Sunday, February 15, 2015

Beaty refines KU recruiting pitch

Kansas University football coach David Beaty talks with media members about his committed recruits on signing day, Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015 in Mrkonic Auditorium.

Kansas University football coach David Beaty talks with media members about his committed recruits on signing day, Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015 in Mrkonic Auditorium.


It may be just a subtle shift, but the focus of Kansas University football recruiting appears to have changed.

During the past five years, previous KU coaching staffs leaned on immediate playing time as their main selling point to entice recruits to sign with Kansas.

Not David Beaty.

Sure, the chance to play right away for a team in desperate need of quality depth and additional talent was part of his pitch. But Beaty, who officially was hired on Dec. 5 and had just six weeks to put together his first recruiting class, zeroed in on an aspect of football that’s been tough to come by around here since Mark Mangino and Todd Reesing left town.

“One of the things we talked about is, this is going to be fun,” said Beaty with eyebrows raised and a half smile highlighting his face. “Football is too hard not to be a little bit fun. We’re going to be an up-tempo, high-flying, throwing-that-ball-around offense. It’s going to be exciting to play in, an explosive attack.”

And that’s not just on offense either.

“Same thing defensively,” Beaty said. “We’re going to be a high-pressure, get-after-you, get-up-field, try-to-create-turnovers (defense). Those are things that we want to play in.”

That’s not to say any of it will be easy. By all accounts, both from current players and those who played for him in the past, new KU strength coach Je’Ney Jackson will be testing the Jayhawks in ways they did not know was possible during the coming months. And Beaty, whose Texas twang and energetic personality cause him to come off as one of those good ol’ boys, also knows how to get down to business when the time calls for it.

“What I do in the weight room has to mirror what they want to do on the field,” Jackson said last month. “If we’re going to go fast, I can’t have them moving slow in the weight room. They have to get used to being at a high tempo.”

Beaty admitted that the opportunity to make an immediate impact on a program in the Big 12 Conference was important to several of the guys he and his staff went after on the recruiting trail. That was especially true of the guys from Texas. But while that chance may have been the thing that inspired the prospects to open the door or answer the call, it was what came after it that convinced many of them to sign with the Jayhawks on national signing day earlier this month.

“When those guys in that room sit (in front of those recruits) and they talk, I was in awe,” said Beaty of his coaching staff. “When they talked about their systems, how they were going to bring those systems to KU, what their visions were; man, I was ready to sign. Those guys did a great job. Part of that vision is (a recruit) being able to see it. They were able to paint it for them.”

Walk-ons rising

While Beaty’s first class of scholarship players included just 24 new Jayhawks, the list of high school athletes interested in giving it a go in Lawrence was nearly twice as large as that number. Because of that, Beaty was able to encourage several of those uncommitted guys — particularly the in-state guys — to commit to Kansas as preferred walk-ons.

Back in December, when Beaty first met with the local media and talked about his plans for Kansas, developing a strong walk-on program was something he emphasized. In the weeks that followed, rather than focusing solely on the open spots in the signing class, Beaty continued to mine KU’s recruiting hubs for untapped potential and came away pretty pleased with what he found.

“It’s coming along great,” Beaty said of the walk-on program. “That’s a real advantage for guys that might be just a hair off of what they want to be to be a Division I player. Like I said before, there’s more than 25 guys in the state of Kansas and throughout the country that want to come to Kansas and play Division I football. We have an opportunity that’s a little bit unique right now that some people look at as a disadvantage. I look at it as an opportunity for some guys. I can’t speak about anyone or anything other than the guys that we signed, but I’m very pleased with the progress of that program.”

Beaty and the rest of the KU coaching staff are not allowed to talk about any unsigned players until they are enrolled on campus. Because of that, it’s hard to know exactly who the future walk-ons will be until they are on the roster and working with the team. Even then, their spot is not set in stone, as several former walk-ons have been added to or dropped from the roster throughout the spring, summer and fall.


Jim Stauffer 7 years, 9 months ago

The comment about how the defense will play certainly matches his desire for length and speed. Guys with long arms and speed can both get to the QB but can also defend the pass.

Ashwin Rao 7 years, 9 months ago

I wondered about the statement too, but for a different reason. We now have coaches in all positions except Defense, that have managed aggressive systems before. I wonder how Bowen will change his approach to meet the new expectation.

