Sunday, December 20, 2015

KU football adds to coaching staff, picks up veteran WR coach Jason Phillips

Kansas head coach David Beaty screams at his players during the third quarter on Saturday, Sept. 5, 2015 at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas head coach David Beaty screams at his players during the third quarter on Saturday, Sept. 5, 2015 at Memorial Stadium.


The Journal-World learned Sunday that the Kansas University football program was poised to hire Jason Phillips to join the KU coaching staff as a wide receivers coach.

KU coach David Beaty later confirmed the hire in a news release.

Phillips, who recently served as the offensive coordinator at SMU under June Jones, will work alongside KU receivers coach Klint Kubiak and the two will be used as inside and outside receivers coaches, much the same way Texas A & M did when Beaty was the receivers coach there under Kevin Sumlin.

"Typically, in the air raid offense there are two coaches working with wide receivers," Beaty said in the release. "With Jason joining our staff, he and Klint can join forces to provide us a great pair of coaches working with our players at those positions."

Before running the offense at SMU, Phillips was the offensive coordinator, wide receivers coach, and recruiting coordinator at Houston.

He was the first wide receivers coach current Baylor coach Art Briles hired at Houston and coached for Briles from 2003-06.

Both Phillips and Kubiak have extensive knowledge of the Air Raid offense being installed at KU by Beaty and offensive coordinator Rob Likens.

Phillips also fits the KU staff well because of his recruiting ties to the Dallas and Houston areas. During his three most recent seasons at SMU, he landed a dozen three-star recruits and one four-star athlete.

"Jason's reputation for developing wide receivers speaks for itself," Beaty said. "Everywhere he has been he has pushed his players to excel at the highest level. I have learned a great deal from him about wide receiver play and I am very excited that he is now a part of our staff because of his knowledge of the game, not to mention what he can do for us in recruiting. He has been a player on the national recruiting scene throughout his career and he has very strong ties in the state of Texas, in particular, the cities of Houston and Dallas."

In 2013, at SMU, Phillips coached two receivers — Darius Joseph and Jeremy Johnson — to 1,000-yard seasons and the Mustangs finished in the Top 10 nationally.

To make room for Phillips, Beaty announced that he was shifting special teams/tight ends coach Gary Hyman to an off-the-field role as a special teams analyst.

"Gary will continue to be a very valuable member of our staff, it will just be in a different role," Beaty said. "Gary will be a huge asset to our special teams, he will just be impacting them from an off-the-field position. With the addition of Jason and carving out this role for Gary, I am ecstatic with how we have been able to expand our staff."


Jay Hawkinson 6 years, 6 months ago

What exactly will happen with special teams? Will one of the other assistants take over as coordinator (I think Kevin Kane had that role at NIU)? Or will Hyman essentially continue in that role? I know a team can only use 9 assistants in recruiting, but what are the limits for on-field coaching?

Phillips seems like a nice addition. Should we be reading anything into Beaty's evaluation of Rob Likens here? I know the talent and experience were lacking, but I was surprised that we continued to struggle to break 20 pts. This could give Beaty the flexibility to do a mid-season shake up of play calling if Likens can't get things going next year. Either way, making the staff structure more similar to other air raid teams and adding a guy who can recruit Dallas are probably good things.

Matt Tait 6 years, 6 months ago

I don't think this is about anything more than adding another solid recruiter who happens to be very familiar with the offensive system KU wants to run. Phillips should help in both areas.

As for special teams, Hyman will still continue to be very involved with that and I think you'll see other coaches carry a little more weight, which is pretty common on other staffs. In fact, even last year, when Hyman was the special teams coordinator, just about every other assistant coach helped coach and drill during the special teams portions of practice. So it won't be a major change there by any means.

Joe Ross 6 years, 6 months ago

There needs to be more diversity of routes in the passing game. Quick outs to the flat were so common that if youre a defensive coordinator facing Kansas last year, your job was really easy in preparing for the Jayhawks' passing attack. Of course to do that, Willis needs more protection. But if you beef up the line or make the existing players both stronger and more technically sound on their blocking schemes and add Cozart to the receiving corps, then Willis can open up the playbook a little wider. Hopefully this coach will emphasize these things to stretch the defense because when it comes to the offensive play calling, an effective running game and a potent passing game are like one hand washing the other.

Bobby Oviemena Birhiray 6 years, 6 months ago

Willis? I need to see great strides for Willis to see the field. Cumming was the only QB on the roster

Gerry Butler 6 years, 6 months ago

Ya Willis, your absolutely right Joe, uhh Bobby you need to open your eyes, Willis had to run for his life half the time last year, he is definitely the future QB at Ku. ifCummings is back they will play him at another spot was even discussed during the year. You get Willis some better line protection and he will have a really good year, OH believe me he WILL SEE THE FIELD ALOT. even with him having to run for his life he still sit the freshman record for passing yardage, cannon of an arm and NO Cummings was not the only QB but thanks for your input

Joe Ross 6 years, 6 months ago

He was only a freshman. He didnt have a line. His receivers are not the greatest.

