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Is it Bowl or Bust for David Beaty and the Kansas Jayhawks?

NCAA Football: Kansas at Baylor

If you are reading the title of this and thinking I need to check myself into a mental hospital, just hear me out here. Since the start of the 2010 season, does anyone know the record of Kansas football? 15-81. Yeah, I’ll say it again for the folks who may have brushed over that, FIFTEEN WINS AND EIGHTY-ONE LOSSES. Want to know another fun fact about Kansas football? They haven’t won a road game since the 2009 season. It’s been almost nine freaking years since they have won a measly road game. To put it in prospective how bad this program has been, there are current teams in the Sun Belt who could have been more competitive in the Big 12 than the Jayhawks have been over the last few years.

However, current head coach David Beaty is trying to get this program out from underneath the boulder that currently sits on top of it, and let me tell you, it’s one big ass boulder. Beaty is currently 3-33 as the Kansas head coach with only one Big 12 win in the last three seasons. I know what you are thinking, “Derek, how is the supposed to make me feel any better about Kansas?” Well, this isn’t a sunshine and rainbows article, however, after speaking with several different Kansas players and David Beaty, one thing keeps them going, positivity. While many of us look at this program as the glass half empty (more like flat out empty), within the program they are looking at things as the glass half full.

Back at Big 12 Media Days, David Beaty said something at the end of his opening statement about what to look forward to for 2018. He said, “As we go forward looking to this season one of the things that gives us optimism as we head into it is the amount of experience we have coming back. As we enter the 2018 season we’re eager to see the impact that our seniors and returning starters are going to have on this team. We have 26 seniors which is a ton more than we have had in my tenure, eight returning starters on offense, nine on defense and several specialists. The most exciting thing overall is we have improved, and it’s going to add depth and create competition, so that’s a good thing for us as we move forward.”

When our own Pete Mundo (AKA the boss man), asked David Beaty about a win total for 2018 Beaty said, “We’re going to start with Game One and the goal is to go 1-0, to win that game then put just as much focus on that next game to be able to do the same and repeat that. When it comes to a win total, I don’t have that answer. I don’t know that many people do, but I know this: I bet around Christmas time we know.” So basically, the answer was a bit cliché along with coach speak. I’ll tell you this though, it is very likely before Christmas time that David Beaty could be out of a job. Overall though, I must agree with coach here because he really shouldn’t be overlooking any opponent on the schedule. I mean did you see those stats I mentioned at the beginning of this article? The Jayhawks can’t over look anyone including FCS teams at this point and time.

During the breakout sessions I got to speak with team captain LB Joe Dineen on how they can stay positive during a bad season. Dineen responded, “That’s a reflection of our head coach. Coach Beaty doesn’t let us get down. If you would come to one of our practices midseason last year with the record we had, you wouldn’t know that we had the record we had. That’s credit to him (David Beaty). He doesn’t let us hang our head, we learn from our mistakes and we flush that one and go on to the next one. It’s that routine and that’s what he instilled in us.” As far as team expectations for this year Dineen was more vague, adding, “We want to win. We came here to win bowl games. I’m a fifth-year senior and I haven’t been to a bowl game yet. I’m not trying to go out like that. I’m going to do everything to help my team win and we are trying to get to a bowl game and win the bowl game.”

And Dineen is not alone when he said his expectations were to play in a bowl game, as star wide receiver Steven Sims Jr. also told me his goals were, “To win a bowl game. To get to and win a bowl game. Nothing less.”

While talking to head coach David Beaty was great, I was eager to hear about the players expectations for the team this season and as you read, it’s bowl game or bust for these seniors. The question is, can the Jayhawks reach a bowl game for the first time since 2008? I am not going to even mention winning a bowl game because if David Beaty is somehow able to get this team to a bowl game then new AD Jeff Long better get used to the idea of David Beaty sticking around for years to come. Bowl game or not, the time to win is now for David Beaty and the opportunity is right around the corner as the season gets closer.

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