Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Kansas names new QB coach after Rob Likens leaves for Arizona State

Former offensive analyst Garrett Riley promoted

FILE — Former Kansas assistant football coach Rob Likens watches over practice as the players get stretched out on Tuesday, April 5, 2016. Likens left KU this week to coach receivers at Arizona State.

FILE — Former Kansas assistant football coach Rob Likens watches over practice as the players get stretched out on Tuesday, April 5, 2016. Likens left KU this week to coach receivers at Arizona State.


Entering his third off-season as the Kansas football coach, David Beaty restructured his staff this week, with former offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Rob Likens taking a job at Arizona State.

As a result, Beaty announced Tuesday the promotion of Garrett Riley, who spent the past year contributing mostly behind the scenes as an offensive analyst, to an on-field position in which he will work with KU’s quarterbacks.

In title, Kansas listed Likens as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach prior to his departure to coach wide receivers at Arizona State. In reality, Beaty took over both those duties during spring football, following the Jayhawks’ 0-12 2015 season. Beaty labeled Likens as a “walk-around guy” who would help the rest of the staff in a variety of functions.

"We appreciate Rob's many contributions as part of the Jayhawk family," Beaty stated in a release. "We wish him every success as he moves forward to this new chapter of his career.”


FILE — Kansas coach David Beaty meets with his quarterbacks during the first day of spring practice on Sunday, March 6, 2016, as offensive analyst Garrett Riley (background) looks on, at the practice fields north of Memorial Stadium.

Likens’ decision to take on a more definitive role at ASU, where he will also serve as passing game coordinator on Todd Graham’s staff, opened an on-field role at Kansas. After working a lot with Riley over the past several months, Beaty decided to expand his duties and make him one of the staff’s nine full-time assistants.

"Garrett has been a tremendous asset to our program since the day he set foot on campus," Beaty said of Riley, who joined the staff in early 2016. "Having played under Mike Leach at Texas Tech and worked closely with his brother, Lincoln Riley (now offensive coordinator at Oklahoma), during his time at East Carolina, Garrett has had his hand in some high-powered offenses. His extensive knowledge of the Air Raid offense has been invaluable as we implemented it to our team, and I am looking forward to him having an even greater impact in his new role."

This past season at KU, various players mentioned, unprompted, Riley’s knowledge and ability during media sessions.

Before joining the Kansas staff, Riley coached outside receivers at East Carolina, where he worked with Zay Jones, who recently became the all-time NCAA FBS career receptions leader with 399 catches.


Kansas quarterbacks coach Garrett Riley

Riley spent three seasons at ECU, where he worked two years with his brother Lincoln, who went on to become the offensive coordinator at OU. While working with ECU’s quarterbacks, Riley had a chance to play a part in the development of Shane Carden, who won the American Athletic Conference’s Offensive Player of the Year award in 2014, and became the program’s all-time leader in passing yards (11,991) and passing touchdowns (86).

In his college days, Riley began at Texas Tech, where he played quarterback in 2008 and 2009, under then-Red Raiders coach Mike Leach. Riley then transferred to Stephen F. Austin to finish his college career.

His first coaching job came at Roosevelt High, in Lubbock, Texas, in 2011, before he quickly moved on to the college ranks at Augustana (Ill.) College, in 2012, as a running backs coach.


Michael Maris 4 years, 10 months ago

Former QB now coaching the QB's. With former Hal Mumme's Protege's teaching him along the way. Good luck Coach Garrett Riley. ROCK CHALK

Karen Mansfield-Stewart 4 years, 10 months ago

Sounds like a well deserved promotion. Best of luck Coach Riley!

Brett McCabe 4 years, 10 months ago

Logical, smart move. As Dillon said, next up: an O.C.

Casey Jaimes 4 years, 10 months ago

What if I told you guys that he was acting OC last year and DB just covered for him.

Dirk Medema 4 years, 10 months ago

That would make a lot of sense in a lot of ways - regardless of whether you have any sources you are willing/able to share or not. It fits well with the line from the article about the players speaking out impromptu about him.

My guess is they won't name an OC until it's earned, along with the $ to accompany the title.

Frederick Heckel 4 years, 10 months ago

KU can't hire an OC now. There isn't an opening in the coaching staff and no one else should be leaving.

Dirk Medema 4 years, 10 months ago

That's all ST.

I thought DB gave that back midway through the year?

Joe Ross 4 years, 10 months ago

I smell a rat.

Likens--a man of his talent--is given a made-up job description. "Walk around guy". All the while David Beaty is heaping burdensome responsibiity on himself which places his own job in jeopardy. Then, when Likens leaves, it's shrouded in this kind of mystery, without coverage of the reasons. No details. Slipped in with the news of a promotion because we didnt even know ahead of time he was leaving.

What's going on with Likens? Really? Was there dissention in the ranks all this time or what?

Brett McCabe 4 years, 10 months ago

It's been an odd situation. Add to that the large defections last year, and it's not hard to see that something was not quite right on the staff. Has this been fixed? So far, no defections, which is good for our program because we need some stability - which was sorely lacking this year.

Year three is a big one for Beaty with the extension, the raise, the 7 home games, etc. Here's hoping that it is a big year (relatively) for KU football.

Suzi Marshall 4 years, 10 months ago

The staff management and problematic game starts were some of the reason I would have waited another year before a contract extension. However, I admit it is a close call.

It seems pretty clear Beaty has his eye on Riley for the OC slot but wants him to clearly earn the position. It would be great if Riley could emerge as a solid OC.

John Brazelton 4 years, 10 months ago

Garrett Riley is being developed at KU's next OC. DB wanted to hire his brother Riley who is the OC at OU. If Riley does a good job at QB development, he will probably receive a promotion to co-OC in the next two seasons. Nick Saban does a good job at developing assistant coaches or rehabbing fired HCs also, so why not DB?

Casey Jaimes 4 years, 10 months ago

@Dirk medema I am a student with classes that had some football players and student assistants in them. Won't name anyone but it's true

Casey Jaimes 4 years, 10 months ago

Personally I wish we could have gotten Sterlin Gilbert the OC from Strongs staff at Texas.

David Williams 4 years, 10 months ago

Great Xmas wish list...if he were to pull that off, my perception of him would change dramatically.

Marius Rowlanski 4 years, 10 months ago

Comments here have been more positive than I would have thought for Likens when it seemed to me that there was never any real stability at the quarterback position.

Obviously, that was only part of his job but still a critical role. I don't have any other negatives and there are worse places than Arizona State to land but as a receivers coach, not a step up. Maybe just a lateral step.

Marius Rowlanski 4 years, 10 months ago

Kind of an offshoot question but would anyone have liked to see Lane Kiffin take over as head coach at Kansas?

David Williams 4 years, 10 months ago

My response would be not at this time, perhaps after he shows progress at FAU. There are still a lot of skeptics out there, and only time and success will cause that to change. I would imagine that 1-3 good years at FAU and he is looking at another P5 job.

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