End of year review

  • KU finishes the 2016 season at 2-10 with a 1-8 record in Big 12 games. KU still hasn’t won a game outside of Memorial Stadium this decade.

    I’ll start with the negatives so I can end on a high note with the positives.

    QB play was absolutely awful for most of the year. Cozart and Willis were just terrible and neither one should ever take a snap under center for the Jayhawks again. Based on the current QB situation, I really wouldn’t be surprised if Ryan Willis transfers to a school that better fits him because he was recruited to run the Charlie Weis pro style offense and not the Air Raid.

    KU also needs some depth at RB because Herbert and Martin won’t cut it next year. KU needs at least 2 more guys to step up and take some of the load off so Martin and Herbert don’t get worn down halfway through next season.

    The OLine play was also very subpar for most of the season, but this was also a very young and inexperienced OLine that will return 4/5 starters from the KSU game. RT De’Andre Banks was the only senior on the OLine and Ribordy, Hughes, and Adeniji are all freshmen or sophomores. The OLine will be better next year simply because they will have another year in the weight room and a spring to work together. Being able to stick Charles Baldwin from Alabama in the OLine (presumably at LT and move Adeniji inside) should also be a big help to the OLine.

    On defense, a lack of depth killed the defense this year, but there is no quick fix to that problem. Losing almost the entire secondary is going to be tough, but KU also returns 3/4 of the starting DLine including Dorance Armstrong who’s going to get of DPOY votes this year and should be 1st team All-Big 12 this year. Daniel Wise has also really started to blossom as well this year so that should help cushion the blow the secondary is taking this year.

    The other thing that needs to happen is Beaty needs to take a couple of hats off. Rob Likens is a good coach, but he can’t coach QB’s so Beaty needs a real QB coach who has a track record of developing QB’s. Jason Philips as coordinating experience at SMU so I would promote him, let Likens go and bring in a dedicated QB coach/co-OC with Philips. Beaty needs to delegate these responsibilities and just let his coaches coach since that’s what he hired them for. I feel like this issue is common to people who are new head coaches and we’re seeing it with Beaty being too much of a micro manager to reach the level of success he wants to reach at KU. It will be Beaty’s ability to learn from these mistakes that will ultimately determine whether he can keep a staff together long enough to build success.

    Now for the positives.

    Defense, defense, defense! For those who had been calling for Bowen’s head before the year, this year is why coaches need 4-5 years to determine how good they are. Bowen is now in year 4 of running the same defense and we all saw that despite what the numbers say, this was a good defense this year that kept KU in several games KU had no business contending in. Depth is still an issue and will be for at least 2-3 more years because of Weis, but Bowen has the defense headed in the right direction and with some help from the offense, we could see this defense actually rank in the top 50 statistically in the near future as well.

    Dorance Armstrong is special. He is going to go down as KU’s best DLinemen in a very long time, since at least James McClinton. Joe Dineen is just a gamer and I can’t wait to have him back next year. Mike Lee is also going to continue the tradition of KU being DBU. Even during these dark ages, Bowen has been churning out NFL caliber DB’s (Chris Harris, Bradley McDougald, JaCorey Shepherd, and Dexter McDonald) that will be able to add Fish Smithson’s name to that list as well and Mike Lee is going to be the next one in line.

    On offense, we have game changing WR’s in Steven Sims and LaQuvionte Gonzalez and adding Daylon Charlot to the mix next year will give KU 3 legitimate weapons in the passing game. KU does need Chase Harrell to step up as a 4th option to give KU a big WR that can go get jump balls because Sims, Quiv, and Charlot are all 6-0 and under guys who are better in the slot than on the outside. Montell Cozart could also be an intriguing possibility as an outside receiver to stretch the field.

    I actually do like the QB situation going forward for KU with Peyton Bender, Carter Stanley, and Tyriek Starks as the 3 guys fighting for the starting job. Best case is Starks wins the job because he brings a true dual threat nature to the QB position that Bender and Stanley don’t. Bender is a true pocket pass who was supposed to be next in line at WSU behind Luke Falk. Stanley to me is the perfect back up because he doesn’t make many mistakes and can come in a manage a game and keep the offense moving. KU will also still have Keaton Perry and Deondre Ford as the 4th and 5th QB’s should something insane like 2015 happen again at the QB position.

