Sunday, November 14, 2021

Jalon Daniels ‘outstanding’ for KU football in start; but next week’s QB plans undetermined

Kansas quarterback Jalon Daniels (6) looks to pass against Texas during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Austin, Texas, Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

Kansas quarterback Jalon Daniels (6) looks to pass against Texas during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Austin, Texas, Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)


The Jayhawks didn’t know for certain this past week whether junior quarterback Jason Bean, the Kansas football team’s starter in each of the first nine games, would get the green light to play at Texas on Saturday night.

But when Bean wasn’t able to play, the Jayhawks figured sophomore Jalon Daniels, who ended up making his first start of the season, was more than ready to step in.

“We’re very fortunate to have him,” KU head coach Lance Leipold said about Daniels earlier in the week.

Indeed, Daniels helped the Jayhawks win a 57-56 overtime thriller on the Longhorns’ home field. Daniels threw for 202 yards, completed 70% of his 30 passes, and finished with four total touchdowns in the road upset.

After the win, Leipold summarized Daniels’ showing in two words: “Outstanding. Amazing.”

Even so, it remained unclear immediately after the Jayhawks’ monumental win — their first Big 12 road victory since 2008 — whether Daniels will start next week.

The Jayhawks have just two games remaining, and if Daniels plays in one of them, he will not be able to use this as a redshirt season, which was the plan before injuries to both Bean and Miles Kendrick changed everything.

Asked after the game whether he will play next week at TCU, Daniels didn’t want to address the matter at the time.

“I’m just going to enjoy the night,” Daniels replied.

Leipold said earlier in the week he particularly appreciated that Daniels, who already had decided to redshirt, was willing to play, and possibly even burn his redshirt season in the process.

“Some guys would go, ‘No, coach. I’m good. You told me we were doing this, and that’s what I planned on.’ He’s looking at the longterm and he didn’t bat an eye. He got ready,” Leipold said of Daniels.

The sophomore QB from Lawndale, Calif., of course, had to come in unexpectedly on Nov. 6, when the Jayhawks lost both Bean and backup Kendrick to injuries in the first half against Kansas State. That emergency appearance marked Daniels’ third game this year, and when he took over at QB at Texas on Saturday, it put him at four — the maximum amount of appearances anyone redshirting can make.

KU offensive coordinator Andy Kotelnciki said earlier this week that Daniels did an “awesome job” of stepping into a larger role when needed.

The Jayhawks’ coaches thought during the preseason, when they were considering Bean, Kendrick and Daniels for the starting job, that they had depth at the QB spot.

“Well, that statement has been challenged here,” Kotelnicki said of what transpired over the past week. “And it's shown to be, somewhat accurate in the sense that Jalon could come in, you know, cold off the bench, so to speak, and go in there and perform pretty well in the second half (versus K-State) for us.”

KU’s O.C. said Daniels followed that up with “a great week” of practice and preparation, too, leading up to the road game at Texas.

Running back Devin Neal has taken on a starring role for the Jayhawks as a true freshman this year, much in the way Daniels did in 2020, when he started six games for the Jayhawks.

“I’m so proud of the effort that Jalon has put in throughout this season to get himself ready for this point,” Neal said earlier this week.

During practices this past week, Neal said Daniels took control with the offense and showed his leadership abilities while preparing to potentially start at QB again.

“He's a leader off and on the field,” Neal said of Daniels. “He's charismatic and he's a big fiery guy. You just love to see it. He just takes command. And all the quarterbacks support each other, which you also love to see. And so, when you do get in situations like this, they're all prepared.”

Leipold on Big 12’s newest head coach

Leipold hasn’t known newly named Texas Tech head coach Joey McGuire long. But as it turned out earlier this week, KU’s head coach was among the first to congratulate the former Baylor assistant on his new gig.

Leipold said he saw some reports this past Monday morning that McGuire was close to taking over the Red Raiders’ program, so KU’s head coach texted to wish McGuire luck “if it was true.” McGuire texted Leipold back to thank him, and let Leipold know it “was about an hour away from being official” at the time.

