Friday, January 16, 2015
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.”