Fourth-year Kansas football coach David Beaty said last week he doesn't anticipate using the new rule that enables players to redshirt as long as they don't play in more than four games, but two juniors on the roster who might be attractive to other FBS schools still could do so.
Receiver Evan Fairs played in the first four games of the season and did not participate in the two most recent ones. Cornerback Kyle Mayberry has played in just one game.
Beaty does not always share if a player is injured and sometimes tries to pretend that an injured player is available, which is what he did with Carter Stanley at the beginning of the 2017 season. Other times, he does share that a player is injured.
Beaty doesn't do his weekly Tuesday press conference during bye week, so we'll have to wait until next week to ask if Fairs and Mayberry have missed games with injury. If Beaty says they have not, it's possible that both players decided to redshirt with the intention of transferring elsewhere.
If that's the case and there is a coaching change at the end of the season, the new coach could take a crack at trying to convince the players to stay.
Five days before Oklahoma State defeated Kansas, 48-28, at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium, Gundy announced that receiver Jalen McCleskey was using the new rule to redshirt and transfer after he had played in four games this season for the Cowboys. The next day, I asked Beaty if he had had any players inform him of their intentions to do the same. He said that at that point none of his players had done so.
It will be interesting to hear next week whether that has changed.
Marty "Duck" Pattin's life will be celebrated Thursday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Naismith Room on the second floor of Allen Fieldhouse.
Pattin, a 114-game winner in 13 seasons spent as a starting pitcher and reliever, the final seven seasons with the Royals. His last pitch was thrown in the 1980 World Series. His coaching career at the University of Kansas wasn't nearly as successful as his pitching career, but that didn't dent his local popularity a bit. In six seasons (1982-87), Pattin's teams posted a .416 winning percentage.
Before, during and after his time as KU baseball coach, I wonder how many people went home and told a loved one, "I met a former big-leauge pitcher today and he was the friendliest man." Probably as many as the number of people who met him during his years in Lawrence. He never blew off anybody who asked him to do his Donald Duck impression and liked his nickname so much that for years his telephone answering machine message said, "Hello, this is your friendly mallard, 'The Duck.' "
Not that he didn't get cranky once in a while. If you happened to be watching a Royals game with him and the pitcher let the pitcher crowd the plate, look out.
"Why do they let the hitters do that?" Marty fumed. "All you have to do is put one right here (darts his hand below his chin.) If he doesn't get the message send another one right in there. He'll back off."
And then there was the time we were watching a game at a restaurant and the Royals pitcher who had a 4-1 lead in the eighth inning led the walkoff man.
"Throw it right down the middle and the worst that can happen is he hits it over the fence and you're still up two runs," Marty groused. "Instead, he walks him and all just watch, all hell's about to break loose."
Less than a minute later he would laughing again, telling another story from his days with the Royals or the 1969 Seattle Pilots.
If you never heard Pattin tell the story of the time he rained on third baseman George Brett's great play by inexplicably cutting off the Hall of Famer's laser of a throw across the diamond and if you never heard Marty's Donald Duck impersonation, click this video and you'll get two for the price of one:
The switch from primarily using a three-man front to a four-man front for Saturday's game in Morgantown resulted in a far better pass rush. The appreciative secondary responded with three interceptions in the red zone of West Virginia quarterback Will Grier, who had not thrown a red-zone pick in his career heading into the game.
Daniel Wise stood out up front and Hasan Defense in the back, but according to defensive tackle J.J. Holmes, Wise didn't carry out his assignments any better than any other week. Holmes said it's just that what he was asked to do led to more visible contributions. Wise has faced constant double-teams this season with KU in a three-man front, but it's harder for offensive lines to do that against four-man fronts. Wise brought phenomenal energy fighting off his blocker to disrupt plays in the backfield.
"Daniel's always on fire," Holmes said. "The whole D-line's on fire."
The D-line produced its best statistics of the season, but did it have its best performance?
