Saturday, October 3, 2015


Column: David Beaty’s decision-making puzzling at ISU

Kansas head coach David Beaty congratulates Iowa State offensive coordinator and former KU head coach Mark Mangino following the Cyclones' 38-13 win over the Jayhawks on Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015 at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames, Iowa.

Kansas head coach David Beaty congratulates Iowa State offensive coordinator and former KU head coach Mark Mangino following the Cyclones' 38-13 win over the Jayhawks on Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015 at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames, Iowa.


— First-year head coach David Beaty had four options from which to choose Saturday early in the second quarter of Kansas University’s 38-13 loss to Iowa State in packed Jack Trice Stadium.

Kansas had the ball at the ISU 35 on fourth and 3, trailing 3-0.

Technically, punting counted as an option, but since executing a punt that doesn’t roll into the end zone for a touchback that would bring the ball out to the 20 requires excellent skill, it seemed likely no coach would pick that option.

Beaty sent the field-goal unit onto the field, but later hinted that he did so only to see if the defensive alignment was such that it was vulnerable to first down via a fake kick. Since it was not the right defensive look, Beaty scotched that plan, called timeout and discussed the remaining options.

Toward the end of the timeout, Beaty said after the game, the decision was reached to send the punt team onto the field.

But why?

“It was a little too far for us in that third-down situation to think about staying and going for it,” he said, his recollection telling him it was more like four or five yards for a first down. Officially, it was three yards.

Kansas wasn’t getting any push up front, so three yards might as well have been five on a running play. Not a great option, but better than choosing to give the ball to the other team.

Predictably, Eric Kahn’s punt rolled into the end zone for a touchback, meaning KU willingly surrendered possession to gain a mere 15 yards of field position.

The situation called for an aggressive play, not a passive one.

Attempting a 52-yard field goal counts as aggressive. Beaty repeatedly has praised the strength of Matthew Wyman’s foot. Wyman’s chance to show it off in the season-opening loss to South Dakota State died with Montell Cozart’s botched snap. This time, Beaty denied Wyman the chance.

Again, why?

“There was a little bit of wind coming into his face on that end, and that was the only thing that kind of really held me from letting him try it,” Beaty said.

Actually, when Beaty sent the field-goal unit onto the field, I checked the orange flags at the tops of the uprights and they showed that the wind was at the kicker’s back.

Letting Wyman try to tie the score seemed the best risk-rewards play.

Once Kahn’s punt rolled into the end zone, the air went out of KU quicker than any Tom Brady football.

Had Wyman made a 52-yarder, Kanas gets a charge of confidence and maybe the game stays close for a while longer. Beaty said the emotional lift of three points there was among the things running through his head.

“Absolutely,” he said. “There are some things you always go back and forth on at that point. I felt like it was better to give them good field position, rather than have them that close to the 50-yard line.”

Obviously, the issues up front that have prevented Kansas from stopping the run or running the football with any success the past weeks, don’t vanish with a long field goal. Iowa State wins the game regardless, but that’s not the point.

Once Kansas can recruit its way to playing a number of close games, Beaty will be presented with make-or-break decisions and will need to show better judgment than he did Saturday with a chance to tie the score early in the game.

—Tom Keegan can be seen on The Drive, Sunday nights on WIBW TV.

— See what people were saying about the game during's live coverage.

More news and notes from Kansas at Iowa State


Ryan Shelton 4 years, 4 months ago

IMHO, 4th and 3 IS a long ways to go, especially with our offense. That said, I hate the short punt into the end zone as much as anyone. At this point, what harm could going for it do? You never know what kind of emotional boost points would have given them.

Aaron Paisley 4 years, 4 months ago

Field goal or letting Cozart pooch kick were the two goo options in the situation. If KU were a better team, I would've said pooch it, but the FG try was the right decision in the scenario. As bad as KU is, ve aggressive and create your own opportunities for success. I think Beaty might still be adjusting his mindset from coaching at A&M where they were successful and usually favored so conservative decisions made more sense for them. KU is a place where you have to be aggressive and create opportunities.

Suzi Marshall 4 years, 4 months ago

"the air went out of KU quicker than any Tom Brady football" You can say that again!!!

Like the 4th and 1...and the calls vs SDSU when we had 1st and goal, like .... Every game this year we have had many head scratching calls. This is as much a growing situation for the coaches as it is for the team.

It's not just offense, look at the defensive calls. We are not going to stop anyone with our DL. The team needs to take chances to create opportunities. Beaty is clearly playing in attempt to keep the score as close as possible not to seize any and all opportunities.

Darn good thing a Beaty type person did not lead the Continental Army in 1777. He never would have order the crossing of the Delaware to attack Trenton and Princeton.

