The Kansas football team’s current four-game losing streak hasn’t affected the way Athletic Director Travis Goff views the Jayhawks’ head coach, Lance Leipold.
If anything, Goff said on the athletic department’s “Hawk Talk” radio show on Wednesday night, his trust is growing in the football coach he hired back in late April.
“I have a heck of a lot more confidence now, five months later, that this is the guy, this is the staff, this is the process — although at times it's painful, this is exactly the process we have to go through to build this program right,” KU’s AD said.
Goff appeared as the primary guest on “Hawk Talk” with Brian Hanni this week, because Leipold was out of town on the recruiting trail. Goff joked he was the “bench warmer” or “scrub” filling in for the head football coach.
Even after a 52-point road loss, Goff said Leipold did something that impressed him. Goff was in KU’s locker room in Ames, Iowa, this past Saturday night, following KU’s lopsided defeat at the hands of Iowa State.
“There weren’t a lot of positives — let’s call it what it was,” Goff said of the game.
However, KU’s first-year AD said Leipold’s message and the response from the players following the game struck him as “really a positive thing.” Leipold’s calm demeanor in the aftermath, instead of unleashing on the players, Goff thought was constructive and meaningful.
Goff thinks Leipold and his staff are taking ownership when things go wrong, and the AD thinks the players can notice that, too.
So far in his time working with Leipold, the former Wisconsin-Whitewater and Buffalo head coach, Goff said Leipold’s integrity shines through in the coach’s interactions. The AD said KU’s players have needed that.
There is consistency in expectations and accountability with how Leipold runs the program, Goff said.
“Those are the things they can build upon, even when it’s not showing up on the field and not showing up on the scoreboard,” KU’s AD said, adding that’s the type of coach he thought KU was getting when he hired Leipold.
Looking back at KU football’s recent history, Goff noted the lack on continuity in the program in recent years impacts what Leipold and his staff are able to do this season.
Even though the Jayhawks beat FCS opponent South Dakota in the season opener, Goff said, he didn’t think a lot of people should be too shocked to see different outcomes, especially in Big 12 games, since then.
“We’re not a mature program, both in terms of physical development, that’s an ongoing thing,” Goff said, while also praising KU football director of sports performance Matt Gildersleeve for handling that aspect, “but also in terms of the culture building components, the identity aspects, depth and good old fashioned experience. We’re not an exceptionally experienced program.”
The Big 12 announced this week KU’s next game, Oct. 16 versus Texas Tech, will kick off at 3 p.m. and be available to view on ESPN+.
The matchup with the Red Raiders at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium will serve as KU’s homecoming game this season.
KU football’s most recent Big 12 victory came on Oct. 26, 2019, when Tech last visited Lawrence.
The Jayhawks have dropped 14 conference games in a row since then.