"No," Holmes said. "I think this is one of our better ones, but some games it's just not built in our game plan to sack a lot like it was today. We build in for different things. Sometimes it's not to rush the passer. Sometimes it's just to keep him in the pocket and make him throw passes that we don't think he can make. I feel like I've seen us play better."
Said Beaty of Wise: "I think he played very relentlessly throughout the day. He had a look in his eye coming into this game. We challenged him and that defensive line to be able to put pressure on (WVU QB Will Grier) and I think they answered the bell pretty well. One of the things we benefited from was they had a bunch of poor snaps early."
Defense had two of KU's three picks and returned them 28 and 60 yards. He went from one of KU's worst players on the field against Oklahoma State to one of its best vs. the Mountaineers. Defense started the season as a cornerback and has been playing safety the past few weeks.
“Free safety is a lot more space, a lot more open-field tackles, or a lot more open-field plays," Defense said. "Corner, you’ve always got the sideline or you’ve got help from the safety. Now that I’m the safety, I don’t get the help from that safety. It’s a lot more space, a lot more opportunities to make a play or have a play made on you."
Defense explained a specific way he improved in one week.
"We were in man on both plays," he said of his two interceptions. "As soon as the receiver broke off on the route, I tried to get a little peek back at the quarterback, not too long because last week they hit me with a double move. I practiced on the quick little glance all week so I wasn’t staring and getting beat.”
1 - Hasan Defense: At halftime Defense had more interception return yards (88) than Kansas had total yards of offense (78). Defense returned his two picks 28 and 60 yards.
2 - Daniel Wise: Was absolutely on fire for the entire game, trying to beat his blocker through the whistle. Spent much of the day in the backfield and finished with 3.5 tackles for 18 yards in losses, two of them sacks for 13 yards.
3 - Khalil Herbert: Somewhat surprising that he didn’t get more carries given that he rushed for 291 yards against West Virginia last season. Only carried it six times and rushed for 46 yards (7.7 ypc), 31 on a touchdown run.
4 - Pooka Williams: Mountaineers first team to keep Pooka from popping a long one. Even so, he had a solid day, gaining 65 yards on 12 carries with a long of 16 yards. Was not thrown for any losses.
5 - Bryce Torneden: Led team with eight solo and five assists and was in on one tackle behind line of scrimmage.
6 - Davon Ferguson: Returned interception 12 yards and made three solo tackles.
7 - Brian Lipscomb: Made two tackles behind line of scrimmage for 9 yards in losses, one of them a 5-yard sack.
8 - Joe Dineen: Made eight solo tackles.
9 - J.J. Holmes: Recovered a fumble and was in on a tackle behind the line of scrimmage.10 -
10 - Kyron Johnson: Really quick getting to the quarterback, Johnson jarred Will Grier into fumbling and Holmes recovered. On another play, Johnson got to Grier, but couldn’t wrap him up and Grier rushed for a big gain.
1 - Pooka Williams (45)
2 - Joe Dineen (39)
3 - Bryce Tornenden (33)
4 - Daniel Wise (25)
5 - Khalil Herbert (21)
6 - Kerr Johnson (13)
7t - Carter Stanley (11)
7t - Shak Taylor (11)
7t - Stephon Robinson (11)
7t - Jeremiah Booker (11)
11 - Keith Loneker (10)
12 - Mike Lee (9)
13 - Steven Sims (8)
14t - Gabriel Rui (7)
14t - Elmore Hempstead (7)
16 - Brian Lipscomb (6)
17t - Davon Ferguson (5)
17t - KeyShaun Simmons (5)
17t - Kyron Johnson (5)
20t - Ricky Thomas (4)
20t - Dom Williams (4)
22t - Kwamie Lassiter (3)
22t - Jeremiah McCullough (3)
22t - Osage Ogbebor (3)
22t - Kyle Thompson (3)
26t - J.J. Holmes (2)
26t - Miles Kendrick (2)
28t - Corione Harris (1)
28t - Andru Tovi (1)
The most experienced assistant coach on David Beaty’s staff has deep recruiting roots in Kansas and Florida and has such a rich well of experience working for head coaches on which to draw in cobbling his own approach to running a college football program, should Kansas decide not let Beaty complete his fourth season.
