Tuesday, July 10, 2018


Tom Keegan: Youth no longer the issue for veteran Kansas football team

Kansas defensive tackle J.J. Holmes (88), Kansas defensive tackle Daniel Wise (96), Kansas defensive end Jelani Arnold (91) and others kneel to listen to Kansas head coach David Beaty following an open practice on Saturday, April 28, 2018 at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas defensive tackle J.J. Holmes (88), Kansas defensive tackle Daniel Wise (96), Kansas defensive end Jelani Arnold (91) and others kneel to listen to Kansas head coach David Beaty following an open practice on Saturday, April 28, 2018 at Memorial Stadium.


If you’re a college football coach fighting for your job, you have to take at least a little comfort in knowing that, if all the players you have in camp qualify academically and stick around, you’ll have a roster stocked with 47 juniors and seniors recruited on scholarship, as compared to 25 freshmen and sophomores.

If the long-term view is the relevant one, such numbers are horrifying. Yet, when analyzing everything through the prism of what’s best for this season’s 12-game schedule, the imbalance is encouraging.

Ideally, you would want most of those juniors and seniors to have spent four or five years bonding and learning the same system, but let’s not get greedy. Just 23 of the 47 upperclassmen expected to suit up this season were recruited to Kansas out of high school. Still, they’re grown men, physically mature, hungry to prove they can play the game.

Fourth-year Kansas football coach David Beaty and his staff gave themselves the best shot at survival beyond the upcoming season by identifying areas of need, mostly on defense, to be addressed with players from junior college. They evaluated which players they wanted and landed a stunningly high percentage of them.

The defense, especially if the offense takes its time snapping the ball and takes a run-first, move-the-chains approach, should be deeper, more rested, more talented, more experienced, quite a bit better.

That twins up nicely with the general feeling that Big 12 offenses won't be as explosive as usual because so many teams are breaking in new quarterbacks.

Kansas lost by an average 32 points in Big 12 games a year ago, so that's a huge gap to close. But a better defense facing offenses not as dominant means the gap should narrow some.

Beaty wasn’t about to surrender his job by recruiting for the future with a 3-33 record. It will be interesting to hear about which of the juco defensive linemen and defensive backs stand out the most once practice begins Aug. 1. For instance, keep an ear out for chatter about cornerback Elijah Jones, a serious talent.

It's too late to fret about it now, but it's a shame Beaty didn't show similar restraint in exercising a long-term recruiting plan in the manner Baylor's second-year coach Matt Ruhle has.

It’s mind-blowing to think of what a head start Baylor has on Kansas for the 2020 and 2021 seasons. But if Beaty doesn’t show significant progress in 2018, there won’t even be a 2019 for him at Kansas, so 2020 and 2021 weren’t at the forefront of his recruiting concerns this past offseason.

Kansas recruited just seven freshmen from the Class of 2018, but two were among the highest recruited in school history and will be counted on to help immediately.

Running back Pooka Williams and cornerback Corione Harris, both from the great football state of Louisiana, turned down Mississippi State and other high-powered programs to come to Kansas. By the time they’re seniors, they will have four years of effort and relationships invested in the Kansas uniform. They won’t have as many four-year friendships with players as Baylor’s freshmen will, though, because the revolving roster door that spins junior college players in and out at Kansas makes it that way. Although the quality of the friendships might not be as deep, the KU players will have a greater quantity of them, if that's any consolation.

No substitute for growing together and bonding over four years as one unit of comrades for making the whole perform greater than the sum of its parts, of course, but again, let’s not get greedy.

It’s easy to see how it happened with the latest class. Just about any coach saddled with a 3-33 record and unrestricted by bosses as to how to build the program would have taken a win-now approach.

If it doesn’t work and Kansas doesn’t win more games this season than it did in the first three years combined under Beaty, the coach will be gone. The recruiting tactic will have backfired, but into the face of his successor, which won’t be Beaty’s mess to clean up as he hits the job market with a $3 million parachute.

New athletic director Jeff Long, of course, hopes the win-now recruiting pays off with KU’s best season since Mark Mangino (50-48) was the coach. That way, Long doesn’t need to pay for a new coaching staff so soon. But of course, Long will be prepared for all scenarios. He wasn't recruited to maintain the status quo.


