Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Jayhawks might play reserve O-linemen more after lackluster opener

Kansas quarterback Peyton Bender (7) throws against Nicholls State during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Lawrence, Kan., Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018. (AP Photo/Reed Hoffmann

Kansas quarterback Peyton Bender (7) throws against Nicholls State during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Lawrence, Kan., Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018. (AP Photo/Reed Hoffmann


In its first game of the season, the Kansas football offense only finished with 255 yards — the lowest output among Big 12 teams in Week 1 — in its overtime home loss to Nicholls State.

The Jayhawks’ 199 passing yards ranked last in the conference, as did their 56 rushing yards.

After a preseason full of coaches and players talking up the potential of KU’s revamped offensive line, the idea was to put a much more polished product on the field to kick off year four of the David Beaty era at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium.

Center Alex Fontana misfiring on shotgun snaps was just one issue. Asked at his Tuesday press conference to assess the play of the new starting five up front, Beaty admitted it looked like Fontana, left tackle Hakeem Adeniji, left guard Andru Tovi, right guard Dwayne Wallace and right tackle Kevin Feder were playing their first game together, which of course was the case.

“There were some really good things at times, and then there were some things that you look at and you say, that’s just a communication piece that you’ve just got to play together a little bit more,” Beaty said. “The thing is, I know every one of those guys took it personally that they didn’t play their best game. And the good news is, they’re all going to make those changes, which is good. I know we’ve got a long way to go there, but I’ve got a lot of confidence in (offensive line coach A.J.) Ricker and his guys.”

Senior quarterback Peyton Bender completed 19 of his 35 throws for KU (0-1), netting 187 yards, with two touchdowns and no interceptions, but was sacked six times — the highest number in his nine starts since joining the program.

Nicholls’ defensive game plan, Bender said, pointing to the twists the Colonels often used up front, led to that large total.

“And just watching the film, we struggled to pick that up as a unit. So I think that kind of contributed to the sacks. And there was one where I probably could’ve gotten the ball out. I was probably just looking at the wrong guy. So I have to make sure I’m on the right read,” Bender added. “I think, up front, it’s just making sure that we’re prepared for anything that the D-line tries to throw at us with stunts and twists and that sort of thing, and we can fix that up.”

Three of KU’s starters on the O-line transferred in during this past summer — Fontana from Houston, Wallace from Cal and Feder from Ohio State.

A 6-foot-4, 325-pound guard, Wallace spoke Tuesday about how the linemen are coming along.

“We all came in kind of late. And that’s not an excuse. But we’re for sure going to jell and get together. This game taught us a lot,” Wallace said of the Week 1 setback. “There’s a lot of teaching tape, a lot of things to learn from. I think, even though we lost, there’s a lot of good that came out of it because we can go back and look at our mistakes. I feel like this is not it for our group. We’re going to be able to improve and get much better.”

While Beaty didn’t share any plans to make changes to the starting lineup, the fourth-year coach did say he and Ricker have discussed making better use of the backup O-linemen. Against Nicholls, Clyde McCauley III, Antione Frazier and Chris Hughes subbed in.

“We’ve got some guys that can come in and play and we’re going to use more offensive linemen. We didn’t really roll in guys the other day as much as we’d like to,” Beaty said. “We have enough depth to keep people fresh. Guys shouldn’t have to play 80 plays a game. I think that’ll help us because we actually have depth, which is quality depth.”

Junior Api Mane is listed on KU’s depth chart as the backup center. But Beaty doesn’t foresee making a switch at the position before KU’s road opener at Central Michigan (2 p.m. Saturday) because of Fontana’s snapping.

“I don’t see any reason that would change unless he gets beat out throughout the week,” Beaty said. “But we still have a lot of confidence in him. We think we’ve identified the issue that he had and we think it’s very fixable. Unfortunately, it showed up. We have to deal with it and we know that we’ve identified what we know to be the problem.”

Asked whether a wet hand or putting on a glove led to the off-target snaps, Beaty replied: “I think that had a little bit to do with it, but there was some other things mechanically that we can fix. Pretty easy to fix.”


Joe Ross 3 years, 11 months ago

Advice from the Bible, now, if I can take you to church for 5 seconds...

"A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways."