Miller worked for Jimmy Johnson, Nick Saban, Mark Mangino, Jerry Kill and Jimbo Fisher.
Miller, in his first season back at KU, is Beaty’s third linebackers coach. He follows Todd Bradford, who stayed two seasons before returning to a job in the oil industry. Ex-KU linebacker Kevin Kane was Beaty’s first linebackers coach.
Miller, 62, had two big-time recruits on the hook when Turner Gill decided not to retain him from Mark Mangino’s staff. Juco linebacker Lavonte David went to Nebraska, where he earned first-team all-conference honors in the Big 12 and Big Ten. A linebacker for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers since 2012, David earned first-team All-Pro honors in 2013, second-team distinction in 2016.
Miller also had a commitment from Hutchinson High defensive end Geneo Grissom, who switched to Oklahoma after Miller wasn’t retained. Grissom started in Super Bowl LI for the Super Bowl champs, the New England Patriots.
I went 0-3 vs. the spread last week, which means I either am due or you should go opposite of me based on theory that it’s never wise to bet against a streak.
1 - SMU +24 at Central Florida: Northern Illinois tied with Michigan for most tackles for loss per game (8.8) in the nation in 2017 under defensive coordinator Kevin Kane.
Sonny Dykes, who uses an up-tempo Air Raid attack, hired Kane to become his defensive coordinator at SMU and the Mustangs already have shown improvement defensively.
Yards per play is a good indicator of success both offensively and defensively. In that category, SMU’s defense ranked 119th nationally in 2017, giving up 6.59 yards per play. This season, the Mustangs’ first under Kane, the former Kansas linebacker, are surrendering 5.29 yards a play.
Navy offensive coordinator Ivin Jasper was impressed with Kane’s game plan in SMU’s 31-30 overtime victory of two weeks ago.
“I always say: There are smart coaches out there (who) know what they are doing. SMU had a good scheme and out-executed us,” Jasper told the Annapolis Capital-Gazette. “We turned the ball over and I didn’t call plays that we could execute.”
Kane was David Beaty’s first linebackers coach, but left after one year to become defensive coordinator at Northern Illinois under Dave Doeren, North Carolina State’s fifth-year head coach. Kane also worked under Doeren at Wisconsin.
Doeren was Kane’s linebackers coach at Kansas (2002-05), so it wouldn’t be surprising to see Kane one day work again for Doeren somewhere. It was Doeren who recruited Kane to Kansas. As Mark Mangino’s recruiting coordinator, Doeren was lead recruiter for some of Mangino’s best players. He landed Aqib Talib, James McClinton, Darrell Stuckey, James Holt, Mike Rivera and Joe Mortensen.
After Doeren’s fourth year at NC State, the school had an incredible seven players taken in the
NFL draft, including four defensive linemen. NC State puts its 4-0 record on the line at home against Boston College on Saturday.
After his name surfaced in Tennessee’s coaching search late last November, Doeren received a five-year contract that pays him $3 million annually, plus incentives. The first-year buyout should Doeren want to leave NC State is $4.5 million.
Kane learned a lot playing and coaching under Doeren and will need every ounce of knowledge he has to try to slow down Central Florida, which takes a 17-game winning streak into Saturday night’s home game. UCF opened as a 26-point favorite and as of Thursday night the line had dropped to 24.
Predicted score: Central Florida 44, SMU 24.
Pick vs. spread: SMU.
