Moment not too big for KU coach Clint Bowen, who lets personality shine through
Say this for interim KU football coach Clint Bowen, the guy is going for it.
Not only does he seem prepared, ready and able to run the show, but he's also looked incredibly confident and been able to truly be himself during these past couple of days without having to worry about saying something that might upset his boss.
He's been respectful the whole way, but also flashed a lot of his true personality and, for lack of a better term, sense of humor. Never was that more evident than during Tuesday's regular meeting with the media when Bowen opened up by talking about West Virginia, this week's opponent for the Jayhawks.
Every college coach I've ever covered has opened these deals with a little bit about the team they're playing. They'll tell stories about how they know the opposing coach or how much they respect his staff and then they'll get into some of the highlights of their offense, defense and special teams.
Bowen did all of that and, if you ask me, did it in a way that seemed a lot more like a buddy of yours just telling you about the team than a coach reading something he wrote down to make sure he had something to say. That's because that's who Bowen is. What he was saying up there wasn't rehearsed and he didn't have to think of things to jot down because those things already stuck in his head while he watched game film and tried to prepare a defensive game plan.
He talked about WVU QB Clint Trickett's 72 percent completion rate. And he explained how that didn't come on dink-and-dunk throws. He talked about a couple of WVU receivers who were good players and remembered what they did against Kansas last season. And he talked about the WVU O-Line having some nastiness to it. All good info. All pretty basic.
But before all of that, he slipped in a little of that sense of humor I just spoke about.
See, last week, West Virginia had a bye and was able to get healthy, regroup and get an extra jump on prepping for this week's 3 p.m. Saturday home game against Kansas. During his regular press conference last week, WVU coach Dana Holgorsen was asked about last year's 31-19 loss at Kansas that ended a 27-game Big 12 losing streak for the Jayhawks and featured a KU team beating up the Mountaineers for much of the game.
Holgorsen cut to the chase and said exactly how he felt about it after explaining that he hoped his guys would be a little extra motivated to get some revenge for last year's loss.
“It was a miserable performance,” Holgorsen said. “I’ve been watching it for two straight days and it makes me want to puke.”
Fair enough. Nothing evil there. Just an honest assessment from a coach whose team is off to a 2-2 start but looks much better than it did a year ago and has hung in there big-time during losses to Alabama and Oklahoma, two of the top teams in the country.
Never one to let an opportunity for a joke pass, Bowen slipped in this gem about Holgorsen's "illness."
"I hope that this week his stomach has settled down a little bit, he's not so sick from last week, and he shows up in good health," Bowen said before moving on as if he had said nothing at all.
Nothing evil there, either. Just an honest assessment from a coach who believes in his team and believes it deserves respect. Good to see that all of the craziness and responsibility of the past few days hasn't overwhelmed Bowen and taken the bite out of his wit and humor.
Should be an interesting week.