Monday, April 26, 2021

KU football coaching search: 3 selling points for Jeff Monken

FILE — Army head coach Jeff Monken cheers during the second half an NCAA college football game against Navy, on Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018, in Philadelphia. Army won 17 -10. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

FILE — Army head coach Jeff Monken cheers during the second half an NCAA college football game against Navy, on Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018, in Philadelphia. Army won 17 -10. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)


As the search for the next head football coach at the University of Kansas comes closer to a conclusion, the Lawrence Journal-World is taking a look at some of the potential candidates to lead the Jayhawks into the 2021 season.

What might make a certain contender appealing to Travis Goff, as KU’s athletic director tries to identify the right person for the job?

Here’s an overview of three selling points Jeff Monken has to offer.

Ball control offense

It remains to be seen whether Monken, if given the opportunity to lead a Power Five program, would continue to implement the triple-option offense that has been so effective for him at Army.

But even if Monken didn’t take a full blown old school approach, a drastic shift in his wider football philosophy would seem unlikely. Army has won under Monken by running the ball, controlling the clock and having a strong defense.

The Jayhawks, routinely massive underdogs in the Big 12, could potentially help their rebuild along by playing that style.

In each of the past five seasons, Army has finished in the top 14 in the country in terms of time of possession per game. In 2018, when the Black Knights went 11-2, Army finished No. 1 among all FBS teams in time of possession, at 38:33 per game.

Defense wins football games

A key component of Monken’s time of possession blueprint, of course, has been Army’s effective defense.

In 2020, with defensive coordinator Nate Woody, the Black Knights finished No. 1 in the nation in yards per game allowed (275.3) during their 9-3 season. Army only gave up 160.8 passing yards (No. 2 in FBS) and 114.6 rushing yards (18th).

Army has finished in the top 10 in the country in total defense in three of the past five years.

As Monken, formerly the head coach at Georgia Southern (2010-13), has built up the Army football program, he has amassed a 49-39 (.557) record in seven seasons as an FBS head coach.

Evidence of a successful rebuild

The Jayhawks have been stuck in a rebuilding loop for more than a decade and their next head coach will have to drag them out of it.

Monken has shown at Army that he can help a program escape the muck.

From 1997 to 2013, Army finished a season with a winning record only one time — in 2010. Then Monken took over in 2014 and his longterm overhaul has resulted in four bowl appearances in the past five years.


Jeff Coffman 1 year, 7 months ago

I like Monken, I worry about the triple option; however, i do remember some (okay a lot) of games, where the defense held its own, but the offense did nothing and therefore the defense was getting beat up in the long run of the game. I could see where this would "shorten" the game and give the defense a fighting chance, but am i sold on it, not entirely, but i do think Monken would bring a leadership quality and that would be great.

I think this is a solid hire, even though i wasn't fully supportive of this hire early on. I admit, I might be wrong on this guy.

Anyways, he is towards the top of my list, but Leipold, so far is my top.

Brett McCabe 1 year, 7 months ago

No idea why people have trouble with an effective offense.

Mark Mangino’s offense was effective while coaching OU athletes. And then when he caught a spark...who he wasn’t starting.

Turner Gill scored 3 points in his home opener.

Charlie Weis was an offensive guru.

David Beaty had the perfect offense that even had a brand name.

KU football fans who think that the triple option (the single most beautiful thing in football), is somehow below them, need to do a dunce cap check at the door.

In Monken’s overtime road loss to #5 ranked OU, Army controlled the ball for 44 of 60 regulation minutes. They did this without a single 3-star recruit.

I’ll take that offense all day long.

Dale Rogers 1 year, 7 months ago

Where I have a little trouble with that is if the triple offense is so great, why are not more teams using it? How about offense recruits? Do they like that offense?

Joe Black 1 year, 7 months ago

triple-option offense not triple offense. if we could put three times as many players on the field for offense we might be able to score some points.

Kit Duncan 1 year, 7 months ago

Army doesn't play OU, OSU and Texas every year, not to mention the other seven Big XII teams (no slouches either).

Benny Armstrong 1 year, 7 months ago

I don't doubt that the triple option is an effective scheme and could cause some chaos for teams having to prep for it once a season, especially in a pass happy conference like the Big 12. What I struggle with and why I think Monken isn't the right hire is the fact that we've dedicated multiple recruiting cycles to build an offense that is focused around the passing game. That's a significant shift in approach and has the potential to really wreck things and set the program back even further as we retool the entire offensive personnel group to run this offense? I get that blocking is blocking, but if you recruit for a spread offense and change to a running offense, you'll have to beef up guys to be able to move the defensive line and create holes. Also, do these players even want to play in this kind of an offense?

I realize that we haven't been experiencing an excess of winning lately, but do we have the patience as a program and fanbase to wait 2 or 3 years for Monken to bring in his guys and get it going? I don't think we do, and I hope we recognize that this isn't the right choice for KU at this time.

Brett McCabe 1 year, 7 months ago

Army also doesn’t have open recruiting.

JFC. Every player is committed to 5 years of service. Why is this so difficult?

This conference is incredibly weak. Anyone who wants to play some mano on mano will win a good share of games. Start winning, and see what happens.

Steven Haag 1 year, 7 months ago

I’m not overly excited AT ALL with Monken. I’m not crazy about Leipold either. Neither have P5 experience and it’s a big jump. However, we will probably hire one or the other. I will just log this away for a couple of years from now when people who were praising them start asking for their heads.

Dirk Medema 1 year, 7 months ago

Steven - That would be a year or 2 longer than in the past. 😉

Edward Daub 1 year, 7 months ago

Goff cannot afford a Mulligan!

My Ouija Board has already predicted that Leipold will get a pay raise to stay in Buffalo.

There is alot to like about Monken. He is an Illinois Native, and he really wanted the Fighting Illini job! (Instead, they hired Bret Bielema)

Jeff Monken is bound and determined to land a Power 5 job. His triple option offense works, because (according to Sports Illustrated) it is the "eternal equalizer".

Jeff preaches Defense, Ball Control, Special Teams. Hire Him!

Robert Brock 1 year, 7 months ago

If Monken becomes the KU Coach, he will continue to emphasize the ground game but it will be out of the spread offense like all the Big 12 teams. Boring, but effective.

Joe Black 1 year, 7 months ago

the triple-option offense is actually not boring at all to real football fans. I do not believe Monken will try to run using the spread offense. I think he would stay with the triple option.

Robert Brock 1 year, 7 months ago

Everyone runs the spread. THAT is boring.

Joey Meyer 1 year, 7 months ago

Agreed. For those that find the triple-option unappealing, I would contend that losing is more boring than running the triple option. Wins (however they come) would sure seem to cure those sentiments.

Jeff Kallmeyer 1 year, 7 months ago

I don't think we have the right type of QB to run the triple option?

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