Saturday, April 25, 2015


Column: ‘Uncertain’ future ahead for KU football

Storm clouds hover over Memorial Stadium during the Spring Game on Saturday, April 25, 2015.

Storm clouds hover over Memorial Stadium during the Spring Game on Saturday, April 25, 2015.


Oh well, at least nothing was falling from the sky during the Kansas University football team’s annual spring game. Yet, plenty else was falling, including the sky itself. The big black cloud that hovered over the stadium seemed appropriate.

Other falling objects: The starting quarterback, with a knee injury, smoked by a walk-on linebacker who apparently momentarily forgot the QB wears a red-shirt that identifies him as a player who must not be tackled. When Micheal Cummings went down, so did the Jayhawks’ chances of winning a game during this coming fall’s 12-game schedule, although the extent of his injury was not yet known, according to coach David Beaty. Those chances fell two more times when it was announced that wide receiver Rodriguez Coleman and running back Corey Avery, the team’s two most talented players, were indefinitely suspended for violating team rules.

“Their future in the program is uncertain,” Beaty said of Coleman, a veteran of supsensions, and Avery, the team’s leading rusher as a freshman last fall.

The past two springs, Coleman has stood out, making every eye at every open practice lock on him because of his effortless speed, smooth stride and quick cuts. He opened last season serving a suspension for a team-rules violation and never worked his way back into serious playing time. He looked so smooth again this spring, and now this. In between his suspensions, he was involved in a fight at, you guessed it, The Cave. If only he were as good at life as he is at football.

Already rocked by the losses of experienced talents Nigel King, a wide receiver who declared a year early for the NFL draft, and two-year starter Isaiah Johnson, a safety who graduated and transferred to South Carolina, KU has precious few talented players remaining, even if Cummings’ injury is not a serious one.

Michael Glatczak, a walk-on safety, made the hit. Ever-the-good teammate, Cummings told Beaty that someone accidentally pushed Glatczak into him.

“They know they’re not supposed to touch that guy,” said Beaty, who related that his vision of the play was blocked, so he didn’t know whether Glatczak was shoved. “When they do, they get a mouthful from every guy on our staff, not just me. Clint Bowen is a raging lunatic at practice if you get close to that quarterback. We always stress that.”

The play just reiterated that the state of KU football is in the midst of getting worse before it gets better, but that’s usually the way it works.

As for the game itself, tight ends Ben Johnson and Kent Taylor looked like keepers, so look for them to play together a lot with Taylor split wide.

“The way we do our personnel, we’re going to find our best 11 guys,” Beaty said. “If you’re one of those guys, you’re not standing next to me. We don’t tab you as an X or a Z or a Y or even an H. We rank them top four, second four. You want to get in that top eight.”

Defenses typically look better in spring football games because no team wants to reveal much of its offense to opposing programs who will dissect the tapes. The defense has a pretty good idea of what’s coming. Even so, neither the first-team nor second-team offensive line looked particularly quick or strong.

The wide receivers looked so small. So many walk-ons had to play so many snaps at so many different positions and many of them didn’t look out of place going against the scholarship players. At one point, the cornerback coach’s son handed off to one of the program’s two sons of the team orthopedist for a nice rushing gain. Walk-on quarterback Frank Seurer Jr., son of the former KU QB, made a couple of nice plays at safety, his new position. Walk-on linebacker Cameron Rosser made a couple of big hits.

The two biggest surprises of the day involved the size of the crowd. First, it was surprising that given the forecast for weather and for success on the football field, so many loyal spectators showed up. Perhaps they were grateful that the practice of over-hyping players relentlessly has been abandoned and replaced by a gentle telling of the truth, and that truth is that it’s going to take time. Years.

The second surprise came when the crowd estimate was announced as 6,227. There weren’t that many people in attendance. Maybe more than 4,000, but not 6,227. Impressive turnout, whatever the real number. Their patience will be tested. Again.


Andy Hess 4 years, 10 months ago

No way Glatczak was pushed. There's a Vine of the play at full speed and slow motion, and he just dove straight at Cummings' legs. Link below.

None by Scott Chasen

Dale Rogers 4 years, 10 months ago

I've watched this over and over and over and it appears inconclusive to me. I wish it had been filmed at a wider angle so we could see how he got into that position. It does appear he may have been bumped but it also could be that he dove. Really hard to tell, to me.

Joe Ross 4 years, 10 months ago

I agree. The slow motion doesnt show what happened prior to the hit, and the full speed is too fast to see if there was anything that happened that might have caused Glatczak to be pushed. Still it did not appear that he tried to stop. Could be either situation. Inconclusive.

Dirk Medema 4 years, 10 months ago

Blue 4 was in the area when the hit was made, and there was no footage shown of their interaction before the hit.

Part of that is also on Michael. Even if you are safe in this intra-squad game, and there are times to take a hit, that situation is probably a place where you as the starting QB are best off to slide. Maybe there is a place in a game where you need the extra yard or 2 to keep a drive going (Cozart) but the QB in particular needs to understand his importance to the success of the program.

