I expected to be writing an article today, something along the lines of, “Kansas finally fires David Beaty.” Alas, today is not that day, and so I’m writing this one instead.
Six weeks are in the books. Next week is the bye week, followed by a trip to Lubbock. Why not fire Beaty now?
Not only would it give the interim coach an extra week to settle into the role, it would allow Kansas to finally, officially, begin looking toward the future.
Tom Keegan scored a sit-down with KU athletic director Jeff Long following the West Virginia game and came away with these quotes:
You know we got a couple of wins there, won back-to-back games, which is something we hadn’t done here in a while. We’re halfway through and we made it to the bye week. We’ll get some people back healthy and then we’ll see how we finish the second half of the season.
David’s our football coach. I’m not going to comment game by game. He’s our football coach.
I think it’s pretty obvious that Will Grier’s performance against Kansas came at the worst possible time for KU fans. If he doesn’t throw three INTs in the red zone, the final score looks much more like what the box score would indicate when a team outgains its opponent by 223 yards. Instead of 38-22, it’s somewhere between 47-22 to 59-22. And if that had happened, maybe Beaty is cleaning out his office today.
Apparently Jeff Long isn’t too familiar with the Kansas football program yet. Check out these quotes, also from the above mentioned Tom Keegan article:
They’re working hard and you can see in some areas we’re getting better and in some areas we’re still challenged. There were some good things in this game today. We fought. I have been impressed with the way our players fight. They stay in the game. They keep playing hard. In some cases, they’re overmatched, but they keep playing. They keep playing hard.
Every year, Kansas plays a Big 12 game (or two or even three) close.
WHERE IS IT GETTING BETTER, JEFF?
In 2017 it was the KSU game.
In 2016 it was TCU, Iowa State, Texas (a win!), and KSU.
In 2015 it was Texas Tech and TCU.
Yet David Beaty is now 5-37 as a head coach.
If we keep going prior to the Beaty era, it was more of the same. In 2014 it was Oklahoma State, Iowa State, and TCU.
In 2013 it was TCU and West Virginia (a win!).
In 2012 it was TCU, Oklahoma State, Texas, and Texas Tech.
None of these games turned out to be building blocks to a brighter and better future. The only thing progressing is the number in the loss column. I thought you were going to break the cycle?
Waiting any longer just doesn’t make sense to me. The sooner Kansas can move on from the David Beaty era, the better off we’ll all be.
Even the CMU and Rutgers games this year have tricked us. Rutgers is one of the worst teams in FBS this year; at #153, they are currently ranked behind 32 FCS teams in the Sagarin Index. The Scarlet Knights are the worst-ranked P5 team, and only 10 FBS teams total rank behind Rutgers. (Central Michigan currently sits at #123, Kansas at #89.)
Chalk those up to fortuitous scheduling.
I do think it’s pretty obvious that Beaty won’t be coaching spring ball in Lawrence next year. At this point, it’s just a matter of time. And it’s not just because of the W-L record.
First of all, there’s the mismanagement of the quarterback position. The success of Montell Cozart and Ryan Willis at other schools is a fireable offense in and of itself, in my opinion. (Part of that is the complete inability to field even a halfway competent offensive line, which is yet another problem that this staff hasn’t figured out.)
When Kansas is being talked about on a Saturday night prime time game these days, it’s not a good thing:
Killer exchange between Chris and Kirk on Ryan Willis just now:@cbfowler: "David Beatty told him: 'You're not exactly what I'm looking for at quarterback.' "@KirkHerbstreit: "What are they looking for at Kansas at quarterback?"— Matt Fortuna (@Matt_Fortuna) October 7, 2018
But the quarterback position is only part of the story. David Beaty brought the Air Raid to Lawrence. That typically means lots of yards and lots of points. Except at Kansas, we’ve seen the exact opposite. In 42 games now, KU has had a 240+ yard passing game 11 times.
In 2017, Kansas lost seven of nine conference games by 22 or more points. That’s not “getting better.” That’s not progress.
And let’s not forget about the gameday experience. The same issues from Beaty’s first season are still showing up in year four, things like timeout management, third and fourth-down decision making, and substitution issues (that cause unnecessary timeouts!).
Additionally, fan apathy is at an all-time low, as just 18,364 showed up for Homecoming against Oklahoma State in a stadium that seats over 50k. However, it’s likely that number is inflated, and it was more in the realm of 12-15k in the stands.
But if all of that isn’t enough for you, there’s the state of the 2019 recruiting class, which currently has two members, one of whom is expected to decommit. For reference, most P5 schools have more than 10 at this point. The only P5 schools in single digits are Washington State (9), UCLA (8), K-State (8), and Utah (6).
With two recruits, KU currently sits below recruiting powerhouses such as Wofford, Brown, Delaware, Richmond, Princeton, UC-Davis, Holy Cross, and Howard.
(EDIT 10/8/18 7:00 AM CDT: Clay Cundiff decommitted from Kansas and flipped to Wisconsin late Sunday night.)
When Beaty was brought in, we were told it was due to his recruiting prowess and connections in Texas. The 2018 class featured one Texas high school recruit. The 2017 class had three. Beaty is not recruiting Texas, or at least, he’s not having any success there.
So where do we go from here?
According to Jeff Long’s comments above, Beaty will apparently be given the entire 2018 season. Probably the next-best opportunity to let Beaty go will be following the K-State game. At that point in the season, KU will have just two games left on the schedule: at Oklahoma and home vs Texas on Black Friday.
If Beaty does coach all 12 games, how long of an evaluation period following the season will Jeff Long need?
It’s pretty clearly time to move on. We’re just all going to have to keep waiting on Jeff Long to make it official.