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Love is in the KU football air

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Kansas football head coach David Beaty cracks a smile during the team's second fall camp practice on Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2017.

Kansas football head coach David Beaty cracks a smile during the team's second fall camp practice on Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2017. by Mike Yoder

I sometimes wonder if the KU Athletic Department celebrates itself a little too often. That thought occurs most loudly every year when the Rock Chalk Choice Awards — doesn’t really roll off the tongue, does it? — take place.

Those are basically the Oscars of the athletic department and they took place this year two days after the football team’s one-sided loss to Central Michigan. Love was in the air.

KU football coach David Beaty leads with love, too.

Nebraska graduate transfer Zach Hannon talked about what makes KU a different place.

“I would just say it’s a family atmosphere,” he said, echoing the sentiments expressed by so many recruits in various sports when they explain why they chose KU. “You can tell all the coaches treat us like their own sons. They’re hard on us, but at the same time they have passion for us and for the game. That’s just one thing that’s invaluable for us here. You have coaches and an environment that’s just really full of love. You can’t get that everywhere, so it’s a great thing to have.”

It’s quite different from the approach of many successful football coaches, such as Vince Lombardi of the Green Bay Packers’ dynasty. Times change and it will be interesting to see whether Beaty is ahead of the times or if too much love just can’t work in a sport as brutal as football.

Beaty enjoyed having Hannon as part of the program even before he moved into the starting right tackle spot with a credible performance in the loss at Ohio.

“Having him in that locker room and really being able to speak truth into guys about how good they really have it here, what a phenomenal place this place is,” Beaty said. “…Zach has been great for us to help our guys understand how good they have it. It's a good place here. Really good place.”

Comments

Phil Leister 2 months, 3 weeks ago

A valid point may be made in this article. But I think we all remember that Mangino was run off under suspicion that he was too hard on his players. His approach sure seemed to work. Would KU allow such a coach again?

John Fitzgerald 2 months, 3 weeks ago

There's a reason the military is so tough on it's enlistees, and that's because it teaches them to be physically, and most importantly mentally tough. I think Beaty means well, and if his way of coaching proves to be just as effective, I would honestly prefer it just as I'm sure the players would. But unfortunately for Beaty and the players, history shows coaching like a military general is much more effective than coaching like a mother.

John Brazelton 2 months, 3 weeks ago

The volunteer military quickly learned that they had to change with the times. DI's now spend quality time with slower recruiters explaining why things are done in specific ways until they get it right. In a few cases, Marine Corps DI's still caught being too tough on recruits (when one dies in basic training) and they end up spending a number of years in Leavenworth Military Prison for being too aggressive. Mangino got really good results, but only after he discovered Reesing as his QB. After Reesing was hurt his senior year, Mangino didn't have a replacement at QB, which made it easy to fire him with a losing record that year.

Dale Rogers 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Bingo, John Brazelton. It's easy to remember Mangino's successes and remember them we should. But then we forget his lousy record his final year when Reesing was not available. Besides, I've not seen that Beatty and his assistants are all love on the practice field. My understanding is they are tough on the guys in practice. The love comes when off the field. For those who feel this might not be a good approach, all they have to do it look at Bill Self's formula. Same thing. We just need to develop and recruit better players to go with the quality coaching we already have.

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