Making the move up to the “big chair” in any profession is challenging. “Sully” was the pilot in charge of landing in the Hudson, not the co-pilot. POTUS makes the tough calls, the vice-president serves as his backup. Being an assistant coach or a coordinator in college football is far different from being the head coach.
Three games into his second season in charge of an FBS program, Kansas coach David Beaty is publicly wrestling with on-the-job training. The spotlight in Lawrence isn’t as bright as it is in Tuscaloosa or Columbus or Ann Arbor, but every move, every word, every decision is still scrutinized.
In the spring, Beaty announced that he was taking over game-day play-calling duties from offensive coordinator Rob Likens. Beaty also said he would personally coach the Jayhawks’ quarterbacks. His background is an offensive coach.
After Kansas lost to Ohio and had trouble fielding punts, Beaty announced he was taking over working with the punt returners. Following Saturday’s lopsided loss at Memphis, the pundits on social media were wondering what other duties Beaty would assume this week.
Beaty, instead, reversed field.
“I’ve got a terrific staff,” Beaty said. “I’ve gotta let those guys do their job better, like get out of their way a little bit. That’s always been a goal of mine, not to be a micromanager, to hire good guys and let ’em do their job. I did something a little bit different here the last couple weeks and I think it cost us.”
Going from a micromanager to an overseer in such a short time might indicate panic and uncertainty. Defensive coordinator Clint Bowen was the interim coach when Charlie Weis was dismissed in 2014 and a candidate to get the job when Beaty was hired. Bowen said that Beaty’s honesty and desire to improve are appreciated by the staff.
“He’s always been good about allowing us to have and do what we need to do,” Bowen said. “I think he’s just reaffirming that he has confidence in the assistant coaches to get their jobs done.
“Coach Beaty is working extremely hard to get this program turned around, to get everything right that you can get right and to can get it done as fast as we can. He’s just always continuing to try to find a better way to do things and I think that’s where he is coming from. He’s always just keeping his eyes open on the best ways to get the job done.”
The Kansas coaching staff underwent an offseason overhaul, with five new assistants coming on board. Under Beaty, the Jayhawks are 1-14, and with Big 12 play looming the chances of winning another game are slim. A 1-11 season will likely weigh heavily on Beaty.
“He bears a heavy heart for this program,” said Kansas defensive backs coach Kenny Perry, one of Beaty’s closest friends. “He really does. He wants, like no other, for this thing to go the right way. At the end of the day, he wants to win for the state of Kansas, not just for David Beaty.”
The never-ending story
Baylor acting coach Jim Grobe said this Monday when asked about former Baylor defensive end Shawn Oakman being around the locker room after the Bears’ game with Rice:
“I really have no idea. I don’t know who Shawn Oakman is. So I wouldn’t be able to recognize him if he walked in the door right now. There were a lot of people around at the end of the game. There are always a lot of people around. But I had no issues. I didn’t know he was there, or know who he is.”
Given a second swing at the question, Grobe said he, “heard that Shawn Oakman was at the game. But I don’t know who Shawn Oakman is. If he walked in today, I wouldn’t know that was Shawn Oakman.”
The transcript of what Baylor coach Jim Grobe said today, when he was asked about Oakman: pic.twitter.com/9yICMQrspF
— Jake Trotter (@Jake_Trotter) September 19, 2016
Oakman, who has been indicted for sexual assault, has since been banned from Baylor athletic facilities. A school spokesman has clarified that Oakman remained in a hallway outside the Bears’ locker room. That was announced late Monday, after it became apparent his presence was another public relations disaster for the school.
Wednesday, Grobe noticed the embers were dying so he squirted some lighter fluid. He claimed his Oakman comments were “taken out of context” and “unfair.”
“I thought the basic assumption was that I didn’t know Shawn Oakman,” he said.
“I would not recognize him, I’d never met him before. And to say I don’t know who Shawn Oakman is does not mean I don’t know the situation, but I don’t him personally. And so I wouldn’t be able to recognize him if he was in our locker room.
“I thought that was clear, but apparently it wasn’t. My point was, I don’t know Shawn personally.
“Had I recognized him, the situation would have been handled differently. But regardless of that, my comment of ‘I don’t know him’ was taken out of context and the way it was portrayed by some in the media, in my opinion, was unprofessional.”
The transcript of his Monday comments would appear to contradict that stance… but then contradictions are a constant at Baylor these days.
Iowa State sticking with two QBs
Winless in three games and averaging just 14.3 points per game – fifth-worst in the FBS – Iowa State is going to stick with playing two quarterbacks. Starter Joel Lanning and reliever Jacob Park split time in Saturday’s Big 12 opener at TCU, with each playing about two series before spending time on the sideline.
“I thought it helped Joel be able to catch his breath and maybe see and sit back for a series and see what was going on,” Cyclones coach Matt Campbell said. “It was good to get Jacob into the football game. That’s his first meaningful reps that he’s ever gotten, at least when the score really means something at that point.
“I thought (rotating) helped. I thought it helped both of them, to be honest with you.”
- The Big 12 has received interest from four cities interested in hosting the 2017 Big 12 football championship – Arlington, Texas (AT&T Stadium), Houston (NRG Stadium), San Antonio (Alamodome), Kansas City (Arrowhead Stadium). By November, the conference would like to make a decision on the site for 2017 and the next few seasons.
- When Texas coach Charlie Strong was defensive coordinator at Florida and then head coach at Louisville, the Gators allowed 40-plus points in three of 92 games and the Cardinals allowed 40-plus once in 52 games. During his tenure at UT, the Longhorns have given up 40 or more in eight of 28 games including three times in the last five games. As an FYI, current Texas defensive coordinator Vance Bedford was on Strong’s staff at Louisville.
- Kansas quarterback Montell Cozart, in three games against FCS schools, is averaging 7.9 yards per attempt with seven touchdowns and two interceptions. In 17 games against FBS teams – some as a starter, some as a reliever, Cozart is averaging 5.3 yards per attempt, with five TDs and 11 interceptions.
And then he said …
Kansas State offensive tackle Dalton Risner on sophomore fullback Winston Dimel, who had five carries and scored four touchdowns in Saturday’s victory over Florida Atlantic:
“He is one of those guys who is going to score. I know it sounds silly, but he puts his head down and he runs the ball. He is going to put his head down and he is going to run and he is going to churn his feet. He is a guy we all love blocking for, because we know he is going to run North to South, put his nose down and get in the end zone. We love going to him.”