Saturday, November 22, 2014


Column: One week left in Bowen’s trial run

Kansas interim head football coach Clint Bowen looks out over the stadium as the rain comes down prior to kickoff against Oklahoma on Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014 at Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma.

Kansas interim head football coach Clint Bowen looks out over the stadium as the rain comes down prior to kickoff against Oklahoma on Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014 at Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma.


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Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Clint Bowen sizes up a record-breaking Saturday by Oklahoma RB Samaje Perine

Interim KU football coach Clint Bowen sizes up a record-breaking Saturday by Oklahoma RB Samaje Perine, who torched the Kansas defense for an NCAA-record 427 yards rushing during a 44-7 victory by the Sooners.

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Box score

— What has to rank as one of the worst weeks in the history of Kansas University athletics included basketball coach Bill Self reaching for a glass of water and cracking that he had hoped it was filled with Vodka. It ended with interim head football coach wishing he could reach for amnesia dust to sprinkle on his players.

Oklahoma hammered Kansas 44-7 Saturday, three days after Kentucky towered over KU, 72-40, in Indianapolis.

Big men who run fast put the Jayhawks on the wrong end of records all week. None came up bigger than Samaje Perine, of course. The fleet, shifty 5-foot-11, 243-pound freshman from Pflugerville, Texas, knocked down every rushing record in his path, starting with the Oklahoma freshman record and finishing with the NCAA rushing record, reaching 427 yards when Fish Smithson dragged him to the ground on his final carry.

Self has built up so much good will with Kansas fans with 10 consecutive Big 12 titles, a national championship and another trip to the title game, the job is his until he wants to go elsewhere.

For Bowen, who has one game left as interim head coach, every good week, such as trouncing Iowa State by 20 points and nearly scoring a monumental upset against TCU, convinces everyone in his corner he’s the man for the job. Every bad one is used by those who lust for a bigger name from a bigger-name program.

Even those against him would surrender the fight should KU pull off a rare upset against Bill Snyder’s highly ranked Kansas State team Saturday in Manhattan. A blowout loss could sway athletic director Sheahon Zenger to listen more closely to those who can’t stand the thought of the Jayhawks being coached by a Jayhawk, unless, of course, he’s a basketball player.

OU’s manhandling of KU started up front on both sides of the ball and on a day when the rain poured in diagonal sheets, shaped by a loud wind, the team that could run the ball and defend the run was going to win the game. Kansas, at a size and strength disadvantage, did neither.

“Obviously both sides of the ball, I don’t want to say it was impossible to throw the ball, but it was hard,” Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said.

That wasn’t the first thing Stoops said. As is often the case at coaches’ press conferences, Stoops started by complimenting his opposite number.

“Starting off, I would still like to compliment Clint Bowen and his staff,” said Stoops, whose brother Mark was advised by close friends to bypass the chance to go for the KU job the last time it opened. “Obviously, today was a tough day, but they have done an excellent job of bringing their attitude back and playing hard. Like I said, they just beat Iowa State two weeks ago and played a great game against TCU. I really think a lot of that is Clint and the way he has handled that team.”

Stoops looks at the world through the eyes of a coach, not an emotional fan. That’s why he has such a long memory, one that went all the way back to two weeks previous, to the Iowa State and TCU games he and his staff studied. Stoops knows how much Bowen already has changed the culture of a losing football program and he is genuinely impressed.


Chris Gilbertson 7 years, 8 months ago

People were telling Stoops to steer clear of KU the last time the HC job came open! That's not a good thing, KU already had a bad reputation then, I can only imagine what people would say about it now.

Randy Bombardier 7 years, 8 months ago

It has little to do with KU as a place to coach but more at the fact that it's s place where even in a really good year half the fans are gone before the end of the game, a place where there have been 40 coaches in 120 years of football, a place that has every reason to succeed but has an innate ability to undermine itself by believing every quick-fix sales man. We're gonna win championships, a dynasty, says Turner Gill. We're going to have a schematic advantage, says Weis. Gill was not given enough time but things were not going well so I understand. Weis would never have had enough time. We need someone who will promise one thing and that's hard work by the players and the staff. Then we give him five years minimum.

