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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

With new contract, David Beaty feels increased pressure to produce for KU

Kansas football coach David Beaty offers instructions to his offense, including LaQuvionte Gonzalez (1), during Saturday's game against Iowa State on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2016.

Kansas football coach David Beaty offers instructions to his offense, including LaQuvionte Gonzalez (1), during Saturday's game against Iowa State on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2016.

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As 2017 approaches and University of Kansas football coach David Beaty continues to immerse himself in the offseason drudgery that comes with trying to restore the rundown program he took over two years ago, he understands expectations have risen.

The Jayhawks’ home victories over Rhode Island and Texas this fall, coupled with one-score home losses to TCU and Iowa State, already had a deprived — and at times disgruntled — fan base clamoring for more victories in Beaty’s upcoming third season as head coach.

The call for further progress and a better winning percentage grew in volume earlier this month, when the 2-22 KU coach signed a contract extension through 2021, and saw his salary doubled to $1.6 million for the coming year.

That freshly-signed extension, Beaty realized, meant a zero- or two-win season, such as those Kansas endured the past two years, would not qualify as anywhere near acceptable.

“You know, the pressure has never been higher — from myself,” Beaty said recently, when asked about the need to produce more victories going forward. “I’ve never worried about the pressure from outside, because it doesn't match what the pressure I put on myself and we put on ourself as a staff.”

After winning his first game as a head coach in the 2016 opener, against overmatched FCS foe Rhode Island, Beaty’s Jayhawks dropped their next nine games before upsetting Texas in overtime in their home finale. Throughout that losing skid, Beaty, who had yet to lead his team to a win over a BCS opponent, and his staff found ways to keep their players from mentally checking out or giving up on the season. In fact, KU played better during the final three weeks of Beaty’s second year than during any other chunk in his time as head coach.

The Garland, Texas native and his assistants felt pressure to win throughout the past several months, and Beaty said that should only ratchet up going forward.

“So, I mean, I know that sounds crazy, but that's the truth. I expected to win the day we stepped in this room, period,” Beaty said in mid-December, while speaking inside Anderson Family Football Complex. “We expected to win every game. And we expect to win every one of ’em from this point goin’ forward.”

KU hasn’t won more than three games in a season since 2009, Mark Mangino’s last year as head coach, when the Jayhawks finished 5-7. Mangino’s successor, Turner Gill, went 3-9 in 2010 and 2-10 in 2011, with a single Big 12 victory (versus Colorado in 2010) in his two seasons. Gill’s replacement, Charlie Weis, went 1-11 at KU in 2012, 3-9 in 2013 and was 2-2 in 2014 before being fired. In Weis’ 28 games at the helm, KU won one Big 12 game (versus West Virginia in 2013).

Openly, Beaty wants much more out of his players and staff while he is in charge, and aspires to make sure KU fans don’t have to suffer through so many losses in the years to come.

“But the pressure, man, you're gonna have a hard time puttin’ pressure on me harder than I put on myself,” he said.

photo

Kansas safety Mike Lee (11) intercepts a pass during overtime on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016 at Memorial Stadium.

More recognition for safety Lee

Since the conclusion of his first season at KU, safety Mike Lee has been listed as one of the top freshmen performers in the Big 12, and nationally, by various publications.

Some more love for Lee came this past week, when ESPN.com ranked its top Big 12 defensive performances of 2016.

Lee, a 5-foot-11 starting safety from New Orleans, actually took the top spot, with his individual performance in the Jayhawks’ marquee victory over Texas.

“The true freshman helped spearhead the 24-21 win … that snapped the Jayhawks’ 19-game Big 12 losing streak,” Mitch Sherman wrote for ESPN. “Lee contributed 12 tackles, all solo stops, and factored in two decisive turnovers — forcing the late D’Onta Foreman fumble in the red zone that rekindled KU’s hope, then intercepting Shane Buechele’s second-down pass in overtime.”

Lee, who didn’t become a starter until the fifth game of the year, tied senior safety Fish Smithson for the team lead in solo tackles on the season, with 70. Lee made 77 total stops, 1.5 tackles for loss and an interception, while breaking up three passes and forcing two fumbles.

Comments

Andy Godwin 7 months ago

The way Beaty will be successful at KU is to recruit more Mike Lee's of the world. Recruit, recruit, recruit and then teach them up. As the saying goes, "It’s not the X’s and O’s, it’s the Jimmys and Joes”. Simply put it’s the quality of the players that makes a coach successful.

Stephen Johnson 7 months ago

I was impressed that despite losing week after week, Beaty and staff were able to keep the players engaged and motivated. I saw no quit or negativity. That speaks volumes to the relationship this staff has with the players.

Kevin Fest 7 months ago

I just hope at this point with the increased salary and increased pressure Beaty realizes he can't do everything. Please hire a decent offensive coordinator someone who who knows the "Air Raid" or who doesn't know the Air Raid lol somebody other than the Beaty he stinks he needs to realize that it's time for some new blood in there on the offensive side of the ball.

