Saturday, October 7, 2017

Tom Keegan: Jayhawks show no signs of progress in loss to Texas Tech

Kansas quarterback Carter Stanley (9) can't stop Texas Tech defensive back Justus Parker (31) as he runs into the end zone for a touchdown during the third quarter after an interception on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017 at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas quarterback Carter Stanley (9) can't stop Texas Tech defensive back Justus Parker (31) as he runs into the end zone for a touchdown during the third quarter after an interception on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017 at Memorial Stadium.


Fans of KU sports teams know the drill. When the basketball schedule comes out, they circle the few possible losses. When the football slate is released, they circle the possible upset victories.

Many circled Texas Tech on their football schedules and it was easy to understand why back in the offseason. After all, Tech would be coming off a game against a tough Oklahoma State squad and Kansas would have two weeks to prepare for the Red Raiders, thanks to the bye week.

In the ensuing months, many erasers were taken to those circles. So much has changed since the offseason perceptions because nothing has changed. Nothing has changed all decade. The names of the players and the coaches have changed. The results stay the same.

First-quarter blowouts in front of small crowds that shrink at the half and almost completely vanish by the end.

It’s as if college football gods have cast a permanent spell on Kansas for firing old-school football coach Mark Mangino, who promised nothing and with the help of a Houdini of a quarterback named Todd Reesing delivered the program to the promised land for a brief Nirvana that vanished and not-at-all gradually.

The Curse of the Mangino firing is so strong that the athletic department ought to think about hiring Theo Epstein to come kill it. Epstein managed to slay the Curse of the Bambino as Red Sox general manager and the Curse of the Billy Goat in the same role with the Cubs. This wouldn’t scare him. Nothing throws the understated, brilliant curse-killer.

It was going to be different this year, which so often is what makes it the same script because offseasons bring hope.

A new quarterback, Air Raid-seasoned Peyton Bender, sparked much of the optimism. He could be on his way to becoming the old quarterback, a time-honored football tradition ever since Reesing hopped on his horse and rode it back to his hometown, Austin.

Bender and backup Carter Stanley alternated in Saturday’s 65-19 loss to Texas Tech.

Jordan Webb and Quinn Mecham. Dayne Crist and Michael Cummings. Jake Heaps and Montell Cozart. And then Cozart and Ryan Willis. What do six of those seven have in common? They either transferred in or out of the KU football program. The lone exception, Cummings, had his career ended when a safety took him out at the knees in a spring game in which the QB was not allowed to be tackled. Put that in a script for a football movie “The Bad News Birds” and it would be edited out for lack of credibility.

Bender missed two open receivers in a row in the end zone and turned a touchdown into a field goal on his way to a 12-for-24, 146-yard passing day and threw a touchdown and an interception. It wasn’t his best performance. Stanley completed 11 of 19 for 110 yards and threw one interception.

If anybody inside the program knows who’s starting next Saturday’s game in Ames, Iowa, nobody’s saying. If anybody outside the program cares who’s starting, nobody’s saying.

A quarterback competition isn’t a controversy unless enough people gripe about the coach’s eventual choice.

By the time seven minutes and one second had been shaved off the game clock, Tech had a 21-0 lead, going all the way to the end zone on each of its first three possessions. Two of those TD’s would have counted had the rules been two-hand touch. Or even one-finger touch.

Six calls were reviewed in the first quarter, which created suspicion that officials actually were huddling to see if any mercy rule could be found in an ancient rulebook that could be applied on an emergency basis to take the game behind the barn and put to rest before too much suffering was inflicted on the announced witness count of 21,050.

Video from this game will not be used to try to generate support for a $300 million stadium-renovation campaign. David Booth took care of $50 million, which leaves $250 million.

That shouldn’t be a problem. If every spectator who stayed for the entire game Saturday had donated $1 million, the fundraising project would be just about finished. Not quite, but almost.

Next up is Iowa State, another circled game on the KU football schedule until the erasers went to work. Iowa State won in Norman, 38-31, Saturday.

In the worst of times, football fans in Ames show up in droves and bring the energy. They’ll be ready to blast the Cyclones with love Saturday.

So the Jayhawks will have three forces working against them in Ames: 1) A team good enough to defeat the Sooners in Norman; 2) An energized crowd; 3) A penchant for getting in their own way. The Jayhawks have 13 turnovers, four vs. Tech.

Things are not getting better. They’re getting worse.

— See what people were saying about the game during's live coverage.

