Former Kansas University All-American receiver Dezmon Briscoe caught a lot of passes, scored a lot of touchdowns and was responsible for a lot of Jayhawk highlights during his three seasons in crimson and blue.
And one of the men most responsible for all of those memorable moments was new KU head coach David Beaty.
When Briscoe first heard the news on Friday morning that his old position coach had been named the 38th head coach at his alma mater, Briscoe’s mind immediately flashed back to the wide-receiver room where Beaty liked to do his toughest teaching.
“Attention to detail, he was big on that,” Briscoe told the Journal-World via telephone from his hometown of Dallas on Friday afternoon. “Even when it came to grading the film and things like that, he wanted to focus more on your flaws and how to get better.”
Perhaps nothing better illustrates Beaty’s signature style than the one word Briscoe said he heard a lot in those meeting rooms. It’s a word he still chuckles over when he hears it today.
“If you ran a bad route, he’d just say, ‘Eww, that’s just a dirty route. It’s gotta get better,’” recalled Briscoe, who laughed particularly hard after saying the word dirty. “He always called people’s routes dirty when they didn’t run ’em the way he expected them to run ’em.”
Beaty, who coached KU’s receivers under Mark Mangino in 2008 and 2009, and again in 2011 under Turner Gill, left an impression on the guys he coached. But Briscoe said the Garland, Texas, native proved he cared as much as he screamed and always made the line between the two clear.
“I think his approach to football is great,” Briscoe said. “He doesn’t take mediocrity, and he critiques everything you do. He’s more of a players’ coach in my eyes, but at the same time he knows how to put his foot down and get down to business.”
With Briscoe roaming the sidelines, Beaty had the chance to do plenty of both, and the former KU standout who played parts of five seasons in the NFL with Cincinnati, Tampa Bay, Washington and Dallas said Beaty played a huge role in helping him achieve his dream.
“Coach Beaty developed me as a receiver,” Briscoe said. “But he also developed me as a man. When he came to KU, he took me under his wing and really helped me mature off the field. We have a great relationship.”
Briscoe said one of Beaty’s best attributes was that he never met a stranger. Briscoe said KU’s new head coach always had a smile and handshake for everyone and often found time to mix in a joke or two, delivered in his southern drawl.
“People down here always have good comments and good vibes about him,” Briscoe said. “He’s very highly thought-of down here.”
Asked to identify what Beaty’s biggest challenge in his new job might be, Briscoe pointed to one thing that has plagued nearly every KU coach who preceded Beaty in leading the program.
“The biggest challenge for any coach at the University of Kansas is getting people to respect KU football,” Briscoe said.
Because he was here during both good times and bad — KU won 13 games during Beaty’s first stint and just two during his second — Beaty seems to understand the Texas-sized challenge he just agreed to take on. But based on the speech he delivered during halftime of Friday night’s KU basketball victory over Florida at Allen Fieldhouse, he has no plans of shying away from it, clean, dirty or otherwise.
“Thanks a bunch for having us back here at the greatest university in the country,” Beaty told the crowd Friday. “My family and I are honored and humbled to be back here as your head coach. But I want you to understand something: This thing is about you. It’s about the great state of Kansas, the community of Lawrence, Kansas football and all of Kansas athletics, and I promise you this: I won’t sleep until we give you something to be proud of there at Memorial Stadium.”