KU listened to their fanbase, and gave them what they wanted: Hope.
- Charlie Weis - A "name" coach, and probably the biggest name that would be willing to come to KU
- Tim Grunhard - A former Chief, beloved by the community, with ties to a successful local high school program. Any OL prospect now gets to play for a coach who likes prostyle offenses and gets to learn from an 11 year NFL veteran
- Ron Powlus - Not a well known name, but he gets to say to any QB prospects, "I helped get Jimmy Clausen to the pros." Not too shabby.
- A shot at QB Dane Crist - nothing says he's going to come, but we have a shot, and that's more than KU had 2 weeks ago.
Not one of these means that KU will immediately be better, but the fan base can hope for the future.
Now, Pioli, you're in a similar situation as Zenger was, but the question is, "Will you listen to your fan base?" I'm sure he doesn't read AP, but he has to have some kind of pulse on the community. What do we want? Hope.
- QB - The Fanbase says, "We don't want Cassel." Even more important than choosing the Head Coach, Pioli has to make a choice at QB. Hitch your career to Cassel, or move on. Scott, it's okay that you made a mistake with Cassel. It was an interesting trade at the time, but it's over. Be a man, admit it, and move on. Get an exciting passer in the draft, Peyton Manning, or something that gives us hope.
- Head Coach - The Fanbase says, "We want a name coach too." If Pioli doesn't get an exciting name, Zenger will have one upped him with one of Scott's own guys. But worst case, if Pioli picks McDaniels, he runs a huge risk of not only being topped by Zenger, but simultaneously alienating the fans. I hope Clark Hunt is also listening to the fans, and he has the sense to say, "Scott, if you pick McD, you'll have only one season to prove you are right. Any other coach, and you'll have multiple seasons."
- Offensive Coordinator - The Fanbase says, "Muir is a joke, and we want to see touchdowns." If Pioli picks up an exciting QB, the OC needs to put them in a chance to keep it exciting. Our defense has been pretty good, and at times excellent. Our offense is unwatchable. Fix it.
There's a lot of other holes to patch (BRich!), but Pioli needs to take a page out of Zenger's notebook and see that the best way to get your fans behind you is to give them what they want. It doesn't mean it will translate immediately to the playoffs, but it can get us excited again, extend your time here with the team (angry mob comin' for you if you choose McD), and help us say, "2011 was tough, but it set us up for the future."
Zenger is a KU hero right now, however long that may last, and bought himself a few years to show improvement. Pioli, your choices over the next few weeks will determine whether we want to get behind you for the next few years, or whether we're ready to string you up before training camp even starts.
All you have to do is listen to your fanbase.