Is Beaty the right guy for KU?

By Steve Sell
December 05, 2014

From all indications, once the i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed, David Beaty will be the next football coach at the University of Kansas.

Several media outlets are reporting today that Beaty is in Lawrence and that he’s agreed to tackle one of the most daunting challenges in college football.

Beaty is no stranger to KU, having served on the staff of both Mark Mangino and Turner Gill. He’s not walking into this situation blind. He knows he’ll have to roll up his sleeves and work 34-hour days instead of 24.

In picking Beaty, the Jayhawk brass decided to bypass the sentimentality that some KU fans and many players had shown toward interim coach Clint Bowen. Bowen, a Lawrence native and former KU player, bleeds crimson and blue and, yes, the Jayhawks played hard for him initially after he took over for the blundering Charlie Weis, who seemingly has fallen off the face of the earth since being dismissed.

But the Jayhawks’ final two inept performances against Oklahoma and Kansas State probably didn’t do Bowen any favors. Thank goodness for a wet track at Oklahoma or the Sooners would have scored 80. And KU fans can thank Bill Snyder for showing compassion, because the Wildcats could have broken school records against a KU defense that seemingly was allergic to tackling.

What probably gave Beaty the nod was his ties to Texas. If you want good football players, you go to Texas. Florida also is fertile recruiting ground, but football is a religion in Texas and there are a lot of good players who get overlooked and fall through the cracks. Beaty knows Texas like the back of his hand and he might scoop up some of those diamonds in the rough, because the star players won’t give KU a second look.

Let’s face it, the bar is set low at KU. In fact, I’m not sure there’s been a bar the last five years, so there will be little to no expectations the first year. The program started to slide at the end of Mark Magnino’s tenure — though still competitive — gained speed going downhill under Turner Gill and then turned into a full-scale free fall under Weis, a hiring I said at the time was going to be a failure because of his ego. If you can’t win at Notre Dame, you’re sure not going to win at Kansas.

I hope Bowen stays on because I think he can be an asset in recruiting Kansas kids. Nobody is going to sell KU like him and working in unison with Beaty, maybe they can start to turn this thing around.

Beaty, though, is going to inherit a roster that is threadbare. As little of talent as there was this year, there will be even less next year. It’s a daunting task and three wins — the amount this year — may look like 30 when the 2015 season rolls around. There’s simply nothing there, especially in the offensive and defensive lines. 

Being a KU alum, I really hope Beaty is the guy who stops the bleeding. It’s no fun tuning into games and seeing the Jayhawks looking totally overmatched every week and being laughed at by Kansas State fans, who actually seemed sympathetic toward KU this year. Maybe they were taking a cue from Snyder, who never wants to do anything to show the opposition up.