Sunday, September 19, 2021

Highly disappointed’ after blowout loss to Baylor, Jayhawks aim to regroup quickly

Kansas head coach Lance Leipold watches the video board after a Baylor first down during the second quarter on Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021 at Memorial Stadium. (Photo by Nick Krug/Special to the Journal-World)

Kansas head coach Lance Leipold watches the video board after a Baylor first down during the second quarter on Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021 at Memorial Stadium. (Photo by Nick Krug/Special to the Journal-World)


Kansas football players will have to add regrouping to their typical game week preparation after the Jayhawks suffered their first one-sided defeat of the season against Baylor.

One key takeaway from an unprosperous Saturday, KU sophomore receiver Trevor Wilson said following a 45-7 beating, was that the players can’t let what transpired impact their motivation.

“Sometimes people get down. We just need the leaders to step up and keep them going,” Wilson said.

Many KU football teams, players and coaches have had to find ways to deal with similar blowouts over the past decade-plus. But this was the first for Lance Leipold, who was hired in late April to rebuild the long struggling program.

Senior defensive lineman Caleb Sampson said Leipold’s told the players immediately after the 38-point defeat that they need to put the game in the past.

“(Sunday) we’re going to watch film, make our corrections and next week we’ve got to come with the mindset to get better,” Sampson said.

The KU defense, which surrendered 576 yards — 307 rushing and 269 passing — and allowed the Bears to pick up 8.3 yards per play, had “a lot of issues,” Sampson said. And Baylor (3-0 overall, 1-0 Big 12) didn’t even vastly expand its play book and surprise the Jayhawks with new wrinkles.

So how do the players go about recovering from a deflating performance?

“You’ve just got to accept the culture,” Sampson said. “I wouldn’t say it’s hard to do. You’ve just got to trust and believe that our coaches are our coaches for a reason and they’re going to put us in the best position.”

Adding to the let down on their home field Saturday, the Jayhawks only trailed 14-7 at halftime and the offense got the ball to open the third quarter.

Junior safety Kenny Logan Jr. said the players definitely felt like they had momentum when the second half began. But the KU offense went three-and-out twice three minutes into the third quarter.

“Plays are going to happen. We’ve just got to continue to just make sure we keep our heads up and continue to fight and just try to get our offense back the ball,” Logan said. “We’ve just got to keep swinging.”

The team’s mood after the loss, Logan shared, included plenty of frustration.

“But we’re just ready to go to work, put our hard hats back on,” said Logan, who added the Jayhawks (1-2 overall, 0-1 Big 12) have to do a better job of finishing games.

Following his first Big 12 loss, Leipold said the Jayhawks have “a lot of work to do in a lot of different ways,” and said he was “highly disappointed” by what transpired.

In some ways, Leipold said, the result revealed where KU is at as a program right now, and where many of the players are at in terms of experience and confidence. Things can get away from the Jayhawks “quickly” if mistakes happen against an experienced opponent, he added.

Leipold said the staff will continue to evaluate “everything we do in the program” as the coaches try to make sure KU is competitive on game days.

“The facts are the facts. And we’ve got to find a way to overcome some of the things that we have right now,” Leipold said. “I think we will. And I’m counting on our seniors and our leaders to continue to do so.”

KU is headed back to the Carolinas this week, as the Jayhawks wrap up their nonconference schedule with a Saturday game at Duke (3 p.m., ACC Network).

The Blue Devils are 2-1 after losing their opener at Charlotte. In Week 3, Duke beat Northwestern, 30-23, in Durham, N.C.


Brett McCabe 1 year ago

I was thinking about how much the landscape changes in college football have come in perfect conjunction with terrible coaching hires to make this rebuild much, much harder than the Snyder rebuild at cow pie u.

First, Snyder had control of four non-con games for much of the start of his rebuild. He gained a ton of momentum before the Big Eight became the Big 12.

Second, between the hirings of Beaty and Miles, the early signing period of December was instituted, meaning that Miles’ first recruiting class was put together in a scramble (those are KU’s juniors now).

Third, the decision by the Big 12 to mandate a 10th FBS game made schedules tougher for KU when we needed the opposite.

Finally…..the transfer portal. Though we added some guys this year, we lost some real talent. And if we go 1-11, it might be an accomplishment just to hang onto a full roster.

Additionally, of course, we brought our coach in after spring ball was completed. Just to raise the difficulty level.

With all of these macro level changes, excluding the timing of Leipold’s hiring, KU administrators decided to respond in every case by making the dumbest decisions available to them.

I am in now way minimizing Snyder’s accomplishments. But this rebuild will be much more difficult than the one he engineered in the litter box.

Rodney Crain 1 year ago

The positive is that Coach L. seems to know how to do it. Buffalo played Coastal Carolina close Saturday. He had some talent come with him but a lot stayed in New York.

I was in WI when he was at Whitewater, his teams were talented, well coached too. I agree with your points for the most part, but Leipold is different. He has a plan that works, loyality with his staff and knows how to navigate recruiting to get the most out of the players he is after and gets.