More news and notes from Kansas vs. Texas Tech


John Brazelton 4 years, 8 months ago

Keegan, you're too good for Lawrence Sports. You should get a job at the network level or at a big-time sports newspaper.

Andy Tweedy 4 years, 8 months ago

I'd say the author of this article was the main reason we were optimistic about the QB! But otherwise, I can't argue with any of this. This team is TERRIBLE! We can't stop anybody, particularly in the first quarter, and got curb stomped by two MAC teams and one of the bottom feeders in the Big XII. Our QB isn't any good and there were supposedly two "Air Raid" offenses on the field, and they looked nothing alike. WE SUCK!!!

Tom Keegan 4 years, 8 months ago

Guilty as charged, Andy. I still think he'll be better than he has been. Not sure if he'll still be starter though.

Bryce Landon 4 years, 8 months ago

We hired Sheahon Zenger to be AD because he was supposedly a football guy. Well, look what has happened on his watch. Theo Epstein might be a baseball guy, but why not bring him to be AD at Kansas? He can't possibly be any worse.

Tom Keegan 4 years, 8 months ago

Zenger's two football hires 5-54 vs. FBS schools. Think about those numbers.

Brett McCabe 4 years, 8 months ago anyone in America who could have done a worse job managing the football program at KU over the past 5 years. It's literally, virtually, impossible.

If our new Chancellor is not working full time, right now, to find a new AD and coach, then he should be fired on Monday. Because he is clueless.

Randy Bombardier 4 years, 8 months ago

Progress. I submit there were no signs of preparation. Two weeks to prepare and this is the best you can do?

Steve Corder 4 years, 8 months ago

Are there any competitors? Looks like this team has quit on themselves and their coach.

There are really no words.

John Brazelton 4 years, 8 months ago

To all posters, who want to fire the coaches, once again, look at KU's football coaching history. The primary problem is the constant turn-over of coaches. When each new coach takes over, players are kicked off the team, players leave for other programs, and the recruiting process starts over again. Yes, you may get a coach who can win in the short-term, but he won't stay at Kansas. The next coach has never been as good and ends up being fired. What's the old saying, when you keep during the same thing over and over again, you get the same results. It takes time to pull yourself up from the bottom of the heap. Winning is never a straight line upwards. It zigs and zags.

Bryce Landon 4 years, 8 months ago

I'm getting to where I don't even care if anyone is fired or not. This program may be broken beyond repair. Even SMU, destroyed by the death penalty, came back to life long enough to get some bowl game appearances under June Jones. KU might be too far gone to ever come back.

Bryan Mohr 4 years, 8 months ago

No excuse for losing to 2 MAC teams in coach's 3rd season. Ok, maybe if the games were close. They weren't even close. There's no "zigs and zags". KU is straight-lined at the very bottom. Do you really believe KU would be this bad if Mangino took over 3 seasons ago? Or Bill Snyder? And, yes, KU football deserves a coach of the caliber of Snyder or Mangino. Zenger has failed to deliver the goods.

Michael Maris 4 years, 8 months ago


I don't necessarily disagree with your statement. However, fans in Ames, Iowa and West Lafayette, Indiana would tend to disagree with your statement. 2nd year at Iowa State, and they march into Norman Oklahoma and upset the "Mighty" Sooners. And going into todays game, Purdue was 2-2 and holding their own against U. of Minnesota (before the weather delay happened).

So, I am seriously thinking that there are powers in administration, who could seriously give a Rat's A$$ about the football program, other than to collect the yearly FAT TV Contract Paychecks, to pay for all of the Non-Revenue producing sport programs that Kansas offers to comply with Title IX Legislation.

Afterall, we modern day Kansas Jayhawk football fans experienced damn near the ultimate NCAA Football ecstasy in the 2007 season. The 2008 Season was a little less (with 8 wins), the 2009 season went to 5 wins, and the WITCH HUNT was on to get rid of Mangino. And, here we fans are year in and year out lusting to experience at least another 2008 season again.

Tom Horner 4 years, 8 months ago

Einstein said "the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result." How many time must we fire someone only to hire a different someone and expect miracles. Just leave everyone alone and give them time to make or break the program. We must have a football program to remain in the Big 12. Lets just accept that and wait for basketball. Maybe someday we might win again in football.

Pius Waldman 4 years, 8 months ago

Obviously many of us don't have n answer. But I agree that to simply fire everybody won't immediately change things. Lets give support and hope that things will improve. It won't be easy.

