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New KU football OC Chip Lindsey shares thoughts on Pooka Williams, QBs and more

FILE — Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham with offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey in the second half of Auburn A-Day NCAA college football game on Saturday, April 8, 2017 in Auburn, Ala. (AP Photo/Todd J. Van Emst)

FILE — Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham with offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey in the second half of Auburn A-Day NCAA college football game on Saturday, April 8, 2017 in Auburn, Ala. (AP Photo/Todd J. Van Emst)

After two years as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Auburn, a historically successful SEC football program that routinely plays in the postseason, Chip Lindsey arrived Tuesday at Kansas, where the Jayhawks haven’t been to a bowl game since 2008 and have won three or fewer games each of the past nine seasons.

So how did Les Miles sell Lindsey on the idea of coming to KU?

A Journal-World request to interview Lindsey has not yet been granted, but the team’s newly hired offensive coordinator answered that question and more during a one-on-one interview with KU director of broadcasting and play-by-play voice of the Jayhawks Brian Hanni.

During conversations with his new boss, Lindsey shared, he learned why Miles is a “great recruiter,” as KU’s head coach laid out his vision for the program, one that involves the Jayhawks competing for “championships” in the future.

“I think he’s the guy to take us to the next level,” Lindsey said, “and just the opportunity to work with him hand in hand, I think, was too attractive and really made it an easy decision for me.”

Of course, now that Lindsey, the former offensive coordinator at Auburn, Arizona State and Southern Miss, is at KU, he will play a significant role in how the Jayhawks’ fare under Miles.

While Lindsey didn’t paint a vivid picture of what his offense will look like in 2019, the first coordinator to sign on with Miles plans to build the Jayhawks’ attack around their playmakers. He said, in the spring, he will get a better sense of who those players are and what they’re capable of bringing to the field.

“We want to create an exciting brand of football,” Lindsey said, “exciting brand of offense, try to create explosive plays and make us an offense that’s fun and exciting to watch — one that recruits want to come play for — and really put our identity in this league and on this university.”

Kansas running back Pooka Williams Jr. (1) tries to escape Iowa State linebacker Reggan Northrup (9) and Iowa State defensive end JaQuan Bailey (3) during the second quarter, Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018 at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas running back Pooka Williams Jr. (1) tries to escape Iowa State linebacker Reggan Northrup (9) and Iowa State defensive end JaQuan Bailey (3) during the second quarter, Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018 at Memorial Stadium. by Nick Krug

Although at this point Lindsey said he only has watched “a little” footage from the Jayhawks’ 3-9 2018 season, he obviously signed on knowing what kind of weapon KU has in running back Pooka Williams, who rushed for 1,125 yards and seven touchdowns in his freshman season.

“I know about Pooka for sure,” Lindsey said of the All-Big 12 back from Louisiana. “Everybody in the country seems to know about him.”

In the days, weeks and months ahead, KU’s OC plans to get acquainted with the rest of the roster and identify the four or five best playmakers so that he can design creative ways to get them the ball.

At this point it is hard to predict who will be KU’s starting quarterback in 2019. Carter Stanley and Miles Kendrick both have eligibility remaining, while 2018 starter Peyton Bender’s college football career is over.

Kansas junior quarterback Carter Stanley throws the ball downfield to a teammate on Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018.

Kansas junior quarterback Carter Stanley throws the ball downfield to a teammate on Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018. by Mike Gunnoe

Given that Lindsey coached current San Francisco 49ers starting QB Nick Mullens at both Spain Park High (Ala.) and Southern Miss, Hanni asked KU’s newest assistant how he would go about getting a “great” QB to Kansas.

“Obviously. quarterbacks are special people, because they’re going to get too much credit, they’re going to get too much blame,” Lindsey began. “They’ve got to be guys that are tough-minded, and those guys that I’ve had in the past, that’s what those guys are. They’re very tough mentally. I think we’re going to create a product here that I think quarterbacks will want to come play in our system, a quarterback-friendly system that I think will be an exciting brand of football to watch. We’re looking forward to finding guys that want to be here at Kansas and do something special.”

On the same day Lindsey said those words, during his first day on the job no less, he extended a scholarship offer to dual-threat QB Robby Ashford, a four-star prospect in the Class of 2020 from Hoover, Ala. — where Lindsey was the head coach in 2007.

None by Robby Ashford

The past two years at Auburn, Lindsey coached Jarrett Stidham, who was a four-star dual-threat QB in his high school days. Lindsey said he likely will be on the lookout for mobile quarterbacks he can recruit to KU.

“I think, the way the game’s played today, the defenses are so good, so talented, you’ve got to have a guy that can escape, you know, and make plays in and out of the pocket. I think that’s important,” Lindsey said. “But the number one thing for me is, we want guys that are tough, that are smart, that are intelligent, accurate throwers and, obviously, be able to bring something with their feet, as well.”

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