Charlie Weis is hard to figure.
One minute you think he's a doofus who keeps getting hired to coach football. The next minute you think he knows what he's talking about.
One minute you think he's been riding the Tom Brady gravy train for almost a decade, the next minute you think he really does have a knack for developing quarterbacks.
So I don't know what to think about Weis. But I do know what to think about the Kansas football Jayhawks.
They are the 10th school in a nine-team league.
So what can it hurt for KU to have hired Weis? The Jayhawks have nowhere to go but up as the 2012 season approaches, bringing in the Weis era.
Or at least the Weis season. This is Weis' fourth job in the last four years – Notre Dame head coach 2009, Kansas City Chief offensive coordinator 2010, Florida U. offensive coordinator 2011. Who knows how long Weis will stick around?
Weis is coming to a program that had a total of one Big 12 victory the previous two years, under Turner Gill, and that's not even what alarms Weis most.
“Maybe even more important were not the losses last year but how badly they lost so often,” Weis said. The Jayhawks lost Big 12 games by 42, 30, 38, 43 and 54 points.
“And I think that the first thing you better do is get your team to be more competitive on a weekly basis,” Weis said. “To be honest with you, I think it's a very challenging situation.”
At least Weis has a big name, courtesy of the New England Patriots and Notre Dame. And at least he is built along the lines of Mark Mangino, the defrocked KU coach who before being fired for mistreatment of players did a decent job, including a 12-1, Orange Bowl season in 2007.
Weis is drawing some interest from decent football players. Notre Dame quarterback Dayne Crist transferred to KU and is eligible immediately.
“He's the most honest individual I've ever met in my life,” Crist said. “Tells you the truth whether you want to hear it or not.”
Weis does not really come across as a charmer, and Crist says that's accurate. “He was the only coach that ever got under my skin in recruiting. He challenged me as a recruit before I was committed. Said, ‘Hey, I understand if you're scared of competition.' I forgot what he said after that. I was just so furious.”
Crist says Weis' ability to coach quarterbacks “speaks for itself.”
Of course, spending four years coaching Brady will help a guy's resume.
But it is true that Brady Quinn got much better at Notre Dame after Weis' arrival, and Jimmy Clausen turned into a solid QB in his third Notre Dame season, and Matt Cassel was very productive for the Chiefs in Weis' lone season.
So maybe there is something to Weis' quarterback acumen.
But Weis also comes off as an arrogant guy who was lucky enough to land with Brady at the onset of the Patriots' dynasty. Comes off as a flare Kansas shot into the air, hoping Notre Dame stardust, whatever that is worth these days, rubs off on KU.
And Weis is ready to debate when scoffers suggest the Jayhawks can't win.
“Not so long ago, it's 2007 and 2008, and they're playing in the Orange Bowl and the Insight Bowl and winning,” Weis said. “It wasn't like it was 20 years ago.”
Weis also said that when Kansas called, he considered the Jayhawk neighbors. K-State was doing well, Missouri was doing well, why not KU?
The reason at KSU is Bill Snyder; the reason at Mizzou is the only major school in a much bigger state.
The truth is, Weis likes to talk, like when he said upon being hired at Notre Dame that the Irish would have a schematic edge over every opponent. Seemed like a silly thing to say, and when Notre Dame lost to Navy in 2007 for the first time in 43 years, all doubt was removed.
But Weis wasn't a horrible coach at Notre Dame. His record was 35-27. That's a winning percentage of .564. Bob Davie and Ty Willingham, who had the job just before Weis, each were .583. Brian Kelly is .615 after two seasons. That job is what it is.
And Weis now says he learned some lessons.
“Anytime you go through an experience and you end up getting let go from a job, you kind of reflect and look back and say what things would I do different.
“I can't tell you the number of things that I looked at on that list and said: ‘Weis, how stupid can you be … why did you do that?'”
But just when you think Weis has learned a little, he goes and says something like the Kansas and Notre Dame jobs aren't all that different.
“Really, you might say the expectations are different,” Weis said. “But everyone wants the same thing.”
Sorry, not even close. Notre Dame wants to wake up the echoes of glories past. Kansas just wants to avoid embarrassment before basketball arrives.
That will be hard to do in the Big 12, where even Iowa State and Baylor are playing some good football, and the Jayhawks most certainly are not.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.