Monday, February 22, 2016

Another assistant leaving Kansas football?

Kansas defensive-line coach Calvin Thibodeaux, talks to the media Wednesday, Jan 14, 2015, during an introductory session with the KU football team's assistant coaches.

Kansas defensive-line coach Calvin Thibodeaux, talks to the media Wednesday, Jan 14, 2015, during an introductory session with the KU football team's assistant coaches.


Kansas University’s football program unbelievably could be in danger of losing a fifth assistant coach from David Beaty’s first staff.

Already down four full-time assistants from the 2015 coaching roster (linebackers coach Kevin Kane to Northern Illinois, running-backs coach Reggie Mitchell to Arkansas, wide-receivers coach Klint Kubiak to the Denver Broncos and special-teams coordinator Gary Hyman demoted and then on to Indiana State), Beaty and the Jayhawks might have to sweat out the next few days as Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops explores the possibility of hiring KU defensive-line coach Calvin Thibodeaux for the vacancy in the Sooners’ D-line meeting room.

According to a report from Jason Kersey, who covers OU for The Oklahoman, Thibodeaux will be in Norman, Okla., today and will interview for the job.

Kersey’s report cited sources saying that Thibodeaux “is one of the leading candidates to join Stoops’ staff.”

KU will begin spring practices on March 7. The Sooners are slated to begin their spring practices March 5.

Kersey’s report indicates that Thibodeaux and Mississippi State defensive-line coach David Turner are two top candidates for the job, and a hire is expected sometime this week.

The 32-year-old Thibodeaux, who joined Beaty’s staff for the 2015 season after three seasons at Tulsa, makes sense for the OU opening in a lot of ways. First, he played at Oklahoma and was an All-Big 12 defensive end under Stoops. Second, he had a big role in recruiting Lawrence High defensive end Amani Bledsoe to Kansas and would have an automatic rapport with the D-end who picked OU over KU earlier this month. Beyond that, Kersey’s report indicates that Turner made $350,000 at Mississippi State in 2015, and OU might prefer to go with the cheaper option in Thibodeaux, who made $166,000 during his first season at Kansas.

The belief held by those close to the KU program is that Thibodeaux is gone if Stoops offers him the job, and that would leave Beaty looking for three assistant coaches to fill out his staff.

College football veterans Jason Phillips and Todd Bradford already have been brought it to replace Kubiak and Kane, and Beaty is believed to be closing in on a running-backs coach and special-teams coordinator.


Dirk Medema 6 years, 5 months ago

Mississippi State defensive-line coach David Turner looks to be a very accomplished coach with a history of success. Kind of hope that Stoops is looking for that bit more excellence vs. economy.

Aaron Paisley 6 years, 5 months ago

Considering the KU pass rush this past year was the lone bright spot on defense, that reflects pretty well on Thibodeaux's abilities to develop talent.

Dirk Medema 6 years, 5 months ago

"bit more" are crucial to understanding the comparative comment. Definitely agree that Thib's is a quality coach. He just doesn't have as much history of success. That is a pretty objective statement if you care to look.

Aaron Paisley 6 years, 5 months ago

Back to the double edged sword. I think Zenger addressed it last week and said that it sucks to have so much turnover in a single offseason. At the same time though, if your coaches aren't being considered for better jobs (either school or higher position), then you probably don't have very good assistant coaches and doesn't speak well for the long term prospects of a program. Zenger also said that year 3 is generally when the best staff is assembled because it's mostly made up of people who want to be at your school and aren't specifically looking to spring board to a better job.

Beaty obviously assembled a highly thought of staff as 3/4 of the coaches have left and 4/5 if Thibodeaux leaves will have left for either a better position or to a better team. Hopefully he can replace them with other quality coaches as well as I really don't think this team is too far away (2-3 years) from being able to compete for a bowl berth. The DLine has potential to be elite in a couple of years which will help the back end of the defense be better as they won't have to cover for as long and can be more aggressive. Willis is the right QB, there's WR's who get open and run good routes. The biggest issue is developing an OLine competent enough to keep him upright and that position has been a heavy focus of Beaty's in the 2016 class so he knows that as well.

I really believe Beaty is the man for the job and that he will be here for the long haul as there's really only one program that's a threat to poach him and that's Texas A&M, but he would have to have KU going to bowl games to get to that level though.

