Wednesday, September 20, 2017


Tom Keegan: Coaches say the darndest things

West Virginia football coach Dana Holgorsen walks the sidelines during the first half of his team's last trip to Memorial Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2015. The Mountaineers defeated the Jayhawks 49-0 that day to move to 1-1 all-time in Lawrence.

West Virginia football coach Dana Holgorsen walks the sidelines during the first half of his team's last trip to Memorial Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2015. The Mountaineers defeated the Jayhawks 49-0 that day to move to 1-1 all-time in Lawrence.


The question put to West Virginia football coach Dana Holgorsen made sense: “You said before going into that venue, you have to kind of warn your team (about) the crowd and kind of the lackadaisical atmosphere. Do you still worry about that?”

When the Mountaineers last came to Lawrence, Nov. 21, 2015, they left with a 49-0 victory. The temperature at kickoff was 36 degrees and 22 mph winds made the cold take root. Just 21,415 witnessed the game, the smallest crowd listed in the KU football media guide for a game in Memorial Stadium since Nov. 7, 1998, vs. North Texas.

“I don’t think it will be like that this time,” Holgorsen said.

Saturday’s forecast calls for a high of 89 with zero percent chance of rain.

“It was a little bit of a windchill situation, which kind of shoves fans inside to watch basketball,” Holgorsen said. “I think (the crowd) will be pretty good there, I do. They’ve been pumping this thing up, you know. I think there will be a lot of people there, which will be good. The more the better. I don’t know how that’s going to affect us one way or another.”

Holgorsen doesn’t get paid based on his accuracy in predicting crowd sizes. If he did, he would have to moonlight.

Consecutive losses to Central Michigan and Ohio took the air out of inflated preseason hopes for Kansas fans, so the issue isn’t the weather as much as whether the optimism of even the diehards is dying.

“I know the last two games that they’ve lost have been really competitive, have been close games that they just didn’t happen to win,” Holgorsen said.

Sometimes I wonder if coaches surround themselves with so many yes men that they believe everything they say is believable.

Or maybe Holgorsen was using the press conference to talk directly to his players as coaches sometimes do, figuring they wouldn’t have any way of knowing that Central Michigan led 24-6 at the half and Ohio led 18-0 seven seconds into the second quarter. He has to guard against his players thinking all they have to do to win this one is to remember to show up for the bus to the airport.

He can’t possibly believe that KU was competitive, he just believes that because he said it, people will believe it.

A more interesting question is whether Holgorsen believed Beaty when the KU coach said at his weekly presser to expect to see more of Carter Stanley in the West Virginia game.

Stanley missed the final stages of fall camp and the first two games with a hand injury. Beaty went to great lengths to hide the injury, even to the extent of not naming a starting quarterback for the season-opener so that Southeast Missouri State would have to prepare for both quarterbacks.

Stanley made his 2017 debut at Ohio and ran the ball successfully twice in short-yardage situations. He hasn't thrown a pass since last season.

“We utilized him in that situation, but we liked him in all the situations,” Beaty said. “We actually like him everywhere. We have an even bigger package for him this week.”

Will Beaty use that package or does he just want Holgorsen thinking that so that he has to spend part of his prep time on Stanley, who gained his first significant playing time at West Virginia last season and played well?

Will Holgorsen fall for it or did Beaty overplay his hand? After all, why go to such great lengths to create the illusion Stanley would play when he couldn’t, and then be so willing to share with the world that this will be the week he’s going to run and, for the first time this season, pass, too?

Fun and games abound when coaches prepare for the games.

As for the crowd size, we'll set the over/under at 21,415. I'll take the under. You?


Bryan Barton 5 years, 2 months ago

The "announced" attendance will be over, but I'm willing to bet the "actual" attendance will be much less...especially after halftime.

Phil Leister 5 years, 2 months ago

So about this Stanley hand injury. Has anyone other than Keegan ever mentioned this or offered any insight?

Bryce Landon 5 years, 2 months ago

Latest betting line has Kansas as a three-touchdown underdog at home.

Brett McCabe 5 years, 2 months ago

Shocked that it's that low. I would have thought four touchdowns, for sure.

John Brazelton 5 years, 2 months ago

Keegan, You spent all spring and summer building up the team and especially, Bender at QB. Now you spend the whole football season writing one poison pen article after another tearing the team down. You should get a promotion to the national media. You're too good for the local media.

Brett McCabe 5 years, 2 months ago

You have an interesting viewpoint here. Slightly mentally unbalanced, but interesting. So, let's assume that KU has one of the 10 worst football teams in the FBS. What type of articles are you hoping for?

Here's an article you should be interested in: Nebraska just did what Keegan said we need to do. As a result, Craig Bohl might now be off the market.

And this is why KU need not dawdle in getting it's football program realigned. If we get blown out on Saturday, I wouldn't be surprised if it happens this Monday. Though the whole "$50 million contribution" mystery makes me wonder just a bit on timing.

Waylon Cook 5 years, 2 months ago

What is Holgerson's casino of choice when in the area? Prairie Band? Over to River Boats?

Barry Weiss 5 years, 2 months ago

This does not look good. I would say minimum 4 touchdown loss here. The road is going to be worse. Hope I'm wrong.

Dirk Medema 5 years, 2 months ago

Or maybe Holgorsen has seen enough bulletin board material published in the media to know better than to create any motivation for the opponent. It will take a lot more than that to affect the outcome but he still knows to practice/play right regardless of the opponent.

Dirk Medema 5 years, 2 months ago

Phil - The injury didn't get mentioned right around the time that Benton got lit up in a presser about an injury related tweet. It was only this past week that there started being any comments on injuries.

Bryan Mohr 5 years, 2 months ago

Holgorsen probably still remembers losing at KU in 2013 to that bad KU team and coach that got canned. He's trying to keep any hint of over-confidence from his team for fear of a repeat. But, yeah, Keegan is right, Holgorsen is talking some nonsense.

Randy Bombardier 5 years, 2 months ago

I'm guessing that the home crowd will set a new low, less than 20,000. I would love the job of filling those seats. If there isn't such a job there should be. I won't make any prefictions on the outcome. The coaches have to trust their own judgement and not throw everything out the window. But the players have to execute.

Armen Kurdian 5 years, 2 months ago

Stands are going to be pretty empty come halftime.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.