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Saturday, September 10, 2016

Keegan

Tom Keegan: Sloppy Jayhawks on the menu at Memorial Stadium

Kansas running back Ke'aun Kinner (22) is stopped in the end zone by Ohio linebacker Austin Clack (36) for a safety during the first quarter on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016 at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas running back Ke'aun Kinner (22) is stopped in the end zone by Ohio linebacker Austin Clack (36) for a safety during the first quarter on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016 at Memorial Stadium.

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For the second week in a row, Kansas showed it has faster football players than a year ago, but the football they played resulted in a not-so-fast verdict in declaring the Jayhawks a much better football team than when they went 0-12.

Three words best describe what led to Kansas squandering an opportunity for its first two-game winning streak since 2011: Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy.

Ohio University headed home with a 37-21 victory against the Jayhawks because it dominated the line of scrimmage and because its cause was aided by the undisciplined hosts.

Two muffed punts. A botched snap on a punt. Two face-mask penalties. A player coming off the sidelines to celebrate the team’s first touchdown, one that shaved the deficit to a still-hefty 21 points in the second quarter. A running back stopped in the end zone for a safety.

Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

David Beaty talks about KU's 37-21 loss to Ohio

After a 37-21 loss against Ohio, Kansas coach David Beaty discusses what troubled the offense, the difficulties of the defense staying on the field and why he stuck with Montell Cozart in his post-game press conference.

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Even talented football teams rarely survive such slop.

Recruiting seems to be going better, but are the better football players playing better football, the sort that comes from self-discipline? Not yet.

“We are still in that (process) of building this program,” second-year head coach David Beaty said. “We’re still there. And our guys, we’ve talked to them about it until we’re blue in the face, one win does not make you something special.”

Particularly one against Rhode Island.

Too often Saturday, the Jayhawks celebrated successful plays on the field, disregarding a scoreboard that showed them on the wrong end the entire afternoon. The act-like-you’ve-been-there-before trait has not yet been developed in this team. Small victories, such as a deflected pass, were greeted with disproportional glee.

Even many of the day’s best performers didn’t deliver clean games.

Receiver Steven Sims Jr. for the second week in a row had two touchdown receptions, one on a spectacular shoestring catch and hold, and more than 100 receiving yards. Yet, his day was marred by 15-yard penalty for leaving the sidelines to celebrate LaQuvionte Gonzalez’s touchdown on a 99-yard kick return.

“I was too excited for Quiv and I ran down into the end zone after he scored and I’m not supposed to come outside of the white box,” Sims said. “That was just me letting my emotions get too involved in the game. We always practice staying behind the white line, staying inside the box. I just lost focus for a second and I cost my team 15 yards.”

In addition to his kick return, Gonzalez broke free for what would have been a sure score had Montell Cozart not overthrown him. Gonzalez also caught five passes for 45 yards, but nobody had a sloppier day. He muffed two punts. Only a pair of strong defensive stands prevented Ohio from turning those mistakes into more than two field goals.

Returning punts is the toughest job in football. If a player can’t consistently field them cleanly, he’s not worth the risk, regardless of his big-play ability. Beaty appears guilty of getting greedy on the Gonzalez front and should consider reducing his role by one job and turning it over to someone more suited to fielding punts, such as Fish Smithson, who by the way had a few big plays and one big mistake.

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Kansas head coach David Beaty gives a pat on the back to Kansas wide receiver LaQuvionte Gonzalez (1) after Gonzalez fumbled a punt during the second quarter on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016 at Memorial Stadium.

Smithson intercepted a pass in the end zone, broke up two others and was flagged 15 yards for a face-mask penalty, joining cornerback Marnez Ogletree on that miscue front.

The bad snap on a punt, resulting in a negative-8 yard kick, was another bad look.

Cozart rallied the team in the second half, throwing some beauties, and at one point, a deficit that had grown to 28 points dwindled all the way to 10, but too many unforced errors already had done too much damage.

Beaty’s team sustains its fire, even when way behind, but does not do so with enough composure.

Sophomore defensive tackle Daniel Wise, who competes with equal parts passion and humility, weighed in with his second consecutive strong game and had three tackles for loss.