2 (Best bet) - North Texas -27 at UTEP: UNT was upset last week by Louisiana Tech and will take it out on UTEP. North Texas coach Seth Littrell inherited a program that had gone 1-11 in 2015 and has rattled off records of 5-8, 9-5 and 4-1. He is viewed by many as the logical replacement for Kliff Kingsbury if Texas Tech has a bad season, but the Red Raiders are off to a decent start. Littrell’s in no hurry to get the heck out of Denton and he can afford to be picky, so don’t read anything into him having worked as a graduate assistant at Kansas from 2002-04. he also was an assistant at Texas Tech, Arizona, Indiana and North Carolina.
Predicted score: North Texas 44, UTEP 10.
Pick vs. spread: North Texas.
3 - Old Dominion +13.5 at Florida Atlantic: Unless you have a compelling reason to do so, never bet against a streak continuing. Florida Atlantic is 0-5 vs. the spread. So you have a decision to make. Do you bet against the Owls' streak continuing or against mine continuing? The Owls' streak is longer, so take Old Dominion.
Predicted score: Florida Atlantic 35, Old Dominion 24
Pick vs. spread: Old Dominion
Charlie Weis was fired at 2-2 and Clint Bowen took over, juggling the duties of a head coach and defensive coordinator for the remaining eight games of the 2014 season.
The team played hard for him, had a late lead against TCU and defeated Iowa State. A groundswell of support for Bowen to be given the job on a permanent basis percolated in Lawrence, but then athletic director Sheahon Zenger didn’t want to go in that direction.
Kansas was blown out in the final two weeks of the season and Zenger included Bowen as one of the candidates he interviewed. But the selection committee did only phone interviews with every candidate except David Beaty.
Bowen’s first three defenses under Beaty were ranked among the nation’s worst statistically, begging the question of whether Bowen’s fiery personality might lend itself better to serving as a head coach than to coordinating.
His experience coaching eight games in 2014 would make the transition to interim head coach smoother than anyone else on the staff, but it also would make a harsh reality painfully obvious to everyone who hasn’t already figured it out: The program has gone backward, not forward, not stuck in neutral, under Beaty.
Since Bowen won one game and nearly won another in 2014, he would have to do the same to convince anyone that the program is in neutral, not reverse.
Oklahoma head football coach Lincoln Riley checked his temper and maintained his composure in impressive fashion during his press conference after the Kansas football captains did not shake Baker Mayfield’s hand at the coin toss. Even so, it was clear that he was fuming just beneath the surface. The thought occurred to me at the time: How badly will Riley run it up on Kansas when the Jayhawks visit Oklahoma in 2018?
It’s still a valid question. The answer: Not as badly if his brother, Kansas tight ends and fullbacks coach Garrett Riley, happens to be the interim head coach for the Nov. 17 clash at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.
The brothers share a strong facial resemblance. Might they also have similar brains? They might, and since Lincoln, 35, took the Sooners all the way to the four-school college football playoffs in his first season, that might mean that Garrett is a prodigy as well, way advanced from most football coaches his age.
The younger Riley joined the staff in 2016 as an offensive analyst and became quarterbacks coach in 2017. Before coming to KU, Riley spent three seasons coaching at East Carolina, two working under his brother, then an offensive coordinator, as an offensive assistant. Before that, Riley spent a year coaching at Augustana (Ill.) College and a year at high school in Lubbock, Texas. He earned his bachelor's degree from Texas Tech in 2012 and was a quarterback on the Red Raiders' roster in 2008 and 2009, before transferring to play a year at Stephen F. Austin in 2010. A native of Muleshoe, Texas, Riley earned 2A All-State honors in 2008.
Taking over a Big 12 program at the age of 29 would be a tall order, but in his brother he would have a good road map for how to plan his week. Given how much success Lincoln Riley has had a such a young age, it's not preposterous to think Kansas could turn to Garrett if in the market for an interim head coach.
Midway through last season, his first at Kansas, offensive coordinator Doug Meacham confessed that everything he tried that had worked everywhere else he was employed was not working at Kansas.