Greg Ledom 7 years, 8 months ago

That would be Clint Bowen, and I couldn't agree more.

Rick McGowwan 7 years, 8 months ago

Is the culture changed? I'll have to take everyone's word for it. I've never seen a culture turned around in a few weeks, it takes years. I've seen a little more enthusiasm and a lot more hustle, and the players seem to really enjoy CB, but I also see the same body language when adversity strikes. I see the same quit in this team that we saw under Gill and Charlie.

The level of preparedness for this game, the game planning, the defensive scheme, shows a complete lack of ability from our defensive coaches. When Lou Holtz, who can barely utter words that aren't "Notre Dame is great," can accurately diagnose a horrible defensive game plan and lack of adjustments it's probably time to call it a day.

I've been through a lot with KU and this is the most embarrassed I have been to be a fan.

We need to start over. Clear all the coaches. Release all the players. And just start from scratch I think if we don't let anyone on the field next year that has been any part of this year, or the past 5 years of KU Football, we may have a chance at not being a laughingstock before the close of the decade.

Jonathan Briles 7 years, 8 months ago

I understand where you are coming from, but take some of your own advice. You just said you saw more enthusiasm and more hustle and right before that said you have never seen a culture turned around in a few weeks. If he can get that much more hustle and enthusiasm out of the guys in a few weeks imagine what he can do with a few years. Freshman coming in who would spend day one with his infectious enthusiasm and belief that this is a winning program. The current roster has been tainted with coaches who did not truly believe in them. Weis shamed the players publicly. Imagine what he was saying to them behind closed doors. Of course they will not believe in themselves when things get tough. It still is not worth giving ourselves the death penalty. SMU still has not recovered from it. Bowen may not be the absolute best coach, but he is a good fit for this particular job. Even if he does not get the HC position I still hope he stays on staff because he knows how to get the most of his players wether his players are one position or a whole team.

Erich Hartmann 7 years, 8 months ago

Rick, sorry but -1. I do sympathize with your angst, but this isnt for us armchair QBs to fix. Its a complex chain of events that led to the current situation.

And just like I like to do for basketball, let's get analytical: The TCU game was a fun, exciting game, except for 1 or 2 plays needing to happen/not happen. What about the IowaState gameplan? The KU Defense is built and designed for stopping the spread offense. OU is a power running team. The weather didnt allow any offensive balance, so our guys get overpowered by a team forced to play to its strength. Of course Stoops can start a green QB, because he knew the passing game wasnt going to be the deciding factor. So our A-rated secondary and decent pass rush, and coverage schemes didnt matter much in this game.

Kinda harsh for a KU fan/alum to call to axe the entire program? Why lose the patience--what does it really matter? I can say that because I have the next 40-50yrs to support my Jayhawks, as that is indeed the diploma on my wall. Ive got nothing but time. Give Bowen (or whoever they hire) the 5yr plan, and stick to it, as we DO lose 20 seniors! That will cause a natural rebuilding cycle. Guys need to be brought into a stable offensive and defensive system, so they learn as a frosh, the see the seniors doing it correctly on the field, then by soph/jr seasons, its their turn to plug in and produce. That is all that Snyder or any other stable program does. As Clint said about Baylor: "they've had a stable system & playstyle for a while, and have been recruiting to those needs for a while, so their execution shows."

Rick McGowwan 7 years, 8 months ago

Two comments, I was trying to say the only way to change a culture quickly would be to simply start over. I wasn't trying to suggest we axe the program, but I can certainly see how it appears that way after re-reading my comments. I don't believe the culture has changed.

The second point is more important: We stayed in with our base package (4-2) the entire game. Their QB can't throw in good conditions, but under these conditions, he looked like Cozart, just plain bad. They ran the ball 55 times, and never once did they look up to see a 4-4 set or 8 or 9 in the box. Not once. Perinne's 3 TDs in the first half came on the EXACT same play. Same formation. Same motion. Same hole. We made zero adjustments.

If this was just about talent we would have lost by 20. Unfortunately this was about talent and coaching, and in both cases we had it handed to us. I don't believe stability is the key here, instead I believe quality coaching is. Where would we be today if we let Gill play out his contract? We would have been stable.