Brett McCabe 4 years, 8 months ago

The definition of insanity is hiring bad football coaches over and over and over. The other definition of insanity is not recognizing your mistakes and changing up what you are doing when what you are doing is clearly not working.

Idiotic axioms, ill-applied, won't fix this clown show.

John Fitzgerald 4 years, 8 months ago

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Phil Leister 4 years, 8 months ago

I live in Orlando. 3 years ago, KU and UCF were the only FBS teams to go 0-12. That was Beaty's first season, and the year before Scott Frost was hired at UCF. UCF is now undefeated this year and ranked 25 in the nation. Proof that a program with resources and good coaches don't need 4-5 seasons to turn a program around.

We're a joke.

Brian Wilson 4 years, 8 months ago

I disagree....UCF did not and does not have the scholarship issues we had. We are still over 10 scholarship players short on the field and some of the scholarships given have gone to walk-ons. What we have right now is Beaty Freshman and Sophomore classes trying to fill holes around leftovers and scramble scraps. Leave Beaty alone. It's not his fault. He needs two more years to get past it. You want to blame Zenger....ok! Also...Bowen should probably step aside. From what i can tell his defense doesn't even know their plays or responsibilties.

Brett McCabe 4 years, 8 months ago

Quit making excuses. There has been no visible sign of progress and you cannot state a single example of why we should continue to believe in this staff other than you think that we should.

What, in Beaty's coaching career, are we banking on as proof of a guy who can turn around a program or win at the P5 level?

John Fitzgerald 4 years, 8 months ago

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Scott Custer 4 years, 8 months ago

At some point, recruits won't give us time of day based on results on the field. Fair or not, a coach has a certain time window to improve and - most importantly - grow the quality of the recruits year over year. I'll be watching for what kind of recruits Coach can get in the off season.

Brian Wilson 4 years, 8 months ago

I'm not talking about fair, or whether or not Beaty is a good coach. You fire Beaty before he fills our scholarships and all four classes with recruits and you destory the program for another 7 years. He has a recruiter pulling kids out of Louisiana and he is making progress in Kansas so your response may be valid...he has to keep filling the roster for two more years....if his recruiting class is not as good as the last two then move him out. But, In the meantime, you can't judge this team until the starters are mostly Beaty recruits and they are not a bunch of transfers, former walkons or leftovers.

Marius Rowlanski 4 years, 8 months ago

Easily the worst team that I've seen wearing a KU uniform in ANY sport. #115 out of 130 teams, MU is only 4 spots above us.

David Kemp 4 years, 8 months ago

I don’t care if he gets 20 recruits this team will be no better next year. Our line can’t block, our defense gets blown off the ball and the secondary can’t tackle. I don’t know whether Bender is just bad or the line gives him less than 2 secs to make a decision before he’s pummeled

Steve Jacob 4 years, 8 months ago

Oh Tom, I feel so bad for you. You where such an optimist all spring and summer, and now you seem to have given up.

You have to fire the coach. I can't imagine a coach ever keeping a job going 1-11 in their 3ed year.

Brad Minney 4 years, 8 months ago

I have been a Jayhawk football fan since 1967. I remember John Zook,Bobby Douglass, Vernon Vanony, and John Riggins. I have been behind our Jayhawks for that whole time. We are at a time when we must make some decisions. I am so disgusted at the state of the Jaywackie football program! I hoped that David Beatty might be the answer. I don't know. The idiots that have hired the "coaches" since Mark Mangino should be castrated. To give some idiot like Charlie Weis $20 million to ruin our program FOREVER is totally disgusting. I AM OUT OF HERE. Brad Minney

Michael Maris 4 years, 8 months ago

U. of Alabama - Birmingham is 3-2 so far this season.

Timothy Grillot 4 years, 8 months ago

My suggestion is to just drop the football program. At least we would no longer embarrass ourselves. I am still shaking my head at Lew Perkins' witch hunt on Mangino. Mangino made few promises other than we would bust our butts to be competitive. If we got blew out he went back to work and we improved. Other than a couple years we weren't the cream of the crop but we competed. This begins with Perkins and his bonehead moves. Then Sheahan comes in and hires a coach who could not win at Notre Dame arguably one of the easiest schools to recruit for. Here is your sign. Each time we get our hopes up and the same thing happens again. The Einstein theorem probably applies so we shouldn't dump the coach but the AD needs to go. Then give ourselves a self imposed death penalty. This is beyond embarrassing.

