No member of the Kansas University football team thought the addition of one man would’ve changed the outcome of a 49-0 home loss to West Virginia on Saturday at Memorial Stadium, but the Jayhawks surely missed injured junior safety Fish Smithson.
KU head coach David Beaty revealed after the loss Smithson, who entered the week leading the FBS in solo tackles (78) and solo stops per game (7.8), had been a game-time decision.
“We just didn’t get to practice him a whole lot because of, you know, the ankle,” Beaty said. “When we tried to put him on the field today to warm up, you could tell he was just gonna be a liability, because he couldn’t move. He’s injured. Hopefully we can get him back next week. We certainly need him.”
Sophomore Kansas linebacker Joe Dineen, who basically played the role of Smithson, racking up 16 solo tackles, said the Jayhawks didn’t rally around the safety’s absence like they should have.
KU football coach David Beaty on the Jayhawks' 49-0 loss to West Virginia
“It hurt,” Dineen said of Smithson being unavailable. “Fish is the heart and soul of our defense, and without him we’ve gotta come together, and we didn’t today. That’s no excuse, though.”
Beaty agreed KU could’ve used the sure-tackling defensive back.
“He’s kind of the quarterback of the defense out there. He’s a guy who leads the country in tackles… and leads the Big 12 in tackles,” Beaty said. “So you’ve gotta feel like his presence would’ve helped a little. But I don’t know if it would’ve helped enough to prevent what happened to us today.”
— See what people were saying about the game during KUsports.com’s live coverage.