KU football interim HC countdown: No. 10, A.J. Ricker


First-year Kansas offensive line coach A.J. Ricker watches over his position players during warmups at practice on Monday, April 23, 2018.

First-year Kansas offensive line coach A.J. Ricker watches over his position players during warmups at practice on Monday, April 23, 2018. by Nick Krug

In the event Kansas decides to turn to an interim head coach at some point this season, I'm doing a series of blogs counting down to the most assistant coach on David Beaty's who would make the most sense to take on interim duties, should it come to that.

The last thing first-year Kansas offensive line coach A.J. Ricker needs on his plate is adding head coaching duties to trying to build a cohesive unit on the fly with graduate transfers starting at three positions. Ricker has the toughest job in the Big 12 as it is, trying to mold an offensive line in a program that didn’t have enough blockers to play a spring game.

As long as he isn’t asked to also become the head coach, which he won’t be, Ricker will teach and motivate this line, which had a terrible opener, to improvement.

As Missouri offensive line coach in 2014, Ricker coaxed enough in-season progress out of his unit that an offensive line with one starter returning to play the same position as the previous season performed well enough for Missouri to make it to the SEC title game.

If Ricker were promoted to interim head coach, which again he won’t be, either director of recruiting Tyler Olker or defensive analyst Dirk Wedd could take over as offensive line coach, at which point Wedd might be allowed to do interviews.

Then again, maybe not. Under the current policy, Beaty is the only football coach who will do interviews this season, unless and until he is relieved of his duties or changes his mind.

Unlike most programs and at Kansas in previous seasons, the offensive and defensive coordinators and the rest of the coaches on Beaty’s staff are blocked from talking to the media. Not only do analysts not do interviews, no assistant coaches do interviews starting with the first game week.


Jeff Coffman 7 months, 2 weeks ago

I'm disappointed with the amount of disdain Beaty has for the media. He is the one that talks about being mentally tough, being prepared, and earning it. However, when he has not performed, he has shied away from the media. Where a coach can leverage the media he has not. Beaty is splintering the program every moment he is allowed to remain, I'd say and coach, but that doesn't seem to be happening.

Dennis Strick 7 months, 2 weeks ago

John has a long mustache. The Flour Sack Is On The Shelf. The Clock Needs Winding.

Cora Smith 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Wounds my heart with a monotonous languor.

Doug Cramer 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Get Mangino in here now. Long needs to man up and make a decision.

Beaty and Bowen both should have been escorted out of their offices this morning.

Program is on serious life support.

The longer we wait, the more time it will take to recover.

Jason Venable 7 months, 2 weeks ago

There is a reason Mangino is no longer a HC. Enough already with that insane idea.

Joe Ross 7 months, 2 weeks ago

With MUCH respect, Jason, it was not a good reason. Most coaches would have enjoyed the courtesy of an in-house disciplinary measure rather than a witch hunt. The reasons that we had improved under Mark Mangino had much to do with his style of coaching. He was intolerant to mistakes and the intolerance displayed itself in various forms of consequences (perhaps extra physical workouts, verbal censures, and so on). I believe very strongly that the reason we have underperformed since Mangino's outster has a lot to do with his high expectations of kids, his unwillingness to coddle them, and what I would call "verbal motivation". Gill didn't have it. Weis didn't have it. Beaty doesn't have it. Yes, I know Mangino crossed the line. Probably more often than we know. But I can't see building a football program at Kansas without a heavy dose of discipline for the players which must sometimes be unapologetically vocal. I'm not saying you're one of these, but we have a lot of fans who want a good football team, but fail to recognize the things which must be done to get us there. Kids these days are WAAAAY to soft, and despite historically poor results it appears many fans still want them to be dealt with gingerly.


We should just accept the fact that we need a coach who will yell at his players. Just without the ghetto/hood talk and the like. At most, Mangino should have gotten a one to two game suspension. Suggesting more than that is ludicrous. They were "crimes" yes. In a sense. But they didn't rise to the level of losing his job. And now we're suffering from our own stupidity.


Len Shaffer 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Why stop at Mangino? Let's bring back Pepper Rodgers from the dead!

[''] 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Our OL was the worst unit on Saturday. Despite it being the most hyped as improved. But then again, Beaty was hyped by Zengy as an Air Raid expert, a master recruiter, TX HS powerhouse connection too and..... .bubbkiss there too sooo....

David Kemp 7 months, 2 weeks ago

This is ridiculous on his part. Even a mediocre fb team is worth millions to the local economy exclusive fb by itself, then there are concessions, apparel, jobs. It all counts in the final assessment. But if we lose fb we lose as a university and sporting credibility even for the basketball team

Jason Venable 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Long needs to look at the very possible idea of a standout OC/DC and to really find out what makes a the current HC successful.

Perfect example: Early to mid 2000's Boise St started to really get rolling. Dan Hawkins looked like thee perfect guy for the HC at Colorado. What ended up happening? He was a complete bomb.

Reason: It was the Chris Petersen, the OC, he was the guy behind Dawkins that made Dawkins look so good. Now Petersen is doing a wonderful job at Washington.

Stop with Mangino talk. He wasn't that greaty of a HC. He had one good year. He didn't do squat at ISU as an OC. He's a liability. Couldn't get along with Paul Rhoads as was basically fired. He's had too many investigations and incidents under is tenure wherever he's been. He's washed up. Period.

Mike Sherby 7 months, 2 weeks ago

you might very well be right that Mangino's time has passed and he couldnt make it work now, but I disagree on the job he did. He took KU to 4 bowls in 8 years. He inherited a broken program much like Beaty did but turned it around in 3 years and with arguably fewer resources that KU coaches have today. He had 6 or more wins 5 out of the 8 years. True that the Orange bowl year was a perfect storm but we were respectable in all 8 years but his first (2-10). Also, to your point about OC's, he was instrumental in KSU's rebuilding as OC and recruiting coordinator and was national assistant coach of the year as an OC while at OU under Stoops. Like him or not, Mangino did a great job at KU with fewer resources than KU has today. I'd take him again, but no argument on that fact he's likely not a reasonable candidate. All that stated, I feel bad for Beaty. He's a likable guy with a desire to win....I wish him the best in his next opportunity.

Robert Brock 7 months, 2 weeks ago

I believe that KU could hire a decent football coach if the school and its administrators would make it crystal clear that it wanted to make football important again. The last several years have been about hand-wringing, whining, excuse making, and trying to get by on the cheap.

Bryson Stricker 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Tom, you're a savage LMFAO.

I'd be curious on whether Tom will reach #1 before the interim is hired and also if he reaches #1, will an interim be needed?

If he doesn't post on weekends, #1 would come out monday after rutgers... We'd either have a new coach by then or beaty would be 2-1 and i think if he does that, he's here all year. (not saying he should be)

Titus Canby 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Long should keep Beaty on all year - as punishment.

Rob Byrd 7 months, 2 weeks ago

This professor would have us be the next Georgetown. And if we were just a basketball school we would eventually lose respect and relevance unless we won a national championship every 3 years.

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