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Beaty doesn't necessarily have to hurry to fill coaching staff

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Kansas head coach David Beaty gives quarterback Ryan Willis a pat after a three and out during the second quarter on Saturday, Oct. 24, 2015 at T. Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Okla.

Kansas head coach David Beaty gives quarterback Ryan Willis a pat after a three and out during the second quarter on Saturday, Oct. 24, 2015 at T. Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Okla. by Nick Krug

UPDATE: A little less than three hours after this blog was posted, sources told the Journal-World that David Beaty had identified Joe DeForest as his new special teams coordinator. Two down and one to go.


With spring practices slated to start eight days from tomorrow and three coaching vacancies still to fill, Kansas University football coach David Beaty is running out of time.

Or is he?

A little more than a year ago, after Beaty was first hired to take over at Kansas, 41 days passed between the day Beaty was named KU’s next leader (Dec. 5, 2014) and the day the first-time college head coach finalized his coaching staff by announcing the addition of cornerbacks coach/co-defensive coordinator Kenny Perry (Jan. 15, 2015).

Because of the timing of the departure of five full-time assistants from that first staff, Beaty does not exactly have 41 days this time around.

It helps that two of the five already have been replaced, but when you’re in a position like Kansas football, needing every second and every good break to climb out of the cellar, you need as many things as possible to go smoothly 365 days a year.

So, obviously, the ideal thing for KU would be for Beaty to identify three coaches to fill the three openings — running backs, defensive line and special teams — in the next eight days so the Jayhawks have a full staff in place for the start of spring football.

That’s in a perfect world. And this, as we all know, is far from a perfect world.

So if Beaty wants to take the same kind of time he did a year ago to fill out his second staff — and history shows that doing so might result in a few quality hires — here’s how it could work.

While spring football is incredibly important to any program, but particularly to one in the shape that Kansas football is in, it’s still not quite as important as preseason camp in August or even, in some ways, what goes on during the summer with the strength coaches.

There’s a lot of re-introducing of concepts and a lot of individual work. And because nearly a quarter of the 2016 team is not here yet, that’s about all that they can get accomplished. The guys who are here can get a lot out of it but it’s not as if game plans are sculpted and the meat of what the 2016 season will be about can actually be put in place.

With that said, it’s possible that the pieces are in place for KU to get through the spring even if Beaty does not hire for any of the positions in the next month and a half.

Having said that, I fully expect at least two of the three positions to be filled very soon and, most likely, all three.

If they’re not, though, here’s a look at how KU could survive.

Kansas assistant head coach and defensive coordinator Clint Bowen leads players in drills at a KU football practice, part of fan appreciation activities Saturday August 8, 2015.

Kansas assistant head coach and defensive coordinator Clint Bowen leads players in drills at a KU football practice, part of fan appreciation activities Saturday August 8, 2015. by Mike Yoder

• Yes, Clint Bowen is the defensive coordinator, and, sure, you’d love to let him oversee the entire defense and work closely with his position group (safeties) during the 15 upcoming spring practices. But Bowen has been around the block and there’s no doubt in my mind that he could coach up KU’s defensive line for a few weeks if needed. Perry handles the secondary, newcomer Todd Bradford works with the linebackers and Bowen takes the big boys up front. Then, together, away from the field, that trio puts their heads together to talk coordination. Again, we’re not talking game plans here during spring football.

Kansas offensive coordinator Rob Likens holds a pad upright as receivers DeAnte Ford, left, and Steven Sims Jr. practice coming off a block during the first day of practice on Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015 at the fields south of Anschutz Pavilion.

Kansas offensive coordinator Rob Likens holds a pad upright as receivers DeAnte Ford, left, and Steven Sims Jr. practice coming off a block during the first day of practice on Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015 at the fields south of Anschutz Pavilion. by Nick Krug

• Along those same lines, offensive coordinator Rob Likens and Beaty himself, who also has experience as a coordinator, have both been around long enough to step in and handle the running backs for a few weeks in the spring. With only second-year back Ke’aun Kinner returning with significant experience, you’d certainly prefer to have a full-time running backs coach work with some of these young players who might have big roles this fall, but, if that can’t happen, or, more to the point, if taking a little more time to make a hire helps deliver the best running back coach KU can get, then letting Likens or Beaty work with the backfield could get you by. Heck, even new receivers coach Jason Phillips, who was brought on board because of his vast knowledge of the Air Raid Offense that Beaty wants to run, could make an impact at the position in the spring.

Kansas head coach David Beaty throws a ball high to a kickoff return man during special teams practice on Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015.

Kansas head coach David Beaty throws a ball high to a kickoff return man during special teams practice on Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015. by Nick Krug

• We’ve seen it before and plenty of other programs have done it, too. Instead of having just one special teams coordinator handle all of the special teams work, KU could break things down and let each of the coaches who are here handle one aspect of the third phase of the game. Beaty could handle kickoff return. Perry could handle the field goal team. Bowen could take care of punt block, Likens could handle punt return, and so on and so on.

Is this sort of scenario ideal? Absolutely not. Any program would love to see its football staff at full strength, ready to coach with consistency and a united message from the time the first whistle blows.

But for the long term health of Kansas football, it’s more important that Beaty continue to search for the best possible coaches he can find rather than just settling for a body, even just a degree or two, so he can fill his staff in time for spring.

Remember, in addition to those three bullet points above, there also are all kinds of quality control coaches and offensive and defensive consultants who can help Beaty and company get by in a pinch.

Comments

Doug Wallace 5 years, 11 months ago

I got faith in Beaty, but this is where he will be judged on what kind of assistants he can get here to turn this program around.

Hope you get some good coaches around you Beaty!

Dirk Medema 5 years, 11 months ago

It is good to see the update at the beginning, but from the other article on DeForest, it sounds like this entire article will soon be obsolete. Gotta like that we are getting coaches with considerable experience. DeForest and Bradford being let go from other D1 programs makes me worry a bit, though both sound like the actions were in part a result of circumstances outside of coaching control (Injuries and really young rosters). Still makes you wonder about what wasn't being talked about in the offices but not reported.

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