Friday, January 16, 2015

KU football coaches focus on recruiting


With the Kansas University football coaching staff fully in place, head coach David Beaty and company wasted no time in getting out on the road in an attempt to fill the final few spots in the 2015 recruiting class.

With the eight mid-year signees expected to arrive on campus next week and 11 others in the class orally committed, KU has six spots remaining in the current crop of newcomers. A source with knowledge of KU’s recruiting said the staff likely would focus its final push on offensive linemen, linebackers, a wide receiver, a defensive back and possibly a quarterback.

“We gotta finish up this recruiting class because that’s the foundation for the future, so that’s all we’ve been doing,” offensive coordinator Rob Likens said Wednesday. “Me and Klint have been holed up in the office for three straight days just watching players — guys that we already have committed and other guys too. We have a couple more scholarships to give out and we’re just trying to find the best guys that are available right now.”

Although mining the talent in Texas figures to be a big area of emphasis for this new staff, both now and in the future, new linebackers coach Kevin Kane, who played the position at KU from 2002-05, said landing athletes closer to campus would be a priority, as well.

“We’ve had a lot of good players here in the past from Kansas City and we can still get a lot of good ones,” said Kane, a Kansas City native, who played high school ball at Rockhurst High. “Whether it be on scholarship or in our walk-on program, the biggest part is to keep the local guys local. The local guys are what make this program go.”

Start your engines

Strength and conditioning director Je’Ney Jackson, who previously coached at Kansas in the weight room and in the defensive backfield, was asked on Wednesday to identify one area he thought would take on the greatest importance as he prepared to train the Kansas football players.

“What I do in the weight room has to mirror what they want to do on the field,” Jackson said. “If we’re going to go fast (on the field) I can’t have them moving slow in the weight room. They have to get used to being at a high, high tempo and that’s what we’ll do. They have to be in great shape if we’re going to move quickly and we’re going to do things quickly, so they better be in great shape.”

Back atcha, coach

Beaty has been highly complimentary of his coaching staff before, during and after they were officially hired. On Wednesday, several members of that staff flipped the script and threw praise at Beaty.

“His vision and how he wants to do it and the staff he’s put together are the big reasons I wanted to come here,” offensive line coach Zach Yenser said of Beaty. “He bleeds blue and crimson. He absolutely loves this place. And when I talked to him after he took the job here, he just said that this is a special place and we can get it back to where it was when they won the Orange Bowl.”

Beyond that, Yenser said Beaty’s ability to create a team-first environment also had impressed him.

“He’s in it for us, as assistant coaches, which is cool,” Yenser said. “I’m not saying guys I’ve worked for in the past aren’t, but he’s a giver and you want to work really hard for that guy.”


Kevin Robert Fest 7 years, 8 months ago

For the first time in a long time I'm really hopefull to see what can happen. With Gil and Weis I never felt they actually "belonged" at KU. Beaty has a clear vision he's been here before and has the passion along with Bower and other KU coaches that have been here before to turn this around. Will this translate into wins? I hope so. But I'm more interested in seeing the progress they can make in the next couple years. Its going to take awhile to undo the damage Gil and Weis did here especially with local recruiting ties.

Andy Tweedy 7 years, 8 months ago

So help me out. I'm reading a lot about how great Jackson could be for the program, and I'm hopeful that's true. But strength and conditioning was in pretty good hands with the previous regime, was it not? I guess this is one of the few areas where I didn't feel we needed an upgrade, just a continuation. Am I wrong about this?

Jim Stauffer 7 years, 8 months ago

Hard to criticize Holsopple's work with the roster. He inherited a major problem and turned it around. Probably more a case of Beaty needing someone he personally knows and trusts to do what he requests with the bodies of these guys.

More than likely nothing negative about Holsopple. Just simply a case of a change in staffs. Unfortunately for these guys, sometimes it has nothing to do with the job you did but just the fact you aren't this coach's guy.