Dirk Medema 7 years, 8 months ago

Stable, but really bad. Really, REALLY bad.

Calvin Miller 7 years, 8 months ago

Certainly Keegan can recognize coachspeak by now. Don't you think Stoops would like to play a KUU team like this every year? Let's see---7 first downs to 19 for OU; 103 yds total offense compared to 549 yds for OU. Yeah, I'd bet Stoops would like to see a team coached like that year after year.

Mike Barnhart 7 years, 8 months ago

I've waffled several times. Bowen has done some good things but we need real players and I'm just not sure. I mean OUR CUPBOARD IS BARE!

I think Zenger has a huge task ahead of him. Charlie had to go but the next HC needs to be great and have the patience of a saint!

Dirk Medema 7 years, 8 months ago

Our cupboard is not bare, but it is most definitely thin - both in girth and volume. Hopefully, we don't have the wholesale losses with this coaching change that we've had with the last 2, and can continue to rebuild the roster - with a whole lot less JC risks.

Erich Hartmann 7 years, 8 months ago

Maybe the fans need to find the patience of Job, because rebuilding after losing 20seniors will be quite the job, anywhere, and more difficult at KU...

Dirk Medema 7 years, 8 months ago

Isn't 20 seniors a normal # to loose?

85 / 4 or something like that?

Maybe it just seems like a lot because we haven't had that many in so long. We've been losing half a class or two in each of the coaching changes, so most of the classes aren't around to graduate.

Titus Canby 7 years, 8 months ago

In a game with this much rain, the team with the biggest, strongest line, on both offense and defense, will dominate. Today had nothing to do with coaching. It had everything to do with our weakness in the line on both sides of the ball. I'm not saying Bowen's the answer. Just saying even the greatest coach couldn't have won this game for us today.

Marc Frey 7 years, 8 months ago

I agree and some of the columns here lately agree. It is talent. And it is the lack of talent on our front lines that has doomed us. We can not pressure the other teams QB, we can not open holes for our talented RBS. Those two things will lose you more games than a botched snap.

Chuck Woodling 7 years, 8 months ago

Bowen may have changed the culture, but the perception of KU football can be changed only by a total commitment to the sport. Does anyone believe that will happen as long as KU basketball serves as an ongoing rationalization of athletic excellence? In contemporary big-time football, you can't compete in a retro stadium that looks like a concrete erector set.

Joe Ross 7 years, 8 months ago

Duke does. And last time i checked they were a "basketball school".

Aaron Paisley 7 years, 8 months ago

Duke will be back in the cellar soon enough. The high dollar donors at Duke don't give a crap about Duke football the same way the high dollar donors at KU don't give a crap about KU football even when KU had the Orange Bowl season. That is the ultimate uphill battle for KU Athletics to convince the David Booth's and Phil Anschutz's that KU football is worth the investment. Oregon, OSU and Baylor are the poster child programs for what KU needs to do. Phil Knight has invested god knows how much money into that program for the last 20 years and they are now an annual top 5 program. T. Boone finally decided to make football a priority at OSU instead of basketball and they are consistently challenging for Big 12 titles now. Drayton McLane sold the Houston Astros so that he could invest in Baylor football and built them a new stadium and Baylor is now consistently challenging for Big 12 titles.

KU football will never have any kind of consistent success no matter who the coach is without the high dollar donors investing millions of dollars into all aspects of KU football.

Dirk Medema 7 years, 8 months ago

You must have missed the half million dollars dropped by one donor (anonymously) to put "grass" around the field in place of the track, or how many $M on the new practice facility, or how many $M on the new FB headquarters, or how many $M on the new track facility so the FB stadium can be renovated, or how many $M on the new coach after new coach. What have I missed?

There is plenty of $ being invested outside of Allen. BB will remain a fixture. We are one of the revenue leaders because of it (top 20?), but there is enough money to fund consistent success.

Aaron Paisley 7 years, 8 months ago

No, I didn't miss that, but you are not comprehending just how much money is needed to turn around a football program that was a perennial cellar dweller like Oregon, OSU, or Baylor were. Are you aware of how much Phil Knight has given to Oregon ($230 million), or how much McLane Stadium cost ($266 million), or how much Pickens donated to Oklahoma State ($500 million, $266 million to athletics)?

