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Monday, September 12, 2016

David Beaty looks ahead to Memphis and weighs in on Big 12 expansion

Kansas head coach David Beaty huddles up his players during the second quarter on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016 at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas head coach David Beaty huddles up his players during the second quarter on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016 at Memorial Stadium.

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As David Beaty and his staff prepare for the Jayhawks’ first road game of the season, the second-year Kansas football coach knows the Memphis Tigers waiting for them Saturday at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium will look significantly different from the team that came to Lawrence a year ago and trounced KU by 32 points.

Among many other changes, former Memphis head coach Justin Fuente moved on to Virginia Tech and last season’s starting quarterback, Paxton Lynch, became the first-round draft pick of the NFL’s Denver Broncos.

Still, Beaty said Monday on the Big 12 coaches media teleconference he’s familiar enough with new Tigers head coach Mike Norvell to enter KU’s non-conference finale with nothing but respect for what Memphis is capable of offensively.

When Beaty first broke into the college coaching ranks at Rice in 2006 as a passing game coordinator and receivers coach, he worked for head coach Todd Graham, now the man in charge at Arizona State. Norvell worked on Graham’s staffs at both Tulsa and ASU, where he served as offensive coordinator for a Sun Devils program that appeared in four straight bowl games.

“What they did at Arizona State was really, really remarkable and I know that he’s gonna bring that same stuff to Memphis, and they already have shown the things, the traits, that you really associate with Mike,” Beaty said. “They’re difficult, because they do do a great job of running the football and their play-action off of that stuff is very difficult to deal with. And on top of that he’s a very cutting-edge guy, so there’s gonna be some things Saturday that we haven’t seen that we’re just gonna have to do a good job of containing and rallying to and let our rules kind of handle that.”

Indeed, KU only has so much video to reference in preparation. Memphis, coming off an idle week, opened the season with a 35-17 home victory over Southeast Missouri State. Tigers junior quarterback Riley Ferguson completed 26 of 40 passes for 295 yards and three touchdowns, with two interceptions. Freshman running back Patrick Taylor Jr. led with 86 rushing yards on seven carries, while junior running back Doroland Dorceus had a team-high 14 carries that netted 34 yards and a TD.

Beaty said he knows Memphis defensive coordinator Chris Bell and defensive line coach Paul Randolph “very, very well,” and he expects the Tigers to come out with an aggressive game plan against KU’s offense.

“Talented team,” Beaty said of Memphis. “It’s gonna be a great challenge for us on the road. We’re looking forward to getting out there and playing in a great environment there in Memphis.”

KU has lost 38 consecutive games away from home, dating back to the 2009 season. As of Monday afternoon, the Tigers (1-0) were listed as a 20 1/2-point favorite versus Kansas (1-1).

Big 12 expanding within Texas?

Questions on the weekly teleconference weren’t limited to on-field results and game preparation. Big 12 expansion also came up, as Beaty was asked whether potential expansion within the state of Texas (with Houston, Rice and SMU as reported candidates) would affect KU’s ability to recruit in the Lone Star State.

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Kansas defensive tackle Daniel Wise (96) wraps up Ohio running back Dorian Brown (28) during the fourth quarter on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016 at Memorial Stadium. At left is Kansas defensive end Dorance Armstrong Jr. (2).

“If you know that, then you know more than I do, when it comes to where they’re at and who they’re adding,” Beaty responded with a laugh.

The Jayhawks’ 108-man roster currently includes 46 players with a Texas hometown: LaQuvionte Gonzalez, Dorance Armstrong Jr., Chase Harrell, Maciah Long, Tyler Patrick, Shaquille Richmond, Bobby Hartzog Jr., Derrick Neal, Keaton Perry, Brandon Stewart, Steven Sims Jr., Shola Ayinde, Deondre Ford, Keegan Brewer, Josh Ehambe, Denzel Feaster, Isaiah Bean, Evan Fairs, Emmanuel Moore, Greg Allen, Ke’aun Kinner, Denzell Evans, Ian Peterson, Bazie Bates IV, Taylor Martin, Julian Chandler, Colin Spencer, DeAnte Ford, Courtney Arnick, Dru Prox, Hudson Hall, Jacob Bragg, D’Andre Banks, Jayson Rhodes, Cam Durley, Larry Hughes, Clyde McCauley III, Antione Frazier, Chris Hughes, Hakeem Adeniji, Jordan Shelley-Smith, Ryan Renick, Jeremiah Booker, D.J. Williams, Lay’Trion Jones and Daniel Wise.

