Monday, December 8, 2014


Column: New Kansas football coach hits ground running


Newly hired David Beaty and his mostly new coaching staff, which hasn’t yet been announced, enter an exciting time, and they’ll need every ounce of adrenaline to recover so much lost time in recruiting.

Good news already has come in. Michael Mathis, the 6-foot-2 juco defensive back who covers like a shut-down cornerback, tackles like a middle linebacker and was recruited by Dave Campo, reportedly remains solid. Bishop Miege quarterback Ryan Willis appears solidly committed as well.

More potential good news, even if it’s of the long-shot variety: Some Nebraska commitments re-opened their recruitments after the firing of Bo Pelini.

Elsewhere, UAB dropped its football program last week. Nothing indicates that Kansas has joined the long line of schools knocking on the door of junior-to-be Jordan Howard, a 6-2, 228-pound running back who rushed for 1,587 yards and 13 touchdowns, but why not give it a shot? Wisconsin, Indiana, Vanderbilt, Louisville and Boise State reportedly want him.

Here’s guessing Beaty will be able to recruit a quality staff filled with energetic recruiters who know how to make players better. Why? Because he’s not a jerk. Unlike many head coaches, he won’t make a really tough life that much tougher for assistants just for the joy of it. The next challenge regarding the staff will be developing it, setting the right tone so that assistants work tirelessly, efficiently and with 100 percent follow-through, knowing there will be consequences if they don’t. That’s new territory at the college level for Beaty. He last headed a staff at MacArthur High in Irving, Texas (2002-05). Beaty went 33-11 in four seasons at MacArthur, which went 22-20 in its next four years.

Regardless of how much ground the new staff can make up recruiting the next couple of months, 2015 has a shot at shaping up as KU’s least-talented roster since Glen Mason took over in advance of a 1-10 1988 season. Look for a shift from Charlie Weis’ juco-heavy approach to high school-leaning recruiting classes. Rare is the true freshman ready to compete in the Big 12.

Next season’s roster looks shy on depth at quarterback, running back, wide receiver, defensive line, linebacker, punting and kicking. In short, everywhere, except for tight end. Beaty knows what he inherited, and Sheahon Zenger signed him to run a marathon, not a sprint. In the case of KU football, it’s going to require running a marathon at the pace of a sprint.


Jim Stauffer 4 years ago

While I accept the numbers are down next year, it is inaccurate to say it is the least talented roster since Glen came in. He would have licked his chops at the talented players we have. We just don't have enough of them and they are mostly young and inexperienced.

Gerry Butler 4 years ago

not really sure why the statement is being made saying we lack depth in the running back spots. that's the ONE where I think we do have any depth. we will have the 2 that was the projected top two on the depth charts before the season began and then neither played a down due to injury plus the 2 that played all year for us MANN and AVERY so I would think that is the one position we do have any depth

David Kemp 4 years ago

Likely Bourbon is done so don't count on him. We don't know how good the others are because the line is soooo bad.

Dirk Medema 4 years ago

Mann is only one year out of JC, so he shouldn't be graduating yet, and definitely has 1 yr of eligibility remaining. I believe at least Brandon has already been cleared for a medical RS/6th year as well, but there remains the possibility that he will just graduate and move on.

Doug Cramer 4 years ago

There are a ton of opportunities for football players to come in and play right away on this team.

Keegan is right, this program is near an all time low regarding our existing talent level. You can credit that to Charlie Weis's JUCO experiment.

Tom - Any indication of Bourbon or Cox coming back for one more year ?

Aaron Paisley 4 years ago

Brandon Bourbon was honored on Senior Day, Taylor Cox was not. Taken that how you will.

Dirk Medema 4 years ago

I thought there was an article months ago saying both were cleared for another year, though that wouldn't necessarily mean they actually will return. Some players just get tired of it and move on.

W Keith Swinehart II 4 years ago

We now have a solid core of young, energetic and seriously committed football coaching minds, starting with Zenger. We haven't had that combination in years, may be decades (I go back to Jack Mitchell). Let's leave it alone and let it develop.

Robert Brown 4 years ago

Staff talent and continuity is critical. It appears that while Mangino was able to hire talented people, but they did not stay. From what I have read about Pinkel at MU, he has been able to retain a talented staff for many years and has seen sustained success at Missouri.

Jonathan Allison 4 years ago

Turner Gill focused on HS recruiting, and some of his recruits were the best players on Charlie Weis'/Clint Bowen's teams.

When a coach focuses on Juco recruiting like Weis did, then results are expect in 2 years. When a coach focuses on HS recruiting, then results will be expected in ~4 years, when that first recruiting class is a group of solid seniors and redshirt juniors.

Recruiting almost exclusively HS talent will allow Beaty, Bowen, and co more time to recruit and develop players before the weight of expectations can cripple their performance.

That said, they will be very smart to target a few Juco recruits a year discretionally, because you can't deny that we've found some really good teammates and leaders who have arrived ready to compete and produce immediately. Not all the juco recruits have been no-shows.

