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Monday, January 5, 2015

Source: Cal’s Rob Likens to become KU football offensive coordinator

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A source with knowledge of Kansas University football coach David Beaty’s coaching staff told The Journal-World on Monday night that Cal’s Rob Likens, who served as the Golden Bears’ passing game coordinator and assistant head coach in 2014, was expected to join the KU staff as Beaty’s offensive coordinator.

Likens, 48, spent time coaching under Cal head coach Sonny Dykes at both Cal (2013-14) and Louisiana Tech (2010-12). Under Likens’ direction in 2013, Cal’s passing game set single-season school records for passing yardage (3,977), pass completions (368) and pass attempts (622), while also establishing new single-game records for passing yardage (521 vs. Washington State) and pass attempts (65 vs. Northwestern).

Dykes, known for running the Air Raid offense, which uses the entire field and employs short, fast-paced passes to multiple receivers, mentored Likens and continued to be impressed by him year after year.

“Rob has been around our type of offense for more than a decade,” said Dykes for Likens’ Cal bio. “So he really has a lot of experience with it. He’s a very knowledgeable football coach who is a tireless worker and has a tremendous amount of enthusiasm. He brings a lot of experience and really knows how to attack defenses. Plus, he is someone who really cares about his players and they enjoy playing for and being around him.”

Prior to his time with Dykes at Louisiana Tech and Cal, Likens was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Central Connecticut State (2006-09) and helped lead the Blue Devils to more wins than in any other four-year period in school history. Before coaching at CCSU, Likens spent two seasons as the offensive coordinator at Southeast Missouri State (2004-05), where he also worked specifically with the team’s quarterbacks and wide receivers. He spent six years at Temple (1998-2003) as the wide receivers coach and North Alabama (1992-97), where he worked with the running backs for the first season of his tenure and the wide receivers for his final five. At North Alabama, he helped the Lions become the first program in NCAA scholarship football to win three consecutive national championships, a feat that no other Division II school has ever accomplished and that has only since been replicated by FCS schools Appalachian State (2005-07) and North Dakota State (2011-13).

Likens becomes the 10th name of expected-Beaty staff members to surface, with Clint Bowen (defensive coordinator), Reggie Mitchell (likely the running backs coach/recruiting coordinator) and Louie Matsakis (likely in an off-the-field role) staying on from the previous staff, and Kevin Kane (linebackers), Klint Kubiak (wide receivers), Je’Ney Jackson (strength and conditioning), Calvin Thibodeaux (defensive line) and Gene Wier (off-the-field role) coming from outside the program. Former KU linebacker Justin Springer also is being retained from the previous regime and will join Jackson’s staff.

Beaty said Monday night, on Jayhawk Sports Weekly on KLWN, that several staff members would be confirmed any day and added that the final couple would be revealed a little later.

Comments

Dave Benjamin 6 years, 11 months ago

Solid hire once this is confirmed. This is definitely a system best suited for less experienced receivers and linemen which can keep games competitive as we build. It doesn't hurt that lots of Texas kids like this style of play which will help in recruiting as well.

Dirk Medema 6 years, 11 months ago

If Dr Z keeps the same total salary for football coaches, there would be an extra $1M - $1.5M available for assistants based on the lesser cost of the HC. Hopefully, that would allow KU to hire better assistants, and hold onto them longer. It would be nice to get some sort of coaching continuity.

Aaron Paisley 6 years, 11 months ago

Guaranteed this staff salary is much less than what Weis' staff was earning. Nobody on staff except for Bowen and Mitchell are established in the roles at this level. Everyone else is either moving a step up the ladder in terms of duties or level of competition. I really wouldn't be shocked if the total staff salary, including Beaty is around $2 million before incentives are factored in and probably around $3 million including incentives.

