Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Jayhawks’ staff impressed by Bowen

KU assistant head coach-defense/cornerbacks coach Dave Campo, left and defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Clint Bowen talk during KU football practice Tuesday, August 12.

KU assistant head coach-defense/cornerbacks coach Dave Campo, left and defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Clint Bowen talk during KU football practice Tuesday, August 12.


Monday morning, newly named Kansas University interim head football coach Clint Bowen said the KU coaching staff had jumped on board with the transition with great attitudes and incredible energy.

Tuesday, several coaches got the chance to make Bowen look good by backing up those claims in their meetings with the media.

“Coach Bowen’s got a way about him,” said KU quarterbacks coach Ron Powlus. “And his approach is we’re all in this together and let’s go do the best we can. I’m in full support of that and I think the whole staff is. The way you get to things is crazy, but to have coach Bowen leading this football program right now is a good thing for him and for the University of Kansas, there’s no doubt about it.”

By now, the stories of Bowen having grown up in Lawrence and played at KU are old news. But they still mean something to many on the KU coaching staff, some who are in their first or second seasons with the program. Wide receivers coach Eric Kiesau is one of those guys, and Kiesau said Tuesday that he had been impressed by the way Bowen had handled himself since taking the keys to the head coach’s office.

“The love and passion he has for this place is real and you saw that the first couple of days,” Kiesau said. “He’s grown up here, he’s played here, his family’s here, he’s got so many ties here. And I think that’ll kind of drive him to want to do well. It’s pretty unique and special to see that.”

One guy who has seen it and known it for quite a while is KU offensive coordinator John Reagan, who worked with Bowen on Mark Mangino’s staff and has known the 42-year-old KU coach for a long time.

John Reagan on working with Clint Bowen

Kansas University football offensive coordinator John Reagan knows Clint Bowen well. Tuesday afternoon Reagan talked about why he is looking forward to working in a different fashion with the new interim head coach, and what kind of changes will come with the program's new direction.

Asked how having Bowen as his direct boss had changed things the past couple of days, Reagan cracked a smile and quipped, “I guess he could tell me what to do if he wanted to.”

Reagan continued: “We do have a very good relationship. We’ve been friends for a long time, both on a professional and personal level. We were both a part of doing something here previously and winning some games and, right now, it’s just a matter of working together and making sure we’re all headed in the same direction.”

That’s the ultimate goal for Bowen, who approached his first regular, weekly news conference with the media with a business-like attitude and showed no signs of any lingering stars in his eyes from the honeymoon period of being handed what is without question his dream job.

“Everything from right now, on through this weekend, is all about preparing to head to Morgantown (West Virginia) to win a football game,” Bowen said. “That’s our players’ focus, that’s our coaches’ focus, that’s the entire program’s focus from this point forward.”

Open competition

Bowen said Tuesday that he opened up some spots to competition during the past few days and did so with the idea that everything that’s achieved in the program from here on out is earned. Most of that sounds like it will show up on special teams, where Bowen said several first-string guys and a handful of young guys would get an opportunity to prove they should be out there.

“Sometimes players get labeled a certain way, put in a certain role that’s sometimes fair or not fair,” Bowen said. “So I made the comment that we are gonna start clean. Everything’s gonna be earned.”

Special teams lift

Bowen said he expected the special teams portions of practices from here on out to have a different look and feel now that Louie Matsakis, who was promoted from director of player personnel to special teams coordinator, had been promoted.

“I think they’re going to be blown away by what he has prepared to show them,” Bowen said. “Our special teams starting (Tuesday) will be drastically different because of his ideas and his input. We’re not going to be more than a minute into special teams, and think the kids are going to understand there’s a difference.”

Good luck, John

Bowen has talked a lot about how this program, under his watch, would be run by a group of coaches sharing input and working together to try to put the Jayhawks in the best position to succeed.

Nowhere will that be more clear than on offense, where Bowen admitted he had not paid much attention to this year or in recent seasons.

“Any amount of time I would have spent has been more than I did in the past, because I really never gave it one second of a thought,” Bowen joked. “But yes, I went down and visited with John, and I have no ideas for him.”

Reagan’s OK with that.