Bill French 7 years, 9 months ago


Ed Brown 7 years, 9 months ago

Bill, I respectfully have to take exception with your comment. If we ever expect to play with the big dogs, we can't accept mediocrity or be patient. We have done that far too long. You will never hit a home run if you are only a base hit player.

We have a high energy coach now for that reason. Yes, it's a major rebuild without big names, but look back on Roy Williams first year. We were on probation and had 7 players. We came out smoking and had a decent year, with each one thereafter even better.


Robert Brown 7 years, 9 months ago

So what are your expectations? Most experts would agree with Bill that a coach need 4-5 years to turn around a program. Basketball is a lot easier to turnaround than football. A couple of good players can make a huge difference in basketball.

Jonathan Allison 7 years, 9 months ago

You have an interesting take on the rebuild job and I like your boldness. But calling Roy Williams' job "rebuilding" is a little false. The program already had branding and national interest coming off of a national championship. Sure, Roy had to restock the shelves a little bit, but our football program is not in a comparable situation.

It will take patience on our part. We're likely in for another 3 win season at best next year, but then real progress can be made moving forward.

We may not need a home run hitter. Like in the movie Moneyball. We just need guys who can get on base and advance the runners.

Larry Jackson 7 years, 9 months ago

Having a coach with enough respect for his team to not refer to them as "crap" is a major step in the right direction.

Michael Lorraine 7 years, 9 months ago

I'll be happy if they play 4 quarters. Saw way too many games that were over shortly after the start of the second half.

Aaron Paisley 7 years, 9 months ago

If Beaty wants to play aggressive defense that goes for turnovers, there could be a lot of blow outs early on if the defense doesn't succeed at creating those turnovers. The offense will struggle this year unless a couple of the new WR's are ready to make an immediate impact.

Beat has a solid philosophy and plan on turning KU around, but it will take time. KU has a roster full of kids to run a pro style offense and have been trained and developed to run that offense. It will take time to get the players in to run a up tempo air raid offense. These next two years will be especially rough because of the depth issues of the program.

Bob Bailey 7 years, 9 months ago

Hey, if we had a basically good Defense, we could have turned around last year!

  1. Sound tackling! How many guys does it take to put a runner on the ground? One if he knows what he is doing! We couldn't do it with three. Heeney in the TCU game was a prime example. On the runback, Heeney was our last chance, flung his body at the runner. That approach will fail 30-85% of the time, depending on the skill of the RUNNER. Heeney was picking himself off the field, while the runner celebrated a touch down!

The first man to the runner should put him on the ground. The second man should fight for the ball, expecting to get it loose. Second man should push it in the direction of the third man who should grab it, hold it close, and run for OUR goal line, shouting "Block! Block!" No block-in-the-back permitted. Ask Stowers.

  1. Coverage. The only justification for Zone 2, is the last play of the game, or the first half, when the opponent has to throw a 'Hail Mary'. Most of the time it fails then. LSU or MS St had the Defense backs lined up on the goal line. The opponent caught the pass about the 15 yd line. Ran it in and NONE of the Defensive Backs moved. Have you heard that if the ball doesn't get to the Receiver, he won't catch it! Not really enough change of Philosophy. The DB should be taught to intercept and run it back for a score! The business of "don't let them score on you" guarantees that they will! May take a few more plays, but that Philosophy is pure BS.

  2. DC should at least learn to COUNT. How many eligible carriers/receivers on the enemy?? SIX! No pass defense should ever be called if all 6 aren't accounted for!

4, Position. At least the DC should know where the 1st and ten renewal line is! Most of the time, they were positioned behind the line. All the Receiver had to do was run up in front of them, turn around, catch the ball, and fall to the ground.

  1. Defensive Scheme. The DC should devise a Scheme that makes sense, considering all of the above, and maybe a few more as well. They have not for at least 4 years.

Given the above, the general aim of Defense should be:

                        Defense should score more points than the enemy Offense!

                        At the VERY LEAST,  Three downs and out!

Special Teams should understand they have to win every play! They're only in for that play, give it your ALL!

Bob Bailey 7 years, 9 months ago

The program changed the numbers -- not correctable.

Randy Bombardier 7 years, 9 months ago

Good news. I understood what Weis was trying to do but just cringed whrn he referred to his own team as a pile of crap. I think telling the media and everyone else that you really like your team will bring about better play. I'm really proud of the way we played okie state as nd TCU last year. I'm going to enjoy watching a team that has confidence.

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