Layne Pierce 6 years, 11 months ago

If this is true, then it is good news, and it is in accordance with what Coach Beatty promised initially, and that is a fast attacking spread offense. Also we need someone with the ability to attack defenses. I believe that at least Beatty has a plan. I never really got the sense that Gill had one besides recruit, recruit, recruit., And Charlie§s get a transfer quarterback and run a prostyle offense, with very offensive players.

Fact is that we can win this way, if the coach are insistent on details, and everyone is truly held accountable.

Dirk Medema 6 years, 11 months ago

The Golden Bears must really not be liking us these days. First we steal a mid-yr JC recruit out from under their noses, and then the Assistant HC. I wonder what his recruiting connections are like after having traveled around the country so much (SE, NE, W, MW)?

What does that leave? OL, and a couple misc. assistants?

Another day or so, and then it's back on the recruiting trail for the final push.

Joe Ross 6 years, 11 months ago

Division I football recruiting is in progress NOW. January 4th opened the contact period for prospective student athletes. Goes on all this week through Saturday, then resumes from January 16th to the last day of the month. Then the quiet period begins and goes to the middle of April. During the contact period, coaches can contact athletes and their families by mail, via telephone or in person. I dont know what the rules are regarding whether or not recruits can attend college basketball games free of charge (impermissable benefits?), but Id think if you could youd want to bring them to campus for the Texas Tech game on the 10th or the Oklahoma game on the 19th.

Aaron Paisley 6 years, 11 months ago

An FBS program is allowed 12 coaches (1 HC, 9 assistants, 2 GA's). This number does not include the strength and conditioning staff and administrative coaches. KU currently has a HC, OC (and likely QB coach), DC (and possible DB coach), RB coach, WR coach, DLine coach, and LB coach. That leaves Beaty 3 more spots to fill to complete his staff and there are 6 possible positions he could fill them with. I believe Bowen and Likens will double up on their coordinator duties by also coaching positions (Bowen the DB's and Likens the QB's). This leaves 4 possible positions to fill with 3 hires. OLine is one you can take to the bank which makes 3 positions for 2 hires. TE coach is likely because most staffs have one and KU has 3 TE's capable of playing big snaps next year so I would guess a TE coach would be announced this week as well as OLine which leaves 2 options for the last hire. It's possible Beaty splits the secondary coaching like Weis did and has a Safeties coach and a CB coach which I would be opposed to. The better option for that last spot is a dedicated Special Teams coordinator because heaven knows KU's special teams have been a disaster for a long time now and cost KU 2 games this past season and probably a few others the past 5 years.

My guess is an OLine, TE, and please God a special teams coach to be announced this week.

Ashwin Rao 6 years, 11 months ago

Great analysis. I too hope a ST coach is a must. KU gets into bad situations because of our bad ST play.

Stephen Johnson 6 years, 11 months ago

Great information and I agree with your assessment. Thanks.

Randy Bombardier 6 years, 11 months ago

Sounds good to me. But can he recruit? Just kidding. Seems like someone ssys that every time. Why is it no one asks can he coach.

Calvin Miller 6 years, 11 months ago

Coaching? The consensus for the KU fanbase is that recruiting is the key to winning. Please disregard the results of the that older coach to the west.

Kevin Randell 6 years, 11 months ago

Hey Matt, I just saw where Josh Heupel was let go from OU. I was wondering if Beaty would think about bringing him in as a QB coach? I know he stunk as an OC, but he did win a National Championship in an offense similar to what Coach Beaty will be running. He has helped coach not one but two Heisman Trophy Quaterbacks, and giving the fact that KU is still close to his wife's family, he might be at least worth a look?

Calvin Miller 6 years, 11 months ago

Not really. Beaty wants an air-raid offense. Heupel tried to run a more conventional spread offense, although it's difficult to actually determine just what he was running at OU.

Ken Throckmorton 6 years, 11 months ago

This tweet was posted on a Bears blog: "Big loss. One of the best recruiters on the staff. RT @BruceFeldmanCFB: Rob Likens from #Cal will be #Kansas new OC source tells @FoxSports."

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