What’s The Matter With Kansas?

I’ve spent the past few weeks researching some of the recent coaching hires as part of my neverending quest to bring CBR’s readers the best college football analysis on the planet.

In the course of boning up on the new faces in different places, I came across an interesting tidbit about one of the new additions to the Kansas Jayhawks staff: Recently hired defensive coordinator Dave Campo is 64 years old.

As has been the case with the other moves KU has made to rebuild its moribund football program, that gave me a chuckle.

The man charged with breathing new life into KU’s sad-sack D is sixty-effing-four. If this were France, he would have had to retire 10 years ago.

Imagine new KU head man Charlie Weis and his cane roaming the halls of Johnny Five-Star’s high school with his senior-citizen defensive coordinator in tow. Sign me up, right?

The annual ride on the college coaching carousel typically produces its fair share of curious hires. This year was no exception, as witnessed by moves such as Todd Graham bolting Pittsburgh after less than a year for his “dream job,” Arizona State. Someone named Bill O’Brien now holds a job once considered one of the sport’s plum gigs. Gus Malzahn left the Plains for Arkansas – the Red Wolves, not the Razorbacks.

Yet, no new staff screams “comedic disaster potential” like the one that has been put together at KU.

In Weis, the Jayhawks are getting a big-talking, under-delivering head coach who somehow managed to surpass Bob Davie and Tyrone Willingham in the annals of Irish ineptitude in his five seasons at Notre Dame. Weis took the foundation that Willingham built around quarterback Brady Quinn and backed his way into two consecutive BCS bowls under the special Notre Dame rules. When forced to actually field a team primarily consisting of the players he recruited – classes that were highly rated by the talent services – the Irish fizzled, going 15-21 in his final three seasons in South Bend.

After a one-year sojourn as offensive coordinator of the Kansas City Chiefs in which he clashed with head coach Todd Haley, Weis spent a year helping the Florida Gators’ offense regress from the Chinese fire drill that was Urban Meyer’s final season in Gainesville.

And Kansas is getting this all for the bargain price of $2.5 million per year. But, hey, apparently Weis interviews well.

Dave CampoOn the plus side, Weis has shown that he does have a sense of humor. His decision to retain the services of Campo as the Jayhawks defensive coordinator only adds to the imminent hilarity in Lawrence.

Like Weis, Campo sports a Super Bowl ring, which he earned in 1995 as defensive coordinator of the Dallas Cowboys – the last notable accomplishment of his coaching career. Unlike his new boss, the veteran Campo hasn’t recruited a high-school kid since 1989.

But I guess it’s not every day that a college program gets the chance to hire a former NFL head coach (with a 15-33 career record) to run its defense.

Honestly, watching Kansas’ plan come together has truly been one of the fun parts of the last month in the college football world for me. I have a feeling that more good times are in store.

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