Various reports indicate it would have cost the University of Kansas millions of dollars to buy out embattled football coach David Beaty and his coaching staff had the school chosen to fire him after a 1-11 season, which brings his overall three-year record to 3-33.
KU officials must have determined that no matter who the coach is next year, the lack of available talent is going to lead to another disastrous season, so they might as well ride it out with Beaty next year and then start the coaching search for 2019.
I give Beaty credit for being an eternal optimist and for his ability to stand in front of the press trying to find the positives from the rubble that occurs weekly.
Can Beaty coach? It’s hard to tell because he hasn’t been able to bring in the quality of players needed to be competitive in the Big 12. And he started behind the 8-ball as the Turner Gill and Charlie Weis regimes were like a 1-2 wrecking ball to the program.
The two main areas of disrepair are the offensive line and secondary. Offensive coordinator Doug Meachem, who was at TCU last year when the Horned Frogs were putting up huge yardage totals, reportedly was quoted as saying he doesn’t have the necessary ingredients to run his so-called “Air Raid” offense that limped its way through the season with meager totals.
When I watch KU games I focus on the offensive line. It’s a unit that is undersized, lacks mobility and is overmatched in terms of strength. KU quarterbacks barely had time to set their feet and the running game was virtually non-existent, except for the West Virginia game when Khalil Herbert ran for nearly 300 yards, which to me was like the unheralded Ski Jones once scoring 62 points in a basketball game for K-State, more than tripling his average.
The secondary was like a unit running around with its head cut off. I don't know how many times I watched a game where the Jayhawks gave up a TD pass and the defenders looked at each other wondering who was actually supposed to be covering.
Frustrated Kansas fans have taken to talk radio and message boards decrying the decision to keep Beaty. Many allegedly are giving up their season tickets and one has to wonder how many will attend the first game next season.
I'm sure the KU administration looks at the alleged — very alleged — season attendance figures and cringes. The 26,000 average home crowd is almost half of the Big 12 average and remember when the Jayhawks played Kansas State and Oklahoma, it was like a road game given that Memorial Stadium was filled with purple-clad Wildcat fans and crimson-and-cream OU supporters. I would be willing to bet that KU's last couple of games had only about 10,000 actual supporters.
I wish I had the answers for KU. Being an alum, it's painful and frustrating to watch such inept play with no hope in the immediate future. What big-time coach with a proven pedigree wants to take on such a challenge unless he’s given a blank check? Bill Snyder-type miracles happen only once a century, though Iowa State turned it around under Matt Campbell in two years, but that program wasn’t in nearly as bad of shape when he took over as KU is now.
The KU job is a coaching graveyard. It makes me wonder how Mark Mangino ever went 12-1 and won the Orange Bowl during the 2007 season.
It's often been said you have to hit rock bottom before you pull yourself up. But for KU, just when you think it can't go any lower, it does.