Mike Nicco 4 years, 4 months ago

Coach Beaty is likely the only or one of the few that will not be judge by wins and loses this year. What a tremendous luxury and opportunity! What did you have to lose by trying anything else in that situation? You want to build this program brick by brick and missed another opportunity. Show your players, donors, fans and future players, donors and fans that you welcome opportunities like this. Make your mark by being aggressive!

Charlie Gaughn 4 years, 4 months ago

Yes Beaty will get a free pass this year and probably next for one reason. It's called "Zenger". You can't expect any coach to come into a situation where there are only 62 scholarship players, most of which would be better suited to play at Baker than KU, and expect to win.

Instead of being in year 4 of a well built program, here we are again. Let's face the facts. Zenger hired Weis, then stood by and watched him totally decimate this football program. Weis made $12.5 million for his efforts. To my knowledge there's been no accountability on Zenger's part; same big office; same fat salary; and again, nowhere to be seen or heard from.

Weis saw Zenger coming and took full advantage of the situation. Zenger's "Not gonna come home until I hire a head coach" turned into him getting homesick and hiring the first bozo he could find.

As a 25 year plus donor to the WEF I've had enough. I will not contribute another penny until Zenger is held accountable, either through reduced salary or fired. Furthermore, I encourage all other donors to take a hard look at the lack of leadership this man provides and consider doing the same thing. Yes, Beaty may be caught in the crossfire but let's face it. If he has any glimmer of success and receives other offers he's probably on the first bus out of here.

Aaron Paisley 4 years, 4 months ago

How about instead of withdrawing all donations, you designate your donations to the renovations of Memorial Stadium and put your money to good use. The KUAD has to show you where those funds are used if you designate those funds for a specific purpose.

Charlie Gaughn 4 years, 4 months ago

Aaron, renovating Memorial Stadium isn't the answer. We spent 30 plus million to renovate the lower concession area when Terry Allen was here. That was a very nice improvement. But really, we couldn't spent another $10,000 or so to put a hot water heater in the mezzanine restrooms on the west side? Trough urinals have been illegal for many years, yet we still have them. I think we got about 5 million worth of improvements for our 30 million in cost. Mangino put a winner on the field with the same stadium we have now.

I don't buy the whining about facilities being the reason we have one of the worst, if not the worst, programs in the country. I also don't think changing uniforms every game makes a winner. Believe me, I'm a Beaty believer. But we should be at the end of a rebuilding era now not starting over. There's only one person to blame for that.

Aaron Paisley 4 years, 4 months ago

There are plenty of people to share the blame for the current state of Kansas football. Mangino's inability to get along with his coworkers and players led to assistant coaches leaving as soon as possible, to an AD trying to fire him for at least 4 years, and for turning the locker room against in 2009 and creating the poisonous atmosphere that Kansas football has become. Lew Perkins gets blame because he did have the balls to fire Mangino after 2006 when he wanted to or to fire him in 2009 when the rumors of his mistreatment of the players began to surface. I also believe there's enough evidence that Jim Harbaugh was going to take the job in 2009, but Perkins wouldn't let him coach Stanford in theor bowl game that year and gave the contract to runner up Gill. Gill gets the blame of being the wrong coach at the wrong time for KU. Zenger gets the blame for making the terrible hire of Weis and giving him a fully guaranteed contract. Charlie Weis gets the blame for having a poor rebuilding strategy and then sabotaging himself by changing everything about the program in the middle of his tenure. The donors get some blame for never financially supporting KU football to the level they need to be supported to have a chance to contend. You know what Baylor and Oklahoma St. have in common that KU doesn't? Wealthy alumni who financially support those football programs. Major stadium improvements, the ability to pay a successful coach to stay, the ability to significantly increase the recruiting budget, the ability to pay top level assistant coaches a competitive salary to stay.

To say there is only one person to blame for the current state of Kansas football is laughably naive becauae there are many who have had very negative impacts on Kansas football.

Charlie Gaughn 4 years, 4 months ago

Aaron, I didn't say there weren't other individuals involved in the downturn after '07 and '08. What I'm saying is a typical rebuild takes 3-5 years. Do you think we're better today than when Zenger arrived? If you do, someone else is "laughably naïve".

Rick McGowwan 4 years, 4 months ago

Well, I guess you could determine the AD be held accountable for only 1 segment of his job, but I'd prefer if we look at Zenger's complete area and span of control. He is doing fairly well outside of football---and I would say football is a bit too early to judge. CW was a complete miss of a hire, but let's not act like Zenger isn't doing great things elsewhere.

Have you heard the BBall players talk about the new dorms btw?

Brett McCabe 4 years, 4 months ago

I'll spell it out for you, Rick: F-O-O-T-B-A-L-L. You are going to give him credit for getting dorms built for one of the most successful basketball programs in the country?

