within the offensive line.
So that means we might have to have some people cross-trained. There might be some guys that have to play guard and tackle or center and guard or play left guard and left tackle. So that might mean that when you get to play your games, you don't have confidence that against top competition, you can play ten guys. But you'll have eight guys, so it just forces you to take a little bit more of the pro mentality where you have to create some position flexibility so that you can make sure that you have good guys playing against good guys at all times.
Q. Your offensive is obviously shaped by Perkins (ph), a little bit of Ron , which one would you say is the strongest influence and what made you start gravitating one way or the other to form your own?
CHARLIE WEIS: It's interesting, because I worked for both Ray and Ron at different times. But it's interesting, because Ray was more conservative. He was a little bit more smash mouth where actually Ron was the first coach that I know of. And there might be somebody else, but the first coach that I know of that actually started emptying the backfield in football; that is the first one I know of.
At least so I think that what everybody has done is the foundation from Coryell system, because really in the NFL there's only a few systems, it's just where the origin was; Coryell system and you have Perkins and Air Coryell and there are a whole bunch of teams in the NFL running that system. They are just a variation of that system.
I think that what's happened is I learned under those guys and you take the foundation of the system and you start just tweaking it and tweaking it and going off with your own deviations from it right there. But really when it comes right back to it, when you are first teaching a system to the players, it all comes back to the same root. You start from the root and then work your way out depending on how expansive you can be depending on how much mental flexibility your players have.
Q. You mentioned John Brantley -- what makes you say that? What have you seen from him?
CHARLIE WEIS: Well, remember, I was one of those recruiters back in the old days, looking for drop-back quarterbacks. I had familiarity with John back when he was in high school, so you know what type of quarterback you are recruiting at the time. He's got strong family ties which led him here to Florida.
And I just think that -- I just feel that in no way am I -- I've questioned a couple of times to him, in taking my Jersey swipes, you know: You came to run the spread, that made a lot of sense, that was a great decision on your part.
So in reality, it's good for him to get into a system -- look, he's not super athletic, but then Tommy Brady was not super athletic. You know, I'm not comparing John Brantley to Tommy Brady but just because somebody says you're not super athletic does not mean you can't be a front line quarterback.
I'm just saying there are certain systems that are more quarterback friendly to the guy that doesn't run sub-four five. He's not sub-four five. That, I can promise you. He's not sub-four five.
Q. Calling Tommy Brady --
CHARLIE WEIS: Actually he prefers his friends call him Tommy, just so you know that. There's a little insight for you.
Q. Is there pressure that comes with that? Here is Charlie Weis; what can fans expect site unseen from a Charlie Weis offense?
CHARLIE WEIS: First of all this is Coach Muschamp's offense, not Charlie Weis's offense. This is the University of Florida, this is not Charlie Weis's offense, and you know, we work as a unit and I follow his lead. I appreciate the confidence they have known in me by bringing me in.
Here but at the same time, it's going to be a collective group effort because there's going to be games that we might go in, 17-14, there might be another game we win 45-41. You don't know what you're playing or what it is going to take to win. I'm not really worrying about that. I'm just trying to get us back to winning on a regular basis and I think we all want the same thing.
Q. Could you briefly explain what the positions between F1 and F11 are --
CHARLIE WEIS: I'll make that very easy for you. When different -- there's different personnel groups that every team in football uses. 21, okay, the number's 21. The two numbers are referring to how many backs and how many tight ends are on the field.
So when you see 21 there's two backs on the field and one tight end. That means there's two wide receivers. If you saw the number 12, that means there's one back, two tight ends and two wide receivers. If you see the number 11, that means there's one back, one tight end and three wide receivers. So in all those cases, okay, in one case, you had two backs out there, and in one case you had two tight ends out there and in one case you had three wide receivers out there. So that means in all cases, there's somebody that starts in those personnel groups.
So in other words, when you have three wide receivers on the field, you see De'Ante down there as DF. When you see 21 out there, you see Trey down there as DF. So it's showing you, I'm just giving you -- just using just those two groupings, that when you have different personnel groups, there are different guys that are starters within those groups.
Everyone wants to just list, give you those bogus depth charts that you get all the time so, we actually tried to give you a real one. Sorry, we tried to give you a real one. But instead of giving you some bogus depth chart that doesn't really tell you anything and just lines up with two wide receivers, we figured we would give you, hey, here is what we are thinking.
No, it's the players are the ones that are going to try to determine how they changed the depth chart, and within the personnel groupings, it also shows them that if they want three wide receivers on the field, they can't just compete against the wide receivers. They also have to compete against the second tight end and they have to compete against the second running back. So it builds more confidence on your team.
Hold on -- I have to ask you a question. If I say F22, how many wide receivers are on the field?
CHARLIE WEIS: Good -- (Laughter) -- no, I don't want to hire you, but that's the right answer.
Q. You talked about teasing Brantley about coming to a school where they run to the spread; Jeff Driscoll, how do you see him adapting?
CHARLIE WEIS: He's a classic. He would be a classic drop-back quarterback. He's a classic drop-back quarterback. You could not be any more tailor-made. The one thing he has over John is he's much more athletic. The one big disadvantage he has from John, he has no experience. But he's a classic drop back quarterback.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports