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Saturday, November 24, 2018

Our time’: KU football transitioning from old coaching regime to new

Kansas safety Emmanuel Moore (20) celebrates a hit on a Texas return man with Kansas safety Mike Lee (11) and Kansas linebacker Denzel Feaster (18) during the second quarter on Friday, Nov. 23, 2018 at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas safety Emmanuel Moore (20) celebrates a hit on a Texas return man with Kansas safety Mike Lee (11) and Kansas linebacker Denzel Feaster (18) during the second quarter on Friday, Nov. 23, 2018 at Memorial Stadium.

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As the 2018 season concluded for the Kansas football team on Friday, with a 24-17 loss to Texas at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium, it proved difficult in the raw aftermath of a disappointing campaign that cost head coach David Beaty his job for the Jayhawks to fully ponder what’s next.

Even though the Jayhawks suffered three one-score defeats during their 3-9 season, the time for considering how close they may be to a breakthrough had not yet arrived.

“Yeah, it’s too early,” junior safety Mike Lee said, when asked how good KU could be in 2019.

Even so, Beaty, after coaching the team for the last time, told juniors and underclassmen in the locker room afterward that he wanted to see them keep pushing the program forward.

“It’s gonna be our time next year,” Lee added of Beaty’s message for the players who will suit up for for his replacement, Les Miles.

While the next KU football roster won’t include the names of key leaders such as Daniel Wise, Joe Dineen and Jeremiah Booker, Lee plans on conversing with those players who are graduating and moving on before sliding into that type of role.

“I’m all in with it,” Lee asserted. “If I’ve got to get this program to a bowl game, that’s what I’m going to do. Whatever it takes, I’m going to be here.”

Lee, a 5-foot-11, 181-pound safety from New Orleans, finished his junior season with 68 total tackles, one interception, three forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.

Emotional exit

After learning Nov. 4 from Jeff Long, KU’s athletic director, of his firing, Beaty said he tried to spend his final three weeks on the job working as he normally would. Even if doing so came with some emotional challenges.

“I’m an emotional guy when I care about something,” Beaty said. “When you care about something you should carry emotion, you know. This place is special to me. It needed that, I think. It needed that. And I'm glad that we gave that to this place. Now it's like we said to our guys that are in there, and underclassmen, it's your turn to step up and be the leaders of the group and let's try to get it to the next level.”

The closer Beaty got to KU’s season finale versus Texas, the more the end felt imminent. He knew the conversations between coaches and players would be moving during their final hours working together.

According to Beaty, the most difficult moments came on the eve of their last game and then in the postgame locker room.

“But I mean, you know what? We're going to be, they're going to be in our life forever, so it's not like it's the end,” Beaty said. “We certainly won't interfere — that's not what I mean. But those kids, there are guys that we have developed relationships with and, hey, it doesn't end here.”

His fourth season in charge proved to be Beaty’s best, with KU finishing 3-9. Kansas went 0-12 in 2015, 2-10 in 2016 and 1-11 in 2017.

Senior receiver Steven Sims Jr., who spent the entirety of his college career playing for Beaty, said the coach taught him to be a better man, through their shared struggles.

“I feel like life and football kind of go hand in hand. Just some of the things you’re going to go through. He just taught us to keep pushing through. Keep fighting. No matter what the situation or circumstances,” Sims said, going on to reference KU’s winless 2015 season as the point where those lessons began. “You’ve got to keep fighting, no matter. The sun’s going to come up the next day and you have to go back to work.”

Senior quarterback Peyton Bender said he enjoyed playing for Beaty.

“That man has done a lot of things for me,” Bender said. “I appreciate everything he has done and all the opportunities he gave me to come here, for having my back and giving it his all. Words can’t describe how much that has meant to me. I’ve had a couple talks with him the last few days and we have a great relationship to keep in touch.”

Beaty leaves Kansas with a 6-42 overall record and 2-34 mark in the Big 12.

By Saturday, Beaty’s name had been deleted from the KU football program’s online roster page, where Miles is now listed as the head coach, instead of incoming head coach as he was previously.

Beaty’s coaching career began in 1994, when he worked as an assistant at Garland Naaman Forest High (Texas). His first head coaching job came at North Dallas High. He entered the college ranks at Rice, as the team’s passing game coordinator and receivers coach, in 2006.

In 2008, Beaty joined KU for the first time, as a receivers coach on Mark Mangino’s staff. He would return to Rice in 2010 as an offensive coordinator before jumping right back to KU in 2011, as the co-offensive coordinator and receivers coach for Turner Gill.

From 2012-14, Beaty worked at Texas A&M; as a receivers coach and recruiting coordinator before KU’s athletic director at the time, Sheahon Zenger, hired him to take over the Kansas football program.

Currently out of a job, Beaty has stated the past couple weeks he plans on finding a new coaching opportunity quickly, after taking a little time off with his family.

Miles plans to interview all of the assistants on Beaty’s final KU staff and determine whether there is any mutual interest in keeping any of them in place moving forward.

Jayhawks headed to Shrine Game

Although Friday marked the final time redshirt seniors Dineen and Wise would play together at KU, they will soon be on a football field together again, showcasing their skills for NFL coaches and scouts.

Both Dineen, a linebacker form Lawrence, and Wise, a defensive tackle from Lewisville, Texas, have accepted invitations to play in the 94th East-West Shrine Game.

More than 70 players who participated in last year’s game entered the 2018 season on NFL rosters.

The East-West Shrine Game will be played Jan. 19, at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. It will air on NFL Network.

Comments

Joe Ross 2 years, 3 months ago

Les Miles needs three "W's" in the offseason:

  1. He needs to put together a winning assistant coaching staff. Guys who are the cream of the cream. The battleground for the culture of Kansas football will be the practice field. What happens on game day won't appear out of the aether. Getting performance out of players on Saturdays is a product of coaching in practice during the week. From film to field. But that goes hand in hand with...

  2. Recruiting. Under the duress of late recruiting, we need a good class. People talk about the paucity of scholarships. Look. Pooka Williams is ONE PLAYER. ONE! We need a few big names to commit to Kansas football who are going to be difference makers, particularly QB and the offensive line. They may not be game-ready in year one, but by the second year under Miles, his stamp on them should be evident. In the meantime, the veterans on the team will have to be transformed into better players (see above).

  3. Miles needs to win press conferences and establish relationships with alums and boosters. Excited donors won't be the engine for change, but they are certainly the oil. Facilities, stadium renovations, etc will help give a face-lift to Kansas football that is desperately needed. It will be a clarion call that the direction of the program has shifted. The more we can do to shed the skin of anything that ties us to the last 10 years, the better. Also, winning the press conference as the face of the program will help recruiting.

If Miles can go 3-0 this off-season he'll have a better record in these areas than his predecessors, and will have begun the winning tradition at Kansas.

Len Shaffer 2 years, 3 months ago

Well said, Joe.

I'm a little concerned about number 3, though, after Miles's first press conference.

Brett McCabe 2 years, 3 months ago

How about Larry Fedora for OC and Everett Withers for DC? Plenty of recruiting experience in Texas, solid coordinating experience and success. Someone like Fedora could help us in landing either the BV North QB or another QB - which we need desperately.

Dane Pratt 2 years, 3 months ago

The departure of Wise and Dineen leave some holes to fill but I don’t think Miles can make the argument Weis made about the cupboard being bare. He’s got something to work with. Next year’s senior-junior class looks as good as this year’s team which turned out to be competitive in spite of the losses.

Brett McCabe 2 years, 3 months ago

The recruiting class could not be more bare and we have about 3 weeks to fill it. Beaty has left his predecessor with a mess - absolutely nothing on the board for recruits, only 15 scholarships to offer and another looming scholarship dip due to the JUCO/Transfer policy he adopted. While next year's team should be solid, Miles has been left with a poorly managed program that will take another 3 to 4 years to fix unless he can work wonders on the recruiting trail. When we look back on the Beaty and Miles era's, lets' at least try and be accurate.

Mike Hart 2 years, 3 months ago

Right... like recruiting ENDS in December with the "early" signing period. You see.. it's called EARLY for a reason. As it was pointed out in an earlier article. Les has 15 scholarships to fill with his OWN recruits...so it is actually an advantage if he can procure his own guys, rather than guys recruited by his predecessor. Besides, you already said Beaty sucked at everything, including recruiting. Hence, you should think it is a blessing that the 2019 recruiting class will be all Les' guys and not talent misjudged by Beaty and staff. I guess you really didn't follow the program this year in your taking this year off from Jayhawk football. Well done. For the record: When Beaty was hired to come to KU... it was already Dec 5th... so he had 2 less weeks than Miles. To see what Les Miles is inheriting is similar or worse than what Beaty inherited from Charlie Weiss... is ridiculous.. and is just being spiteful.

Steven Haag 2 years, 3 months ago

Brett, we actually have about 9 months to fill next years class. Yes, the early signing period is soon, but not every good recruit signs in the early signing period. Les Miles said that 15 recruits is not the normal 25, but it’s not terrible. I tend to listen to him.....oh, I don’t know, about 1,000 times more than your dribble

Dane Pratt 2 years, 3 months ago

Seems like you're contradicting yourself Brett. On the one hand you admit next year’s team will be solid, which I agree with. Lots of good freshman, sophomores and juniors this year who have made significant contribution will translate into a good roster next year. And while it's accurate to say the recruiting class for next year is bare, I don’t know how you can call it a poorly managed program when the byproduct of three years of recruiting produced that solid program you just declared.

We all agree on his termination. I don’t know why you insist on throwing the guy under the bus at every opportunity.

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