It was a stunning admission, a 180-degree turn from coach speak designed to say nothing. It said everything, which might even factor in why Meacham doesn’t do interviews once a week, as was the case last season. He and defensive coordinator Clint Bowen, and the rest of the assistants for that matter, were last available to the media before games started.
I imagine Meacham is relieved at the new policy. He might have even lobbied for it, not because he has anything against reporters, rather because he likes to tell the truth and the truth is he never has worked with such ineffective blocking, which is where it all starts for any offensive coordinator's plans.
In last season’s TCU debacle, the second consecutive shutout, this one yielding just 21 yards in total offense, Meacham looked on the sideline as if every X and O had been drained from his brain, frozen by the sight of a level of incompetence he never had witnessed.
And he coaches just one side of the ball. No need to make him responsible for both sides.
Meacham came to Kansas after TCU head coach Gary Patterson reacted to interest from other programs in co-offensive coordinator Sonny Cumbie by making him the chief architect of the offense, which would relegate Meacham to a secondary role.
Head coach David Beaty, well connected in coaching gossip in Texas, grabbed Meacham before anyone else and surrendered OC duties, which he had taken onto his plate during a 2-10 season in 2016.
Meacham is coaching from the press box this season, a new perspective for him. So is a run-oriented offense.
An offensive lineman blocking for Barry Sanders and Thurman Thomas at Oklahoma State, Meacham is a smart man, but did he smart decision to coming to KU?
College football head coaches aren’t paid by the game. They’re paid by the week, just like the rest of us, except at the FBS level they’re paid better because they landed one of just 130 available positions.
Kansas coach David Beaty’s salary calls for him to be paid $1.7 million this season, plus incentives. He already has earned $150,000 in bonuses. He earned $50,000 for defeating Central Michigan, per a clause that awards him that much for each non-conference FBS victory and $100,000 for defeating Rutgers, a Power Five opponent.
If things don’t go well in Morgantown, W.Va., and new athletic director Jeff Long decides to terminate Beaty’s contract, he will owe him a $3 million buyout, distributed in six equal payments. If I’m reading the contract correctly, that means that if Beaty were fired after the West Virginia game, then Kansas wouldn’t have to pay him his weekly salary of $32,692.23. They would save seven weeks (bye week, plus six games) of payments, which totals $228,845.61.
In today’s world, that’s not enough to influence an athletic director’s decision, but it’s money that could be used to pay the 10th assistant on the next coach’s staff. Again, not enough to influence an AD’s decision.
Routs scored over Central Michigan and Rutgers suggested this could be Beaty’s best team, but given that this is his fourth season and that 14 junior college players and five transfers from four-year schools were recruited to make this a make-or-break season, this needed to be the year Kansas would win multiple Big 12 games. That’s tough to picture when opportunities against Baylor and Oklahoma State passed.
Long’s history suggests he’s not a fan of interim hires, but I don’t imagine he’s a fan of homecoming crowds numbering 18,364 either.
So just in case things blow up Saturday in Morgantown, it’s time to resume the interim head coach countdown with the least experienced assistant on the staff.
Cassius Sendish has all the ingredients that one day will make him a good head coaching candidate. First, he’s smart. Second, he’s direct. Third, he’s passionate. Four, the next time he makes an excuse will be the first time. Fifth, he’s a tireless worker.
Those were the qualities that enabled him to make the most of his skills during his time as a Kansas safety. Sendish won’t let anything stand in his way of pursuing a coaching career. He proved that when he was offered the chance of heading way up in the sky to stand on a platform filming every practice, even though he’s afraid of heights.
Is Sendish ready to take on the massive task of taking over a Big 12 football program in midseason, even with mentor Clint Bowen sharing what worked and what didn’t when he took over for Charlie Weis for the final eight games of the 2014 season?
Of course not. He has only been an on-field coach for half a season. But Kansas could do worse. He loves his alma mater, loves football and loves work.