On Monday morning’s Big 12 football coaches teleconference, Kansas University football coach David Beaty admitted that he pays no mind to the betting lines released each week for the dozens of college football games around the country.
Having said that, Beaty, at least for now, also doesn’t mind what they say.
“Until we earn it, we’re gonna be underdogs in every game we have,” said Beaty, whose Jayhawks are double-digit dogs for their Week 2 contest against Memphis. “That’s just the way it is. And we need to be playing like we’re the underdogs.”
In many ways, Kansas has experienced a little of that already this season. Just a 2.5-point favorite over FCS foe South Dakota State last week, the Jayhawks, who fell 41-38, spent most of the opener trying to play their way out of a deep hole.
Despite watching his defense surrender 21 consecutive points after walk-on Ryan Schadler cut SDSU’s 10-0 lead to 10-7 with a kickoff return for a touchdown, Beaty said he never sensed much panic from his team.
“It’s kinda crazy to say,” Beaty said. “But I’m not sure I really knew we were down 31-7 at one point because I simply did not feel that within our sideline.... The thing that you feel a lot of times when you’re in situations like that is you feel the wind go out of everyone, but I never felt that.”
Instead, the Jayhawks came together and rallied, falling just short when a fluky final play cost them a chance to tie the game.
Nobody in the Kansas locker room left Memorial Stadium pleased with the Week 1 result. But nobody was willing to say it was time to shut down the program either.
“Those kids were obviously disappointed,” Beaty said. “But, at the same time, they’re dealing in reality. I think they’re most disappointed because we weren’t able to execute when we needed to.... I think those kids understand that if you do things right the entire game then you might not be in that position where you’re having to utilize those things that you don’t do a whole lot.”
While the Kansas offense threw up 38 points and nearly 600 yards, the defense struggled. In addition to allowing SDSU to race out to 31 points 17 minutes into the game, KU gave up 463 yards of offense, including 170 on the ground and 160 to sophomore receiver Jake Wieneke.
“We started slow and we can’t do that,” Beaty said. “We have to do a much better job of starting faster, but that’s not just the defense. Turnovers put our defense in a very tough position. (Defensive coordinator) Clint (Bowen) made some great adjustments there at halftime that helped us.”
Those adjustments, which featured more blitzing and greater attention paid to Wieneke, limited SDSU to just 10 points in the 43 minutes.
Beaty, who talked all offseason about no spots on the depth chart being secure from day to day, on Monday hinted about depth chart tweaks to come.
“We have much higher standards in store for our guys than what we put out there on the field the other day,” he said. “This was the first time for us to evaluate them out there so there’ll be some things that change for us this week based on how those guys handled that.”