Friday, January 12, 2018

Beaty not retaining O-line coach or special teams coordinator for 2018 season

Offensive analyst Johnson promoted

Kansas offensive line coach Zach Yenser yells at Kansas offensive lineman Chris Hughes (76) as he heads to the sidelines during the second quarter on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017 at Peden Stadium in Athens, Ohio.

Kansas offensive line coach Zach Yenser yells at Kansas offensive lineman Chris Hughes (76) as he heads to the sidelines during the second quarter on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017 at Peden Stadium in Athens, Ohio.


The Kansas football program announced the dismissal of two assistant coaches and the promotion of another Friday.

Fourth-year head coach David Beaty will not retain either special teams coordinator Joe DeForest or offensive line coach Zach Yenser for the 2018 season, Beaty revealed in a release.

Beaty promoted Justin Johnson, who has worked for KU football as an offensive analyst the past two years. Johnson will become an on-field, full-time assistant for the offense in a yet-to-be specified capacity.

The news of DeForest’s departure came a day after Bruce Feldman reported Jeremy Springer will join the KU staff as special teams coordinator. KU has yet to announce that hiring.


Kansas University special-teams coach Joe DeForest encourages his players during Tuesday's practice.

KU’s special teams and offensive line came under significant scrutiny during the Jayhawks’ 1-11 2017 season.

Yenser coached the offensive line at Kansas in each of Beaty’s first three seasons on the job. DeForest oversaw KU’s special teams in 2016 and 2017.

"We have mutually agreed to part ways, as Joe and Zach will step away from our program and pursue other opportunities," Beaty stated in the release. "I appreciate the hard work they both put in during their time with us and wish the best for them and their families moving forward."

Because of the NCAA’s new rule allowing football staffs to carry 10 full-time, on-field assistants, the Jayhawks still have one vacancy to fill, even with the promotion of Johnson and the reported upcoming addition of Springer.

Johnson worked with Beaty previously, at Texas A & M, serving as an offensive graduate assistant for the Aggies in 2013, while Beaty was the wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator.


Kansas wide receiver Chase Harrell (3) celebrates with teammates and offensive analyst Justin Johnson after his touchdown catch during the second quarter on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017 at Peden Stadium in Athens, Ohio.

"Justin is known around our building as 'Juice,’ because energy is something he definitely brings to the table," Beaty said in the release. "He is well-versed in not only how we want to run our program, but also the nuances to how we want to run our offense. He has worked hard during his time at KU to establish himself as a mentor with our players and that will help him greatly as he moves into his new role.”

Beaty indicated Johnson will help KU on the recruiting front, as well.

In a tweet Friday afternoon, Johnson referred to his promotion as an "honor" and "blessing," adding he is excited to get started.

A Houston alum, Johnson worked at his alma mater in 2012, in an offensive quality control position.

Johnson was a four-year letterwinner at UH from 2008 to 2011. As a senior, he helped lead the Cougars to a record-setting 13-1 overall mark and a win over No. 23 Penn State during the TicketCity Bowl. The Richardson, Texas, native finished second on the team with 1,229 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns on 87 receptions that season, en route to earning All-Conference USA First-Team accolades.

None by Justin Johnson


John Fitzgerald 1 year, 5 months ago

I'm not sure what's good or bad with KU football anymore so I can't say anything negative or positive about this. I just hope 2018 is much more prosperous than 2017.

[''] 1 year, 5 months ago

DeForest was a bad hire from the get go.

Doug Stahler 1 year, 5 months ago

Wait a minute? We have an o-line coach?

Kevin Robert Fest 1 year, 5 months ago

Is it the coaching/coaches or is it complete lack of talent? Both were abysmal but maybe they benefit from some continuity. Everyone here screams about not having a new head coach every few years how about new position coaches every year? The new guys just seem to be offensive analyst and a quality control aide. Are they just on the staff? Or are they coaches? Never heard of either. How is an offensive analyst and quality control aide qualified for important coaching positions at a P5 D1 program? Geez if this counts as progress lm nervous.

Bryson Stricker 1 year, 5 months ago

Every coach in today's society takes either two paths.

Coaching at youth level (pre-college) and working their way up through that system (not as effective as it used to be) or working as an analyst/quality control person. These are two young coaches who are getting opportunities. I'm not going to be optimistic about this at all because there are THOUSANDS of these coaches and only one Nick Saban but I'm hopeful that these guys know what they are doing.


Kevin Robert Fest 1 year, 5 months ago

But a coach who is coaching for his life after three bad seasons should he hire the most experienced coaches not coaches "getting opportunities?" This really seems curious.

Bryson Stricker 1 year, 5 months ago


You were someone who was cutting at Beaty for "coaching for his life" by getting JUCO players. Yet now when he's not making coaching for his life decisions, you are questioning it.