“The ultimate goal is always to put the players in position to make plays,” Reagan said. “I don’t think you’ll see wholesale changes. We’re not changing the school colors or anything. But Clint has such a passion for this place and has been here through the good and the bad and the ugly and the good.”

Depth chart tweaks

One major change showed up on the depth chart this week. Junior tackle Larry Mazyck was moved into the starting role at right tackle in place of Damon Martin. Martin, who has dealt with illness for the past couple of weeks, was not on the depth chart. Red-shirt freshman Joe Gibson, who also has battled illness, was back in his spot with the second team behind starting center Keyon Haughton.


kellerman411 7 years, 10 months ago

Oh come on, Cramer. This feels good and you know it.

Chris Bailey 7 years, 10 months ago

Geez. Enough is enough. Tait addressed it and so did Zinger. Yeah he got a bad deal. He got screwed. We all know Perkins was a 9rick and that he took Mangino out because he didn't like him. Most of us hate it and feel your pain but the drum is worn out man. He's done at Kansas. Move on. I enjoy reading a lot of your stuff so let's focus on what we can change and not what we can't. You can referrence Mangino or compare just give up on him coming back.

Mark McCammond 7 years, 10 months ago

He may never come back...,but he should get a call

Michael Maris 7 years, 10 months ago

What else was Ron Powlus going to say? I don't believe that Powlus has one fan in favor of him being retained as the QB Coach. I could be wrong. But, my instincts tell me that I'm not.

Chris Bailey 7 years, 10 months ago

I was going to say the exact same thing! Powlus may be a big reason why our quarterbacks have done so poorly. Has anyone actually stop and thought that maybe he's our problem? That he is the reason that position has yet to find/develop a QB in the last 3 seasons. He should not be retained period. I'm shocked this hasn't been addressed before. But I agree 100%!

David A. Smith 7 years, 10 months ago

Honestly, I don't think we can say that Powlus has had the "raw material" to work with, or in the event that Crist could have been that, that the O-line was sufficient enough to warrant a fair eval there either. I'm a huge fan of Bowen, and I'm glad that he is getting this shot. But, I don't like the circumstances. 2 years and 4 games is not enough time to be evaluated by....period. Those that are booing are largely those that didn't like the hire initially anyway. So now, to call for the head of another coach- one that didn't have alot of talent to work with, doesn't seem right either. The closest thing he has had is the current QB, and he is still very young and learning a new system to boot. Lets be a little more fair minded. When Cozart has had sufficient time to show how he is or is not developing, then lets talk a possible replacement for Powlus. But, that time has not happened yet. Powlus can't make up for poor O-line play, and can't be blamed for a QB that didn't develop at 3 different schools.

Chris Bailey 7 years, 10 months ago

I''m not sure how you can overlook his abilities. Have you watched his career? I don't think he's done anything great. It needs to be looked at either way. And I don't expect it during the season but better be after for sure!

kellerman411 7 years, 10 months ago

I've been critical of Bowen's position coaching but as a head coach, the introductory press conference absolutely won me over. Bowen is a better communicator than I thought and he has love for this program coming out of his eyeballs. If we get disciplined and competitive play under Bowen, let's just hire him.. Is he really going to be worse than Gill or Weis?

Is it possible that what we've needed has been right under our nose this whole time? This would be an unbelievable fairy tale if this works out. It was so refreshing to hear him talk about all the things that I've always known to be true. This IS a sleeping giant. Don't confuse KU's record with the amount of resources we have. Our facilities are GREAT and our booster support is nothing short of amazing when you consider our recent record. We have a BCS victory in the last 10 years and we have some good representation in the NFL. This IS a destination job, I've always believed that.

He doesn't have a handful of superbowl rings to flash at recruits but I believe if the right kids hear the way he talks about this program, they will get on board.

I hope Zenger doesn't hire someone in the next couple weeks, that would be a bummer. Let's give Bowen 6 weeks or so to see how the kids play under him. My fingers are crossed that he is the one that turns it around.

Brad Farha 7 years, 10 months ago

I think it's a fair bet that Zenger won't do anything until the season is over and he's evaluated Bowen's performance.

kellerman411 7 years, 10 months ago

Maybe.. Then again, one of the benefits of firing your coach early is that you get your pick of available candidates. By seasons end, for example, jobs like Michigan will be open. Then all of a sudden the Kansas job doesn't look that great. By letting Bowen play out the season, you run that risk.