Lance Cheney 4 years ago

Gill, in hindsight, seemed to be a pretty good recruiter but not a good leader/disciplinarian. He would be more suited in more of a recruiting role and less of a leadership role.

Randy Bombardier 4 years ago

Gill s liberty team made the playoffs won first round but lost to Villanova this Saturday. Gill was better than Weis in my opinion. Have to wonder how much better we'd be without Weis and the juco detour.

Gary McCullough 4 years ago

I wasn't a huge fan of Gill, but I thought he deserved more time than he was given to develop the team. That said, he did not like the disciplinarian role, and we accrued more than a few bad apples during that time. A major reason we are talent poor now is that Weis had to cull the herd of the ne'er do wells.

Erich Hartmann 4 years ago

People and their memory, good lord...If anyone ever asks 'what happened to KU after their 2008 Orange Bowl season?' -->simply answer "Lew Perkins and Turner Gill". Weis found 14-15 players academically ineligible (20% of the roster??), as well as off field discipline and legal problems. One of the KU player's comments on twitter during Weis' early months: "damn, he cuttin people like its the League!" Weis later commented that he underestimated the repercussions of cleaning house to that degree, but it simply had to be done.

And people forgot that Gill made weight-training and conditioning workouts "optional"! How can anyone ever forget that? That is like oil and water to have a football team without conditioning. But I suppose if one has faith in the Lord, maybe that can overcome anything adverse on the football field...yeah, that's it.

Dirk Medema 4 years ago

"after their 2008 Orange Bowl season" - Memory can be such a fleeting thing.

You seem to have forgotten the swirly that the big guy started after the 2008 Orange Bowl season that finished with the 7 game losing streak. Yes, Lew put and exclamation point at the end of it, but he most certainly did not start the turd-ile trajectory.

Definitely agree on the general premise though. IIRC, there were 29 recruits - either mangino's or gill's, that didn't make it to charlie's first game. That was huge, and the JC experiment might not have backfired quite so badly if more of them had actually made it to the field. Something like half the JC's never made it, and that's just too much attrition for a quick fix solution ---> Charlie's demise.

Michael Sillman 4 years ago

I don't really buy the worst talent ever excuse for next year. It is a way to reduce expectations.

I count 28 underclassmen on the current two deep depth chart. That is a solid core to start with in the spring.

I am not giving the new coaching staff a pass on winning some games during their first season.

Joe Ross 4 years ago

Yeah, but you should. The number of players is down versus other schools, Kansas is late on recruiting versus other schools, we have holes on the lines that Beaty is not responsible for, and as yet we dont even have a staff. To even imply that these disadvantages should not be taken into account is not being fair-minded. The coaching changes have happened too often, i grant you, but Kansas fans are once again in the unfortunate position of looking forward to a season because of our prospects to develop and improve (rather than our chances to hang a few "W's" in the win column).

Dirk Medema 4 years ago

Michael - More specifically, we lose 5 O starters and 7 D starters plus Pardula, but more to your point only 1 O and 1 D 2nd stringer.

The number of starters should be just on the high side of the bell curve, but not horrendously. Unfortunately, what tweaks things toward the gloomy side is the fact that we just aren't starting out with as much talent to begin with. At 13 recruits, were again just on gloomy side of the bell, so it is crucial for Reggie & Clint to keep things moving, and for Beaty and the new coaches to get up to speed real quick.

Isn't the schedule something like 2 weeks on, then 1 month off before the final push. There are still plenty of quality recruits out there.

Joseph Bullock 4 years ago

Gary, You are right. Gill deserved more time. He never had a chance, especially after what he inherited, with all of the problems we were going through. He was a very good recruiter, and his players loved him. But he was not a very good disciplinarian. But hey, neither is Florida State! LOL

Erich Hartmann 4 years ago

The "LOL" is on KU football, really. You forgot about the lack of conditioning as Gill told the players that was "optional" (this came from his own players). You forgot about the got-no-clue press conferences. That was nationally embarrassing, and some national level sportscasters made fun of him.

Joseph, there are a myriad of reasons that the high-dollar supporters of KU football pulled the plug early and quick on Mr. Gill. And almost all of those reasons are Turner Gill's own doing. It was also Lew Perkins mistake to put a guy in a position to have little chance to succeed. What made it harder is that we were only 2-3years removed from that great Orange Bowl season.

Someone could write a dark book about how to destroy a football program to its core, and list all the things that Perkins and Gill did. Weis is the one who had almost no chance because of the mess he inherited, but then added a few issues with his own personality, and also, unfortunately he had some stamina/health issues as well that came up.

Dirk Medema 4 years ago

2 yrs is too short, but neither coach deserved more time.

As Eric mentions, both coaches created their own undoing, and the same goes for Mangino, though winning has a way of creating blinders - until you start losing, and losing, and losing, and losing, and losing, and losing, and losing.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.