DALLAS- Taking over the football program at Kansas is a daunting task. Anyone who follows college football understands that. The Jayhawks will have just over sixty players on scholarship this season (maximum allowed is 85). Most of the guys who are currently on the Kansas roster were not highly recruited athletes and have yet to find consistent success in the tough Big 12 conference. First year head coach, David Beaty, is not stupid. He understands the challenge that is ahead of him. And while he understands that expectations for his Jayhawks may not be as high as expectations for other teams around the league, he is not making any excuses.
On Monday in Dallas for Big 12 media days, Coach Beaty seemed as excited as anyone to be there. The Jayhawks’ new head coach talked about how honored he was to represent The University of Kansas. When asked about how he would get kids to want to play at Kansas, Beaty pointed at the style of play being something that could persuade recruits into coming to Lawrence. The new brand of football at Kansas will be “tough, fast-paced, disciplined, highly competitive, fun to watch, and, man, fun to play in,” Beaty said. “If you’re a guy that wants to play college football, we want you to want to come play in this (system).” Beaty’s recruiting strategy seems a little different than former head coach, Charlie Weis’, who two years ago said his strategy is to tell kids the program is a “pile of crap,” while attempting to pitch early playing time.
While coach Beaty has high expectations for his players and coaching staff, he does understand that turning around this losing football program will be a process. When I asked him how he will determine if his first season is a success, he responded by saying, “If my guys are working as hard as they can from sun up to sun down, then they have done their job.” The amount of times that he used phrases like “outwork” or “earn it” was pretty astonishing. It is clear that the new head coach understands that there are no shortcuts that he can take to turn the Jayhawks into a winning program, so he wants to implement his core values of hard work and discipline on and off the field this season. But what is considered a well-disciplined team on the field? “We have to become the least penalized team in all of the Big 12.” Beaty said, without hesitation.
Beaty obviously wants to win early, but he also understands that success in his first season cannot all be determined by wins and losses. The main concern for Beaty and his staff in their first year is building a strong foundation and getting better each and every day. And while fans and skeptics around the country have plenty of reasons for why Kansas will not be a successful football program, coach Beaty will not allow the Jayhawks to make excuses. “We understand it’s a big job. But we are not listening to excuses, we don’t care about that. We are focused on what we have, not on what we don’t have.”
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