Bill French 7 years, 8 months ago


Michael Lorraine 7 years, 8 months ago

Not a single reason why Kansas cannot build a winning football program. If we continue to lose then we are not trying hard enough.

Aaron Paisley 7 years, 8 months ago

Obviously this isn't the season to judge the recruiting strength of this staff because Weis' staff did the heavy lifting this year. Keeping Bowen and Mitchell was big for keeping this class together since Mitchell is the recruiting coordinator and Bowen the face of the program for most of the season.

Personally, I'd like to see next season's recruiting breakdown like this.

In the KC/Kansas region, I'd focus heavily on OLine and defensive front seven players. The small town farm boys are where you're going to find a lot of quality linemen and that's how places like Nebraska and Wisconsin have traditionally built their lines.

In Texas, I would focus heavily on skill position players. Because the spread offense (which the air raid is a type of) developed in Texas and a lot of high schools run variations of the spread. This means that a lot of the skill position players are going to be familiar with the concepts and it's easier to find the kids being passed over locally because they don't have the right measurables. KU's not going to land many Corey Avery or Darius Crawley's out of Texas (guys also being targeted by Texas and other elite programs).

In Oklahoma and JuCo recruiting, find whatever you can get to fill in the gaps with the other 2 areas of recruiting.

I would dedicate approximately 1/3 of each class to Kansas kids and 1/3 to Texas kids, and the last 1/3 to Oklahoma and JuCo players.

Dale Rogers 7 years, 8 months ago

What does it take to actually get the two days of no surveys? I get the promise but not the follow through. Yes, cookies for this site are enabled. Is there another site for which I need to enable cookies?

Patrick Bryant 7 years, 8 months ago

Please recruit a couple kids from western Ks even if it's just walk-on's. We can't let KSU get the good recruits west of Topeka every year. I'm originally from western Ks and I know there are lots of KU fans out there and this could help fill some of those empty seats in Memorial Stadium. Don't think for a minute that those boys from Smith Center, Abilene, etc. weren't pivotal in KSU's rebuilding. Their stadium was as empty as ours back in the day and when those small towns started flooding their stadium, KSU FB became an event and the rest is history. We also can't let OU, OSU, etc. pluck our kids out of our state (Wichita area). Good luck coaches! We're all backing you and the HAWK's!

Dirk Medema 7 years, 8 months ago

What 8+ players do we have on the DL that we aren't recruiting more DL?

We obviously have a depleted roster, and it will take years to rebuild, but I'm confused that we aren't recruiting anyone else. We do 2 or 3 already committed, but it would seem to me that we need at least 1 more vs. spending at least a 2nd QB (or third depending upon the position of at least 1 athlete) to add to the logjam of QB already on the roster.

Aaron Paisley 7 years, 8 months ago

There's one thing that can speed up the rebuilding process, or at least help mask the lack of depth while the depth is built. That is a QB who is effective in running the air raid offense because a QB who can effectively run the offense can put a lot of points on the board and give the team a chance even with a crappy defense. How many times over the last 3 years has the complaint, if only KU had gotten some production from the offense, they could've won a few more games.

If Beaty is looking for another QB, he probably doesn't like any of the options after Cummings include Ryan Willis. The air raid isn't a difficult offense to grasp, but it does require a certain skill set which is being able to read the QB, have an accurate arm (doesn't have to be a rocket arm), a should made of steel because the QB is probably going to attempt at least 500 passes in a season, and have the mobility to take off with the ball when there's a lot of green in front of him.

Get a QB who can score points after Cummings is gone, and it will help take pressure off the defense while depth on that side of the ball is built.

Dirk Medema 7 years, 8 months ago

Good word on the QB topic, but still doesn't change my confusion with not pursing another DL. We don't have much in this class and we lost some core players there. Are we really that much deeper at DL vs OL that were still pursuing more of the latter even tho we already have twice as many as the former.

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