Tech announced McGuire’s hiring on Monday, after firing Matt Wells in late October.

A Baylor assistant from 2017 until just last week, McGuire met Leipold for the first time earlier this season, when the Bears played in Lawrence in Week 3.

“He came up to me before our game against Baylor and introduced himself,” Leipold shared. “He had worked for (former BU coach Matt) Rhule, and I got a chance to know coach Rhule when he was at Temple.”

Leipold said McGuire, who is considered a high school coaching legend in Texas after a long career at Cedar Hill, has a “great” reputation in the college football world.

“It's really unique how these hires are (happening),” Leipold added of Tech hiring its next head coach while the season is still going on. “People are getting dismissed during the season and even now it's even taken another step, where these jobs are being filled with games to play.”

McGuire joined Tech’s athletic department upon being hired, and will completely take over the program at the conclusion of the season. Interim head coach Sonny Cumbie is remaining as the acting head coach until the Red Raiders’ offseason begins.


Len Shaffer 1 year ago

What Jalon did was incredible, and it was crucial to use him in this game so we could finally break the road losing streak, but I still think it would be better not to use him in the last two games. If you're thinking longterm, it would be much better to have him for three or four more years, rather than to use him in two essentially meaningless games.

Dale Rogers 1 year ago

I've been waffling on whether I think it better to redshirt him or not. I understand the long term argument and don't disagree. But.... We have Easters and Hawley redshirting. In a couple of years they should be ready. Meanwhile, our next two games are against #8 and #9 in the Big12 standings, both winnable games with Daniels at the helm. Think about what going from a zero-win season to three or four wins in Leipold's first season, and a season in which they had too little time to really develop the team and install the full scheme, think about what that does for recruiting. Because of the recruiting angle I'm thinking burn the redshirt.

Len Shaffer 1 year ago

Solid points, Dale. It will be interesting to see what Leipold decides.

Dirk Medema 1 year ago

It was understandable to redshirt Jalon when there were two capable QBs at or ahead of him. I’d question that it’s a good idea to not play your best in order to have 3 redshirt freshmen QBs in the same class.

I would disagree that the remaining games are meaningless. The culture change that Coach has been preaching from day one is about every game, every practice, every play, every rep, every technique, and every action being absolutely important.

While we aren’t playing for a championship or bowling, we’re playing for something arguably more important; the next recruiting class and future of the program. It’s sorta like the article following the ou game and comparison with years past. This game needs to be built on so it’s not an isolated blip to be forgotten in history.

Dirk Medema 1 year ago

It’s a little difficult to say after giving up 56, but gotta love the effort from the D as well. Four TOs including a pick6 or it’s all for naught. So happy Kyron too. So appreciate his commitment to the program when it would have been easy to go elsewhere.

Randy Bombardier 1 year ago

I was thinking the same thing, Dirk. Forget the redshirt. Let's turn this ship. Jalon has two more years. I think that's enough. Momentum is very important right now.

Jeff Coffman 1 year ago

Remember when Mangino ripped off the red-shirt of Todd Reesing and we didn't get one more year of him and we have been searching for a QB for 12 years.

This is a rebuild and we can piece together a couple of QBs to protect our Red-shirt Sophomore, not Freshman.

That game was incredible from a turnover perspective and 21 points in the first half were directly tied to those.

Andy Tweedy 1 year ago

Can we please get the warhawk logo on every single thing we wear?

Barry Weiss 1 year ago

Its a tough call, but if Bean is healthy, I guess I'd go with the redshirt on Jalon. He was awesome!!

Michael Maris 1 year ago

Bean needs to step it up.......

Jalon Daniels stepping in and leading the Jayhawks football team to a ROAD win (in Bevo Land) is awesome.......

Last time Jayhawks beat Bevo (in Lawrence), Texas relieved Coach Strong from his HC'ing position.

Steve Sarkisian evidently is a GREAT OC....