500k is a generous gift, but that amount of money will barely make a dent into the long term sustainability of KU football. It takes hundreds of millions of dollars to build long term success when a school doesn't have the history of an Alabama, USC, Oklahoma, and so on.

Joe Ross 7 years, 8 months ago

First, Aaron. You misunderstand my position. Im not saying that an investment in college football from the school is not advantageous to progress. Im saying programs have been built into winners without it. Secondly, you do not know that Duke will be a cellar dwellar in football again. Nor do I know that it wont be. Your comment is without basis as there is nothing predestined about their program one way or the other. Third, there are examples of programs that have become competitive first, and renovated their stadiums later. Kansas State is an example of a rejuvenated program that renovated later. Their recipe for success was not predicated upon facilities; rather, it was sound coaching and recruiting players who fit their needs. Fourth, I DO think Kansas needs to invest in renovations to Memorial. Keep it in the front of your brain that in other comments of mine elsewhere, Ive even mentioned doing something off the grid akin to Kauffman Stadium. Those comments have been made within the last couple of months. But it's a different thing to say these things are necessary to improve the performance on the field. You have not made the case that they are, and many examples stand out that would argue against that position.

Aaron Paisley 7 years, 8 months ago

Joe, there are numerous examples of programs that spike for a few years because they stumbled onto a very good coach and then fall back to the basement when that coach leaves because the financial commitment just isn't there from the alumni to sustain that success.

KU under Mason and Mangino, USF under Leavitt, Rutgers under Schiano, Houston under Art Briles, Texas Tech under Mike Leach, Northwestern under Gary Barnett, Washington State under Mike Price, and since you used Duke as an example, what did Duke do between the Steve Spurrier and David Cutcliffe? Spurrier won an ACC title in 1989 and then got the Florida job, Duke made one bowl game between then and Cutcliffe in 2012.

It will take more than the right coach and stadium renovations to sustain success as KSU found out with Ron Prince. A solid infrastructure is what it takes in football to sustain long term success like recruiting budgets, money for assistant coaches, perks for VIP donors to keep them donating, and other things that we don't get to see.

Steve Corder 7 years, 8 months ago

Yeah, Chuck, I do believe. You may be dead when it happens, but it will happen.

Joe Ross 7 years, 8 months ago

...Kansas did under Mangino, and achieved an Orange Bowl victory in spite of the basketball team's success. Clearly, your reasoning is flawed.

Joe Ross 7 years, 8 months ago

Excuse me. DUKE is now!

Besides, the main question you raise was the feasibility of creating a winning football program when disproportionate emphasis is given to basketball. While I agree that a total commitment to football is ideal to placing a program on solid footing, and while I wish like nothing else that this happens at Kansas, it is a different thing to say it's impossible. There is nothing wrong with having our basketball program being the standard of athletic excellence, but neither Kansas fans nor does the athletic department use that success to rationalize the failures of other sports. Check your math, Chuck.

Nigel Dunham 7 years, 8 months ago

Chuck, your question was, "Does anyone believe that will happen as long as KU basketball serves as an ongoing rationalization of athletic excellence?"...Recent history answers your question. Kansas' Orange Bowl team showed that football can win a BCS game in the same season basketball can win a championship. So the obvious answer is "yes". Though it does takes the right coaches, the right players, the right culture in football. It's that combination KU is missing, and it has nothing to do with a rationalization that basketball is the keystone of KU athletics, presently.

