LAWRENCE, Kan. -- Two seasons into his time at Kansas, coach Charlie Weis recognized his offensive strategy was not working.
So he stepped aside. In hiring John Reagan from Rice, implementation and oversight of a new spread attack was left up to the new coordinator, who worked at Kansas previously under Mark Mangino.
The transition will be interesting. A sophomore quarterback whose redshirt was shredded midway through last season, Montell Cozart, was named the starter coming out of spring camp.
"Montell deserved it. So naming him was just telling the truth," Reagan said. "It was good for him in the sense that, 'OK, here's one thing I'm not thinking about. Now I can just focus on playing quarterback.' It's good for our team as well, that they know who our clear quarterback and who our leader is."
Enough issues exist anyway for a program that went 4-20 in Weis' first two seasons and has just one Big 12 win over that time.
While there was solid reasoning behind the move to a new attack, the Jayhawks still must produce. That not only involves Cozart, but the remainder of the offense.
Kansas receivers caught just three touchdown passes last season after producing no scores in 2012. The lack of aerial punch forced too much workload on a solid, but overworked, group of running backs.
The problems could be resolved with the addition of two transfers, Nick Harwell (Miami, Ohio) and Nigel King (Maryland), as well as the dependable presence of tight end Jimmay Mundine.
Of course, that's assuming Cozart can find his touch after completing just 23 of 63 passes a year ago when he split duties with BYU transfer Jake Heaps.
"The biggest thing is not being nervous," said Weis, "because accuracy is never an issue when you watch him in practice. It's what he's going to do when the pressure is on. (Playing) quarterback is totally different when people can actually hit you."
Assuming the Jayhawks can move the football enough to significantly improve on the puny averages of 294.5 yards and 15.3 points recorded last year, the defense may have enough experience, and talent, to hold its own against Big 12 attacks.
Cornerback Dexter McDonald has shutdown potential, while strong safety Isaiah Johnson was named the Big 12 defensive newcomer of the year last season. Up front, nosetackle Keon Stowers is solid. Meanwhile, linebacker Ben Heeney is legitimately one of the league's top defenders.
"I certainly see (progress) on defense and I see evidence of it on special teams," Weis said. "I think that offensively, what we're doing on offense gives us a better chance to win."
Jayhawks at a glance
HEAD COACH: Charlie Weis, third year at Kansas, 4-20 record at Kansas, 39-47 overall.
DRAFT PROSPECTS (includes 2015 NFLDraftScout.com rating as applicable):
LB Ben Heeney (No. 6 inside linebacker, 156th overall) -- Size (6-0, 230) will keep him from getting drafted high, but all the senior does is make plays. Rangy tackler who flat saved the defense at times the past two seasons, though his tenacity also led to some minor injuries. If the Kansas offense improves, Heeney could too by being more fresh.
CB Dexter McDonald (No. 52 cornerback, 487th overall) -- Exceptional athlete who is adept in coverage and ranked among the Big 12 leaders with 12 pass breakups last season. Returned to Kansas a year ago after spending one season in the junior college ranks.
WR Nick Harwell -- Transferred last season from Miami, Ohio, where Harwell logged 3,166 yards on 229 receptions from 2010-12. Gives the Jayhawks a proven receiver, though he must transition into a tougher conference. If Harwell does that successfully, he should receive pro looks.
MOST IMPORTANT PLAYER: QB Montell Cozart -- Midway through last season, the freshman redshirt was stripped and Cozart eventually became the Jayhawks' starter. He will be used as a dual threat in the new system implemented by coordinator John Reagan. Cozart's accuracy remains questionable after he completed 23 of 63 passes a year ago. Kansas desperately needs a QB who can step in and produce.