Saturday, October 22, 2016


Tom Keegan: Kansas loses to Oklahoma State, ends quarterback controversy in same game

Kansas quarterback Montell Cozart (2) takes off on a run during the second quarter on Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016 at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas quarterback Montell Cozart (2) takes off on a run during the second quarter on Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016 at Memorial Stadium.


Kansas head football coach David Beaty didn’t come right out and say that his team has one starting quarterback, and that barring injuries, that won’t change for the rest of the season.

He didn’t need to say it. Everything the coach said about eyes, those of Saturday’s starter Montell Cozart in a 44-20 loss to Oklahoma State, and those of teammates looking at the quarterback they want to follow, said plenty.

Beaty had talked earlier in the week about how two-week starter Ryan Willis needed to learn to use his eyes better to avoid getting stuck on one target.

Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

David Beaty: We've gotta score points if we want to win

Kansas football coach David Beaty meets with the media following KU's 44-20 loss to Oklahoma State on Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016 at Memorial Stadium.

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Beaty repeatedly referred to how well Cozart fared Saturday in that area.

“We go back and look at the bodies of work and see who doesn’t put us in jeopardy with regard to reads,” Beaty said. “You’ve got to read. I mean, you don’t get to pick guys out in college football. When you do, it hurts. It’s not good. It comes to the tune of picks all over the place.”

Willis threw six interceptions in two weeks.

“He did a really nice job with his eyes today,” Beaty said of Cozart, who has not been sacked this season.

Willis has been sacked 16 times. It's just one of the factors that made it easy for Beaty to say that Cozart will start at quarterback Saturday vs. Oklahoma in Norman.

“I thought Montell did a nice job of not getting (offensive linemen) exposed by getting rid of the ball on time, using his eyes,” Beaty said. “That’s really how it can work when you do it correctly.”

Beaty said of Cozart, “I was really proud of him. The thing I was most proud of is if you look at that locker room in there and how much they’re behind Montell Cozart, that’s cool to see, because he deserves it.”

Veterans who have been in the program with Cozart for four seasons admire him for his consistent personality, humble demeanor, friendly way and remarkably thick skin in the face of constant criticism. Twitter paints a bigger target on the back of a losing quarterback than anything ever has and Cozart doesn't allow the vitriol to change him. Younger players appreciate him because he treats everyone the same, with kindness and respect, as an equal.

Cozart never will be a great quarterback, but he’ll never stop trying to develop into a good one.

A junior who has started games in parts of four seasons and was granted a fifth year of eligibility with a medical redshirt in injury-shortened 2015, Cozart’s not an average Big 12 quarterback yet, but has improved in the area of avoiding sacks and throwing more accurate long balls.

The next step for him will be turning speed into the ability to gain yards as a runner, something Beaty no longer will shy from because Cozart’s separated shoulder from earlier this season has healed.

“Looking forward to it so I can get out there in space and run around a little bit,” Cozart said. “I feel like that will add a dimension to our offense that will scare people a little bit, put pressure on the defense for when we run a zone read. If I pull it, I can get us five, six yards and keep us moving forward.”

Cozart explained how he has managed to better use his feet in avoiding sacks.

“The game just slows down,” he said. “It’s just slowing down every time I’m out there. It goes back to just study, study, study, being a film junkie, knowing what they’re trying to do to us. That way you can get the ball off, even when they’re blitzing and we have just five guys protecting, knowing exactly where to go with the ball without getting hit.”

Asked for specifics that demonstrate he is a “film junkie,” Cozart obliged.

“I’m here crazy hours. I’m watching film at home, two or three hours,” he said. “I’m watching film in class sometimes, if we’re not doing anything. Any time I get a chance to watch some film, I’m definitely watching. I’ve got it on my iPhone, my iPad, computer. Wherever I’m at, I have one of those devices with some film on it. I’m always in the lab watching.”

His talent and instincts for the position are such that a coach always will be on the lookout for a quarterback who poses a greater threat as a runner and throws with more accuracy. His personality is such that he will be the quarterback a coach will choose to lead the team if there isn’t another on the roster with clearly better skill and/or instincts.

During Cozart's two weeks on the bench, more than just Willis’ performance determined the team's starting quarterback.

In talking about his expectations of Cozart during the temporary benching, Beaty said, “No. 1, one of the finest-character kids I’ve ever been around in my life. So the way he handled the last two weeks, I mean, you would expect nothing different out of Montell Cozart.”

Beaty tends toward excessive use of superlatives about his players, but my view from a distance differs not an iota from the coach’s up-close-and-personal, “one of the finest-character kids I’ve ever been around” Cozart read.