But, his HC abilities do NOT look good at all (it's not like he's been handed empty cupboards at any of his past HC'ing jobs).

So far, Sarkisian W/L record as HC is only 50-41.......

Layne Pierce 1 year ago

Heart or head, it's a tough call, but remember, we are trying to build a program, not win a couple of games.

We all spend too much time thinking about qbs. There is no guaranteee that we will win the last two games, or either of them. But there is a certainty that the talents of Jalon Daniels can be extended to us for anotehr year. So I believe the way to go is to leave his redshirt. I actually think that if the offensive line and Neal play well, we could still win, one or both of the last two games.


Micky Baker 1 year ago

I think JD should play next week to see if they can get a 2 game streak going. If they do, play him the final game and try to finish the season 3-0. It would be a great thing to build on. This is an opportunity to set the tone for the program moving forward, and 3-0 the last 3 games would be huge for recruiting and getting people to Memorial Stadium next season.

Doug Roberts 1 year ago

With his speed and length coach Bean to play wide receiver next year.

Dale Rogers 1 year ago

A la Todd Reesing and Kerry Meier.

Dirk Medema 1 year ago

Doug - Call him Kerry.

Jeff - I believe last year was a freebie, so this would be Jalon’s RSFreshman year.

Hypothetically, Todd could have returned if he had redshirted, but the reality is there was no chance, and maybe more so if Mangino had been retained. He spent the last half of his senior year pissed and feuding with HC amid the 7 game losing streak. He was graduating and moving on to better things. A RS had no bearing on our QB demise.

Brian Skelly 1 year ago

So if we burn the redshirt now, he's got 2 years left?   As opposed to 3?

I'd make the argument that you would HOPE this coaching staff has someone else ready to go after two seasons.    Im under no illusions about how bare the cupboard still is.   But having another guy ready to go in 2 years does not seem like much to ask.

 Especially if what happens is Jalon is redshirted and then next year isn't very good?   I just think at this point it's folly to think that way considering how much we don't know what'll happen next season, much less the one after that.

  Im fine burning the redshirt.    For most of the game, Jalon Daniels was the best player on the field.   When was the last time KU's football team could claim that?

Jim Stauffer 1 year ago

Daniels should have 3 years left with the extra year of Covid. That is plenty of time to get another QB ready to replace him.

Brett McCabe 1 year ago

Play the an you think gives you the best chance to win. Period.

Your team is motivated, they had a big win and you are in the thick of recruiting. The guy that gives us the best chance against TCU is the guy that should play.

Brett McCabe 1 year ago

Play the guy that you think gives you the best chance to win. Period.

Your team is motivated, they had a big win and you are in the thick of recruiting. Your team and future recruits need to know that IT wasn’t a fluke. The guy that gives us the best chance against TCU is the guy that should play.

Brett McCabe 1 year ago

Maybe the third time will be the charm?

Dirk Medema 1 year ago

Layne - Remember we are trying to build a program and not just fill a roster. Building a program means winning games (plural on purpose), and winning builds recruiting which is half the battle in building a program. This staff seems to have the other half (technical to go with relational) as well.

Joseph Bullock 1 year ago

A lot of very good points have been made on this post. I would think that Bean will start our next game, and we have a Senior ‘walk on’ (I forget his name), who will get some reps in practice. We also have the two Freshman, 3 Star recruits, who are redshirting this season, so even if Daniels does play again, there should be someone ready to step in after 2 years- and who knows what other QB’s we will recruit to be Jayhawks! I know that I’m all over the place-but I am fine with whatever we do!

Brian Hosfelt 1 year ago

all I have to say is Jalon is a much more accurate passer then Bean. I was all for the redshirt but if we can win another game its good for recruiting. Not sure if Bean would stay as the back up but I would love to have a 6'2 guy that runs a 10.3 100 meter at WR.

Layne Pierce 1 year ago

With our offensive line, Daniels could get hurt very easily, and not even have another year. All things in good time. And please do not get on the qb is the only reason we don't win games. That simply is not true.


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