Zenger was hire for one reason. Don't minimize his horrible performance in football so far. You sound like an apologists. Don't criticize the football team if you aren't willing to criticize the guy who is responsible for it.

Aaron Paisley 4 years, 4 months ago

Lew Perkins has the biggest share of the blame for KU football because he didn't have balls to fire Mangino when he wanted to. The sideshow he created during that catastrophe of an investigation limited the hiring pool after Mangino was fired and KU couldn't bring in another disciplinarian to keep tge program from disintegrating. Turner Gill is a good coach, he was just the wrong coach at the wrong time for KU.

If you want to blame Zenger for the current state of KU football, then you need to look at what Perkins didn't do for KU football during his tenure as AD because Lerkins is the one who failed KU football way more than Zenger has.

Tom Horner 4 years, 4 months ago

Lets give the guy a chance. We have criticized the past two coaches and how has that worked out. The guy was hired to build a program. Let him have the time to do so.

Don Everett 4 years, 4 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Ashwin Rao 4 years, 4 months ago

Not sure what you said, but Keegan obviously didn't like it! :)

Ashwin Rao 4 years, 4 months ago

I agree with the sentiments here. I knew that we would be bad this year, and maybe the next year (I still hoping that it will be different next year), but there has to be "some" improvement with each game... which I am not seeing that just yet.

1) The defense is horrible! So horrible that even ISU is made to look like a contender. - Sorry, Bowen defenders, but there needs to be some creativity to make do with what we have (even if we give him a pass, thought he was on the job for a longer period). It is horrible looking at how opponents are able to pick us apart so easily because we are so predictable (and our fundamentals are weak).

2) The "Air-raid-offense", is by name only.... 38 yrd rushing + 250 yrd passing (was 64/278 against Rutgers, 194/165 against Memphis) does not show anything different from previous years

3) The decision making, that is the topic of the article above, seems illogical by any standards.

I know that Cozart is the only QB with some prior experience, but he shouldn't be the primary option, because he is not good enough at the D1 level.

We are 4 games in, and are still unclear on who needs to be in the middle. We can now write-off this next weekend to find out anything because there will be a massacre (I still hope that we don't lose by that much!)

-- Sad, but hopeful Jayhawk

Brett McCabe 4 years, 4 months ago

With two minutes to play in the first half, we were down 10-0, not exactly a horrible defensive performance. If we had gained a first down and if Taylor Martin had not run out of bounds, we likely go in at half down 10-0 or 13-0 at worst.

The offense was the problem in the first half, and the offense ultimately only put up 6 points.

We aren't strong on either side of the ball, but we aren't going to beat anyone scoring 6 offensive points.

Rick McGowwan 4 years, 4 months ago

We aren't going to beat too many people giving up 40 a game either. I want to see Bowen "earn it" like everyone else. If it's just a mantra, and only applicable to the players, it won't work.

I get we are undermanned, and under-sized, but we see competent MAC teams play better and lose closer to superior teams every week. It's time to stop with the excuses.

Brett McCabe 4 years, 4 months ago

So, the offense scores 6 points but you want the DC fired? It's this kind of logic that proves that there aren't many football fans in Lawrence.

Michael Lorraine 4 years, 4 months ago

Don't think an entire article devoted to one call is warranted. They almost pinned isu inside the 3 so if they had succeeded we would be praising the coach.

Aaron Paisley 4 years, 4 months ago

Even if Kahn had pinned ISU inside the 5, it was still the wrong decision. KU was only down 3-0 at that point and was within Wyman's range. 52 yards is not a gimme by any stretch even in the NFL, but that decision was a momentum killer for KU. It was after that sequence that ISU took control of the game.

You may not think that decision warrants a full article, but it was a momentum changing decision that gave ISU all the momentum and was a big talking point during the live chat in the game.

Michael Lorraine 4 years, 4 months ago

Not saying it was the right decision but disagree entirely with the sentiment regarding the severity. If that's all it takes to kill the momentum for this team we have no chance of ever winning.

Brett McCabe 4 years, 4 months ago

You literally don't understand how important every little detail, every penalty, every coaching decision matters to this team, do you? We will have to virtually everything right to actually be in a game the rest of the year.

Harlan Hobbs 4 years, 4 months ago

With all due respect, what is really the point of this article? KU got trounced anyway, and even as the author stated, "maybe a field goal would have kept the game close for a little longer." Let's face it. KU has a terrible team right now due to the accumulation of poor choices since Coach Mangino was at KU.

Turner Gill and Charlie Weis were totally unsuccessful, and while I don't blame them entirely, the fact is that the program was in the sewer when Mark Mangino took over, and he eventually produced 3 successful bowl teams, including the Orange Bowl. I'm not saying that Coach Mangino would have continued this success going forward, but facts are facts.

