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Kansas returns most, least in Big 12 football

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Kansas safety Mike Lee makes a catch during practice on Friday, Aug. 11, 2017 at the practice fields west of Hoglund Ballpark.

Kansas safety Mike Lee makes a catch during practice on Friday, Aug. 11, 2017 at the practice fields west of Hoglund Ballpark. by Nick Krug

Familiar names will roam the field at Saturday's 1 p.m. Kansas football public practice, the 15th and final one of the spring. Kansas ranks among national leaders in returning production.

For example, at quarterback, 100 percent of the completions, touchdowns and yards return. At running back, 99.1 percent of the rushing yards and 100 percent of the touchdowns are back. Punter Cole Moos, who rushed for 11 yards, is the only one not back.

At first glance, those are encouraging numbers, but less so at second glance.

Kansas ranked dead last in the Big 12 with 1,231 rushing yards in 12 games and last with 102.6 yards per game.

KU finished ninth in the conference in passing yards per game (226.4), well ahead of Kansas State (173.8), but was last in touchdown passes (14). Kansas State had 16 in 13 games. Also, Kansas threw more interceptions (17) than any Big 12 squad. Baylor (14) and Texas Tech (12) were the closest to KU in that category.

Peyton Bender and Carter Stanley, the only players to throw a pass for KU last season, are both back and competing with newcomer Miles Kendrick for the starting job.

KU returns 78.5 percent of its receiving yards and 71.4 percent of its touchdown receptions. Chase Harrell (three TD catches) and Ben Johnson (one TD) are the only players who caught TD passes who are not back.

Baylor, which returns 92 percent of its receiving yards and 87 percent of its TD receptions, also has four starting offensive linemen back. The Bears threw for 3,452 yards last season, compared to 2,717 for Kansas.

On defense, Kansas returns 82.1 percent of its tackles, 100 percent of its interceptions (two apiece by Mike Lee and Hasan Defense) and 79.5 percent of its sacks.

Again, it’s tough to take much encouragement from that because KU finished last in the Big 12 in scoring defense (43.4 points) and total defense (468.3 yards).

Since KU took an all-in-on-2018 recruiting approach, loading up on junior-college players, that should enable the Jayhawks to improve more this season than schools that took a long-term approach and will benefit more in future years.

Enough improvement to climb out of last place? Doubtful, but that's why they play the games. Upsets do occur.

Comments

John Fitzgerald 6 months, 3 weeks ago

I'm going to predict one big upset this year....Nichols State over KU. Having said that I'm also predicting KU will finish 0-12. It's not because I don't like Beaty or that I want the team to fail, it's because we're already having OL issues and we'll likely only be favored in one game. I hope I'm wrong. And by wrong I mean I hope they go 12-0 while I'm at home feasting on crow every college football Saturday. Also rest assured that if KU does go 0-12 Beaty will still be the head coach in 2019.

Pius Waldman 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Well we can be upset because of previous seasons failures. But to predict the future one might be an optimist. Some like to not be a fan until the team wins others keep up hope for future success. As for coaching changes lets hope Beaty wins games and coaches long time Tom loves to point out problems in an interesting way.

Brett McCabe 6 months, 3 weeks ago

I think that it was Jeff Coffman who predicted the Nichols upset last fall, when Girod was stumbling, bumbling and fumbling with his non-decision. On that thread, the main discussion point? What will the Vegas line be for the game?

You are absolutely wrong on Beaty. 0-12 he's gone. 0-3 he's gone. He and Zenger survived last year due simply to an orchestrated approach by Zenger to create a poison pill for the new Chancellor. Putting himself, and the second horrible football coach that he had hired in front of the university, Zenger got his contract upgraded and talked Major Milktoast into the idea that the first major act of a new Chancellor shouldn't be to contradict the previous one.

Brilliant strategy by Zenger. Horrible result for KU football fans.

Jim Stauffer 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Utterly ridiculous that they will go 0-12 and Beaty still be here.

[''] 6 months, 3 weeks ago

I think there is enough pride & talent (Dineen, Sims, Charlot & Wise & Dom Williams & Herbert & Coe Harris & Mike Lee) to squeak out a FG victory in game one. After that....it ain't happening. The opposition wants to hunt & eat too and they know that losing to 3-33 Beaty is a job-killer. Ask Charlie Strong.

