Tom Keegan: David Beaty still firing away

Kansas coach David Beaty hands the ball off to junior running back James Sullivan as they run through drills during practice on Thursday, Aug. 4, 2016.

Kansas coach David Beaty hands the ball off to junior running back James Sullivan as they run through drills during practice on Thursday, Aug. 4, 2016.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

David Beaty almost found the right solution to the Kansas football program’s main problem. In fact, he only missed by one letter. Beaty hired himself again as offensive coordinator. He should have fired himself as head coach.

Oh well, the ‘f’ is only two keys to the left of the ‘h.’ Understandable mistake. Unforgivable, to be sure, but understandable.

If Beaty worked for athletic directors as intolerant of him as he is of assistant coaches and quarterbacks, Sheahon Zenger would have fired him when Beaty’s team fell behind FCS school South Dakota State, 31-7, in his first game as a head coach. If Jeff Long’s trigger finger were as itchy as Beaty’s, he would have him when he lost to FCS foe Nicholls State in this season’s opener.

Good thing Beaty doesn’t have the power to appoint himself athletic director, because if he did, he wouldn’t last as coach past his third timeout of the first half of his next game — one of those timeouts burned to decide whether to punt, go for it or kick a field goal; another used to get the right number of players on the field; and the third to let one of the coaches of a special teams unit know he’ll handle it from here.

In his two-paragraph release to announce Meacham’s dismissal, Beaty fingered the lack of progress of the offense for the move.

Sure, the offense isn’t very good and should have made better use of three early interceptions of West Virginia’s Will Grier in the red zone last Saturday. But, statistically, it’s the best offense Beaty has had at Kansas, ranking eighth in scoring in Big 12 games, as opposed to the other three that ranked last.

We’ll take Beaty’s word that it was something else. A personality conflict? A disagreement over the curious quarterback shuffle? A public show of disrespect for the head coach? Something. The timing is just so strange. For one thing, who gets fired on Wednesday? For another, what head coach reshuffles the deck of assistant coaches so compulsively?

Beaty has so little faith in his own decisions, the opposite trait of most head coaches.

Clint Bowen and Kenny Perry are the only assistants who have been with Beaty all four seasons. Perry switched from cornerbacks to special teams coordinator after last season and Bowen has been defensive coordinator the entire time.

Beaty doesn’t seem to have changed during his time as a head coach in that he just can’t stop changing. Assistant coaches, quarterbacks, recruiting philosophies, media policies, which ears are on the headsets in the press box.

Offensive coordinators: Rob Likens, Beaty, Doug Meacham (one-and-a-half years), Beaty (half year).

Quarterbacks: Likens, Beaty, Garrett Riley, Meacham (half year), Beaty (half year).

Wide receivers: Klint Kubiak, Jason Phillips, Meacham, Justin “Juice” Johnson.

Offensive line: Zach Yenser (three years), A.J. Ricker.

Defensive line: Calvin Thibodeaux, Michael Slater, Jesse Williams (in second year).

Linebackers: Kevin Kane, Todd Bradford (two years), Bill Miller.

Special teams: Gary Hyman, Joe DeForest (two years), Perry.

Beaty started by recruiting high school players. At the moment, the coaching staff is on the road visiting junior colleges. The recruiting Class of 2018 included 14 recruits from junior colleges, five on four-year transfers.