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Thursday, February 11, 2016

Keegan

Tom Keegan: Luck eluding Kansas football

Kansas football coach David Beaty holds a news conference Wednesday, Feb. 3, to discuss the Jayhawks' 2016 class of signees.

Kansas football coach David Beaty holds a news conference Wednesday, Feb. 3, to discuss the Jayhawks' 2016 class of signees.

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Long overdue for some good fortune, Kansas University’s football program just can’t catch a break.

After an 0-12 record in his first season, KU head coach David Beaty needed to score a significant victory of some sort. Landing a hometown prospect courted by multiple college football powerhouses would have done the job, but it didn’t happen. Nothing that has happened on that front since has made it any easier to weather.

Oklahoma defensive-line coach Diron Reynolds locked up Lawrence High four-star prospect Amani Bledsoe, and less than a week after Bledsoe signed, Reynolds bolted for Stanford.

Kansas had hoped it could convince Bledsoe to play defensive end for assistant coach Calvin Thibodeaux, a hard-working, knowledgeable instructor.

Prediction: Bledsoe very well could play for Thibodeaux, after all. Think about it: On the one-year anniversary of losing D-line coach Jerry Montgomery to the Green Bay Packers, Sooners coach Bob Stoops lost Reynolds to Stanford. Stoops hates staff turnover. He needs to stop that door in the D-line coach’s office from spinning.

Every coach has a dream job, a dream boss, a dream address. Thibodeaux played for Stoops and earned All-Big 12 honors in 2005. Thibodeaux, who came to Kansas from Tulsa, is a proven recruiter, teacher, worker.

Beaty’s defensive staff already was raided when popular linebackers coach Kevin Kane, a former KU player, left for a promotion to become Northern Illinois’ defensive coordinator.

For reasons beyond the makeup of the Kansas coaching staff, the chances of Kansas ending its losing streak of 38 consecutive games played outside of Lawrence any time soon look more remote than ever.

Conference realignment hurt Kansas on multiple fronts. It made the schedule tougher and indirectly toughened the recruiting road. When the Big 12 had 12 teams, Kansas played five teams from the North, three from the more stacked South. Now it’s all nine fellow conference members every year, and three, instead of four, nonconference games.

The Texas ties of Beaty and cornerbacks coach/co-defensive coordinator Kenny Perry will pay off, but probably not as richly as if realignment never had happened. The fear that Texas A&M;’s departure to the SEC would open up Texas for other schools in recruiting has been realized. Per Rivals.com rankings, 21 of the top 52 recruits from the Texas Class of 2016 went to SEC schools, 23 to Big 12 schools. The trickle-down impact on Kansas won’t be a positive one.

Comments

Dirk Medema 6 years, 3 months ago

For a second, I thought you were going to say that Coach Thibodeaux was headed south. I guess it could still happen, but at least we have a little reprieve. It stinks all the more that Reynolds stole Amani, and then bolts within a week.

Robert Brock 6 years, 3 months ago

The KU faithful still cling to the hope that the Hawks will get well by recruiting Texas leftovers and rejects. It never ends.

Benny Armstrong 6 years, 3 months ago

I guess I would ask where you would prefer our coaching staff spend their time and effort then? Within the geographic footprint of our conference, there is 1 state that consistently produces D1 talent, and it isn't Kansas. I would go so far as to say that the "leftovers and rejects" from Texas are better than almost all prospects Kansas can produce so it makes no sense to me why we would shun these kids. Keep in mind the air raid that Beaty has adopted as our offense is played throughout Texas, and these kids get the benefit of 7 on 7 football in addition to their high school seasons which is something Kansas does not allow last I checked. This puts Texas kids way ahead of those in our own backyard in terms of development and game type reps making them potentially more ready to play when they get here. Also, as Matt has discussed elsewhere on this site, Beaty doesn't have the luxury to take anyone and everyone so they have to be very careful with how they allocate scholarships right now, so again I ask why would you focus the bulk of our collective recruiting effort anywhere but Texas?

Beaty also has a tremendous network throughout Texas that has worked to help get players up here based just on phone calls between coaching friends. He's said himself that he and his staff are working to build those same types of relationships in Kansas to lock down the state and keep players like Amani home, but it takes time and won't change overnight. Give him some time and see what he actually does before rushing to throw out another coach because they aren't doing exactly what you would do.

Sam Walters 6 years, 3 months ago

KSU, a team whose roster is predominantly made up from the state of Kansas, is 18-10 against the mighty teams of Texas since Snyder's second tenure started. Explain that. Snyder must be from Texas then, huh? Nope. He's from Missouri.

