It looks beyond bleak for KU football

By Steve Sell
April 27, 2015

When I tuned in to watch the University of Kansas spring football game on Saturday, I thought I was watching a high school scrimmage.

All I could say was “yikes!”

Mark it down right now. The Jayhawks won’t win a game. Heck, I hope they have enough players just to survive the season.

The two forgettable years of Turner Gill, followed by the three-year debacle of Charlie Weis, has bankrupted this program to the point that the Jayhawks probably would find themselves on the wrong end of the score against NCAA Division II Pittsburg State. Gorilla fans would probably like to see that matchup, just like Wichita State fans have clamored for years to get KU on the basketball schedule (at least the NCAA took care of that).

I was beyond shocked at what I saw. Maybe television wasn’t doing the Jayhawks justice, but new coach David Beaty has inherited a team that is painfully shy on size, speed and depth. If you thought the Jayhawks were bad last year — at least they did win three games — take away about the 10 best players from that team and the result is what you saw Saturday.

How is this team ever going to compete with Baylor and Oklahoma? The lack of athleticism is stunning. Granted, there are about 25 freshmen who have yet to hit campus and maybe new coach David Beaty will unearth a juco transfer or two.

But my question is this — how in the world can Beaty possibly get this thing turned around? How does he get even a 2-star recruit to take a look? Who wants to go to a school where the margin of defeat every week is going to be grotesque and Memorial Stadium will resemble a ghost town by the end of September?

Beaty does and says all the right things. He has ties to Texas, which in this day and age of college football is the No. 1 priority. There are thousands of players to be had, though the Jayhawks’ chances of landing any of the premium ones are slim. 

The bleak situation didn’t get any better on Saturday. Michael Cummings, the expected starting quarterback, suffered what appeared to be a serious knee injury. He was wearing a red jersey, which meant he wasn’t supposed to be touched, but a walk-on blasted him. Cummings made some nice strides last year and at least kept games against the second-tier Big 12 teams competitive.

If Cummings is done, then it’s back to scattershooter Montell Cozart, who is now entering his third year in the program. Cozart was given every chance to win the job last year, but floundered because of poor decision-making. He still needs a compass to find his receivers. His best attribute is his speed, which he’ll need since he’ll be running for his life.

Running back Corey Avery, expected to be the Jayhawks’ No. 1 option, has been suspended indefinitely and who knows, he might be through. Rodriguez Coleman, the expected top receiver, joined Avery on the in-trouble list. I’d say it’s 50-50 whether either will be back. If they watched Saturday’s scrimmage, they may not want to come back for safety reasons.

Kansas football has reached the depths of Kansas State, B.S. (Before Snyder). The Wildcats were 2-30-1 under Stan Parrish before Snyder came in and engineered the biggest turnaround in college football history.

The same variables are in play in Lawrence. Can Beaty pull off some semblance of a Snyder, or will he follow Gill and Weis into the abyss?