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Thursday, January 12, 2017

Keegan

Tom Keegan: Doug Meacham hire another big sign of better times for KU football

Kansas head coach David Beaty is flanked by fullback Michael Zunica (44) and offensive line coach Zach Yenser following the Jayhawks' 24-21 overtime upset of Texas on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016 at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas head coach David Beaty is flanked by fullback Michael Zunica (44) and offensive line coach Zach Yenser following the Jayhawks' 24-21 overtime upset of Texas on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016 at Memorial Stadium.

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The climb from the abyss started when head coach David Beaty put erstwhile third-stringer Carter Stanley in at quarterback and Stanley put a pep in the offense's step.

Then KU scored its first post-World War II victory against Texas and played its most competitive game against Kansas State in the seven seasons since Mark Mangino and Todd Reesing left town.

Next, junior-college QB Peyton Bender, a nationally coveted prolific practitioner of the Air Raid, signed with Kansas.

Then came Thursday’s announcement that TCU co-offensive coordinator Doug Meacham was leaving Gary Patterson’s staff to join Beaty’s. That news showed that two years of head-coaching experience has turned Beaty into a head coach, not an assistant masquerading as the CEO.

Podcast episode

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What David Beaty's hire of OC Doug Meacham says about Kansas football

Matt Tait and Benton Smith examine exactly what David Beaty's hire of offensive coordinator Doug Meacham says about and does for the Kansas football program.

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Meacham’s reputation alone makes this exciting news. The fact that it also means Beaty is not afraid to turn over OC duties on the brink of a season in which the personnel is in place to make the next play-caller look a lot better than the previous one shows Beaty gets it. It’s about winning, not ego gratification. This was a decision devoid of insecurity, one made by a coach who feels support from his boss in the form of a recent contract extension.

Face it and embrace it: The momentum for Kansas football feels more real now than at any moment in the post-Mangino/Reesing years.

Sure, it’s possible Meacham was feeling heat working for the demanding, excitable Patterson, but even if that's the case, it’s difficult to imagine he would have taken this job if he didn’t believe in Bender’s ability to put up big numbers at Kansas.

At TCU, Meacham and co-OC Sonny Cumbie worked with one terrific quarterback, Trevone Boykin, and one overrated one, Kenny Hill.

In his first two seasons with the Horned Frogs, Boykin split time with Casey Pachall and threw 22 touchdown passes and 17 interceptions. Enter Meacham and Cumbie in advance of 2014. In his final two seasons, Boykin threw 64 touchdowns and 20 interceptions.

Meacham was a 2014 finalist for the Frank Broyles Award given to the nation’s top assistant coach after the Horned Frogs soared from 88th in the nation with 25.1 points per game in 2013 to second (46.5 points) in 2014. They finished seventh in 2015 (42.1) and slipped to 52nd in 2016 (31.0) with Hill at QB.

The timing was right for Meacham, a three-year starter at offensive line for Oklahoma State where he blocked for Barry Sanders and Thurman Thomas, to make the move, thus making Beaty's third staff his best.

Comments

John Gaskin 1 year, 9 months ago

Great article! Looking forward to the fall.

Brett McCabe 1 year, 9 months ago

Hard to overstate how big the hire is, and don't forget that we have a QB coach now, too. Suddenly, we look like a legit P5 program. I wonder if they'll introduce Meacham at the OSU game?

It's going to be a fun summer as we all anticipate fall camp. The Bama duo, a scholarship kicker, O-line development (?), new O.C., new QBC, an influx of a bunch of JUCO talent, Mike Lee, Dorrance Armstrong and watch out for Bryce Torneden - my pick for breakout player. KU football fun again? Who'd a thunk it?

Andy Godwin 1 year, 9 months ago

Very glad to learn that Beaty is going to give up some responsibilities and can focus on being the overall head coach. Interesting the future mastermind for KU's offense is the person who called the plays when KU could of and should have won their home games against TCU in 2014 (34 to 30) and 2016 (24 to 23). Clearly their co-offensive coordinator approach was no longer working at TCU and as reported "Patterson frequently expressed his dissatisfaction with his offense late in the season. After a 31-6 home loss to Oklahoma State on Nov. 19, he told reporters: "Shoot, maybe we'll be changing offenses again. You have to be able to run the football." Thank you Zenger for supporting the hiring of a new offensive coordinator - let's hope the change can dramatically improve KU's offense that ranked ninth-worst nationally in scoring in 2016. Hard to get any worse. Continue to recruit, recruit, recruit Big XII caliber players is how Beaty will turn the program around. Meacham should help in this area.