Kevin Robert Fest 4 years, 1 month ago

Uh oh ANOTHER hatchet job by Tom with this hack article, the "fans" will have a field day with this one. How dare Tom insinuate that David had to go a JUCO heavy to save his job, or that he didn't show any recruiting restraint. The heathen! The audacity to compare Beatys fine tenure to that of Matt Rhule. The shame. Shame on you Tom. Shame, shame, shame. How can anyone employ you? Can't you just write fluff pieces about a coach who is 3-33 and who is getting progressively worse year after year? Oh and lost by an average of 32 points and whose teams rank in the 100s in every offensive/defensive category. Maybe you should just wait until the season starts to write this filth. Beaty homers unite. Cry a river over this one ladies. As far as your replies....blah blah blah he's gone anyway.

Doug Cramer 4 years, 1 month ago

He forgot to replace Clint Bowen.

It won't matter how many JUCO players we brought in to fill holes in the defense, because Clint Bowen has never had a defense that finished higher than 85.

He took a defense fresh off of an Orange Bowl victory and finished 87.

What will be any different this year ? Its irrational to think our defense will compete when we have the same leader running the show.

[''] 4 years, 1 month ago

Exactly. It is the exact same D-Coordinator so Texas Tech & others in this conference know for certain that they can easily score 55 points on any given Saturday against Bowen & KU regardless of location or weather.

John Fitzgerald 4 years, 1 month ago

This program is so bad even writers with the Oklahoman are saying it’s one of the worst runs in college football history. And anyone who thinks Beaty deserves none of the blame for it are flat out nuts.

Anyways, I wrote about a true football coach, Mark Mangino. And how he discussed recruiting and the type of players he went after explains why he was so successful.

Bryan Mohr 4 years, 1 month ago

Speaking of Oklahoma, Long should take a look at Mike Stoops. I'd like to see a HC from the Bob Stoops and Bill Snyder coaching tree with P5 experience. KU fans need to have realistic expectations... Bill Snyder is considered by many to be a coaching legend, and yet his career win percentage in Big12/Big8 games is only 59%. But Beaty's 3.7% win percentage in Big12 is definitely "lack of on-field progress" to quote Zenger's firing of Charlie Weis after only 4 games into Weis's 3rd (not 4th) season. By the way, Weis was 2-2 when Zenger fired him... and beat Central Michigan.

[''] 4 years, 1 month ago

There is ZERO chance Stoops would come here. He wouldn't do that to Snyder and wouldn't do that to OU.

Bryan Mohr 4 years, 1 month ago

Mangino coached for both OU and Snyder. I don't see your logic. Mike Stoops makes $920,000 at OU. Charlie Weis's contract at KU was for $2.5 million per year, and Stoops could probably get that. Some guys like the glory and money that comes with being a HC. I don't know Mike Stoops personally. Sounds like you do.

Doug Cramer 4 years, 1 month ago

Fitz - I listened to this a few days ago. Preciate the interview. I love Mangino, and still upset at our university for treating him the way we did.

Wished you would have asked him what his take is regarding the fall of 2009 and what transpired.

Brett McCabe 4 years, 1 month ago

If you are Jeff Long, and you look at the numbers on scholarship mismanagement, do you look at the coach and say "I want to see how he does in year four?", or do you say "That's a series of fireable offenses and I don't need a leader of this program who sells it out to save his job".

The decision about Beaty has nothing to do with this year. It only has to deal with the singular question: how are we going to compete in '20-'21 and who can make make us good then? That coach needs a jump start on this year's recruiting class in the most immediate possible way.

Time to clear the decks. Get on with the search, get things lined up and get the new coach in place immediately after the end of the season.

Kevin Robert Fest 4 years, 1 month ago

I'm no insider but lm sure that Long isn't just sitting on his hands until Aug 1. I'm sure he must be talking to people inside the football program at KU about the good, bad and ugly of the program, calling people in the know about prospective coaches. He knows that he needs a new coach, hell KU fired Zenger to specifically address the football program. That doesn't include keeping Beaty for too long. Nothing would surprise me right now, fire Beaty Aug 1, let him start/finish season, or fire him mid-season. Who knows, but he's gone, after 3 years he is who he is, a nice guy who is in way over his head.