— See what people were saying about KU's matchup against Oklahoma State during’s live coverage.

More news and notes from the loss against Oklahoma State


Brett McCabe 1 year, 6 months ago

Tom, literally the most confusing column I've ever seen by you. It's now a popularity contest? Because the coach has been preaching about his favorite all season long? The guys in the locker room dictate who starts? Makes me want to puke.

Montel lost by 24 today. Clearly, he should be the starting QB. It's so clear, in fact, it took the head coach/o.c./q.b.c./p.r.c. seven weeks to identify him.

Everybody needs to quit making excuses for a horrible head coach. After listening to the post-game, I thought that Beaty was going to propose. Maybe, instead of working on his pep-talks, he could figure out how to score inside the ten. That would be good.

This is the problem with KU football right now....we have a pep-club coach as our head football coach. This is big-time football, we don't need a high school approach.

Max Ledom 1 year, 6 months ago

I think I speak for everyone on this board when I say we are truly sick and tired of your horrendous, non helpful opinions. Just stop talking.

Gerry Butler 1 year, 6 months ago

you a funny guy, I like that. Umm, did you cry a lot too when Coach Self did exactly the same thing in Basketball with Landen? players saying who they thought would be better starting? remember that? I didn't think so, how quickly we forget - -no difference your trying to blast Beaty by indicating guys in the locker room dictate who starts. EXCACTLY like players did with Landen oooops. pep-club coach? ok Einstein why don't you enlighten all of us, tell us exactly who should be the Coach? - - -wait , wait, wait I got it - -you right? Or how about this tell me who or any other Quality coach gonna come running into this type situation we have here at Ku and turn this around in little over a year. - -Go ahead let me know- - -I'll wait. It's not the column that's confusing, seems perfectly clear to me, your the one confused. Your head hurt much. But ya I know I got it, you one of the moron's that want to continue the FIRE THE COACH merry go round every two years huh? I got it, how about this why don't you skip right on down to the athletic dept submit your Coaching resume I'm sure they will turn Coach Beaty loose in a heart beat since we have you roflmfao what a joke. How about you scoot along on down innerstate put your little Purple ra ra pull over on and do a little half time skit for the cow chip throwers THEY WILL LOVE YOU we sure the hell don't need ya, and when daddy Bill retires don't come running back here when the tables are reversed your pathetic

Dirk Medema 1 year, 6 months ago

The problem with KU football right now - besides whiner fans which even show up in BB, is that we are still 80% of a team, and mostly young at that. Young goes for the HC too. Our HC has made plenty of mistakes, a lot like our top performers. Unfortunately, getting rid of the HC, or the player that drops a ball he should have caught, or misses a tackle, or gets out of position, or ... doesn't mean that we'd be better off. A year or 2 from now the freshmen and sophomore starters and subs will be much stronger and experienced, and have 20 more stronger, experienced subs. Or we can keep digging our own grave. To not recognize the hole we started with, and are still in, or the improvement that has come is so far is just crazy.

Jay Scott 1 year, 6 months ago

Who are the two clowns besides Brett that gave that rambling garbage a thumbs up?

Gerry Butler 1 year, 6 months ago

Sure the hell wasn't me Jay.You would have to be a complete idiot to give thumbs up to anything he has to say

Jay Scott 1 year, 6 months ago

Brett has numerous other user ID's. He had a Jay Scott one for a short time, until the site shut it down.

Tom Keegan 1 year, 6 months ago

Brett, Somebody has to start. Cozart has not been sacked once. Willis has been sacked 16 times. You have to start somebody. Name your starter from this roster. -- Tom

Max Ledom 1 year, 6 months ago

Brett, I should say, I'm glad you are fired up and want success. We all do. But I think your comments on firing CB or insinuating he wants to romance his players is crossing the line. KU fans are better than that.

Joseph Bullock 1 year, 6 months ago

That is exactly the kind of talk Missouri fans were saying about Gary Pinkle, in his 2nd year, and look what he ended up doing for their program. This is Beatys 2nd year, and he is trying to get his type of players in, and the kids are learning his system. He lost at least 6 Assistant Coaches, to good programs, so that tells you he knows how to pick them-but our Administration has to give them good enough contracts, to make them want to stay! Our speed has been upgraded tremendously, and we are getting better talent (we even have a transfer from Alabama, who will be eligible next season, and the kid is a monster! It takes time to turn a football team around-Period, especially after the CharlienWeis Project! I'm very confident Coach Beaty will get things turned around, at least in year three. The kids play extremely hard for him, and as they get more depth, we will see better results! Rock Chalk!