Kevin Robert Fest 1 year, 5 months ago

No Bryson, my point is this, Beaty knows it's his last year unless he wins, so he goes Juco heavy(yes l do not agree with this) big mistake since most of these guys are not Big12 talent in the first place and they will not have enough time in the program to make a difference. Again he knows it's his last year unless he wins so he hires an offensive analyst who l believe was a wide receiver at Houston to work with the offense in a yet to be determined capacity. My point is this if Beaty is coaching for his job why wouldn't he get the most experienced coach he can find not promote someone with limited experience. That's why it seems curious.

Aaron Paisley 1 year, 5 months ago

Joe DeForest was a coach with loads of experience prior to KU, how'd that hire work out for KU?

Blake Phillips 1 year, 5 months ago

i assume jesse williams is filling that role now? line was pretty good at Ohio.

Bryson Stricker 1 year, 5 months ago

Jesse Williams coached DLine @ Ohio and continues to do so @ Kansas.

Chris DeWeese 1 year, 5 months ago

I'm sure Beaty has a new O line coach in mind. That person just hasn't been announced yet.

Joe Black 1 year, 5 months ago

Jack Del Rio isn't doing anything right now, maybe we could hire him to help.

Len Shaffer 1 year, 5 months ago

How many assistant coaches does this make during Beaty's time at KU, 1000?

It's just another move from someone who can't seem to make up his mind about much of anything.

As long as Beaty is the head coach, it's hard to imagine anything improving much, no matter how many assistant coaches he goes through.

Brett McCabe 1 year, 5 months ago

The coaching turnover is alarming. It suggests that Beaty can't identify good coaches, or can't get along with his staff - or both.

And any coach that would come here to move his career forward needs to reassess.

It's stunning how much damage has been inflicted on this program by the current and previous coach. I'll say what Kevin hints at: it's hypocritical to say the program needs stability and then keep a head coach who has a turnstile at the front of the coaches' hallway. And, to John Brazleton, who likes to blame the kids - apparently Beaty thinks that it's the coaches because he changes them out as fast as he changes quarterbacks.

I thought the problem with the O-Line was the youth? No, it's the coach.

Anyone find it interesting we finally have the best kicking game we've had in 6 years, and the coach gets fired?

Literally everything that is done by this football administration exudes ineptitude, and does nothing but provide fuel to the steam shovel that continues digging a hole just north of the Campanile.

If you were to draw up a plan entitled: How to Destroy a P5 Football Program, you couldn't do better than this.

Aaron Paisley 1 year, 5 months ago

These were two of the three most complained about groups during the year. If Beaty kept tgese around, people would just bitch about him sitting on his hands and doing nothing. He's instead taken the path of trying to address those issues by replacing those coaches and people are bitching about him letting go of coaches whose positions weren't performing at a necessary level.

Kevin Robert Fest 1 year, 5 months ago

But he replaces coaches with a quality control aide and an offensive analyst? WTF? You replace a coach with a coach not with an aide and an analyst.

Aaron Paisley 1 year, 5 months ago

These are young guts trying to break into coaching working their way up from the bottom. This is a natural progression in the coaching profession.

Kevin Robert Fest 1 year, 5 months ago

The writing was on the wall in year 1. Fires Liken after one season then he takes over offense. What a mess that was.

Aaron Paisley 1 year, 5 months ago

Then keep complaining about the product, don't complain about Beaty actually trying to improve the team.

Bryson Stricker 1 year, 5 months ago

Yo Kevin, Hope you realize that Likens went to ASU where their HC just got fired. The dude was trash.

Kevin Robert Fest 1 year, 5 months ago

Yo Bryson I get it but how could we tell I believe Beaty name himself Co-op offensive coordinator halfway through the first season and then Beatty took over the second season and both results were hideous. Meachum comes in and we get 21 yards in the whole game versus TCU so is it the coaching or is it just that there's no Talent on this team. I don't know what Arizona State's offense of rank was this year but I'm sure it was higher than ours. Yet somehow I'm assuming you can agree with this, three offensive coordinators in three years but one defensive coordinator in three years who is worse than our first offensive coordinator so is it again Beaty is just too controlling or he has favorites on the coaching staff.

Edward Daub 1 year, 5 months ago

Bryson , New ASU Head Coach Herm Edwards has decided to keep Rob Likens on his Staff. In fact, he was named Offensive Coordinator. Just For Info.

Steve Corder 1 year, 5 months ago

I am half way through the new book, PHOG, and the lack of attention given to the football program goes way, way back.

I recommend the book, as it explains much of current mess from a 90 year historical perspective rather than just the past 9 years.