Suzi Marshall 4 years, 8 months ago

With the fading popularity of football due to causes that range from CTE ( to NFL players disrespecting our Flag during the National Anthem, I can't see raising the $310MM for football. Making a contribution to rebuild the stadium is a complete waste of money.

Brett McCabe 4 years, 8 months ago

Suzi never misses a chance to miss the point and throw in some political garbage on top of a sports dumpster fire. How does if feel to be Pavlov's dog?

John Fitzgerald 4 years, 8 months ago

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Marius Rowlanski 4 years, 8 months ago

What? The only empty stadium I saw this week was in Lawrence.And it had nothing to do with politics or CTE.

Austin Lopez 4 years, 8 months ago

Thank god we have some High School Varsity football games on Saturdays here in Western New York and I didn't have to watch the struggling Kansas football team get torched. Seems like today I picked the right day to miss a Kansas football game, I would rather watch some highly competitive Catholic schools face off than that hunk of junk Kansas puts on the field.

Marius Rowlanski 4 years, 8 months ago

Yeah, but You have to live in Western NY : )

Bville Hawk 4 years, 8 months ago

Harsh words from Keegan in this column and sadly he speaks nothing but the truth. How we can be this bad is beyond comprehension. Our defense and special teams today were especially pathetic. If we all played a drinking game where you have to drink a swallow of beer after each missed tackle by the Jayhawks we'd all be drunk before the first quarter was over.

By the way, the Iowa State head coach was a coordinator and also a head coach in the MAC before coming to ISU. Mr. Beaty, who I think is a gentleman, was a position coach. Never a head coach (except in high school), and never a coordinator.

Some old, great coach said "it's not a complicated game, it's all about blocking and tackling."
We do block to an extent, but tackle? Not much. Time to get back to fundamentals???

David Kemp 4 years, 8 months ago

I know he started from nothing but this is year 3 and I expect regardless of the recruiting that the same 22 players will be on the field next year. And since none of them have improved results are not going to change.

Jack Brooks 4 years, 8 months ago

SOMEBODY needs to fire Bowen—unless Bowen truly loves this program and resigns. If Beaty won’t man up and do it, then Zenger needs to. If neither will, then they all need to go.

Doug Cramer 4 years, 8 months ago

Clint Bowen makes it difficult to progress. Replacing the DC is step number 1 in making progress for this program. Watching our defense is just agonizing...from the tackling to the in-game scheming.

John Fitzgerald 4 years, 8 months ago

I feel bad for Beaty. He obviously works his tail off and deserves to win. But I think he's in over his head. And that's not his fault, that's Zengers. He should have found a seasoned guy that has had head coaching experience. Whether he had that option or not is unknown to me. Should we fire the AD, though? I don't know. Should we fire the coach? I don't know either. My fear is if we do who would replace them? I can't imagine any coach that would take this career crippling job. Is it unrealistic for KU to bunch up a wad of money and knock on Art Briles' door? Is that even logical? Hell, I don't know anymore. One thing is for certain though, I will be supporting the Jayhawks for the rest of my life regardless of how crappy they are. That much they can count on.

Brett McCabe 4 years, 8 months ago

So wrong, John. Poor little David - no one told him that this would be hard and that he shouldn't apply for the job or take the $1million dollar paydays. And Art Briles, the moral compass, is your solution? That's what you think of your university and your athletic program?

There are plenty of quality coaches out there who will take this job tomorrow. Bad-talking your own program and playing the victim sure won't turn it into a winner.

John Fitzgerald 4 years, 8 months ago

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Bryce Landon 4 years, 8 months ago

Watching you two go to fisticuffs with each other would be more entertaining than watching a KU football game.

John Fitzgerald 4 years, 8 months ago

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Bryce Landon 4 years, 8 months ago

And you must be affiliated with Westboro Baptist Church. Don't you have a funeral to picket?

Brett McCabe 4 years, 8 months ago

Bryce, it would take me at least two months of solid training to get into fighting shape, then I'd need some time to review film, hire a manager, get in a few exhibitions to sharpen up and, since John apparently thinks I'm fat, we'd need to establish a weight class. Then, approval from the boxing commission and a contract with a PPV provider. So, in reality it's six months before I'll be ready - barring injury - and since I'm in my fifties, there's about a 50/50 chance that I'll pull a muscle getting out of the car in the morning. I'm beginning to think this thing might never happen. Someone, please let Dana White know that my career might be over before it ever gets started.

