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One extremely unsurprising reason KU football is excited for primetime

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A blowout game puts a pair of Jayhawk fans to sleep in the stands at Memorial Stadium during homecoming against Texas Tech on Saturday, Oct. 25, 2008.

A blowout game puts a pair of Jayhawk fans to sleep in the stands at Memorial Stadium during homecoming against Texas Tech on Saturday, Oct. 25, 2008. by thad-allender

Lest we forget that athletes are human, too, the announcement of a 7 p.m. CT, primetime matchup featuring KU football and TCU on FOX this Saturday brought a little joy to the KU locker room.

Here's why.

The Jayhawks are coming off back-to-back-to-back-to-back 11 a.m. (CT, of course) kickoffs, starting at Ohio in a game that was technically played in the eastern time zone.

The Jayhawks' schedule on those days involved a 7 a.m. wakeup — which can be as early as 5:30 or 6 a.m. for players who require treatment — followed by a 7:30 a.m. offensive meeting and walkthrough. Then the players eat a meal and head to the stadium, all before 9 a.m. on a Saturday.

"Everyone's different. Some people like to sleep in, some people are early-morning risers," said quarterback Peyton Bender.

Anyone stand out in that second group?

"Not that I know of," Bender said with a laugh. "They kind of force us to be morning people, though."

It shouldn't come as any semblance of a shock that players relish the chance to sleep in.

It's also no excuse for the Jayhawks' performances over the last four weeks of the season, since their opponents have to wake up at the same time.

Still, the change is welcome.

"One thing that we've learned through our years is that you can't get them to take the rest on the front end. Kids just don't do it. Neither do we," said KU coach David Beaty. "They'll sleep in the morning, but they won't sleep at night. They're going to bed when they go to bed. That's just the way it is."

Some players handle the schedule better than others.

Redshirt junior Joe Dineen identified junior wideout Jeremiah Booker as someone who consistently brings energy no matter what time it is.

Dineen admittedly isn't much of a morning person himself, though he still manages to make it to the field on time.

"The thing with me is I get really nervous and I get anxiety so it's hard for me to sleep the night before a game anyways, let alone if I have to wake up early," Dineen said. "I'm not tired before the game, though. I'll tell you that. I get up and ready to go before the game. But maybe when I first get up I'm a little sleepy."

On the road, Dineen rooms with former Free State High teammate Keith Loneker Jr. — "Loud. Loud. Snores. Loud. Phone is loud," Dineen jokes of Loneker's morning habits — but that isn't where the biggest problems happen.

The night before a game, especially on the road, the coaches can just about guarantee players have their lights turned out by 10 or 10:30 p.m., depending on the schedule.

The rest of the week, however...

"It's critical," said defensive coordinator Clint Bowen. "That's where sometimes having older, mature kids is a little bit better. You know these guys in their first, second, even third year of college, it's still kind of fun for 'em."

The coaches address that very thing with the players. In addition to conversations about sleep and decision-making throughout the week, players can also read articles posted on the wall of the weight room with studies relating sleep to peak performance, reaction time and memory, according to Dineen.

That being said, the coaches aren't blind to the idea that college kids are going to be, well, college kids.

"You know what I mean," Bowen said with a smile. "You remember those first few years."

Comments

Ian Ballinger 1 month ago

I believe. I commented this before, but will comment again... "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." - Proverbs 27:17. Times are tough, but I want nothing more but for these coaches and players to be successful. On and off the field. I continue to call on my fellow believers in Jayhawk nation to pray for our team. Love y'all.

Personally, I can't wait for Saturday. I'll be in a sports bar somewhere in Lawrence watching on TV.... still believing and hoping.

Brett McCabe 1 month ago

My advice, if you believe in prayer, and you're going to pray for someone, pray for someone with real problems. If there is an all-powerful force out there that is wasting his/her/its time on sports, I'd like to backhand him/her/it. Several times.

Chris Bailey 1 month ago

Well the "if" has been answered. The fact is that prayer shouldn't be wasted on football unless it's protecting players from injury. Wins and losses are not granted through prayer.

Ian Ballinger 1 month ago

implying you can't pray for multiple things at once implying an omnipotent, all powerful force is limited by the concept of time implying this was anything but a good-natured rallying cry for an admittedly beaten down fanbase.

If you don't want to join us, you don't have to @brett. The verse listed is relevant in that it advocates for people to lift each other up. That includes in times of trial. You don't have to like Beaty and staff... but I can't think of a single Jayhawk that doesn't want them to be successful here. Remaining positive seems like a good way to encourage the team. And yeah, it's hard to remain positive. We've been enduring this forever. I was born and raised a Jayhawk in the Lawrence area, so I know how hard this is. It sucks. But we are where we are. Let's work with what we've been dealt.

David A. Smith 1 month ago

Man, I don't know about "kids will be kids". Shouldn't there be a curfew? These kids need a 24 hour life of discipline and structure through the season.