As a Texas native in need of mining the talent-rich state as much as any coach in the conference, one might think Beaty wouldn’t favor even more recruiting competition. However, Beaty chose not to comment on the specifics of how such expansion would impact Kansas.

“I do know this, that right now we have the membership that we have, and that’s the reality we’re dealing with,” Beaty said. “As coaches, we are all so wrapped up in our seasons and trying to get better there that I really haven’t given (expansion within the state of Texas) a whole lot of thought. I know that there’s a lot of schools out there that would love to have membership in this great conference, and I know that the people that are making those decisions are gonna make sure that they’re great fits for us. And when they do, I won’t have any choice anyway, so we will do what everyone else does, which is react and make sure that we put things in place to make sure we benefit from the membership.”

Controversial ending at Oklahoma State

Oklahoma State’s last-second loss on Saturday to Central Michigan remained a popular topic in the college football world Monday. Even Beaty was asked about possible ramifications of the Chippewas’ upset road victory, given that an officiating crew from CMU’s Mid-American Conference incorrectly awarded the visitors an un-timed down after the Cowboys were flagged for intentional grounding on fourth down, with no time remaining. Central Michigan went on to pull off an improbable Hail Mary-and-lateral TD to win the game.

Asked whether Big 12 teams should give pause before scheduling future home matchups with programs outside of the SEC, Big Ten, ACC and Pac 12 conferences, Beaty said he hadn’t given the matter any thought and only knew some of the details of what transpired in Stillwater, Okla., due to texting with a friend, Joe Bob Clements, who coaches OSU’s defensive line.

“Our conference is willing to learn from every single Saturday,” Beaty offered, “and there’s lots of different crazy things that are happening every week. And we’ve all gotta learn from ’em.”

Questioned later about whether the outcome of the game should be overturned due to the incorrect ruling — which led to the suspensions of on-field MAC officials and Big 12 replay officials — Beaty sidestepped joining the debate.

“I’m not touching any of that,” Beaty said, as he laughed. “I have no comment on that, nor am I really looking at it. I’m looking at trying to get our football team better.”

Comments

Andy Tweedy 5 years, 11 months ago

I'm not real sure about Memphis, but I was at the Rhode Island game and I wasn't impressed with our run defense honestly. So the result this weekend wasn't a total shock to me, every Frank Solich team likes to run the ball. But I really feel like if we can get better against the run, we're still capable of a win or two more this season. I sure hope so. Cozart has been way better than I thought he'd be!

Michael Lorraine 5 years, 11 months ago

Can't believe Mangino was the last coach to win a road game.

Pius Waldman 5 years, 10 months ago

I realize it might be difficult to be a big fan of our football as losing just kills excitement. But Beaty needs our support so let those guys know we appreciate their effort.

Lance Cheney 5 years, 10 months ago

I like Beaty, and he seems like a great guy. But I'm not sure he's the head coach we need. He's definitely not the OC we need. Play calling last week was atrocious.

Everybody knew going into the game that Ohio's DB's were young and not very good. With this knowledge, most people would attack deep down the field early and often. We threw down the field 3 times that I can remember: first one was an overthrow of an open receiver, and the other 2 were TDs. But boy do we love those 0 yard passes that get blown up for either a loss of 2 or a gain of 1!

And then there's our slow-developing halfback draw out of the shotgun when we were on our own goal line. Not once (which we were lucky to not have called a safety the first time), but TWICE, which ended up a safety.

Beaty appears to be a good recruiter, but a poor head coach. You know who else had those qualities? Turner Gill.

Mike Greer 5 years, 10 months ago

I'm not sure Turner Gill was that great of a recruiter either. Although he did have one good year at Buffalo, it was only one good year in a weak conference. The Jayhawks weren't any better when he left than when he arrived. It took Mangino some time to build a team, so I'm willing to give Beaty a chance.

