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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Notebook: Beaty says scholarship numbers improving for KU football

Kansas head coach David Beaty runs off the field with his first win after beating Rhode Island 55-6 on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016 at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas head coach David Beaty runs off the field with his first win after beating Rhode Island 55-6 on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016 at Memorial Stadium.

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Now that David Beaty has put in two-plus years worth of work into a massive reclamation project as the head football coach at the University of Kansas, one area where he can see real progress is on the scholarship front.

While fielding questions from fans at a recent meet-and-greet, Beaty was asked about the Jayhawks’ roster reaching the NCAA maximum of 85 scholarship players. KU isn’t quite there yet, but the third-year coach said the program is much better off than when it played with 58 such athletes at TCU in his first season and only lost by six points.

Beaty said the staff is taking creative avenues to reach its roster capacity and expects to have about 76 scholarship players in the mix this coming fall.

The program’s scholarship numbers took significant blows prior to Beaty’s arrival, with players leaving for various reasons as KU transitioned from head coach Mark Mangino, to Turner Gill, to Charlie Weis to Beaty.

"It's going to take us a full five years from when I started,” Beaty said of getting Kansas back to the desired number, 85.

This past December, following his second year at KU, Beaty signed a two-year contract extension that runs through the 2021.

Upgrading for future

In the wake of KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger announcing a $300 million project to renovate Memorial Stadium and further improve KU’s football facilities, Beaty was predictably upbeat.

“That stadium is going to be off the chain, because you deserve it,” the coach told fans in Kansas City, Mo., this past week.

Still, Beaty added, he knows KU’s fan base wants to see an improved on-field product as well.

“We’ve worked at that,” Beaty said. “… I’m just so excited about what the future looks like.”

In 2015, Beaty’s first year, KU went winless. In 2016, the Jayhawks finished 2-10.

Positive buzz

Despite the program’s stretch of eight consecutive losing seasons, current players have noticed KU gaining momentum this offseason.

Appearing on KLWN’s Rock Chalk Sports Talk this week, linebacker Joe Dineen said he gets the sense more people are paying attention to Kansas football.

“I think there’s a buzz around it this year. In my time here, there hasn’t been this much excitement for a season and it’s really good to see,” Dineen said.

While Dineen grew up in Lawrence, KU running back Khalil Herbert, from Coral Springs, Fla., also noted KU’s brand headed in the right direction.

“Even back home people are asking about us,” Herbert said on KLWN, “because they’re hearing about us all over the country. It’s kind of crazy that people are starting to look at Kansas differently, I feel like.”

Comments

Brett McCabe 3 weeks ago

So, still playing at a 10% disadvantage three years in. I'm guessing it won't take a forensic scholarship accountant to figure out how we got here. Good to know from Beaty that we are at least getting to hump year on the roster. Credit to Beaty and the staff for never whining about the situation. Character - not always easy to find.

Zenger could not have done a worse job when he hired Weis. He should have lost his job for it. He's lucky he has a job, let alone an extension. If Beaty does, in fact, turn this program around, this whole story is worth a book. Who hires the worst coach ever and follows that up with a great hire?

If nothing else, it's intriguing.

Bryce Landon 3 weeks ago

While it's true that Zenger hiring Weis was a horrific move, equally horrific was Lew Perkins hiring Turner Gill.

Greg Ledom 2 weeks, 3 days ago

Actually, that hire didn't seem bad at the time, but the salary and guarantees of said salary were a horrendous move on his part. Should have gotten Beaty's initial salary and no more than two years guaranteed.

Dale Stringer 3 weeks ago

I still think Weis was to right man for the job that needed done when he was hired. Weis decimated the player ranks, but pretty much had to with the non-oversight mess that Gill left. Wasn't a good percentage failing class under Gill? I could see our football team being looked at as UNC and Louisville b-balls teams are today. And I think everyone thought Weis was more of a long-term interim coach when he was hired because we knew he wasn't going to stick around for long. His contract was too much for too long though.

Chris DeWeese 3 weeks ago

Interesting perspective about Weis's function. I still think he was hired because of his name and because he might have been all that was left at the time. Zenger learned his lesson.

Jay Hawkinson 2 weeks, 6 days ago

Weis definitely inherited major disciplinary and academic problems. But kicking 29 guys off the team was a huge mistake. I'm sure a few were warranted, but it would have been much better to give most of those guys a chance to get it together.

But of course all of those guys would be long gone by now anyway. The really huge mistake by Weis was handing out such a huge percentage of his scholarships to JUCO guys. The scholarships that would've been filled with rising juniors and seniors in Beaty's first couple years were instead empty. Many of those guys never made it onto the field at all, and the ones that did graduated before Beaty arrived.

Chris DeWeese 3 weeks ago

Honestly, I thought we were closer than 76 scholarships. Still, it's better than 58.

Dirk Medema 2 weeks, 3 days ago

We had 5 or 10 blueshirts last year, which made us close to the same # as this year. It doesn't sound like we will be getting as many this year or maybe in the future. It could be that our perspective on recruiting is changing.

Jim Stauffer 3 weeks ago

Those who say Zenger should have lost his job apparently think the only thing he has to do is hire a FB Coach. While at this time in history that may be more important than usual, it is not his singular task. He has improved the overall sports program with upgraded facilities everywhere and yes, he blew it the first time, but has now got the right guy in place.

If every company fired its manager on his first mistake, they would all look like KU FB has since 2008.

Titus Canby 3 weeks ago

If you've heard Beaty or any of his assistants interviewed or speak at a function, they're inspiring. And as Brett mentioned, no whining. Beaty is a great ambassador for the school, and I'm proud that he's a Jayhawk. What a refreshing change from that last guy.

John Brazelton 2 weeks, 6 days ago

Mangino was our most recent winning coach, but he ruled most of his players through fear, not positive leadership. Also after Reesing, he had no QB for the future ready. KU has had other winning coaches such as Rogers and Mason, but as soon as they had a winning season, they went looking for greener pastures. KU football has never developed a tradition of winning football like Texas or Oklahoma.

Dave Roberts 2 weeks, 6 days ago

We're going to have a much improved record this season. The improvements in the depth, experience and quality of the team are so numerous that it would take an entire column to list them briefly.

Just look at the way the team finished last year, and then just assume that Meacham was the sole addition, no new players, just the new OC/WR coach. Wouldn't you expect us to be much improved over 2016? The answer should be a giant "Yes".

Now add the experience factor all through the squad, not least in the OL. A new S/C coach has the players enthused about the results they are seeing, so Armstrong, Ehambe, Maciah Long, Simmons and Daniel Wise will be chasing that QB all over the backfield. Joe Dineen back from inj. at LB with Denzel Feaster and super fast addition Kyron Johnson plus more.

JJ Holmes to plug up the middle of the DL with his 330 lbs, Isi Holani, Davis, Wise, Dezir and more. Man, can't you see the improvement in this squad, just by looking at the D?

Greg Ledom 2 weeks, 3 days ago

Yes I can DR! Right there with you. Now let's see what this team can do. Beaty will need a full five years to fully prove out his vision for his program, but I'm confident we will see significant strides in year three. Been a long time coming. Rock Chalk!!!

Dirk Medema 2 weeks, 3 days ago

You stopped short of mentioning the decimated D backfield. Mike Lee was real good as a freshmen and hopefully will be foundational for the next 3 years as well, but there is a total lack of experience back there now. A couple JC's and underclassmen moving up could fill the gap, but we lost a lot back there. Big12 QB's pick apart DBs that aren't up to speed.

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