John Fitzgerald 1 month ago

I want KU to show up to this game and make it exciting, but my fear is they show up and it's a fluke. And enough of a fluke that it makes Girod think Beaty and Zenger deserve another year regardless of what happens the rest of the year, which we know will all be losses, and then next year we go through the same BS only to put our program ANOTHER year behind those that are succeeding. Let's face it, this team does not belong in the B12. This team doesn't even belong in the FBS. And if they were in the FCS they'd likely be the middle of the pack, which isn't a complement. So needless to say I'm not sure how to feel about this game, but it's hard to vote against KU even if an embarrassing thumping could speed up the process of Zenger being let go and bringing in an AD to get us on the right track.

Brett McCabe 1 month ago

It's a difficult position as a fan. The NBA instituted the lottery system because teams used to tank - I've always wondered how those fans felt.

I believe 100% that Beaty is not the answer and I want him gone but I won't those boys to succeed and win. I've struggled with this since the CMU debacle and finally came to this conclusion: if Beaty wins three games, he should be kept. If he doesn't, then he should go. The only other way to keep him would be if this team plays absolutely competitive football every week for the balance of the season. Option One and Option Two. If he can't get one of those things done, he's got to be gone.

Marcus Balzer 1 month ago

I'm torn on Beaty. I've met him before and know his former players. They all believe in the guy. His personality and passion is unmatched. It takes time. We were all led to believe that this would be a break through year, especially after defeating Texas at home and playing competitive against KSU the following week. Beaty was dealt a rough hand and knew the monumental uphill climb he was against. You have to create a culture and that takes time.

That being said....there is NO way this team should be this bad. Zero. Our facilities rival against any Big 12 team, we have our numbers up. The only thing can be either the players aren't bought in or it is the coaches and if it is the coaches then that falls squarely on the shoulders of the HC. Whether they can't get the team ready emotionally or scheme wise something has to change.

I suspect another two blowout, bad losses could signal the end of the Beaty era.

Chris DeWeese 1 month ago

At this point, I can see Beaty sticking around. I don't see Girod doing anything about the state of the football program, other than continuing to pledge his support for Beaty. I think we have some talented players, but I also think some of these guys just aren't that good. It's possible they just need more time to mature and develop, and the only thing that can cure that is time. I'm hoping that some of these highly rated recruits decide to come to KU. It certainly can't hurt assuming they are as good as advertised. Can Beaty and Co. actually develop them? I don't know. Would Mangino have been better at developing these players? Probably. I hope Beaty continues to learn on the job and figure out how to lead a football program (instill some reverent fear). I wouldn't mind seeing him chewing players out on the sidelines and having arguments with his assistants. I want to see him be that harsh disciplinarian, not the vacation dad or good cop. It might be too late for that, and it might not be within Beaty to begin with.

Chris Bailey 1 month ago

This is what we've been reduced to as a football program. Pinning our hopes to "sleeping in". I think we've hit rock bottom. I think the sports writers need to try a bit harder for a story!

Jeff Coffman 1 month ago

If Beaty had fired Bowen a week or two ago, I think that Beaty may have survived the season with a potential option for next year. He did not make that change and with the next two games being very difficult ones, as Keegan points out, two blowouts and Zenger will be out. If Zenger's out, the new AD would never hold onto Beaty. I think in about 4 games if Beaty is still here, I would be surprised.

As Coach Herman and Coach Campbell both do well this year, it puts Beaty on an every warming seat.

Meacham would get the Interim tag.

John Brazelton 1 month ago

The one decent article that Tom Keegan wrote about KU football, he pointed out that next season, Beaty will have over 20 seniors and finally 85 recruited scholarships, depending upon how recruiting/leaving goes this season. He will have a senior JC QB who will have played in every Big 12 game, hopefully. He will have his most experienced upper classmen offensive line. Coach Bowen will have experienced JC defensive backs and a defensive backfield that has played together one season. He will have his best and most experience defensive line, unless Armstrong and Wise leave. There should be enough depth to replace injuries, which we don't have this year. I believe that Beaty should be given the opportunity to play his seniors and if he can't win next season, then there's the best reason to finally make a change.

Jeff Patrick 1 month ago

Those young men need to exercise the discipline to complete their studies and get to sleep at a decent time. If their coaches cannot convince them that successful teams do get proper rest, it may be time to recruit some new coaches. No wonder they look foolish on the field

Dirk Medema 1 month ago

We lost a ton of senior leadership last year and have virtually none this year. The D in particular was much better last year but almost no one takes the time to think beyond the most superficial.

Jim Stauffer 1 month ago

What befuddles me is this staff keeps guys on the bench because they don't #earnit in practice. Yet many times they are forced to play a guy they have said did not #earnit and he plays very well. We are losing every game anyway. If we play the same 22 guys every week, we are not exploring other possibilities and not developing any depth at all. Let these kids play. A loss is a loss. We might as well find out what kids can do. Some kids are just gamers. They play well with the lights on. Some others are practice heroes and can't play when the game is on the line. This staff needs to learn who is who on this roster.

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