This mess was well made and he came to it late, it will take time but if we can keep him, in three years or so, we should be competitive.

Now if we can keep dumb and dumber out of his way and upgrade the stadium this could get fun.

Lucas Town 1 year ago

I will disagree with the KU rebuild being more difficult than K-State's. KU is not on the verge of being a DII school or an FCS football school for that matter. We have much more going for us to start our rebuild. Better facilities, location, brand recognition, etc. K-State had none of that. Now we have a coach I am excited about (first since Mangino) and we should give him more than the 2-3 years we gave the last 5 coaches. Snyder didn't get to a bowl game until his 5th season at K-State.

The schedule is a problem and hopefully with conference realignment we will go back to a 4 game non-conference slate like the AAC and SEC. KU can load the schedule up with teams we can beat and use that part of the Snyder's plan to get momentum heading into the conference schedule. I feel the tide is changing but patience is key!

Micky Baker 1 year ago

I do believe this is more difficult. Other teams kept growing and advancing where we stayed stagnant. Even the new teams coming into the conference, they are ahead of KU right now. It will take a full four years for Leipold to get his recruits in a system that hopefully does not change every single year with a new OC or DC every year. It would be a lot easier if it was still 12 teams in the Big 12 and we played only 8 conference games. With that said, when Snyder rebuilt KSU, games against FCS schools did not county when becoming bowl eligible. Glen Mason was charged with rebuilding KU at the same time and during that rebuild we beat Oregon and Oregon State in back to back seasons in blow out wins. We played Michigan State, Notre Dame, Florida State, and TCU(before they were in the conference) and had mixed results, really only success came against TCU back then. We also hammered KSU during Snyder's first few seasons. We even beat OU and Colorado a few times, and Colorado when they were in the top 10 in the rankings. We had some great games in the border war. The Oklahoma State game was fun rather it was in Lawrence or Stillwater. We have a long way to go just to get to .500. That is at least 5 or 6 years out right now. Progress cannot be measured in the w/l column in the next few seasons. Success will be losing to Baylor 35 to 27 and losing 41 to 21 or something like that to a couple of the upper level teams in the conference.

Lucas Town 1 year ago

I agree that we are a few recruiting cycles away from Leipold putting a truly competitive team on the field each weekend. Like I said in my prior post I am more happy with this hire than the previous 4. I didn't mind the Turner Gill hire, but the patience wasn't there from the school and fans probably from the recent success of Mangino. Would have liked to see what he could have done with a couple more years, but that's all history now. The other hires (Weis and Miles) were to sell tickets except for Beaty who wasn't ready for the job.

The other thing that I would agree with that could make this a harder rebuild is the transfer portal. I could see a lot of teams around the country becoming farm clubs for the elites of the game. The variables are different for K-State and KU when comparing rebuilds, but when I think back on all of it the situation in Manhattan was dire, they had nothing and almost lost their program. We are in a much better situation. All we have to do is put some trust in Leipold, recruit and eventually we will start winning games. Looking forward to the ride!

Brian Wilson 1 year ago

Again, too many new parts, too many changes, lack of intuitive knowledge of the playbook and system. This coaching staff has a lot to accomplish to get where we need to go but I am afraid this year will be spent overcomimg newness and confusion.

Charlie Gaughn 1 year ago

My biggest concern is players deciding to redshirt and transfer after game four. Losing two or three young talents has a huge impact on programs like this. We're seeing that on the defensive side this year. Keep your fingers crossed.

Dirk Medema 1 year ago

Probably Coach Leipold’s biggest challenge, and ours as well, will be maintaining enough positive energy to withstand and develop through what is destined to be a long season - or 2. It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that we are a young team that has had really limited time with the coaches playing against teams with extra experienced players.

This week will be the real barometer for the season. Duke is the only team even close to us. While the Sagrin ratings have a lot of built in bias to start the season, we’re at a point now where it can give some good comparative perspective across all of cfb.

Baylor @ 33rd is the 8th place Big12 team. TTech is 44, Coastal is 56th, Duke is 94th (Northwestern is 83), and we’ve fallen to 126th. Buffalo is 81st and played CCU relatively close to the end last weekend. Our SOS is currently 47th, but projected to be top 10 by the end of the year.

It’s not going to be easy or quick, but the only way a turnaround happens is if the coaches, players, and everyone stays positive enough to keep making progress with the rest of cfb. Improvement won’t come with complaining and negativity. Improvement relative to the competition will only come with maximum effort going forward.

Duke is the 2021 barometer.

Glen Miller 1 year ago

I'm encouraged by some of what I've seen. I'm cautious, because I'm not getting sucked into the hype train that seems to come along with each new staff........ but I can see silver linings in some areas. Biggest issue right now is Offensive and Defensive line. If you can't win the line of scrimmage, you won't win many ball games. Interested to see where our line's are at when the season ends and what kind of recruits we get in here on both lines.

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