Hard to judge a guy in those circumstances.

Joe Ross 6 years, 6 months ago

Your comment beat mine by one minute Gerry.

Aaron Paisley 6 years, 6 months ago

Michael Cummings will probably not be at KU next year. He will likely be a graduate transfer, and that's only if his medical redshirt is granted.

Aaron Paisley 6 years, 6 months ago

OLine is why KU couldn't run deeper route combos. When you barely have time to throw, quick routes like slants, quick outs/ins, and screens are what you have to do. As the OLine develops, we'll see more intermediate and deep route combos that really spread the field and open the field up more for the running game. At the end of the year, KU was starting 3 freshmen on the OLine and it showed.

Bill Kackley 6 years, 6 months ago

What's the story with Cummings, did he get a redshirt or not? Will he be able to play next year?

Matt Tait 6 years, 6 months ago

No official word yet, but everything I've heard says there's a less than 1% chance Cummings will play next year.

Dave Roberts 6 years, 6 months ago

Another great move by Beaty. Phillips has an outstanding record as a WR coach, he's an expert in his overall knowledge of our offense, and he's a whiz at recruiting. Great hire and welcome aboard, Coach Phillips!

Brett McCabe 6 years, 6 months ago

The move seems to make a lot of sense. Not too many first-time head coaches keep their staffs perfectly intact in year two, there was bound to be a bit of shuffling, especially for an 0-12 team.

On paper, this move seems to check all of the boxes.

Humpy Helsel 6 years, 6 months ago

I look forward to the Air Raid offense to more than just in name. Air Raid, code for 7 on 7, is our only play, really. Too slow and program too down the recruit enough big heavies up front to power our way to success. Fast, quick, players, who can throw and catch. It is what all the kids want to play. Dang, if we could just find that QB who not only can throw, but run, also. I think they hoped Cozart could be that guy, but has never materialized, at least not yet. I think they liked what they saw in Willis, but I get the sense the job isn't his by default, and he has to earn it again next year. Makes sense to me with the program in its current state. Saw Houston play up close and personal this year against Tulsa and it was impressive. You could cover the receivers, you could stop the run, and you could contain the QB, but you couldn't do all three. And if you even do two of three well, it opens everything else up. TCU does the same thing with Boykin. I really think these guys know what they are doing, but we are going to have to be patient which isn't easy after 0-12. One nice thing, our basketball and volleyball programs have been salve for the KU faithful.

Ashwin Rao 6 years, 6 months ago

Cozart is not accurate enough in game time situation. He shouldn't not even be considered next year. We should evaluate other options. Cozart can be a great WR because he knows the routes etc.

Joe Ross 6 years, 6 months ago

Agreed. The only way Cozart should be under center is if we have attrition at QB like we did this year. We shouldnt try to fit a square peg into a round hole. Last resort!

Andy Fischer 6 years, 6 months ago

It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for 'em

Darin Bradley 6 years, 6 months ago

Matt, any chance we talk with the QBs who recently left A&M? Has Beaty mentioned anything?

Matt Tait 6 years, 6 months ago

I'm sure they've at least explored the chances on some level, but I haven't heard anything serious about it and I'm not sure how easy it would be to land one of them... I'll keep my ears open and be sure to letcha know if I hear anything.

Ken Schmidt 6 years, 6 months ago

Quite enjoyable after just finishing an '0fer season, and bowls haven't even started, that there is enough anticipation for us to be talking about KU football this early. Here's to not looking forward to another long off-season in hopes for more steps next year.

Vernon Riggs 6 years, 6 months ago

Early leaders - Hill to OU and Murray to Texas Tech

Michael Maris 6 years, 6 months ago

This news was announced late last week. So, I doubt that Coach Beaty & Staff will be attempting to get one of the aTm QB's to transfer to Kansas.

This QB's WR is coming along with him to Kansas (as well), according to other tweets that I seen over the weekend.

Joe Ross 6 years, 6 months ago

EXCELLENT find, Michael! Outstanding.

Michael Sillman 6 years, 6 months ago

Next year I'd to see more originality on first down calls.

This year it always seemed like first down was a running play that got stuffed. Then Willis was eventually faced by a 3rd and long with a whole bunch of wild eyed defensive guys looking for a sack.

There is almost always less pressure coming on first downs. Let the kid open it down field with that gun arm on first downs.

Suzi Marshall 6 years, 6 months ago

Houston's North Shore HS, Armstrong's school, won the Texas 6A, div 1 championship behind MVP Miciah Long, a Kansas signee! Long, who rushed for about 90 yards and 6-12 passing, is a great football player who plans to play LB at KU.

Really happy to see KU picking up the North Shore football paying of Armstrong and Long!!!!

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