Monday, November 3, 2014

Bowen: Kiesau verdict still out

Kansas co-offensive coordinator Eric Kiesau runs out to the field before kickoff against Baylor on Saturday, Nov. 1, 2014 in Waco, Texas.

Kansas co-offensive coordinator Eric Kiesau runs out to the field before kickoff against Baylor on Saturday, Nov. 1, 2014 in Waco, Texas.


Interim head coach Clint Bowen’s decision to promote wide-receivers coach Eric Kiesau to co-offensive coordinator prior to Saturday’s 60-14 loss at Baylor was done with the idea of helping the Kansas University offense get moving.

But after a loss in which the Jayhawks finished with 304 yards of total offense, Bowen said he was not ready to judge Kiesau’s ability based on one loss to a top-15 team and tough defense.

“Not right now, to be fair,” Bowen said. “(Baylor defensive coordinator) Coach (Phil) Bennett obviously got after him pretty good and created some problems. We were struggling to block their front four, and that created a lot of problems for us.”

While the move to put Kiesau in a play-calling role in place of John Reagan, who now will serve as a co-offensive coordinator and continue to have input in the offense while spending more time coaching the Jayhawks’ struggling offensive line, left a little to be desired in that Kansas ran for just 16 yards on 27 carries, converted just six of 15 third-down opportunities and fumbled five times — losing three — several Jayhawks said they liked the way Kiesau called the game.

“Yeah, he looks for the wide receivers a lot,” said senior receiver Nick Harwell, who finished with 79 yards and two touchdowns on five receptions. “But he’s a really enthusiastic person, a great motivator, and I trust him off the field a lot, so on the field I pretty much trust what he calls.”

Outside of Harwell, freshman running back Corey Avery (four receptions for 92 yards) and quarterback Michael Cummings (21-of-30 passing for 288 yards and two TDs), KU’s offensive production was flat. But the offense’s communication did not suffer because of the change.

“Everything went smooth as far as the play-calling,” Avery said.

The Jayhawks had nearly two full weeks to get used to the new set-up and also benefited from some new signage on the sideline that KU’s players and coaches on the bench used to signal in the plays.

“The signs were new,” said Cummings of the white boards that featured a variety of photographs that represented different calls. “Just a way to communicate things a little bit faster.”

Cummings said KU’s attack was not much different on Saturday against Baylor than it had been throughout the season.

“It hasn’t heavily changed,” he said. “A few wrinkles here and there.”

The Jayhawks made available to the media after the game made it clear that improved execution and focus remained the most important part of the equation.

“You just gotta play every play one play at a time, six seconds at a time and try to play every six seconds perfect,” Cummings said. “You’re not gonna be perfect all the time, but you’ve gotta strive for that.”

Injury update

Freshman cornerback Derrick Neal and senior defensive lineman Keon Stowers, who suffered injuries Saturday and were taken to the hospital for further evaluation, returned to Lawrence and participated in team activities Sunday, KU announced Sunday evening.


Robert Brock 6 years ago

Last chance for a win. Do it, Hawks!

John Fitzgerald 6 years ago

I like the move by Bowen. Hopefully they can work out the kinks and get a Big 12 win against Iowa St. One thing I will note though, I don't believe he earns the job if he beats Iowa St. In my opinion he needs 2 more wins out of the last 4 to even be considered for the position. He's doing a lot of things right, and I like that, but we have to be honest when looking at his chances of being the next HC: he has to win. Bowen was put in a tough spot and not all the blame can be put on him, but he's in control now, so he has to know that the responsbility is definitely on him. I'm rooting for him, but I won't put all my eggs in that basket just yet.

Erich Hartmann 6 years ago

Good comments above, I agree. I'm personally pulling hard for Bowen to get a W or 2 this season, and ultimately be given the job. He definitely has the passion, and its shared by his staff, including Campo. Its actually opposite to Weis's demeanor.

Any guy considered for the KU job must bring energy and enthusiasm. Bowen has that. He has 19yrs of coaching under 5 different coaches, good and bad, so its time for him to apply what he thinks will work and what wont, especially at KU.

Final thought, and its a quote from Clint Bowen during HawkTalk when speaking about Baylor: "They know what they want to do, and they have been recruiting to those goals and system for some time, and it shows in their games. They know what they are doing." (Need time to recruit to the roster for your specific system is how to get the execution reliable a higher % of the time and plays. Its the cure for what ails us. Unfortunately, when we change our offensive system, we start near ground zero all over again.).

Weis did an OK job of recruiting speedy guys, but our talent in the trenches (O- and D-line) is still a very needy area (obviously). We also lose some of those speedy guys to graduation after this season. This will take time, Bowen needs to be given a fair amount of time, imho...

Dirk Medema 6 years ago

Anybody will be given a fair amount of time. Make progress, and the amount of time is longer than if you're not making progress. Sounds fair to me.

Aaron Paisley 6 years ago

I like the dynamic of having the actual play caller on the sideline. Reagan in the booth can provide Kiesau with the tendencies of the defense and Kiesau calls the plays accordingly and it cuts down on the relay time from the booth to the field.

Kathy Johnson 6 years ago

Desperate times calls for desperate measures. In adverse circumstances actions that might have been rejected under other circumstances may become the best choice. Exhibit A: Weis fired by Zenger and Bowen named interim head coach. Exhibit B: Bowen names Reagan and Kiesau co-offensive coordinators. Exhibit C: Kiesau takes over play-calling duties from sideline after being promoted to co-offensive coordinator while Reagan sits in press box. Exhibit D: Baylor's 60 points were the most given up by a KU defense since Texas A&M scored 61 in 2011.... The 669 yards by Baylor is the most given up by the Jayhawks since 743 yards to Baylor last season.... KU's offense rushed for 16 yards which is the worst since rushing for 11 yards against Oklahoma in 2005. Exhibit E: Jayhawks (2-6 overall, 0-5 Big 12) vs. Cyclones (2-6 overall, 0-5 Big 12) this Saturday at home. Kansas is a four-point underdog to I-State. One of Bowen’s mentors is the Cyclones O-coordinator (think that’s not on everyone’s mind). Next to the K-State game this is a big one! Yep, current desperate times call for current desperate measures. Yet I’m still pulling for our Jayhawks first, then Coach Bowen second.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.