Calvin Miller 6 years, 5 months ago

Nice attempt at trying to put a positive spin on this. Any time there is coaching turnover, the players are subjected to a different coaching style for their position. Re: Zenger's comment---year 3 is important if there is continuity and stability in the coaching staff. Year 3 doesn't matter if there are multiple new coaches that season.

Micky Baker 6 years, 5 months ago

Feel free to add your own opinion on the matter. Whenever you're ready.

Aaron Paisley 6 years, 5 months ago

Zenger's specific quote on the issue

“I told coach Beaty when I first hired him that it’s been my experience at other programs that were rebuilding that so often your third year is your best staff because you’ve had people leave and other people come in who want to make a commitment to that program,” Zenger said. “For instance, when guys like Jim Leavitt, Mark Mangino and Mike Stoops joined (K-State) coach (Bill) Snyder’s staff in Year 2 or 3, that worked out pretty well for that program and for their individual careers.”

I see nothing about continuity for the first 3 years in it.

Joe Ross 6 years, 5 months ago

There is absolutely no way to spin this as a positive in terms of the players. I mean, sure. One can note that Beaty brings in guys that others want as coaches. But recruits will never say, "Let me go play for a guy that has so much turnover that the position coaches who coach me might come in and out like a revolving door." Nobody's gonna say that.

From an administrative standpoint or from the view of the fan, one might say Beaty has an eye for talent. And that's a positive. But continuity means more than you show by your posts on the matter and it can not be factored out of the equation. College coaches aren't elated when other teams pick off your good coaches. The fact that Beaty says it reflects well on a program is true, but the compliment is a CONSOLATION rather than something to be desired.

And then there's this which you may not have considered: the perception among recruits that because so many of your coaches can be picked off so easily might be construed to mean that your program is in the tank, and this may play in the minds of recruits who are weighing things in the balance as they are considering schools. I guarantee you no one is picking off (potentially) 5 coaches from an Ohio State, or Michigan, or Oklahoma.

It remains that there are positives and negatives to the coaching turnover, that the negatives far outweigh the positives, and that the "positives" are really only half-positives if you want to consider the perception of the program among recruits.

No matter how good they coach, you cant build stability into a program when excellent coaches pass through it like a sieve.

Aaron Paisley 6 years, 5 months ago

And then there's this which you may not have considered: the perception among recruits that because so many of your coaches can be picked off so easily might be construed to mean that your program is in the tank, and this may play in the minds of recruits who are weighing things in the balance as they are considering schools. I guarantee you no one is picking off (potentially) 5 coaches from an Ohio State, or Michigan, or Oklahoma.

I don't believe that to be true in this case. Recruits are aware of whether or not coaches are making lateral or upward moves. Hyman is the only one who did not leave for a better job, but he also was not a position coach and had been reassigned to an off the field role. Everyone else left for better jobs and recruits know this. Had it been a situation like the end of Mangino's tenure where coaches were leaving to get away from Mangino, then you could make that argument about the perception of KU, but not in this case because recruits are very aware of stuff like that.

Blue bloods actually do have to deal with multiple coaches leaving in an offseason regularly. Ohio St. had to deal with it when Tom Herman left for Houston and could've potentially had more than 5 leave had Warriner been hired here instead of Beaty. I believe Kirby Smart is taking multiple Alabama assistants with him to Georgia so it happens.

5 is a very rare number for a non HC change, but it's also not doing anyone any good to be a Debbie Downer in this situation either. I'm choosing to look at the positives that we have HC that has an eye for assistant coaches that can develop talent to the point that much better teams want them and that he can do it again.

A program like KU will never have the coaching stability of a blue blood, that's just the reality of the situation. I agree that continuity and stability are important, but that's more important at the coordinator positions than the position coaches because the coordinators are the ones who have the most impact on the stability of a program. My biggest issue with the lack of stability and continuity was never the position coaches so much as it was the coordinators and the system run on that side of the ball. KU had a run of about 7 years I believe where they either changed DC's or base defense. Two years ago was the first time that did not change and we saw a big improvement on the back end of the defense that resulted in multiple players drafted. As long as Bowen keeps the 4-2-5 base defense, position coaches aren't spending time teaching concepts, they're teaching techniques to make the players better. You change coordinators, you lose an offseason of development because you're installing a base defense instead of adding new wrinkles to a defense. The same goes for the offense. We should see big strides this year because Beaty isn't installing his offense, it's being refined and added onto.

