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Love is in the KU football air

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.”

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