The start of the David Beaty era did not go as planned. The Jayhawks found themselves down 31-14 at halftime and the Jackrabbits of South Dakota State were beating the Jayhawks in nearly every facet of the game.
Things changed in the second half, though. The Kansas offense looked as explosive as it has been since the Mangino era, finishing with 576 yards and 38 points. While the defense could not get the Jackrabbits off the field in the first half, they held their opponents to just 10 points in the second half, which gave the Jayhawks a real chance to get back in the game.
While a 41-38 loss to an FCS school was not the result that any Kansas fan wanted, this is not a season that can be measured in wins and losses. Jayhawk fans are going to have to stay patient to allow David Beaty and his staff to bring in better talent that can compete in the Big 12. Kansas fans should be looking for the team to take baby steps each week.
In the embarrassing loss to South Dakota State, the Jayhawks got off to a miserable start, but seeing players fight back and never quit was this week’s “baby step”. When asked about what encouraged him the most about the season debut, Beaty said, “… although there wasn’t a lot of rah-rah going on the sideline, I didn’t see deflated kids over there. And that is a huge.” It was clear that the Jayhawks were not giving up on their coach, and they fought to the end, but just came up short.
Another major key to the comeback was seeing the adjustments that the coaching staff made at halftime. This was something that was rarely seen in the Weis era, and it was another baby step for hopeful fans to see. As a fan, it is extremely frustrating to accept that Kansas realistically may not win a game this season. But, the fact of the matter is, this is a major rebuilding project. There isn’t a coach in the nation that could achieve immediate on the field success with this roster. Recruiting and establishing a successful system is the key to David Beaty’s first season, and so far he has been successful.
Up next for the Jayhawks, are the Memphis Tigers. The Tigers showcased their explosive offense last weekend by putting up 63 points on Missouri State. Kansas is already a 13-point underdog for next weekend’s matchup. Kansas defensive coordinator, Clint Bowen, is going to have his work cut out for him. His defense had an awful time getting the Jackrabbits off the field last weekend, and the Tigers are going to be an even bigger test. Bowen made some key adjustments in the second half that got the Jayhawks back into the game.
This weekend, Kansas cannot afford to get buried in the first half again, because Memphis is a very talented team that will stomp on Kansas if the defense is as shaky as it was in the first half on Saturday. Look for offensive coordinator, Rob Likens, to come up with a creative game plan this week. If quarterback Montell Cozart can have another big day and the defense can slow down the powerful Memphis offense, the Jayhawks will earn their first victory of the 2015 campaign … and in fairness, maybe their last.
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