Glen Miller 6 years, 3 months ago

Do you think we are going to go into Florida, California, Ohio, Virginia, Georgia or any of those other recruiting hotbeds and do any better? I sure hope and pray that you aren't trying to hinge our hopes on recruiting the fertile state of Kansas for our talent. We do alright in Oklahoma and Missouri, but Texas is where we HAVE to recruit. Texas leftovers are better than Kansas walk ons, in most cases. We aren't OU, Bama or LSU..... we're going to have to uncover diamonds in the rough and coach them up. Texas is a good state to find that kind of talent. I'm not sure if you are just trying to rile us up or you really are that uninformed.

Joe Ross 6 years, 3 months ago

Yeah, cause I remember this one kid named Todd Reesing who was a Texas leftover and reject and he totally did NOTHING to help the Jayhawks "get well". Our first and only major bowl victory in the history of the program is a totally overrated experience, even though Reesing had a major role in leading us to it and winning it. Crazy fans.

David A. Smith 6 years, 3 months ago

Aquib Talib anyone? 2**'s, Richardson TX. 4 offers, none of which were from Texas schools. Same Orange Bowl Victory with the 'Hawks, plus a recent ring from a certain "big game."

David Robinett 6 years, 3 months ago

I'd say that can KU football was lucky when Beauty was available to be our coach. Bledsoe's committing elsewhere had nothing to do with luck good or bad.

David Robinett 6 years, 3 months ago

I'd say that KU football was lucky when Beauty was available to be our coach. Bledsoe's committing elsewhere had nothing to do with luck good or bad.

Waylon Cook 6 years, 3 months ago

How does Keegan have a job? It is mindless filler dribble.

Joe Ross 6 years, 3 months ago

Well I personally think its newsworthy to note when a member of our coaching staff may be picked off by Oklahoma. I dont call that "mindless".

And to note that Thibodeaux may end up coaching Bledsoe after all is an irony that is deserving of our attention. Not to mention that this would be the second pick-off of our coaching staff in the summer. Hard to build a program without stability in the coaching staff. Contrary to your assertion, this is a very timely article. Just sayin...

Aaron Paisley 6 years, 3 months ago

Otherside of the stability coin is that if you lose a coach, losing them because they were offered better jobs like Kane was and Thibodaux might reflect well on the HC because of his ability to evaluate coaching talent.

Joe Ross 6 years, 3 months ago

No argument that it might reflect well on the coach, but the question becomes does the benefit of the increased perception of the head coach offset the disruption in continuity of the team? Even if our intuition does not inform us that it does NOT, there is evidence in this very article about how a head coach feels about staff turnover:

"Think about it: On the one-year anniversary of losing D-line coach Jerry Montgomery to the Green Bay Packers, Sooners coach Bob Stoops lost Reynolds to Stanford. Stoops hates staff turnover. He needs to stop that door in the D-line coach’s office from spinning."

In essence, it's true enough that pick-offs from your staff is complimentary; nevertheless, it places a program under the gun to find an assistant coach(es) that is competent, fits the mentality of style of the what you are trying to accomplish, and does that so seamlessly that the disruption does not affect the team. We all have the feel that the adjustment interrupts that flow, and that players feel it more than anyone. In fact, the thrust of this article even suggests the negative considerations outweigh the positive.

Kyle Rohde 6 years, 3 months ago

This column is barely about KU and even less about Beaty's luck (or lack thereof).

Joe Ross 6 years, 3 months ago

"...this would be the second pick-off of our coaching staff in the (off-season). Hard to build a program without stability in the coaching staff."

Austin Lopez 6 years, 3 months ago

Benny are you serious? "There is only one state that consistently produced D1 talent, and it isn't Kansas". First off Texas isn't the ONLY state that consistently produces D1 talent, have you heard of Florida, California, Ohio??? Those three states can very well stand toe to toe with Texas when it comes to producing D1 talent. Second, Kansas is as big as a priority as Texas, you don't change a program around from outside in, its inside out, it starts in your own backyard, and for you to knock kansas on there talent level I think it would be nice to let you know that 25 players from the state of Kansas in the 2016 class are going to D1 schools, and out of that 25, 21 are headed to power 5 schools. Recruiting the state of Kansas is just about or more important than recruiting Texas.

Benny Armstrong 6 years, 3 months ago

Re-read what I wrote Austin...

