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Coming out of the Phog: Why I'm Excited for KU Football in 2015 and Beyond

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It looks to be a long season as David Beaty attempts to bring the Jayhawks back to respectability. But some of the reasoning behind that may actually be reasons to be positive about the KU football program going forward.

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There are many reasons why no one expects Kansas football to win very many games this year, and those reasons are quite justified. The Jayhawks have no depth, unproven players, loads of underclassmen and walk-ons, and an unproven, brand-new coach running a brand-new system.  I haven't even mentioned the schedule yet, which features seven conference foes projected to get bowl bids (plus two preseason Top 10 teams) and a non-conference slate that includes two teams that won bowl games last year (Memphis, Rutgers), plus one of the top teams in FCS (South Dakota State).

KU will not win many games in 2015.  They may not win very many games in 2016.  However, many of the reasons I just rattled off are why I'm excited not only for the upcoming football season, but beyond.

Come on and drink some kool-aid with me.

David Beaty and Staff

Beaty comes to KU with only two years experience as a college offensive coordinator, seven years experience as a college position coach (WR), and 14 years experience as a Texas high school coach.  Where's the positive, you ask?  Well, three of those college years were at KU, two under Mangino; he knows what it will take to get KU out of laughingstock status.  He has extensive networks already built in to recruit Texas and its high schools.  He has made every conceivable effort to make contacts and network with Kansas high school coaches.  From all indications, he is walking the walk and talking the talk.  This staff will find players wherever they are; they'll find players they can coach and who are willing to...

#EarnIt

It doesn't seem to be just a slogan for Beaty and this staff.  (Corey Avery and Rodriguez Coleman, among others, may have learned that the hard way.)  The quarterback competition was wide open from the beginning, even before Michael Cummings went down in the spring game.  The wide receiver positions are completely up for grabs as well - the ones who earn it in practice will play.  And so it goes, on down the depth chart, offense, defense, and special teams.  KU Athletics and the KU football Twitter page dominate this hashtag.  Coach Beaty mentions it in almost every interview.  He's not going to settle for "good enough" or "close enough," and eventually, that will show up on the scoreboard and in the W/L column, even though the roster is filled with...

Underclassmen, Unproven players, and Walk-ons

The Jayhawks only have 11 seniors on a projected depth chart (out of 56 players listed - some positions went three deep) done by JayhawkSlant.com (not including specialists).  That's a lot of underclassmen.  The ‘Hawks will have a full season under their belts in Beaty's new system come 2016, which again, is reason for optimism.  That said, let's talk about...

The Air Raid

Yes, the Jayhawks seem to finally have an identity.  Granted, it's a brand-new identity.  But, they finally have something that they'll practice over and over and implement in their game plans week to week.  After Contract Charlie's week-to-week scheming, it's a breath of fresh air.  By next year, the underclassmen we just talked about will have been through spring ball and fall camp twice.  Recruits will have seen what Beaty and his staff are all about and what they want to do on offense.  Assuming this staff can coach at all (which admittedly may be a dangerous assumption - see KU football 2010-2014), the Jayhawks will be putting up yards and points, playing an exciting brand of football, and ideally winning a few games in just a year or two, despite the...

Tough Schedule

This may seem counter-intuitive, but hear me out.  You never know what could happen when  you go to a college football game.  Sometimes, Kansas beats Oklahoma.  Or Stanford beats USC.  Or Marshall beats K-State.  Or Troy beats Missouruh.  You get my drift.

The 2015 slate is a beast, no doubt about it.  But it's also a chance for greatness, even if it's just one game.  Yeah, the close calls are fun too, but how sweet would it have been to finish off TCU last year?  Or Texas in 2012?  Or Baylor in 2011?

Super sweet, that's how.

Conclusion

Yes, it's all about building for the future.  Can the Jayhawks move the ball?  Can they score points?  Can they be competitive past the first quarter?  Will the 60-14 games turn into 45-28 games?  Can they get the 35-31 upset?

Yes, in 2015 (and probably 2016), what I'm looking for is progress, improvement, and competitiveness.

What time is it?

Time to #EarnIt.