    I’m also high on the OLine. I think 2018 is when we’ll the OLine really blossom, but KU is returning 4/5 starters next year and 2 were freshmen and 1 sophomore this year so they were very young. KU also gets Charles Baldwin the Alabama transfer next year along with Bragg and McCauley who each played quite a bit this year as well so there’s potential with the OLine to start taking some big steps forward in the very near future.

    I believe KU’s schedule next year in the non-conference is SEMO, Central Michigan, @Ohio so KU should a decent chance at starting the year 2-1 next season as I think KU will be to the point they can beat a SEMo team that went 3-8 this year and a CMU team that went 6-6 and should’ve been 5-7 if it wasn’t for the refs screwing up the end of their game with OSU.

    I also think Baylor is going to struggle next year, KSU is sliding into irrelevancy, we’ve gotten closer to beating TCU every year since they joined the league and an OT loss or KU win is the trend there. That’s not even factoring in ISU and Texas Tech who should both be near the bottom of the league with KU next year. I can see KU winning anywhere from 4-6 games next year dependent upon the QB situation and either Bender or Starks being the clear cut winner or at least both of them clearly being ahead of Stanley.

    KU football is trending upwards and next year is when we’ll see KU finally end the road losing streak against someone (Ohio, TCU, and ISU being the most likely games) and also not finish in last place like they have all but one year post Mangino.

  • @Texas-Hawk-10 I support your optimism and hope we win at least 4 games next year. The kicker from Oklahoma, Liam Jones could help us next year. Really, improvement next year will be entirely dependent on whether we get much better play from our quarterback. Our trio did some good things this year, just not nearly enough and they had way to many turnovers. I also hope Coach Beaty hires an experienced offensive coordinator. We will benefit from much better play calling.

  • Actually, call me crazy, but for todays game, I really have a hard time at being mad. upset or whatever. The guys stayed competitive and hung in fighting back. Couple of things played into the game - - The big one for us, TURNOVERS once again which we lead the nation in this season, those two interceptions was very critical. One I lay directly on Carter, - -the other just bad luck, ball being tipped - -that can happen to anybody, the other was just a down right mistake on Carters part. You take away those two things, were right there. Carter has done very adequate since he has been playing, got some mobility to him, not afraid to run , mobile -I think he definitely needs to be in serious consideration starting next season - -he is developing like him. - - I still agree though and no knock on Carter BUT I just feel that Tyriek is our best option - - natural dual threat, But Carter and him should be one - -two till proven or beat out - -just not impressed with Bender - - there are reasons you go from a major College to a Juco, hopefully wrong but I don’t know.

    I think our defense is going to just get better I know of 5 studs right off the bat returning - - Armstrong, Wise, Loenker, & Dineen & Lee - - love that kid - - just a freshman.

    I think if we can get this O-Line straightend out improve gat some stability from our QB I’m thinking ok 1st year Beaty winless, this year 2 win next year I’m looking 4-5 wins I truly believe this is a possibility, again the guys really didn’t play that bad for the most part today, the turn around continues guys - - -ROCK CHALK ALL DAY LONG BABY

  • @jayballer54 Bender went to JuCo because of grades, not ability or character issues.

  • @Texas-Hawk-10 STILL not impressed no matter the reason - -didn’t say anything about character, what time he DID play not impressive AT ALL more Int’s then TD’s - just doesn’t impress me - - at least not at this point - -AGAIN I think Tyriek is the future for KU at QB- - -ROCK CHALK ALL DAY LONG BABY

  • @jayballer54 The kid played one game because the starter got injured. Hardly enough evidence to decide if the kid is a bust or not. This is also a kid Mike Leach desperately wanted back to follow Luke Falk at QB so if Mike Leach thinks Bender was good enough to follow Falk, that should be the evidence this kid has talent instead of basing it on one game the kid played.

