Five games into the Kansas football team’s 2017 schedule, only three of 129 FBS teams have surrendered more points per game than the Jayhawks’ 44.8.
What’s more, the defense has allowed 506.2 yards an outing — 122nd in the nation.
A few days removed from Texas Tech’s 65-19 thumping of KU, though, head coach David Beaty stated his satisfaction with how defensive coordinator Clint Bowen has handled the adversity that comes with such unwelcome results.
“Well, my faith level is as high as it's ever been,” Beaty said of his trust in his assistant head coach. “I think he's one of the finest around; he really is. He's handled it the exact same way I've always seen him handle things. He gets up every day and he outworks everyone. It matters to him. It matters to him. This university matters to him. This team matters to him. And the production of his unit absolutely matters to him.”
On this episode of the KU Sports Hour, hosted by KU football beat writer Benton Smith, the KUsports.com staff discusses what may have already become another lost season for KU football. Topics include: KU's lack of progress in 2017 (open-14:40), the quarterback controversy (14:40-28:55), the program's recruiting failures (28:55-38:15), the ...
Beaty referenced Bowen’s experience — he’s in his 10th year overall overseeing a defense either as sole or co-coordinator — as an asset.
“And what we’ve got to be able to do is, we’ve got to grow those young-un's up a little bit faster,” the head coach added of a defense that features a fairly inexperienced secondary.
The latest loss left the Jayhawks (1-4 overall, 0-2 Big 12) “upset” about their defense, according to Beaty, but he also thought improved pass coverage at times allowed KU to show better production in the pass-rush department, with Dorance Armstrong Jr., Daniel Wise and Josh Ehambe all recording a sack apiece.
“It's a work in progress and we're getting better day by day,” Beaty said, “and a lot of that is attributed to (Bowen). His leadership and his consistency. Our guys love Clint Bowen. They love him. They would go to the wall for him.”
The third-year KU coach also divulged he liked how the defensive players responded Sunday.
“They're locked in. They have kind of a bunker mentality, and just selfless guys,” Beaty said. “I mean not a single one of them even remotely close to late and hanging on every word. So they care and I wouldn't want to be anywhere else than right here with those guys.”
Starting sophomore cornerback Hasan Defense missed the Tech loss with mono. Beaty said Tuesday Defense still hasn’t been cleared to play.
“We're hoping to maybe get some good news today or tomorrow with him which would be great,” Beaty said Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the coach had no further update on the status of Derrick Neal, a starting nickelback previously who didn’t suit up versus Tech. Beaty said of Neal’s future with the program after the game: “We’ll see.”
Three days later, KU’s coach declined to provide more information on the matter.
Sophomore running back Khalil Herbert left the Jayhawks’ Tech loss in the second half with a hamstring injury.
Beaty said KU’s staff will have to “see how he goes,” and expected a game-time decision Saturday at Iowa State (11 a.m., FOX Sports Net) for Herbert.
True freshman running back Dom Williams didn’t record a carry for the first time in his young career vs. the Red Raiders (4-1, 1-1). Beaty said Williams wasn’t “completely healthy” this past week.
“I tried to use him a little bit on some special teams stuff late in the game. But he's getting close,” Beaty said of Williams. “We think he's going to be to be OK to go this week. We certainly need him to. That would be nice. We need to get him back in there and get the ball in his hands a little bit, because he’s a dynamic guy. So hopefully he's well, and I think he is. I think he’s getting close.”
Williams has carried the ball 33 times for 124 yards and three touchdowns.
Herbert leads KU with 68 rushes, 503 yards and four TDs.