“It's a tight line. It’s always good to play with passion and high emotion, but when the high emotion plays in penalties, that’s not really good,” Wise said.

All the Jayhawks would do well to study how Wise walks the line between fire and ice.

The untidy loss behind him, Beaty turned his attention to the road. Monday marks the seven-year anniversary of KU’s last road victory, 34-7 against UTEP. Saturday’s game at Memphis kicks off at 11 a.m.

“I know those guys will get their focus back,” Beaty said of his players who made costly mistakes. “I know they’ll learn a lot from this game.”

If they do, they won’t be the first football players to clean up nicely in a week. Ohio was penalized 141 yards and lost two fumbles in a season-opening, 56-54 loss to Texas State.

“Last week was last week,” Ohio quarterback Greg Windham said. “I made a lot of mental mistakes and I just had to go back and watch film and correct those mistakes.”

It can be done. It must be done for a Kansas team that doesn’t look as if it will have enough blocks to mount much of a running game most weeks.



More news and notes from the loss against Ohio


Comments

Suzi Marshall 8 months, 2 weeks ago

Sloppy is one thing...bad coaching is another. The first play of the season last week which was a 'delay of game' seems to have set the tone for this season. The team lacks discipline, which is direct reflection of bad coaching. I've tried to hold onto belief Beatty will develop as a coach but now...I don't see it happening.

Randy Bombardier 8 months, 2 weeks ago

Nice article, Tom. Suzi, stop being emotional and think this through.

Andy Godwin 8 months, 1 week ago

"Too often Saturday, the Jayhawks celebrated successful plays on the field, disregarding a scoreboard that showed them on the wrong end the entire afternoon." This culture of celebrating routine defensive stop is becoming ridiculous. It starts in the NFL and percolates down to college and high school players. KU players would celebrate a tackle or broken up pass play on a first or second down just to get burnt on third down and look foolish. Perfectly stated, "The act-like-you’ve-been-there-before trait has not yet been developed in this team". To be "smartest team in America" as Beaty states, it starts with the head coach. The enthusiasm from the first game is now lost because the playing calling in the first half was terrible and the defense was completely unprepared. Pure and simple Beaty got out coached by a much more experienced and successful coach.

Kevin Fest 8 months, 1 week ago

Thank you Andy, the bad behavior and finger wagging after a good play even though they were behind the whole game was embarrassing. Im all for spirit and and emotion but when youre down 25-0 and give up a games worth of yards in only a quarter and a half it's embarrassing to act like that. Smithson act in the end zone after he made the interception running around like Benny Hill I think the guys are just looking for the Highlight play after Gonzalez ran the hundred yard punt back instead of making the sound play. That's why Gonzalez fumbled the next to 2 punts the first one he was trying to run for a he had the ball the second one unbelievably he was trying to direct the blocking while the ball was still in the air and taking his eye off of it by the time it got to him he totally lost track of it. Beaty needs to figure out what kind of offense he wants to run these little passes to the sideline that have no chance of gaining yards or actually utilizing his speed and weapons that he has in Gonzales Sims regardless his team is going to be out of most games than in most games so he may as well be just taking chances the rest of the season. I was embarrassed by the coaching. If the receivers have to go up to Cozart at half time to tell them that they are being their man and this wasn't completely evident to the coaches in the first half then the coaches don't have an idea what they're doing

Humpy Helsel 8 months, 1 week ago

Enough with coach blaming. It gives us somewhere to offload our frustration and disappointment. That is about it, however. Our lot is in with Beaty, regardless. Another "quick fire" and Kansas will be reaching into the high school ranks for a head coach, setting program development back even further. Guess what? Players grow and mature, and so do coaches. Even head coaches. And so does a staff of coaches which has had its share of turnover, also. We fans just want "liquid luck" and it just doesn't work that way. Rhode Island was the equivalent of a really good high school team that helped with some badly needed self-confidence and got us something in the win column. This game against a serious and experienced team reveals right where and what we really are. We are a team that lacks focus, professionalism and experience, doesn't understand when and how to celebrate success, experiences mental mistakes at critical points, and has no idea how to win. But we also demonstrated ability to deal with serious setbacks deep in our own territory. Keeping them to field goals twice after turnovers was big time. They could easily have hung 50 on us without those stands. Players are taking responsibility for their mistakes. That's a damn good place start. Let's see what happens in Elvis's hometown.

