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Departing Talent Isn't Necessarily a Bad Thing

All College Football programs have problems of some sort. It is inevitable. Injuries, skirmishes with law enforcement and general sucktitude have a way of hampering each-and-every athletic team, with College Football at the top of the list. Kansas has suffered from all of the above problems, although it has been a long, long time since Kansas has suffered from the 'big-boy' problem: fights over playing time.

Now, to call it a problem is shining it in the most negative light possible. Often, it simply means that you have too much talent on your team (if there is such a thing) and thus, more than one person per position more-than-deserves to start. Still, when these pristine programs are able to recruit a hundred bajillion ESPN 150, Rivals 5-STAR prospects a season, their problems (this side of behavioral) reside solely in the lack of playing time category.

And as quoted by Aqib Talib in one of the better Awards Show Interviews in the history of my viewing life, Kansas has used this "problem" to recruit against some of the better programs in college football. As Talib so eloquently put it (to some effect, that isn't verbatim):

"If you go to LSU, you've gotta sit down for a minute. You go to Ohio State, you've gotta sit down for a minute. If you go to a school like Kansas, you can play right away."


When you lined up all of the advantages pre-2007, the only pro in the Kansas/generic-BCS-conferece-fodder category was the playing time section. The only reason, if given the opportunity, to choose a pre-2007 Kansas team over a more tradition-laden, game-winning program such as Aqib Talib's example of LSU would be to get on the field earlier. That is why Talib chose us, although he certainly didn't select us over LSU or other schools of that ilk (at the time of his commitment, IIRC, he only had received a scholarship from Wyoming).

And now, with the recent playing-time-related departures of RBs Donte Bean and Carmon Boyd-Anderson, we are reaching a plateau that has never before been reached at the University of Kansas. Well, that's not exactly true. In fact, whenever I think of an athlete transferring, I think of one man: Bill Self.

Bill Self has had more transfers leave his program in his short, five-year stay at the University of Kansas than Roy Williams had in his entire fourteen-year career. Why? Because Self recruits as much talent as he can get his hands on, piling up the nationally-acclaimed athletes on the bench and letting the best players play. Roy, on the other hand, was more the good-ol-boy who gave 'deserving' over-achievers like C.B. McGrath, Jerrod Haase, Bret Ballard, T.J. Watley, Jeff Boschee and T.J. Pugh way more playing time than they deserved. And so, rarely did a player ever leave Roy's programs. Because more often than not, the players got more PT than they deserved; not less.

The same has happened in our football program for almost its entire existence. We have had 3-STAR prospects come in and instantly been handed a starting gig and told not to screw it up. Now, the 3-STAR Donte Bean, who was recruited heavily by Purdue and Indiana amongst other WAC, MWC and MAC-type programs, is transferring because he was buried way on the depth chart. I'm talking 5th. And Carmon Boyd-Anderson, a back good enough to creep up to #3 at the beginning of last season and see some garbage time in the non-conference games, yet his low place on the depth chart (Angus Quigley and the position-switch of Rell Lewis to RB had him fighting for 4th on the depth chart) has also led him to transfer.

Mark Mangino is more Bill Self than Roy Williams; recruit, recruit, recruit and then let the best players play. And because of that, we are in (arguably) the best place in Kansas football history.

Bring on those problems!