David A. Smith 7 years, 10 months ago

High pressure jobs like tOSU, ND, Michigan, Texas, etc...have luster until you dig deeper to see the hate folks have for you when you lose 3 or 4 games in a season (or one big rivalry game). A 7 or 8 win season at those schools is grounds for dismissal in many cases. At Nebraska, 9 wins wasn't enough for Frank Solich to keep his job.

kellerman411 7 years, 10 months ago

That's all well and good and I hear you, but what job are they really going to pick? Texas, Michigan or Kansas? One of these things is not like the other and I'll tell you why. Salary. I love Kansas and if I was a coach I would pick this place over the damn New York Giants but to an outsider, money talks.

Dale Rogers 7 years, 10 months ago

I agree. I suspect Zenger feels Bowen might be the right guy and has given him this opportunity to prove it. I think it's Bowen's to lose. As it should be. I, too, am a very big Bowen fan.

kellerman411 7 years, 10 months ago

As long as Clint Bowen is the head coach, he should be referred to as "The Mayor". Haha he even looks a little bit like Freddy Hoiberg. Seriously though, it just feels good having the home town kid running the show. More importantly, let's see how it feels in a few weeks!

Randy Signor 7 years, 10 months ago

Never met Clint but went to high school with his daddy, Charlie, who some of you might remember, was featured in a Life magazine article about the Lawrence Lions in 1960.

Brandon Mahon 7 years, 10 months ago

Does anyone have access to JAYHAWKSLANT because there was an article today about them asking Warriner about the KU job opening

John Fitzgerald 7 years, 10 months ago

I was wondering that too. Probably the typical "I'm focused on my team now and nothing else" type of talk though.

John Fitzgerald 7 years, 10 months ago

If Bowen gets 3 Big 12 wins, one of them being on the road, I say hire him. Don't throw a huge contract at him at first. Let him earn that. Save that money to hire a guy like Beaty to come in and help recruit. Bowen has HC written all over him, and if he works out, we may not need another coach until he retires. Excited to see how much more energy we play with on Saturday.

Jonathan Allison 7 years, 10 months ago

On November 15 we play TCU at home. It's our last "winnable" game of the season. If Zenger don't know for sure by then that he's going to hire Bowen then that's the day he starts the official interview process. Bowen still has a chance to work a miracle in Norman or Manhattan and win the job, but we should pretty much know by the 15th if we're ready to hire Bowen or if we need to start bringing in outside candidates.

Waylon Cook 7 years, 10 months ago

oddly TCU has been bad at home. Too bad we didn't get them in DFW break the road streak beat a solid team.

Bob Bailey 7 years, 10 months ago

Bowen is a great Jayhawk and an ever supporting family. My fear is that he Bowen doesn't know how or what to teach!

Tackling. There are no substitutes for Elmer Shcaake's Rules of Tackling. They were expounded in 1941 in LMHS, in Lawrence. For the last 4 years they have relied on talent, not technique. They have gotten dragged by the runner and helpers for 4 - 8 yards after the "tackle". And, depending on the skill of the runner, they will miss the tackle 30 - 60% of the time. The TV shots are there to prove it.

Coverage. Too much 'Don't let them get behind you, they'll score every time'. That guarantees they WILL score, completing pass every 8 - 10 yards. That is plain BS. Bowen is better this year; probably learned from Campo the last couple of years. And they use way too much Zone Defense -- nobody in the passing lane. You have to be in the receivers face -- - requiring big, fast, talented DB's who are properly assigned and taught their duties. And the Defensive Scheme should be 'The Notre Dame Defense', basically man to man a la Self's Defense. And apparently no one can count i.e. how many ball carriers are there? Six is the only answer! So why do they go uncovered? It is unlikely that even Campo knows 'The Notre Dame Defense' being around 8-10 yrs old when Parseghian introduced it to thwart Bear Bryant's AL Option Offense.

Offense. Does anyone ever use passing drills -- if so frivolous. The QB coach is a total waste. It should have corrected the over throw error the last two years. And it should help train the QB mind to spot open receivers.

Good Luck, Bowen. Unfortunately the materials and coaches don't seem to be available to you. Better luck next year if you can hire and use the right coaches.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.