  • @Texas-Hawk-10 I was just getting ready to type my review. I agree spot on with just about everything that you said, I think you left out about how bad our linebackers played this year. I realize we had several injuries that hurt this unit and gave some youngsters time which could help, I thought they were in position most of the time just need to improve tackling, when our two safties are the leading tacklers its not a good thing as in the opposing team is getting to the third level too much, The WR core should be primed to be one of the deepest in the B12, you forgot to mention Tyler Patrick who had a nice game today that is my bet to become the 4th option at that spot. Beaty as you stated has to find a solid QB coach and O Coordinator and fast. We can hope with some of the coaching shake ups we can land a solid guy or as i am personally hoping that TT fires Kliff and he heads this way. One other name to think about is the Briles kid from Baylor, he may not retain his position with the new staff. I like him but dont want anything to do with the BS that his old man let go on at baylor. Thanks to all the football guys on for chatting it was fun. We will be the ones like in 08 that stuck around even in the toughest times, this season just ended the worst 5 year run in KU Football history. I will always remember the fight this team showed to battle til the final horn reguardless of the score. Thank you seniors.

  • Totally agree about the defense. They were pretty damn good. It’s really hard when your offense can’t hold on to the ball/sustain possessions.

  • @BShark Yes good job bye the D for the most part, i was pissed at some fools on KU sports today calling for his head when the only let up 27 point with a pick 6 that Stanley had, I’ll take letting up 27 to most B12 teams on the road with 3 turnovers on us.

  • @kjayhawks Here’s why I’m getting on the LB’s. I don’t have the same level of expectations for Loneker that I did for Roberts. Loneker went to Baker out of HS and Roberts went to South Carolina under Spurrier. Marquis Roberts is flat out a better player than Loneker and why Loneker was a 3rd string guy when the season started. It’d be like expecting a kid fresh out of college to run a company better than a guy with 2o years experience, it’s just going to happen.

    Injuries are part of the game and why KU’s depth were a big part of their late game struggles. I just can’t throw blame at a 3rd string kid forced to play before he’s ready due to injury because there’s a reason why someone is a 3rd stringer instead if starting and it’s because he’s not as good as the starter so there will almost always be drop off in production when you bring in 3rd stringers for a long duration like Loneker had to this year.

  • @Texas-Hawk-10 I agree, thats why i said injuries hurt that group. I also think Loneker will be a good player before hes done and had a great game vs texas, i didnt mention him at all.

  • @Texas-Hawk-10

    Thank you for the excellent summary fir those of us that don’t follow football as deeply as we do hoops.

    Don’t we have a couple of transfer players from Alabama available next season?

  • @Texas-Hawk-10

    Nice job. That was a lot of ground to cover.

    Like all leaders, Beatty needs a little luck with things he can’t control, like the ebbs and flows of other programs, to help the turn around.

    Lack of depth is scarier in football than basketball, because big fall offs in talent at more than a few positions not only make matchups hard at a position, but introduce nonlinear breakdowns in a complex team system.

    The biggest thing separating football and basketball is the greater number of players involved. Football spikes up complexity and so unforseeable consequences. Depth reduces the risk of the unforeseen compounding failure in a two platoon, 11 man game.

    Each player is at least four normal distributions: talent, development, health and focus. Each game, where each player is on each distribution, determines each player’s actual aggregate level of performance. Additively speaking, then, a football team is an attempt to get 11 players, or 44 normal distributions performing.

    In principle, the best team fields the 11 players performing farthest out in the right tail of the 44 normal distributions. Coaching of skills and scheming help bias the distributions to the right, but on any given day the variance in any of a player’s levels in any of the four distributions can be beneath the required level for that day’s match up, and the ONLY possible solution is another player with a different, even if only for that day, and net preferable set of 4 distributions. Without “effective” depth, i.e., backup players that actually on a given day remedy (minimize) that day’s deficiencies in the starter, the shortfall created at just one position radiates out into 4 deficient linkages with ten other positions, or 40 possibilities for breakdowns from reduced performance. If a team lacks effective depth at all 11 positions, as KU has tended to, starting with the Weis’ purge, it faces up to 440 possible breakdowns from deficiency every snap, just from second stringers alone. Injuries often make it necessary to dip to third stringers, which worsen the issue.

    The reason a coach should opt to emphasize recruiting effective depth over peak per performers is to get out of the jaws of so much unmanageable, unforseeable, compounding complexity. It has no strategic remedy.

    Eventually you have to have great players making great plays to get to the top. But until you can have effective backups for great players, they actually problematic in triggering cascading compounding complexity, if you depend heavily on them, everytime they are not healthy, or mentally focused.

    Football is a numbers game of depth in order to avoid the unforeseen consequences of complexity.

    Beatty needs to improve his second and third strings perhaps more than his first string, and I know his first string is still wanting.