Steven Haag 4 years, 1 month ago

  1. A quote from Tom, “Still, they’re grown men, physically mature, hungry to prove they can play the game.” Multiple articles from the players themselves that said they hadnt been working hard enough, didn’t take it serious enough, etc. I get it, it’s up to the coaching staff, ALL OF THEM, to motivate these players. I have coached before, not at the college ranks, but have some kids that just won’t be motivated, period. I guess you let them go, and use the scholarship for somebody else, but to say that all of these upper class men are “hungry”? I would question that. It’s sad, but true. The coach isn’t the one fumbling the ball, moving early to create a false start etc. that is discipline. Something that Bill Snyder has developed in his teams.
  2. I hope and pray that the next coach we hire is worse than Beaty. That is exactly what we deserve. All of the rude, hateful comments deserve nothing more. Who would want to come in knowing that they better produce 9 wins by year 2 or have the “expert” fan base and sports writer extrordinaire Tom blasting them as the worst and most vile person ever to walk the planet. I guess I would take the job and let you blast me knowing I had a “3 million dollar parachute”😂😂😂😂😂

Chad Dexter 4 years, 1 month ago

This post is really dumb. Nobody expects a coach to come in and win 9 games in his second season. Personally, I would like a coach who can consistently make bowl games with 6-8 wins and occasionally win 9-10 games. I really don't think that is too much to ask. Beaty, while I like the guy and really wanted him to succeed, appears to not be good enough to win at this level. As others have said, he appears to be in over his head. I truly hope he wins a lot of games this year and gets the team to a bowl. But the realist in me says that is highly unlikely.

Kevin Robert Fest 4 years, 1 month ago

Whoa Steven.

How is reporting the truth make Tom incorrect about his stories. The team is 3-33 under Beaty, shows no signs of improvement and ranks near the bottom in most offensive/defensive categories. Let's not mention losses to MAC teams, loss a Baylor team playing most soph and freshman and it wasn't close, an average loss margin of 32 points last year. How is Tom or the fan base the bad guy in all of this? Yes certain factors contributed to this, Weis especially, but Beaty has shown no ability to coach or develop players. What is Tom supposed to do? Everyone on here wants positive stories about a shi**y team. If the team showed any ANY signs of improvement ie like at IST, then l could see your point. This is Kansas FB not OK ALABAM MICH USC, at these places the critics what be much much worse. He stinks sorry.

Steven Haag 4 years, 1 month ago

Kevin, the point that is truly sad is that Tom will only write articles that are insulting and degrading. How about an article that doesn’t do the program harm. Nobody is saying that Beaty is a great coach. To do so would be foolishness. Perhaps, just perhaps, maybe the old saying, “If you having nothing nice to say....”. We all are abundantly aware that the football program needs help. We are also abundantly aware that there is a 99.9% chance that changes are coming to the staff at KU football. The horse does NOT need to be beaten anymore. It’s dead. We get it. It truly does none, zero, zilch good for any prospective recruits. Try, at least try and write an article that can be less hateful.

Kevin Robert Fest 4 years, 1 month ago

That would like writing a story on the Titanic and calling it a mishap.

Jay Scott 4 years, 1 month ago

As long as the same handful of kooks can be reliably expected to unload their lunacy in response to Keegan taking shots at the football team, these columns will continue.

All this provides great entertainment.

More emotionally incontinent if Beaty has as decent season? Keegs or Keegs' kooks?

Steven Haag 4 years, 1 month ago

Kevin, you still don’t seem to get it. Writing an article calling into question the ability of Beaty to coach a P5 school is absolutely acceptable. After 50 articles berating him from every angle possible is just a tad bit overkill. Again, the horse is DEAD, quit beating it. It seems to have gone beyond reporting and become personal

Kevin Robert Fest 4 years, 1 month ago

If Beaty keeps being incompetent what should Tom, Benson etc do? It's a reporter's job to observe and give opinions. Tom had questions about future classes based on Beaty's approach to Jucos the last couple of years. Would you complain if Tom wrote nothing but glowing articles about Self and the bb program? Would you write that Tom was beating a dead horse with all of his praise and positive articles? Doubtful. Everyone here wants to think Tom has some sort of personal vendetta against Beaty and the program. Yes I agree he repeats the same points in most of his articles (record, rankings etc) but l wouldn't classify it as personal. We all know that their record is 3-33 and l dont need to see it in every article l agree. Look we are ALL frustrated by this program, it is a steaming pile and having questions about the coaches ability, record etc is not out of line. But yes to repeat points is a bit much. This is ONE reporter here at any other P5 power school OU ALA USC ND etc it would be 20 with an infinite fan base, this is nothing, one guy beating a dead horse, not one guy beating a dead horse with 19 more waiting for their turn.

It'll all be over soon, we can all hope Tom has something nice to say about the next guy, even you hope it's someone worse than Beaty(if that's even possible).

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