Jim Stauffer 4 years, 10 months ago

I am more concerned about the dismal report of Keegan than I am about the injury. The overall attitude of this article is, even though it acknowledges a rebuilding project usually bottoms out before it begins to rise, is the failure to even acknowledge the people in place to rebuild it.

This staff is the best we have had in the recruiting department in the last 35 years. I think they can rebuild it and don't see the need in being depressed. Watch the kids play and if they work and play hard and represent the University with character, enjoy the ride. Eventually the car you are in will begin to go upward.

Dirk Medema 4 years, 10 months ago

The of the nature of the report can't be separated from the author.

"When Micheal Cummings went down, so did the Jayhawks’ chances of winning a game during this coming fall’s 12-game schedule, although the extent of his injury was not yet known".

TK has thrown the towel in on the entire season 4 months before it has even begun, before the entire team is even assembled, before half the competition for the starting QB are even on campus, before we know if Cummings would be able to practice next week (if we were practicing) much less in 3 months when Fall camp begins.

Dale Rogers 4 years, 10 months ago

The past two seasons, maybe more, at this juncture the writers have been very upbeat, very positive about progress made, getting some of us to think sigificant progress will be shown in terms of wins, only to be followed by a big letdown by the end of the season. Coach Beaty has tried to be more realistic, pointing out it's going to take time. The writers, so far this pre-season, have followed suit, cautioning that this rebuilding process is going to take time and even going so far as to point out we may see even fewer wins this season as the foundation is laid for a better longer term future. I suspect what we're seeing from the writers is simply an effort to be more realistic and not get our hopes too high at this point. Otherwise, if we're expecting to have more wins than last season and we're disappointed, then the team probably just loses even more fans. Kind of like if I think I can have that project done Thursday, I'll tell you Friday so if I'm a day late, you're still satisfied but if I'm right and it's done Thursday, you're thrilled you got it a day early.

Aaron Paisley 4 years, 10 months ago

Is this the second or third time Coleman has been suspended? Quite frankly, I hope he's dismissed because his name seems to come for off the field stuff than on the field stuff. I just don't think Coleman is worth keeping around even with the depth issues KU has.

Corey Avery is someone who has big potential in this offense and I do hope this isn't a serious enough incident to kick him off, but if it is, then so be it.

As bad as depth is, Beaty absolutely cannot cave on disciplinary issues because he doesn't have anyone behind them. It's a valuable lesson to the kid that in the real world, others depend on you and there are consequences when you don't fulfill your obligations.

Dirk Medema 4 years, 10 months ago

RB is the one position where we do have some depth, as long as we don't have multiple season ending injuries again.

Coincidentally, both positions were positions that had nice walk-on results during the game; Barbel (?) @ WR and the WSU track transfer @ RB.

It's also a bit funny that TK takes a jab at the WR's "appearing" to be small. The reality that is evident from a quick scan of the roster is that the vast majority of the WR's ARE small (<6'). I think there are only a couple that are taller than 6'. All the more reason to be excited about Johnson & Taylor at TE with the ability to slide into the slot. Both seem to be decent in space for guys their size, and Kent even ran away from the defender on his long TD. Not sure who the defender was. It was also nice to see the JC walk-on TE step up and make the TD catch.

Greg Ledom 4 years, 10 months ago

AP, I agree that it's time for RC to go. He's used up his allotment of get out of jail free cards and more concerning, seems to have little brain power as it relates to this type of activity and how to avoid it. As for Avery, I think this is his first offense (that I'm aware of) and if minor, should be reinstated. All that said, I trust in Beaty to make the right call for this program to move on with or wiithout them.

Doug Cramer 4 years, 10 months ago

Good realistic article. Yeah this program is in terrible shape. Beaty has his work cut out, but I think we can start making progress at some point this season.

Steve Corder 4 years, 10 months ago

Okay, another article about the cupboard being bare. I get it!

How about some reporting on how the new coach is running the recruiting side of things? In fact, I think the systems being employed by both the basketball and football staffs would fascinating (wouldn't be surprised if recruiting systems are proprietary and thus kept secret). However: 1) how many kids are in the system 2) how many tiers or categories of talent 3) what age does a kid normally start to be "watched" 4) how are prospects "graded" and how often reevaluated 5) how much time is spent by staff on recruiting

Add your own questions...there are hundreds.

Titus Canby 4 years, 10 months ago

Tom, thanks for the realistic article. One question though. Any idea how many passes Taylor dropped before he caught the long touchdown pass?

Gerry Butler 4 years, 10 months ago

the Wide receiver that committed name is Braylon Royal

Gregor Southard 4 years, 10 months ago

The most unsettling comment is "Kansas won't win a game w/o Cummings." If he's KU's best qb then the season is over before it starts. Oh well, I'll be watching anyway.

Caleb Loong 4 years, 10 months ago

Quite frankly, for the upcoming season, Clint Bowen can be a "raging lunatic", that is good enough for me.

Matt Spitzli 4 years, 10 months ago

KU football is an irritant. It makes me feel angry and sad. Thinking about it provides a sensation that can only be described as soul-chlamydia.

I'm going to watch every game and complain the whole freaking time.

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