Jeff Coffman 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Last year our punter had 1% of our rushing yards on one carry.

Richard Duran 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Quit mentioning Charlot. He's a waste of scholarship. he couldn't get on the field during an 11 game llosing streak then got moved to safety and couldn't get on the field for the worst defense in the Big12

Brett McCabe 6 months, 3 weeks ago

The assumption that Beaty's JUCO cavalry is going to save the day is probably wrong. We've seen time and time again that JUCO players aren't necessarily any better than incoming freshman. JUCO ball, JUCO weight-training, JUCO coaching aren't exactly top-of-the-line. Two years of maturity probably means something, but I'm not sure that you get much more out of it than that. I used to believe in the whole JUCO thing, but I've watched it fail repeatedly at Kansas. Under Beaty, it's more likely to fail than to succeed. That's just statistical fact.

The second problem with Beaty's saviors is that they'll still be first year players in the system. The first two or three games will see them adjusting just like other first-year players. Unfortunately for Beaty, the first three games of the season probably determine his fate. Although he will get to make millions serving as the recruiting coordinator at Houston or SMU....

Finally, on the scholarship hocus-pocus, Zenger is in the middle of that. It's a virtual lock that, when Beaty was hired, Zenger told him that there would be no public whining about scholarships. Why? Well, hmmmmmm, who's the AD who hired the guy who destroyed the roster? Zenger didn't want a full public accounting of his destruction, so three years later, after the dust has settled, Zenger is counting on public goodwill for misdeeds done years ago. Had he not made the second consecutive worst hire in college football, he might have gotten away with it.

And, now, really finally, Beaty is 1-31 in actual, real football games. Not 3-33. No credit given for FCS wins. Think about that. Against actual D1 football programs, he has one, fluke, overtime home win. And it took 6 interceptions to get that one.

Jim Stauffer 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Anyone who thinks our roster come Fall will not be the best roster Beaty has enjoyed since his arrival is just being negative. Now we can all disagree on how well he will succeed with that roster, but if Beaty does not have success in turning this team into a competitive group this year, he will be quietly dismissed. There is enough talent on this team for a Coach worthy of his salt to win 4 games. Let us wait and see if that happens.

Jeff Coffman 6 months, 3 weeks ago

So beaty said he would win six games last year...because not he has a better roster and more experience the expectation is going down? See what bad coaches do...they drive down expectations and the overall program.

Clarence Glasse 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Has Tom Keegan lost the ability to write encouraging pieces about our football team? It seems he glories in finding various ways to debase our football program.

Brett McCabe 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Clarence, I'm not being combative, but what would you have him write about? Zenger/Beaty were given a lot of support, probably more than they deserved, for the first couple of years of the new coaching regime.

Other than writing feel-good stories on individual players (those will be coming in August) a journalist must report and comment on what he actually sees.

John Brazelton 6 months, 3 weeks ago

We have two large classes of upper class players who for the most part have Big 12 playing experience. This is definitely a make or break season for Beaty and his assistant coaches. It's a new season and we have a bunch of players who are tired of losing. If we win two of three pre-conference games, KU will have a 3 or 4 win season.

Jeff Coffman 6 months, 3 weeks ago

why is your expectation to lose any of the games that are not P5? You realize that beaty has never beaten a nonconference foe that was not a DII school. As a BXII member we should always looks to win all non conference games.

Dane Pratt 6 months, 3 weeks ago

The four years prior to hiring Snyder K-State was 3-40-1. The two seasons prior they were winless. After our 0-12 season I thought we hit rock bottom but I was wrong. Is Beaty capable of driving this train wreck even further into the ground? He is clearly not the future of KU football but while he is in charge he has to make SOME progress. If it doesn’t happen in year 4 then when? Not looking for a seismic shift, just some faint hope that our program has stopped regressing. After watching KU football steadily decline for 8 consecutive seasons, this is as optimistic as I can be.

Lucas Town 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Everyone should, because Beaty said that the model Snyder used to rebuild K-State is the same model he was going to employ at KU. With this roster and their experience if they can catch some breaks and execute there is no reason they don't win 3-4 games this year.

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