The bottom line in this situation is that, if KU had tried the long field goal and failed (highly likely), then ISU would have gotten the ball at the 35 yard line instead of the 20. So, basically it is 6 one way and a half dozen the other.

As for the argument that a made field goal would have given KU some momentum, that is really a stretch. After all, if they went totally flat after the decision to punt, then the real problem is their mental attitude, which has been a huge problem for a long time. KU doesn't know how to win when it comes to football. On the other hand, in basketball, KU expects to win and the results reflect that.

In the end, the keys to success are as much mental as they are physical. KU is not currently blessed with either a good mental outlook or the kinds of players it takes to win at this level. The Big 12 is tough, and when you get trounced by the one team that you think you might be able to compete against, you have nothing.

Regardless of the current situation, I will continue to support Coach Beaty. Coach Mangino saw something in him when he hired him for his staff earlier at KU, and I like his enthusiasm and character. Give him time to recruit his own players and then we can fully evaluate his status.

Michael Lorraine 4 years, 4 months ago

Well said. Good teams expect to win and until the head coach can instill that belief in his players we will continue to flounder.

Brett McCabe 4 years, 4 months ago

The article is important, because we have a head coach who has never been one before, there have been a few questionable decisions this year, and this was a bad one.

I'll steal another poster's approach on this: once we get past our own 40, we should essentially be in 4-down territory, as long as it isn't too far out of a reach.

In the instance Keegan is quoting, the clear and obvious choice was going for it. Kickers should never have been anywhere near the field.

This team has to get better in every single way - play-calling and in-game decisions are important. If you see a trend, you need to report it. Beaty took the job, it's his job to do.

Michael Lorraine 4 years, 4 months ago

Unless you're that coach from the high school team in Arkansas that never punts, that is overly aggressive play calling.

Brett McCabe 4 years, 4 months ago

Why? Because what we are doing is working so well?

I'd show these kids that we believe in them, that we are going to start taking some risks and that we aren't going to play careful football. We are going to play aggressive football.

Michael Lorraine 4 years, 4 months ago

Not knocking Montell but is anyone else want to see Willis get more playing time? I think our best chance of winning lies with Cozart but our chance of winning is not very good. Willis made some pretty nice throws yesterday and I’d rather see another QB get some experience that will help this team down the road.

Jerry Walker 4 years, 4 months ago

Geezus...any sports editor at any Kansas high school could have come up with a better way to waste barrels of ink.

Coach Keegan harangues Coach Beatty about the decision...and then blows his whole theory by saying it wouldn't have made much difference anyway! Of all the things he might have written about, this is where he chose to make his stand? Unbelievable.

Yeah, we've got a pretty poor football team......but we've got an even worse sports editor.

Tyler Bruce 4 years, 4 months ago

I have to say, our team seems to go from worse to... whatever is worse than worse - every time we make a coaching change. I'm a realist, I know we're not going to hire anyone and be good out of the gate. I find it troubling though, that we can't even be competitive on the field. Iowa St is one of the worst teams in the NCAA, and they slaughtered us. I don't know what answer is but I've watched about as much as I can this season. IMHO, it can't end soon enough.

Bill Owens 4 years, 4 months ago

I was really disappointed by Beaty's judgement on that fourth down call. A missed field goal brings it out the the 20. We're looking at an 0'fer for the year. Given the play of our defense I see no reason to punt the rest of the year if we're anywhere close to midfield. So what if Baylor, TCU, OSU, KSU and OU score in five plays rather than nine or ten...make something happen.

Bryan Mohr 4 years, 4 months ago

Lookup when gray-little got hired, and when Mangino got fired. Look at the football program since gray-little. As for the article, seems like spotting a fly on a cow turd.

Mike Auer 4 years, 4 months ago

Now you are just making stuff up Tom, when you say the air went out of the very quickly after the punt. The very next series was a 3 and out for ISU and one KU's best defensive series of the game.

Jim Stauffer 4 years, 4 months ago

This decision had as much effect on that game or our season as the decisions I make from my couch. Just let the kids play and let's find out what we have. I thought Willis looked pretty good in his short stretch. Kid has an arm.

Harlan Hobbs 4 years, 4 months ago

I don't believe that Coach Beaty's lack of head coaching experience is much of a factor. He studied under some very good coaches, and I still maintain that it takes enthusiasm, character, and a strong work ethic to be truly successful.

Remember, Roy Williams had no head coaching experience when he came to KU, but results speak for themselves. That's one reason why I am very sad about the academic investigation at North Carolina. It does tarnish Coach Williams' legacy because it is hard to imagine that he didn't have some knowledge. Nevertheless, I will give him the benefit of the doubt until it is proven to not be warranted.

Just to be clear, I am not comparing Coach Beaty to Coach Williams. I'm just saying that nobody has head coaching experience until they get a chance to be one.

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