Charlie Gaughn 3 years, 11 months ago

Beaty can try all kinds of combinations of players and schemes but his largest problem is lack of discipline. No, I'm not talking about poking the players in the chest or making them crab crawl across the field in 100 degree temperatures. What I'm talking about is a culture of paying attention to each play and being ready to step in and execute.

I'm dreadfully tired of seeing players "shuck and jive" after they make what, is seemingly, a routine play. Then they turn around and get burnt on the next one. Make the play you're supposed to, get back in the huddle, and do it again. Act like you've done it before instead of it being your first time!

Stop the cheerleading on the sidelines. All the jumping up and down by the assistants and players is a joke. Pay attention to the game! Then there's the noise pollution from the big TV set and the 20 something permutations of uniforms. This program isn't on par with a good high school! Then there's the latest "fingernails on the chalkboard" screeching from (apparently) the spirit squad coach. My God give us a break! Let the band play and bring back a college football game day environment.

When Beaty is removed we need a blue collar disciplinarian (remind you of anyone) that is totally unemotional and focused on one play at a time. Until we get back to that culture we have no chance at being competitive.

Dillon Davis 3 years, 11 months ago

Love. Everything. You. Just. Said. Beaty would make a great positions coach and I am sure he would be well liked in that role or maybe even as a high school coach. But he is just way out of his league here, even more than Turner Gill I'm afraid...

Chris Bailey 3 years, 11 months ago

I love everything he said too but I don’t think Beaty can coach period. I think he’s had good coaches around him wherever he’s been that have masked his inadequacies. He just plain sucks.

Owens Smithson 3 years, 11 months ago

So coach Beaty’s solution to a brand new OL that lacks chemistry is to play more OLmen and combinations that have never played together?

Got it.

David Kemp 3 years, 11 months ago

Got to say this is a formula for more chaos and confusion.

Andy Tweedy 3 years, 11 months ago

Blah blah blah, heard it all before. Call me when we play a decent game. I'm so disheartened by this program. I love the kids for laying out there, and even the coaches for doing what they think is best for the university that I love...but we suck and I'm just so tired of sucking!!! I've made so many long and expensive road trips over the years, to Lawrence and other stadiums, and right now I just plain don't care...and isn't that the real crime here? I've got so many other ways to spend my Saturdays that don't end up in me being sad!!!

Chris Bailey 3 years, 11 months ago

Beaty sucks. I assure you if we had a Bill Snyder coaching here we’d have won some games by now.

Jeff Coffman 3 years, 11 months ago

Imagine that...Beaty second guessing who was selected as a starter

Steven Haag 3 years, 11 months ago

Here’s how I see it. The 5 he started were the 5 that had supposedly played the best in practice. 2 things hit me hard in our loss: 1. He said we were deep in the offensive line position. When the 5 starters were “stinking it up on the field”, why not put the other guys in there? If there isn’t much, if any drop off, then yank the first group and go with the second group. They couldn’t have done any worse. 2. If an FSC defensive coordinator can change up their defense, run some slants and other things that our group said they hadn’t seen in film, then (A) hire their defensive coordinator, (B) we are in for a LONG season if we can’t make adjustments, and (C), that is some very poor coaching......and Beaty isn’t alone in that boat.

David Kemp 3 years, 11 months ago

Simple case that their coach threw blitzes, crosses, slants and our line never picked it up and nobody adjusted. Good coaches like HCBS know how to make adjustments come out and play a second half

Eric Eakins 3 years, 11 months ago

I just feel like beaty is making up stuff he believes others will buy at these press conferences. Ironically it sounds similar to how his game plan looks. If the game plan was to rotate the line more than why wasn't the game plan followed? He had weeks to have a written clear plan that everyone should have been on board with. Who is in control? How does it fall apart so quickly? These kids deserve more. There is some talent on this team but they are not being coached well. They are sacrificing their bodies for their school. We are sacrificing our money and pride. PLEASE fix this Long.

Marc Frey 3 years, 11 months ago

I wish them well, but the phrase "Rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic" comes to mind.

Chris Condren 3 years, 11 months ago

Same old story. KU football plan A fails. Seven days later the coaches toss out everything done up the wipeout last weekend and they will play another batch of guys with limited experience who were not able to win a starting job. Beaty feeds the fans some puffery and now they should be excited that different players will get a chance. Another bunch of Crap spewing out of the KUAD.

David Kemp 3 years, 11 months ago

Keep in mind that 3 of these guys didn’t play last year and it may take them that first game to get to playing speed.

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