In reference to Texas, I said that in the geographic footprint of the conference there is only one state. Last I checked, Florida, California, and Ohio don't have teams that are playing in the Big 12. Two of the reasons we recruit Texas heavily is because Beaty knows everyone down there, and because they are within the conference border which gives us the chance to sell those kids on the ability to play in front of friends and family on road trips several times a season.

And if you had kept reading my entire comment, you would have spotted that I made a point about Beaty and his staff are working on building relationships and locking down the state of Kansas, but has said that would take time to get there. Yes, there were 21 kids going to P5 schools and only one is going to KU, and a bunch are going to KState, but the vast majority of players with 4-5 stars are going to established programs that are either in the playoffs, or right on the edge like with Tennessee. It isn't realistic to expect we could have signed any of them except for Amani who gave us the longest look. My point is that in looking at the whole recruiting process, the 2 stars that KState signed from Kansas might not be as good as the 2 stars we've signed from Texas. We're going to get where we need to be by continuing to recruit and leverage the strong relationships our staff currently has while building new ones so that those kids are looking at KU rather than outside the state. Weis basically ignored Kansas during his time here which gave a lot of coaches a sour taste about us. Beaty has to work to undo that ill-will which will take a lot of effort and time.

Austin Lopez 6 years, 3 months ago

By the way here is the list of the class of 2016 Kansas kids that are going to power 5 programs Benny, (Xavier Kelly- Clemson, Jeff George- Tennessee, Isaiah Simmons- Clemson, Amani Bledsoe- Oklahoma, Ben Powers- Oklahoma, Bryson Pringle- Kansas State, Tyler Howell- Missouri, Kaelin Key- Kansas State, Teven Jenkins- Oklahoma State, Isaiahh Loudermilk- Wisconsin, Garrison Wright- Minnesota, Deelsaac Davis- Kansas, Mike McCoy- Kansas State, Nicho Garcia- Colorado State, Bryce Torneden- Kansas, Ian Rudzik- Kansas State, Mason Barta- Kansas State, Tyler Bums- Kansas State, Brett Bell- Kansas State, Trace Kochevar- Kansas State, and Kyle Ball- Kansas State....

Michael Sillman 6 years, 3 months ago

Tom, I assume that the LJW will be asking Coach Thibodeaux if he has any interest in the Oklahoma job. He has clearly been a key recruiter for Beaty so far.

Austin Lopez 6 years, 3 months ago

You clearly took shots at home grown Kansas kids, saying leftovers from Texas are better than almost every prospect in Kansas and I clearly proved you wrong, maybe you should look around and see what prospects Kansas have before you insult the athletic ability of Kansas kids, I'm pretty sure I'll rather have those Kansas kids that are headed to Clemson and Oklahoma than your so called "Texas leftovers"....

Benny Armstrong 6 years, 3 months ago

Austin, I didn't take shots at Kansas kids and I'm sorry you felt that I insulted them. My main point as it has always been is that when recruiting, our goal should be to get the best players available with the limited time we have available to best right this ship. Right now, that means we are allocating a ton of recruiting efforts/time to Texas because our head coach and staff know a ton of people across that state and those relationships are enabling us to get in front of kids we might otherwise not be able to recruit.

You and others continue to beat the drum that we aren't getting enough Kansas kids on the team and I'm not disputing that, but I'm absolutely right to say that a 2 star in Kansas might not be as good as a 2 star in Texas based on the level of competition and training each player is exposed to. Football just isn't as strong in our state as it is other places and so to try and pretend that it is is foolish. And of course I'd love to have the Kansas kids that are heading to Clemson and Oklahoma, who wouldn't? But you are delusional if you think that these guys were going to stay in-state when offered by two programs that competed in the college football playoff last season. This argument would be like Missouri basketball fans complaining if Michael Porter chooses KU over MU. Look at the respective state of the programs and tell me with a straight face that you seriously thought a guy from Kansas would choose KU over Clemson. We'll get there eventually, but there's no way we are in a position right now to steal recruits from the perennial powers regardless of where they live.

Jack Joiner 6 years, 3 months ago

This is straight from the Daily Oklahoman. Coach Thib and C.J. Ah You are listed as candidates for the OU DL coach. They are not ruling out others. Ah You just left his OU Special teams job a month ago to take Vanderbilts DL job. One big question I have is: Who would want to work for DC Mike Stoops. Let's hope for the best. They say OU is loaded with DL talent.

Michael Lorraine 6 years, 3 months ago

If it wasn't for bad luck we'd have no luck at all.

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