[''] 1 year, 5 months ago

Continuity in Beaty-Zenger world means having 3 different WR coaches & 3 different OC in 3 seasons yet keeping the same D-Coordinator who has never had a total defense ranked in the top 100 in the past 3 seasons. Awesome.

Dirk Medema 1 year, 5 months ago

Kevin - Valid concern except that the those analysts are just coaches without the title. It essentially has become a paid internship at every program across the nation. There was an article (ESPN) a while ago about how Bamas success is maybe more about Sabans ability to create the structure (similar to the NFL) with assistants (non-coaching) and analysts for everything than it is about how well he coaches. The a&a's are coaches in waiting who are proving themselves before getting the title and recruiting off campus responsibilities.

Bryson Stricker 1 year, 5 months ago

^ What Dirk said. Bill Snyder down the highway is the biggest user of this system. He does NOT coach on saturdays. Like I hope you all realize that the only decision he makes is whether to go for it on 4th down and a lot of KSU fans if you asked them would say that part of the game for them right now is hideous.

Jeff Coffman 1 year, 5 months ago

Analysts and control personnel becoming coordinators, no one wants to work for Beaty anymore? Who blames them.

It made me cringe to read that the guy was named Juice because he is such a rah rah kind of guy. This is just Beaty hiring a "Yes Man". I'm pretty sure that Beaty made some hires (Liken) that did not agree with his everything is perfect and everything will be sunny philosophy. There still has to be accountability and in football it appears to be fairly intense. I think Stoops was notorious for recruiting and Day 1 of practice he ripped those 4 and 5 athletes to nothing. Then built them up stronger. I'm sure there are several philosophies for coaching; however, just telling people that is "dirty" hasn't been good enough here. I don't have the answers, but I know Beaty hasn't succeeded in any measurement that I am aware of.

Kevin Robert Fest 1 year, 5 months ago

Next year his name will be Unemployed sadly. What a joke Beaty thinks that anyone would care his name is Juice. This team is so dysfunctional along with the coaching staff and he thinks that these stupid nicknames for the coaches or whoever actually make a difference. His team is 3-33 over the last three years and somehow he mentioned something so stupid and so irrelevant it just basically sums up his whole coaching tenure.

Jeff Coffman 1 year, 5 months ago

Benton Smith, excellent article. I am curious though. It does seem like our FG kicking actually was on par this year and punting and kick-offs were reasonable. Now maybe they were very bad in previous years and it just seems slightly better.

Anyways, would it be possible to give someone on the LJW team an opportunity to outline how the Special Teams did over the past few years compared to the Big XII/Nation?

I guess I knew the defense was bottom 125ish every year, and the offense was just about the same...but I never heard whether our ST were that bad or not, a perspective on that would be very much welcomed?

Thanks and keep the stories coming!

Aaron Paisley 1 year, 5 months ago

Did you see KU's coverage of kick offs and punts? That's why DeForest was fired.

Jeff Coffman 1 year, 5 months ago

Believe me, I don't think any part of the team was successful. I'm just curious how we compared. I do think FG kicking did improve, but that is a small portion of ST.

John Fitzgerald 1 year, 5 months ago

Definitely not Beatys fault. He didn’t even hire DeForest... wait...

Bryson Stricker 1 year, 5 months ago

My one comment would be, we beat KState in 2/3 of the facets of the game and Special Teams was where we lost and we lost that game as you know.

Special Teams makes bad teams good, good teams great and great teams amazing. EVERY facet of ST must be perfected though.

Also no credit is to be given imo to deforest with improved kicking game. Liam Jones is a BEAST and Gabriel Rui worked his @$$ off to beat him out. Wouldn't be surprised if that doesn't happen this year however with Liam just having a cannon for a leg. Punting was absolutely abysmal and coverage was somehow even worse.

John Brazelton 1 year, 5 months ago

The offensive line and special teams were the two problem areas in 2017. The talent is there, it needs to be better developed and schemed during the off-season. There should be an experienced O-Line available for Beaty to hire. I believe that Springer was the QB at UTEP, I'm not sure what areas he coached at Texas A & M.

[''] 1 year, 5 months ago

A guy named Jerry Springer is perfect for this clown show dumpster fire.

Edward Daub 1 year, 5 months ago

In the O.J. Era , the Buffalo Bills Offensive Line was Nick Named the "Electric Company"! Why? Because they "Turned on the Juice"!

Lets Hope that "Juice" Johnson can help develop the KU OLine into the college version of the "Electric Company"! Oops, his role is undefined and he is a former wide receiver!

Most likely, the final hire will be a New OLine Coach! Who will take the Job? Or, David could try coaching the OLine himself! Stay Tuned Folks, will be Exciting!

Bob Bailey 1 year, 5 months ago

Strange! No one could judge coaching talent; now everyone does! Or maybe the supporters finally gave up heart.

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