John Randall 8 months, 1 week ago

WHERE??

Did we find a school in Tupelo we might be able to beat?

Suzi Marshall 8 months, 1 week ago

Good summary. Perhaps we are committed to Beatty for a bit and hope he grows as a coach. I recall before Beatty was hired, some of us (me included) claimed Kansas would need to hire an inexperienced Head Coach because their was no appetite for another big dollar commitment, unless it was an unusual person such as Harbaugh. Seeing no progress in the team's performance is disheartening and if the ire is taken out on Zenger then who knows what the next AD may do. However, Zenger has shown to be a very good and thoughtful AD.

Randy Bombardier 8 months, 1 week ago

We will get better. If there was one thing that I could encourage our staff to do in game prep is to always go with your strength, while systematically trying to improve on weaknesses. I think it is tempting to try to set up one tendency with another, i.e., run then play action, but how many times have we faced a team like Baylor, knew what they were going to do and still could not stop them. I think to some degree that's what the staff was trying to do. Wasn't our longest play (to Sims) a "horizontal" pass? Maybe that was exactly what coach was doing. So, I still say if we had executed what was drawn up, we win. Execution ability comes with repetition, especially game time repetition. This being said, I think staff knows what they're doing much better than we.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 8 months, 1 week ago

I am taken when I see the "Late Night at the Phog" for the basketball team every year before the last football game is ever played. The University does not care one whit about it's lousy football team, their emphasis has always been on it's basketball program that rarely moves beyond the first or second round in the national tournament.

Where is the orgy of support for the foot ball team before the season starts? How about a "Late Night on the Gridiron", they do have lights now?

This glaring oversight might not be much to the fans of the basketball team of one year wonder NBA recruits, but it must be disconcerting to the football team. It would be to me.

Harlan Hobbs 8 months, 1 week ago

Excellent article and analysis. As I and others have said repeatedly, winning is highly dependent on attitude. Winners expect to win, and until KU starts to develop a winning attitude, they will continue to flounder.

Just look at the KU basketball program for proof. How many times when their backs were against the wall has KU managed to pull out a basketball victory? Many times. Whether it is a half-time refocus or a late game set of heroics, they almost always get the job done.

I also appreciate Mr. Keegan's reference to silly celebrations. These "manufactured" celebrations are demeaning, and if your team needs to perform them to get motivated, they are in "deep doo doo", as they say.

As for the students who were wanting to bring down the goalposts after beating Rhode Island, aren't they essentially the same students who never storm the court after a basketball victory? I rest my case.

Aaron Paisley 8 months, 1 week ago

As silly as those celebrations may be, when coming from a program as down as KU is, they are frequently encouraged because these guys haven't experienced that kind of success in college yet.

Celebrate the little things while they're still considered worthy of celebration, and as those little things become expectations rather than hope for's, those celebrations will become less frequent for those kinds of accomplishments and focused more on things we would normally consider celebration worthy.

Dale Koch 8 months, 1 week ago

Can't believe I paid money to watch the poorest excuse for a college football team I've ever seen.

Al Martin 8 months, 1 week ago

I know that we're young and with a depleted roster. And I know that Beaty is right to build up the lines with high school players, so it will take another year or two. But holy cow am I tired of watching our lines get manhandled by mid-conference opponents. Rice, Northern Illinois, whoever, it's been going on for six years now. 15 runs for 26 yards against Ohio? Good Lord.

This is why I roll my eyes at the Je'Ney Jackson (and Holsopple before him) puff pieces.

Harlan Hobbs 8 months, 1 week ago

Aaron, do you feel the same way when some also-ran program celebrates that way against KU in basketball? Don't think that a "monster dunk" when your team is down 25 points gets many kudos from anyone.

If they want to party all night after beating Rhode Island, so be it. However, let's not fall into that trap of celebrating something that really isn't that worthy of celebration. Show some class and maybe someday there will be something to really celebrate.

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