Conservative play calling and useless play-calling won't win any games the passes to the sideline that take too long to develop with one blocker, those plays almost always lose yards can you ttry a run play and now its 3rd and 8 and the defense knows what's coming gotta break out of that cycle try something new next year.

With the transfer quarterback Peyton and Carter Stanley the three wide receivers we're going to have Sims Gonzalez and the transfer from Alabama and hopefully using the tight end more maybe they can start scoring some points and helping the defense. Just a thought

Stephen Burtin 7 months ago

Beaty may not have been a great signal caller, but our offense did improve marginally this season. Our offensive numbers improved in every category except offensive efficiency which is hurt by INT's which our QB's threw 22 this season versus only 14 in 2015. When Beaty got a slightly (slightly being the key word) more careful QB in there (Carter Stanley) our offense looked a lot better.

At this point, I think consistency is the key for our team. KU has had a different OC every season for the past 6 years or so. It might be nice for the players to go into the off-season already having a handle on the playbook. That way the only players learning the plays for the first time will be true freshman and any transfers joining the team in 2017.

I do agree though that our offense was definitely our biggest issue this year, but IMHO, I think that had more to do with having trouble finding the right QB. Willis and Cozart were not the answer and Stanley wasn't great either, but he will have all off-season to improve. Peyton Bender might be the answer, but I'll believe that when I see it.

Aaron Paisley 7 months ago

KU wins 4-5, possibly 6 if they sweep nonconference. SEMO, CMU, Ohio, TCU, Iowa St., Tech, and KSU are all winnable games next year. KU doesn't win all 7 of them, but those are all potential wins for KU next year. The DLine returns which will cushion the blow of the secondary losses. Any improvement in the offense will make KU a much better and dangerous team.

Lucas Town 7 months ago

SEMO and CMU I believe are wins. Ohio is tricky because its on the road, but definitely winnable. TCU is winnable because we have been playing them tough ever since they joined the Big 12. Texas Tech just fell apart this year, even with all their offensive playmakers. This is 4-5 winnable games, which would be huge. Iowa State on the road with the way they have progressed, I just don't see a win there. The way K-State looked down the stretch with Snyder's youngest team since 1989, I don't see us beating K-State for a couple more years. If we beat Ohio, 4-5 wins is doable. If we don't then I think 3 wins is all we will get.

Saddens me that Scott Frantz from Lawrence, a RS Freshman playing left tackle for K-State looked great last night against a potential #1 draft pick. How did we let him get away?

Randy Bombardier 7 months ago

Fill the roster, keep sawing wood. The wins will come. Now that we have a quarterback with this defense and an improved offense i see 5 wins, possibly more.

Greg Ledom 7 months ago

I don't think extra money adds any pressure at all to Beaty. At the end of the day, if your worth your salt, you know wins are the only thing that satisfies the masses. If you take over a program as down as ours was, you get a pass on the wins for a bit, but not anything else that your program does because if you don't fix everything else (recruiting, attitude, work ethic, personal ethic, facilities, etc., etc.) then the wins never come. Beaty said there can be no greater pressure than what he already puts on himself and his staff puts on themselves. I couldn't agree more. I personally feel that coach has done virtually everything else quite well, and thus the wins will come. I don't know how many wins we will have next year, but as long as I keep seeing progress, I'm hanging in with coach. I haven't seen positives signs like this since the Mangino years (sans his last year of his program when Todd got hurt), and so we need to continue to back coach, which it seems all are willing to do. Rock Chalk!!! Go Hawks! And beat TCU tonight!

Kevin Fest 6 months, 4 weeks ago

Lmao, l love it Olympia.

Okay so let me get this straight some people on this board are calling 4 5 6 7 wins next year against teams that we lost to last year no less or teams that we've lost to the last three four five years, where are these magical wins all of a sudden coming from? Hey we played TCU OHIO K ST IST ECT really tough or lost a really close game this year, those are wins next year? Iowa State I believe lost five games by single digits K-State look strong against Texas A&M I don't see those two as cupcakes next year with a very young team that's only getting better it has more Talent than KU has.

I don't care if Jesus is coming in to play quarterback until this kid proves himself and starts winning whether it's Carter or Bendor or whoever don't count it as anything. Crist, Heaps were disasters, Millweard held ball on fieldgoals, who knows what Bender can do? He played at Washington State other two played at Notre Dame BYU UCLA respectively what does it mean where they transfer from. Until they do it at KU and help with wins nothing counts.

Defense is a push lost alot of experience on the back end Dline is solid but Mike Lee hits like a hammer but looked over matched at times, each year is a learning experience you cant be Talib Harris or Smithson after one season, hes off to a good start but 7 starts is not a career. We are still young I'd rather have these kids playing in the games then sitting on the bench or redshirting any experience they can get is good experience but they're still young and will make mistakes let's face facts.

The Texas win was a nice surprise for sure I wouldn't be surprised if its only 2 again or 3 maybe. But I'm not counting the almost close calls Coulda Woulda Shouldas as wins

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