Weis move to Gainesville a family decision

UF offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Charlie Weis reacts to a question by media during a media press conference at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Monday, March 14, 2011.

Aaron Daye/Staff photographer
Published: Monday, March 14, 2011 at 10:23 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, March 14, 2011 at 10:23 p.m.

Since accepting Will Muschamp's offer to become Florida's offensive coordinator in January, there has been a lot of speculation as to why.

Why would one of the best and most respected offensive minds in football leave the NFL and take a pay cut to come to Gainesville?

Why would the former head coach at Notre Dame want to come to work for a young, first-time college head coach he barely knew?

Well, the answer is simple, really.


It was all about family.

“It was a terribly easy decision that almost all of it was directly related to family issues,” Charlie Weis said.

Florida had the one thing no other job in the country could offer at the time — the opportunity to keep his family together.

“I have a daughter with special needs, Hannah,” Weis said Monday. “And my wife and I had decided during the football season that we had to bring her back to South Bend sometime late spring to get her back in her normal comfort zone, where she is going to eventually reside.

“She had a really rough year. Sometimes when you move, you forget about things that are really important in life. For my daughter, it was a very tough transition going to Kansas City.”

In his one season in Kansas City, Weis helped turn the Chiefs into a playoff team. But the job turned his daughter's life upside down.

At the same time, his son, Charlie Jr., was in his senior year of high school and would be leaving home this summer.

Had Weis stayed with the Chiefs, the Weis family would likely have been scattered across the country in three different locations. He would have been in Kansas City, his wife and daughter would have been in South Bend much of the time, and his son would have gone off to college somewhere.

One phone call from Muschamp kept the family together.

“When Will called, I thought about how I could best take care of my family,” Weis said. “The fact that my son could end up going to school here. … and my wife is a horse person, so I'm building a house in Ocala, so I got serious brownie points on that end.

“The fact I could take care of my wife and daughter and son and mesh everything together, really it's a simple answer. The answer is that one.”

Weis gets to help his family together. Muschamp gets one of the elite offensive coordinators in football - a home-run hire for sure.

Weis certainly looked comfortable standing at the podium at his first UF press conference Monday with a Gator shirt on his back and a Super Bowl ring in his pocket.

“The transition has been very smooth,” he said. “I really didn't know Coach Muschamp other than conversations with (Texas coach) Mack (Brown), who I know very well and I'm a big fan of. He's a big fan of Will's.

“We mesh very well together. Will is the boss and he wanted a guy to turn the offense over to, so it was a very good complement to what he was looking for.”

Now that we know how Weis ended up here, everyone is speculating about his pro-style offense.

What's it going to look like?

Again, a simple answer.

He's not sure yet.

“I've grown up in a system that is very expansive and all predicated on personnel and formations,” he said. “All you do is wherever you go — whether it's New England or Notre Dame or Kansas City or here — you find out what you have as far as personnel, and then try to get the guys who can make plays and put the ball in their hands as many times as you can do it.

“You try to do it with a little trickery and deceit so defenses can't just zone in on you. When I was at Notre Dame, we threw it a whole lot. Last year at Kansas City, we ran it a whole lot.

“It depends on what you have. That is yet to be determined (here). I haven't seen these guys with a football in their hand yet. I can tell you this, we have a bunch of guys who can run.

Weis also seems certain of this: He has a quarterback (or two or even three) on the roster who fits what he wants to do offensively.

For starters, senior John Brantley.

“First of all, he's a good fit,” Weis said. “From a quarterback's standpoint, you have to be a good fit. Fortunately for him, what he does best athletically fits what I like to do.

“That doesn't guarantee him a spot, but it gives him an upper hand with the experience he has. And fitting into an offense that fits what he does gives him a pretty good chance.”

Weis was familiar with Brantley even before Weis arrived in Gainesville. He recruited Brantley when he was the head coach at Notre Dame - because he seemed like such a good fit for his offense.

“I've questioned him a couple of times, taking my Jersey swipe,” Weis said. “I said, ‘Yeah you came here to run the spread, that makes a lot of sense.' But in reality, it's good for him to get into a system that fits.

“He's not super athletic, but then Tommy Brady wasn't super athletic. I'm not comparing John Brantley to Tom Brady. But just because someone says you're not a super athlete doesn't mean you can't be a front-line quarterback. There are certain systems that are quarterback-friendly for a guy who doesn't run a sub-4.5 (40).”

Weis said the other two quarterbacks he'll be working with this spring - true freshman Jeff Driskel and redshirt freshman Tyler Murphy - also are a good fit in his offense.

“I really like Tyler Murphy,” Weis said. “Just because people don't know who he is doesn't mean he's not good.”

Driskel committed to Urban Meyer to play in the spread offense, but Weis doesn't see a spread quarterback when he looks at the big, athletic Driskel.

“He's a classic dropback quarterback,” Weis said. “One thing he has over John is he's much more athletic. The one big disadvantage he has from John is he has no experience.

“But he's a classic dropback quarterback.”

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