Erich Hartmann 7 years, 8 months ago

Other than people's annoying habit of bringing up the "basketball school" phrase, I dont see what basketball has to do with football? KU football has plenty of its own diehard football fans. Maybe the real issue is that most of those diehards are not multimillionaires? SO, that may mean we build KU football the slow, methodical way that Snyder did it at KSU. But realize that Snyder only gets so far with his 3star kids. Never have contended for a NC. And wont in his lifetime, because he isnt going to go out and get 20 5star kids like OU and TX. Now if you give Snyder 20 5stars, he likely could coach em up & contend. But that's the grand purple wish, but not reality. To get natl competetive, likely need to be able to attract the 4 and 5stars, and that means getting someone who naturally is a gifted recruiter/motivator (Bowen is an unknown re: recruiting), or getting a big, BIG name football coach, maybe one who has a college ftball NC already, or maybe a top asst. coach of such a program. I do NOT want to follow KState's 3star/JC approach, as your ceiling then is automatically limited to 2yr revolving-door JCs, and limited to fundamentally sound, but few highlight-capable 3star foundation kids. The spectacular players go elsewhere, or to a name coach. Why limit our entire football philosophy to one that is inherently limited, as KSU's is proven to be. I want more than the purple mission of 'beat ku' every year. But this wont happen overnight, or in 1 season, or even reliably in 2-3 seasons. Need the 4-5yr plan, and stability of offensive and defensive schemes.

Dirk Medema 7 years, 8 months ago

Yes. As mentioned above, there has been a total commitment to KU football recently. KU basketball will remain the std of athletic excellence, and help fund the turn around in FB, just as it has been in reverse elsewhere. The retro stadium that looks like a concrete erector set is the last piece in the transformation, and all the pieces are in place to take the last step - err, last 2 steps. Hire a competitive coach. Fix the stadium.

You weren't one of the people saying that Coach Bowen was the answer last week were you? I don't recall you being a voice of reason, or pointing out this doomsday last week either though.

Mike Barnhart 7 years, 8 months ago

We take A LOT of beatings! Nobody enjoys rubbing our noses in it more than Bill Snyder. Ehhh gad!!!!

Dirk Medema 7 years, 8 months ago

Interesting to hear you cautioning others to step away from the ledge when you were exhorting everyone to jump all in last week.

"Let's see how the team responds."

That sounds familiar. While I hope you're right, and next week will make all the difference in the world, I think Mike points out an ominously accurate assessment. Grampa wants nothing more than to Pound us and has done so repeatedly in the past.

Bryce Landon 7 years, 8 months ago

Without question this has been one of the worst weeks ever for our favorite teams. If it's not the basketball team quitting against Kentucky or the Chiefs laying an egg against the Raiders, it's the football team being on the wrong end of an NCAA record-setting day. My only consolation is that the basketball team has a chance to earn a measure of redemption against Rider.

Len Shaffer 7 years, 8 months ago

What measure of redemption? Proving that they're not horrible? I mean even if they beat Rider by 35, what exactly does that prove?

The only redemption they can earn is when they play against a good team. Let's see what they do the next time they play some real competition, especially on the road or at a neutral site.

Dirk Medema 7 years, 8 months ago

Len's right. There's no redemption playing Rider. A little game practice. though realistically less challenge/competition than an intra-squad scrimmage.

Doug Cramer 7 years, 8 months ago

For us folks that don't have amnesia...that's the Clint Bowen type of performance we've all come to know over the years.

Gaping holes in the D-line...and players that quit on him and their teammates. An appetizer for what's to come if he were to take over at HC.

Stephen Johnson 7 years, 8 months ago

Doug - you've been right once in seven weeks. Not bad. Nostradamus and you are a combined 100% in predicting things. Nostradamus 95% correct and you 5%. haha

Andy Tweedy 7 years, 8 months ago

I'll give you one thing for sure! I bet I'm not the only one who signs on here and thinks "what's Doug Cramer got to say about this?" For that, you get some points!

Rick McGowwan 7 years, 8 months ago

I have to say Doug, I think most people react to "how" you are saying things and not necessarily "what" you are saying.

I think CB is a better, probably much better, HC than DC, but I just can't see a way that he is the long term solution to KU's troubles. Our D is not good. They have dropped like a rock in the rankings and I'm sure we are below #100 now. That is happening while our offense, until this game, has been quietly improving. As much credit as he is given for making the right moves on offense, he should still be accountable for the lack of a coherent strategy on D. I was on the fence, but looking at how we have played since CB took over, I am now firmly on the "someone else" bandwagon.

Pete Vang 7 years, 8 months ago

Doug you are a complete idiot!!!! Learn a little about football before you write about it. Obviously not a KU football fan so find another site to show your stupidity!!!

