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Kansas Football: It’s Time for A Change

NCAA Football: Kansas at Baylor

It’s very rare that we mention anything positive about Kansas football. To be fair, the Kansas football program hasn’t given a reason for anyone to be positive in quite some time. Looking back at the history of Kansas football, I wanted to see for myself where it all went wrong. The obvious answer was when former Head Coach Mark Mangino resigned back in 2009 due to allegations of mistreatment of players and soon after, Turner Gill was hired to get Kansas back to a bowl game. As we all know, it didn’t last long. In fact, after just two seasons, Turner was fired after posting an overall record 5-19 and a Big 12 record of 1-16.

Kansas then went on to hire Charlie Weis in December of 2011 and much like the Turner Gil era, it went south. In fact, it went from bad to worse under Weis as he went 6-22 overall and 1-18 in conference play. Not only did Charlie Weis underachieve, he just about buried the program further into the ground by taking chances on junior college prospects that never panned out. By doing that, he wasted scholarships on guys who would only be there for a year or two instead of having guys who would be there for four to five years and would develop. So, when he did that, he put even more pressure on the program to recruit at a higher level when the results on the field were extremely poor. Eventually Kansas decided to cut ties with Weis when they let him go just four games into the 2014 season. Then another change came, and that change was none other then current head coach David Beaty.

In December of 2014, Kansas hired its third head coach since 2009 to help get this program out of the graveyard. Not only did David Beaty have to try and win football games, he had to fix the entire program and it started on the recruiting trail. At that time, the program had a huge numbers problem. They simply did not have enough scholarship players and were desperate trying to get players in the program. From taking risks on unwanted players or finding creative ways to get walk-ons, David Beaty had a tall task ahead of him when he took the job.

The first year of the David Beaty era hit rock bottom. The Jayhawks finished the 2015 season at an abysmal 0-12 and failed to stay competitive in games. Then came 2016 where he went 2-10 and got his first Big 12 win by defeating a bad Texas team. That was good enough to earn him a contract extension that runs through the 2021 season. You want to talk about putting stock in one win against a Texas team that finished 5-7? All that “momentum” turned into a 1-11 season in 2017 as the Jayhawks went winless in Big 12 play. Now here we are in 2018. While Kansas has broken some streaks such as winning its first game on the road since 2009 and back to back wins for the first time in forever, conference play has once again reared its ugly head. As of this moment, the Jayhawks sit at 2-5 and have yet to win a Big 12 game since that 2016 matchup with Texas.

Right now, David Beaty’s head coaching record at Kansas is 5-38 overall and a whopping 1-30 in the Big 12. He’s fresh off firing his offensive coordinator Doug Meacham last week and it looked like a move of desperation because nothing is going to change with one coach being fired. I dug up some interesting numbers that I would like to share with you. I am going to start with average margin of defeat in Big 12 conference games since David Beaty has taken over.

2015: 35.2

2016: 25.6

2017: 32.1

2018 (7 games): 21.75

So, in four years, Kansas is still getting beat by at least an average of 3 touchdowns per loss meaning THEY AREN’T EVEN COMPETITIVE IN CONFERENCE GAMES THEY LOSE. Want another interesting stat? Look at these total offense and total defense rankings since 2015.

2015: Total Offense: 123/ Total Defense: 128

2016: Total Offense: 120/ Total Defense: 114

2017: Total Offense: 120/ Total Defense: 129

2018 (7 games): Total Offense: 87/ Total Defense: 87

So, I guess firing Doug Meacham really worked huh? Who knows, by the end of the season those numbers will likely go down. Lastly and maybe more importantly for the future of the program there’s this:

Recruiting Rankings Since 2015 (247)

2015: 73rd

2016: 70th

2017: 71st

2018: 61st

2019 (Currently): 169th

Obviously, the numbers here aren’t great but as you can see, take a peek at where the current 2019 class stands. There are only 130 FBS schools and Kanas is ranked at 169th. What? Yes, that’s correct, believe it or not. The Jayhawks have just one commit on board for the 2019 class and overall, they sit behind schools like Portland State, Hampton, Fordham, Montana, McNeese State and Southeastern Louisiana just to name a few. You think recruits aren’t aware of the current situation at Kansas right now? They know what’s coming just like everyone who follows this program knows what’s coming. With the new early signing period in December, something needs to be said.

Earlier, I mentioned all those bad coaching hires since 2009. Lew Perkins (Kansas AD from 2003 to 2010) hired Turner Gill after Mark Mangino resigned. Perkins retired in 2010 and in stepped in new AD Sheahon Zenger who not only hired Charlie Weis to kill the program, but he also hired David Beaty to try and fix it. Zenger was also responsible for extending David Beaty’s contract back in 2016 that runs through 2021. How does that look now? I didn’t quite agree with it then and I don’t think anyone in their right mind, drunk or sober, would say that’s a good idea right now. One thing Zenger did do was put some serious money into the football program and he did that, but he was ultimately fired this past May for a lack of progress with the program. Now Jeff Long is in charge as his replacement and I would bet everything I have that his biggest mission taking the job was to get this football program out of the dark ages.

The question now for Jeff Long is, what do you do here? You have no ties to David Beaty since you didn’t hire him, and with the way things are looking, a decision must be made soon. I have shown you the numbers. From production on the field to recruiting, the results speak for themselves. The scholarship numbers were bad when Beaty took over and now what is the issue? Sure, Beaty may have gotten the numbers up, but this program has become stale with no light at the end of the tunnel. The wins were declining back in 2010 and now what’s the difference? If anything, Kansas has won less since that time.

Now with this new signing period in December, what are you waiting on? The 2019 class has one commit and unless you want to setback the program even further, you need to do something. Wait too long to make a change, you might as well kiss the 2019 class goodbye. But, if you make a change now, you can still salvage what’s left. My bottom line here is simple. If you plan on parting ways with David Beaty, don’t wait. So, I ask, why not now because what else do you have to lose at this point? The time is now. The time for a new face for the Kansas football program is now.

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