Brett McCabe 4 years, 8 months ago

Sorry, John. I'm a 54-year-old-man. I quit settling things and-to-man when I was in elementary school.

Chris Bailey 4 years, 8 months ago

You thinking crap doesn't happen under all these coaches is just turning a blind eye. How many times have basketball players been in trouble and gotten off? It happens all over. They got caught. If they don't get caught we don't hear about it. We could do much worse than Briles and I'm quite certain he'd be on a short leash.

Jay Hawkinson 4 years, 8 months ago

The common thread across Gill, Weis, and Beaty is a lack of player development. All 3 coaches have brought in recruiting classes that looked decent on paper - a little better than Iowa States classes, and in the same ballpark as K-State and often Texas Tech and TCU. We've had some good individual players during this stretch, but on the whole the percentage of players that have reached their potential is quite small.

John Smith 4 years, 8 months ago

Defense defense defense. Everyone focuses so much on how bad the offense is, but to me, the bigger problem for years is a terrible defense. You can still be in the game if your defense is decent, even if you don't have a very good offense. You can win a game scoring 19 points. You can't win a game giving up 65 points.

The 2007 Orange Bowl team is lauded for Reesing and the offense, which was good, but KU also had a very good defense that year. The KU defense gave up an average of 16 points a game which was 4th out of 120 teams.

Even if our offense gets better, that horrible defense is going to continue to lose us a lot of games and in embarrassing fashion

Randy Bombardier 4 years, 8 months ago

A few thoughts for the future. Lets say we keep Zenger. If so we make another hire within the department whos sole responsibility is to oversee football and football alone. He reports only to a board selected by key alum, the , chancellor, and key boosters. Legal advice, compliance issues advised by department.

Then, after this season, start your homework looking for future options, no discussions, just looking, watching, preparing. If by the end of season five we are still not winning all non-conference games, not winning 2 or 3 conference games, it is reasonable to move on. But if we move on we ought to move on without Zenger involved in the process.

This AD should meanwhile go forward with facility plans and treated as though his future is linked to that...and it should be. If you are going to give him a pass on two hiring failures in football he gets no pass here. Thats my opinion, such as it is. I'm just a nobody who wishes well for KU, a Kansas homie, schooled (much to my regret) elsewhere. I know we all feel the same about the school , the football program and share the pain and frustration of our current state.

Charlie Gaughn 4 years, 8 months ago

I agree that Zenger should move forward, perhaps as a greeter at Wal-Mart. I've heard he's a really nice guy and understand they're hiring for the holiday's.

It's interesting that the worst football game I've witnessed in 48 years of attending them happened on the same weekend that an article was released regarding the low moral of faculty and staff at KU. Could it be because they work year in year out with minimal if any pay increases while athletic staff salary increases are doubled at a whim? How many faculty have had their salary doubled for a 90 percent failure rate? Oh, we need to show incoming players that we're committed to the coaching staff.....

Forget the stadium renovations. I don't know a single fan that won't sit on a cold metal bleacher eating last year's popcorn and enjoy it if we put a product on the field. Mark Mangino was paid a fraction of what Gill, Weis, and Beaty have been. Perkins was on a witch hunt to fire him from the day he arrived. Yet through all the adversity, the portly little guy used hard nosed coaching and fundamental football to fill the stands. It can be done again with the right AD and coach.

Doug Roberts 4 years, 8 months ago

Halfway through the season, and it's over. Who's getting fired?

Lance Hobson 4 years, 8 months ago

Depressing. I doubt firing Beatty at this point would help but it would be nice to see a hint of progress. Sadly I read Todd Reesing’s book recently and he expressed pride in the foundation he had helped build, despite the unfair firing of Mangino. He wrote it in 2010. We have never been worse, and that’s saying a lot for KU football. Maybe we can get KState to hire Lew Perkins and even pay his salary? He’s the Theo Epstein of closing football programs.

Jim Stauffer 4 years, 8 months ago

While I agree firing coaches every three years is a bad look for the school, it is not the firing every three years that is the failure, it is the fact we always hire some guy no one else would touch. We need to play tough as a FB team to win. Not only was Tech better in every phase of the game, they were tougher which is what essentially makes the difference in these two teams. One thing Mason and Mangino did was coach kids to be tough on the field. And I am not just speaking of being physical. I mean mentally tough as well. This team plays soft, fragile and confused. That is on the staff. Can they change it? Of course they could. Will they? It usually does not happen after three years of loving the kids to death.

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