Greg Ledom 1 year, 6 months ago

That's not what he said, but why pay attention to details. I think coach will be better than Pinkel given the time. Must have some Misery readers given the 3 likes. Sure as hell hope they aren't KU readers as that would further disgust me. Rock Chalk!!

Stephen Johnson 1 year, 6 months ago

absolutely thankful that he's no Pinkel. We don't need another drunk on the road.

Brett McCabe 1 year, 6 months ago

Pinel was a successful, proven head coach. Don't compare the two. Beaty has proven nothing.

Jay Scott 1 year, 6 months ago

You just compared the two. Pinkel was more "proven". That's a comparison.

Stephen Johnson 1 year, 6 months ago

proven drunk driver - that's all he's proven to me

Bryce Landon 1 year, 6 months ago

I advocated for him after the Baylor game - Carter Stanley - why is he not up for consideration as a starting QB? Montell's not very good, nor is Willis. Put Stanley in there. The season is awash; what have we got to lose at this point?

Ashwin Rao 1 year, 6 months ago

I wish I could like a comment multiple times.

Dirk Medema 1 year, 6 months ago

I wondered this also when I read the headline that Montell was starting again. My guess is it is similar to why Ryan wasn't starting. I don't think that Coach necessarily wants to start Montell, but the other options just have not stepped up - and he's not willing to burn the redshirt on Starks. Carter has had limited game time, but it's not like he's been a revelation, as I'm guessing has been the case in practice as it was in the Spring game. Change isn't necessarily better. Sometimes it is just change, any maybe even worse (see previous 2 HC's).

Humpy Helsel 1 year, 6 months ago

What I can't get over is the play calling on first and goal early in 4th quarter, and the failure to take the 3 points. Plenty of time on the clock. Act like you've been there before and believe you are still in the game. Instead, you try to go for six on 4th and 4. Really? If there were 3 minutes left, then, well, OK. Was I the only one screaming for them to take the 3 points? Instead, it totally took away from any momentum and the air came right out of the stadium for the Hawks. I don't want to say it, but that kind of stuff in on the head coach.

Michael Lorraine 1 year, 6 months ago

A lot of people have complained about Beaty’s conservative play calling but that play effectively ended the game. A field goal keeps their hopes alive, no points pretty much ends it. Unless you’re on the goal line they should have taken the points.

Michael Lorraine 1 year, 6 months ago

One thing this team is adept at is recognizing what defeat looks like. They’ve been there so many times I think they realize at what point the game is a lost cause. At least yesterday it didn’t happen until the 4th quarter.

Dirk Medema 1 year, 6 months ago

We're only 2 games removed from 3 missed FG's in a second half. 4th and 4 is a really long shot if you're a ground oriented team, but it really isn't that much difference, and can even be helpful when you're passing.

3 pts there, with this team, is playing to not lose as bad. I like that he went for it, because 7 could have changed the game. Then you're down only 1 score and have some hope. 3 means you're still down 2 scores. It definitely is on the HC, and I like that he's playing to win, when the expectation before the game is that we'd be lucky to not be blown out.

I do agree with you though that it is frustrating to get nothing out of 1st and goal.

Joseph Bullock 1 year, 6 months ago

Of course Beaty is no Pinkle, but he was a head assistant at A&M! Nobody is a proven commodity before they get a chance to prove themselves! Also, I will compare whoever I want, to whoever I want, Brett! You can disagree with me, as we all can disagree with who we want, but you can never even begin to tell me what to do, or not to do!

Coach-Matt Koelling 1 year, 6 months ago

I was surprised how well Cozart played this weekend. However, we were playing at home against a sub-par Oklahoma State team. Our next two games are at Oklahoma and at West Virginia. We'll see how well Cozart fares in those environments. My guess, not so good.

If Cozart started the Baylor game instead of Willis, and Willis started the Oklahoma State game instead of Cozart, it would be the exact same result and Willis would most likely be named the starting QB right now.

I'm willing to give Beaty at least 5 years, but I'm not thrilled with his decisions thus far. Not to mention, he directly coaches two positions (QB's and Offensive Coordinator) that are underperforming more than any other.

Tom Keegan 1 year, 6 months ago

I'll be surprised if Beaty is the OC next year.

Joseph Bullock 1 year, 6 months ago

I agree Tom. It is too demanding to be both the head coach, and the offensive coordinator! That takes too much time away from other things that he needs to coordinate, and/or, oversee!!!

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