Jim Stauffer 6 years, 5 months ago

Can you name one recruit who turned a school down because there were too many new assistants on the team or because he saw too many leaving for other schools or because he believe there would not be continuity in the staff?

Doug Wallace 6 years, 5 months ago

Not sure what to make of it!Either they see troubles here or the assistants are real good.

Red Demon 6 years, 5 months ago

While the timing hurts, all of these coaches have left to better programs or better positions. If they were all what appear to be latter moves or worse, than I'd be much more worried. It will be difficult to replace them, regardless.

Ashwin Rao 6 years, 5 months ago

Not whining, but we lost all our games last season, so ANY program is a better program... but I do have faith in our rebuilding effort.

Steve Corder 6 years, 5 months ago

The loss of assistants also reflects on Beaty's ability to hire quality men. This current round of coaching musical chairs is a positive sign. Wins follow quality players, recruited by sharp eyed, gifted men. Any program "worth it's salt" should lose assistants to stronger established programs, and great programs (at any level) feed the ranks with head coaches....the circle of sporting life.

Michael Bennett 6 years, 5 months ago

KU could end the issue in an hour with 3 yr guaranteed contracts, non-compete clause and buyout clause in the contracts. None of these are standard in contracts for assistant coaches but their is no rule against them either.

Michael Maris 6 years, 5 months ago

I like the idea. KU setting a precedent for the future.

Red Demon 6 years, 5 months ago

If they aren't standard, KU is in no position to make those demands.

Brian Wilson 6 years, 5 months ago

Sure they can. And if they offer me a guarenteed contract for 100k/yr for 3 years to come coach football.......sign me up!

Joe Ross 6 years, 5 months ago

My heart is with you Michael, but my head is with Red Demon.

Glen Miller 6 years, 5 months ago

The mass exodus tells me that although the team is headed in the right direction..... it will be several years before we are competitive enough to retain coaching talent. These guys wouldn't all be jumping ship if there was really something that special building here. Just my opinion. One or two, yes.... but not 4 going on 5. I get the Kubiak move, that's his dad and they are defending super bowl champs. Thibedeaux would be understandable, since he played there and has a good relationship with Stoops. All the others are concerning to me. Better offers or not, there are lots of openings coming about to move up the ranks and they still didn't stick around. We didn't have this kind of exodus even when we were winning. I'm a bit concerned......

Aaron Paisley 6 years, 5 months ago

Kane moved up from position coach to coordinator at the school he came to KU from and Mitchell went to a school known for producing elite college RB's under a HC known for producing elite level RB's. Both are vertical moves and I'd be more concerned if those coaches didn't have the drive to move up the coaching ranks when the right situation comes along.

Glen Miller 6 years, 5 months ago

I suppose, but I'm a loyal type person and if you really believe we are building something..... stick around and get an even better job when you prove everyone wrong. I get it, but loyalty means squat anymore.

Aaron Paisley 6 years, 5 months ago

There's no guarantee that Beaty will get things turned around even though he appears to be the right man for the job and there's no guarantee of future job offers for the assistant coaches.

Bob Bailey 6 years, 5 months ago

Maybe they see we can't wont play Defense! About 6 - 7 years ago one of his team mates in his backfield said that the DC who taught him was among the world's worst DC, and our guy hadn't learned anything since. Judging from one of our responders there are a lot of people who don't pay much attention during the game. Maybe you have to be a genius to understand our guys can't tackle, leave a lot to be desired in coverage, and the Defensive Scheme could be beaten by a good sixth-grader.

Maybe the way to go is to let Thibodeaux go, and pick up the high priced coach from Miss. St.

Dirk Medema 6 years, 5 months ago

Because "the high priced coach from Miss. St." obviously wants to leave an established program with a full roster of top notched players to coach a FCS roster.

Hmmmm, should I buy the bridge or the prime swamp land?

Nathan Anderson 6 years, 5 months ago

Pay these guys the equivalent of a physician's salary and they can't be bothered to stay more than a year. Good grief. Just keep the money and bulldoze the program.

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