Randy Bombardier 1 year, 9 months ago

I like to see good guys suceed. That line about finishing last is just cynicism, not true. Coach Beaty and Coach Bowen both seem to be very good guys who represent this University better than the last two most successful coaches. I sincerely wish them a terrific year and great success.

Michael Sillman 1 year, 9 months ago

I'm not prepared to hand the keys to Bender. Stanley looks like a winner to me in the mold of Reesing.

Dirk Medema 1 year, 9 months ago

Unfortunately, he lacks Big12 arm strength.

Michael Bennett 1 year, 9 months ago

I love everyone's enthusiasm, but I just don't get it. After spending most my life cheering on the Hawks (including selling pop in the stands in 70's) and being a season ticket holder for a lot of years, I don't see a team ready to compete. Do we have some good players, sure, but it takes more than 4-5. I just see the same recycled stories. We hit the jackpot with "insert QB here" (Crist, Heaps, Cozart,.. I think the LJW just pulled up the same article it wrote for Rob Likens, changed the name and reprinted. I remember the LJWorld referring to his as "the air raid guru". What fricking guru?

Greg Ledom 1 year, 9 months ago

Wow Michael, where do I begin....how about here. I don't think anyone is saying this team or program is ready for greatness. I don't care how the articles read. The fact of the matter is that we have an exciting addition at QB, so write about it. We just hired a top notch OC from a top notch program that wanted to come to Kansas and be a part of something big, so write about it. This program was SO down, and is still climbing out of the hole. If you can't see the myriad of positives and improvements since Beaty took over, then your head is somewhere it shouldn't be. Foundation, attitude, recruiting, hiring, facilities, etc., etc.. Look, coach certainly isn't perfect, but damn he's hit the right buttons a lot imo. This just solidifies the progress we're continuing to try and make. I'm old enough to be a guy who walked up and over the hill from 11th and Kentucky street when I was in grade school to watch Kansas (on my own) beat UCLA when we had absolutely no business doing it (our lone win that year). I've seen a lot of Kansas football and this current group has tons of potential because we have the right man leading the program. We've got some momentum going, so jump on board and enjoy the ride. Rock Chalk!!!

Aaron Paisley 1 year, 9 months ago

When David Beaty was hired, he inherited a roster largely built to run a pro style, run first offense. Beaty did not have a QB on the roster capable of running his Air Raid offense or the WR depth to run it either. It takes time to bring in players to run basically the opposite system of the previous coach. KU will now have 3 QB's this spring who fit the Air Raid system. KU also now has 3 WR's in Sims, Quiv, and Alabama transfer Daylon Charlot to line up all over the field.

The offensemay not be elite next year, but it will take significant steps forward next year as Beaty continues to add pieces to fit his system.

If you need proof of giving a coach time to build to a system paying off, look at the defense this year who gave KU chances in a lot more than 2 or 3 games. KU football probably won't reach a bowl game unless the offense takes bigger steps than anybody anticipates, but 4, maybe 5 wins is not an unrealistic possibility this year and a bowl game in 2018 should follow.

Dirk Medema 1 year, 9 months ago

It is reasonable to wonder just what happened during the spring to demote Likens. At the same time, I applaud Beaty for not throwing him under the bus, and taking the heat for what happened (or didn't) last year. It sounds like we had a non-coach essentially as OC with Beaty as the figure head. It's tough on a team when you're playing shorthanded, both players (still around 70 of 85) and staff. More than anything, it shows the relational strengths of Coach Beaty, and over time that should pay off.

It definitely takes more than 4 or 5 players, and realistically it takes more than 70. Coach is doing a great job rebuilding the roster that was beat to a pulp 2 admins ago and left for dead by the last one. Fortunately, there is lot of development across the board. There's no Josh Jackson of football, but then there never will be because it involves 4 - 5 times more players. You've gotta have a strong supporting cast or other teams will scheme to and destroy you through your weaknesses. That's why rebuilding the secondary after losing 5 Sr's this year will be so huge. It's not about a jackpot quarterback. It's about all the pieces across the board. The QB, who ever it becomes, just gets most of the publicity.

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