A college head coach has two jobs, get the best players and make them a team. Getting the best players isn't easy when the team has been in the dumpster for this long, so first we need to see if Beaty can make the players he has into a team. Then he needs to get some of the top talent.

Brian Wilson 5 years, 10 months ago

It's been just one game as OC so I think we should give him a game or two to settle in. I'm sure that you and everyone else in this forum would suck at it on the first game too. Let's find out if he learns as he goes. We know that our offense was pretty poor last year and that resulted in his decision to be OC. So he might be changing his mind at the end of this season again. In them meantime, the players he is recruiting are getting better. The team is getting stronger and faster. And the young players are getting some major playing time and experience. In a year or two we should start putting up a few wins. With so many Freshmen and Sophomores playing we knew this year was going to stink anyway. Let's leave Beatty alone until he has a legitimate roster to work with. Right now other than some fixable coaching errors we don't really have much to complain about. No one else could be fixing this program any faster.

Lance Cheney 5 years, 10 months ago

I hope you're right, and I too am taking a wait and see approach. And I realize we're young and still short on scholarship players. It's the play calling that concerns me.

Randy Bombardier 5 years, 10 months ago

Misleading headline. He didn't really weigh in on expansion, more like sidestepped it. But I'll weigh in. I thought the conference got the green light to play a championship game without expanding. Seems like the conference is in a good position. So it doesn't have to expand.

I'm not particularly for or against it but if we do expand adding Texas teams makes sense. I think how it affects us depends on us. We are not victims of a changing world unless we choose to be.

Michael Lorraine 5 years, 10 months ago

If college football will ultimately be reduced to four 16 team conferences and survival depends on being one of those conferences then by all means expand but my suspicion is that the other P5 conferences are not entirely convinced this is the business model they want to base their future on. I’m not a fan of the super conference but one advantage from a football perspective is we play one less conference opponent and presumably won’t have to play the best teams every year.

John Fitzgerald 5 years, 10 months ago

Beaty didn't have the players prepared for this game. That's on him. The defense looked like they had never seen the Ohio offense before. Did they not watch film on them? Our offense looked like it was still trying to play Rhode Island. Using the same plays and game plan. This should have been a game we had a chance to win at the end. But Beaty blew it, and he blew it big time.

Not sure about Memphis, but my guess is they're a better team than Ohio and we play them at their home. My guess is we get stomped 56-13. Also, my frustration level, along with my 7 other buddies that buy season tickets, is at an all time high. We've vowed that if things don't turn around this year, even a smidgen, we're not renewing next year. At some point you just have to stop hoping we'll turn it around and just believe that the task is too much for any one person to handle.

Harlan Hobbs 5 years, 10 months ago

Thanks, Pius, for taking the "high road." Indeed, these have been difficult days in football since the Mangino era. However, we have to get some continuity, and I see no reason not to support Coach Beaty's efforts to restore the program. Even if he fails, he is a quality individual, and he deserves our encouragement.

Fred Davis 5 years, 10 months ago

Let's try and understand where this program is coming from and what exactly Beaty had to deal with taking the KU Job. For starters alone - a graphic ran during the Rhode Island game that KU had THREE guys that could run a 4.5 or better when he took over and something like 20 guys could bench more than 300 lbs. Think about that for a second. Most High Schools here in Houston boast better numbers than that. And while Beaty and company have done all they can recruiting-wise in the last two years, anyone watching that game on Saturday against Ohio saw how SMALL KU looked against a MAC School. I shudder to think what's going to happen against the rest of the Big 12.

The key to this turnaround is staying the course, Beaty staying positive, the support staying positive and understanding that this program is probably one more recruiting class away from being competitive. In the meantime, you have to win a game or two you shouldn't, and the play-calling last Saturday after they cut the lead to 10 was puzzling. Quit attacking down field and the horizontal crap was a non-starter. Add to that the miscues and you have what you've had since Mangino was canned - a bumbling football team that can't get out of its own way. Let's hope they clean that up Saturday and surprise us with a win.

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