Dirk Medema 7 years, 8 months ago

Doug's not an idiot. He's just the polar opposite of Brett and trying (?) to balance it all out. It's his week to gloat a bit, and Brett's week to coach others to step away from the ledge.

Reality is someplace in the middle.

Bob Bailey 7 years, 8 months ago

Where's all the joy? Do most of you learn one game at a time?

Enthusiasm and determination is NO substitute for good coaching!


Lloyd Kinnison 7 years, 8 months ago

Face it, OU has great football players. This OU team has lost a couple of times, but is still very good. Bowen's team was outplayed, this time. Bowen is still my choice. Lloyd Kinnison

Bryce Landon 7 years, 8 months ago

Lloyd, we know it's you. You don't have to sign your posts at the end.

Dale Rogers 7 years, 8 months ago

You're not going to get a big name coach in here unless he's out of a job and desperate to find something. Even then he'll be there only until he can find something better. I think Clint Bowen is our Roy Williams of football. Never been a head coach, lots of years as an assistant. I think down the road, say 5 or 10 years form now Clint Bowen is going to be revered like Bill Self and Roy Williams before him. Mark my words.

Dirk Medema 7 years, 8 months ago

Unless of course he becomes a "Don Fambrough". That's not meant as a slam of Coach Fambrough. Just recognizing that there has been no supporter of KU and the FB team in particular greater than Coach Fambrough. The fact is he was still a sub-500 coach.

We need a quality D1 FB coach. Not a quality NFL FB coach. Not a quality D2 FB coach (Allen). Not a quality assistant FB coach/HC failure.

Calvin Miller 7 years, 8 months ago

So KU settles for a coach who has yet to field a defense ranked higher than 76th out of the 120+ teams in FBS. Nothing like aiming for mediocrity. Zenger has too much on the line, namely his job, to take a risk on a coach with Bowen's resume.

Joe Joseph 7 years, 8 months ago

Gotta compete against K-State. It's Bowen's job if KU does so.

Clarence Haynes 7 years, 8 months ago

To attract a good coach, there has to be a firm demonstration of KU's commitment to invest in stadium upgrades.

Lloyd Kinnison 7 years, 8 months ago

Think for a moment. Mr. Bowen wants to be a football coach at KU. It is not a money issue, but a desire to lead the football program! Wow! What a concept. The 5 mil paid to past coaches must be a factor, but it appears that we have a coach who really wants to change KU's perceptions of winning. I read the comments and think these folk have a pie in the sky attitude! Come on folks, we have an applicant who has shown he can win. Hire Bowen! Lloyd Kinnison

Dirk Medema 7 years, 8 months ago

Lloyd - Is beating ISU "showing he can win"? Is 1-6 not still considered a losing record? Or is there another applicant beside Bowen that you know about that "has shown he can win".

Logan Johnson 7 years, 8 months ago

The only consistent winning I've ever witnessed Bowen doing was under the leadership of Mangino & Ed Warinner as assistant head coach.

Adam McEwen 7 years, 8 months ago

I'm a big fan of what Bowen has accomplished in a relatively short time, but if the big money voices want a big name, someone who has a proven track record that we might actually stand a chance of getting, we need a guy who is out of coaching, has a history of previously taking a tough job and turning it around. The kind of guy that wants back in coaching that the big programs won't touch, but someone we can afford to take a chance on. What about Tressel?

Logan Johnson 7 years, 8 months ago

Can someone remind me of exactly what Bowen has "accomplished" as interim coach? Beating a current 2-8 Iowa State team? WOW. Talk about big time fellas.

There was an argument that KU didn't play as well against OU because weather was a factor. Well if you want to believe that argument then you better believe the "good game" against TCU was a result of the colder weather effecting the TCU players.

Jim Stauffer 7 years, 8 months ago

I stand by my position on this team. They have progressed to play well at home. That is an accomplishment. To play well on the road is another step in the process.

I might add we have never had the patience and longevity with our good coaches to reach this step. Mason and MM for different reasons did not stay long enough to completely develop the roster and culture to where we could win consistently on the road.

Whoever is hired needs to receive patience from the AD and the fans as he tries to build it in steps. First we learn to win at home. then we learn to win on the road. We are near ground zero in the process. Let the learning begin.

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