    But I agree with your assessment that there are a few signs that Beatty turned part of a very big corner.

  • @JayHawkFanToo KU has an offensive lineman named Charles Baldwin and WR names Daylon Charlot who Saban was not happy about losing

    @jaybate-1.0 The issues with KU’s depth are the result of Charlie Weis dismissing a lot Gill players and replacing them with JuCo players which threw KU’s class numbers completely out of whack. Beaty is doing a good job of bringing in mostly HS players with a few JuCo kids, but not enough to throw the class numbers out of whack.

    This is where the biggest difference between football and basketball recruiting is. It takes years to build up quality depth in football because of limits on the number of recruuts that can be brought in each year while basketball doesn’t have that limit. Beaty is building depth through his recruiting and the walk on program, but it simply takes time and there’s no shortcuts or quick fixes to that problem.

  • Just to put the progress made this season in perspective, KU was only about 3-4 plays from winning 4 games this year. Literally if one play against TCU (any of the missed FGs) and 2-3 plays against ISU this year are different and KU is 4-8 (3-6) this year.

    Learning how to close out games is something this team needs to learn how to do and hopefully they start learning next year and win some of those close losses next year.

  • @Texas-Hawk-10

    You are rightly willing to assign blame to Weis for the lack of depth.

    I agree that there is no shortcut to dealing with the problem, but of course insist there are smarter and dumber ways to manage it that will reduce or lengthen the degree of the problem sooner or later.

    Focusing recruiting to Improve the numbers and shortness of talent falloff of the second string rather than focusing on improving first string is the smart way. KU is apt to get almost none of the guys that can step in and play way better than even their meager first stringers. Where they can make a lot of improvement and probably get all the guys they want is for the second string. There are tons of high school kids that will trade being buried 4 deep for being buried 1 or 2 deep. This is how you accelerate the process of getting to mediocrity. Then in phase 2 you focus on the guys that don’t want to be buried 1 or 2 deep; that takes you to a third to 4th place team. Then you you go to phase 3 for the final ascent.

    Now for the real reason for responding: why did Zenger do what he did with Weis?

    Zenger made 3 horrible decisions with KU football after firing Gill, who had built a good program at Buffalo and who went on to build a good program at Liberty.

    1.) Zenger hired Weis who argued the completely ridiculous notion that he could build a winner by relying on Catholic high schools for recruits. This was absurd on its face, since he had been unable to do it at Notre Dame.

    2.) He let Weis run a third of the squad. This was absurd strategy on its face, since there was no indication even then that Weis was going to be able to replace them with high school recruits.

    3.) He let Weis build with juco guys. This was absurd strategy on its face, because the cupboard would be bare, tramp athletes would abound, and there was again no indication Weis could replace them with high school students even slowly.

    The above is not hindsight. I or some others said so at the time at each step.

    Leaving aside that he caved into apparent racial and religious pressure to fire KU’s first black, fundamentalist head football coach, why did Zenger make these three obviously stupid and consecutive decisions?

    The reason for asking is that he also has not had much success with his woman’s basketball hire, and Beatty is at best not ahead of the curve turning KU football around, so it appears KU needs to make a contingency plan for hiring coaches, if Zenger is to remain the AD.

    I am not down on Zenger and wanting him fired, rather I am wanting to recognize that he may have great strengths as a business administrator, and yet we probably need to firewall him from all hiring decisions regarding head coaches. And we need to do this before Self leaves.

  • @Texas-Hawk-10

    What ever happened to the Alabama QB that wanted to transfer? I understand that KU was mentioned as a potential destination at one time…

  • @jaybate-1.0 Too many indications that Gill’s program philosophy was not working. Weis found 14-15 academic ineligibles on the roster when he arrived. He also found disciplinary issues. He also found conditioning “optional” philosophy, something I have never heard of in any level of football past junior high–has anyone else?

    I dont buy the racial thing, at all: Lovie Smith or Mike Tomlin can come coach KU any day, any time. Competent, effective, tough football coaches.

    Dont buy the religious oil variety that Gill was peddling. First, the University of KS is a secular school, not religious affiliated. You think Gill would have any luck over at Nebraska in the mid-90s with that party/bad-boy image their team had back then? Nope. I dont espouse such a culture, especially when it causes game ineligibility (either in college, or the NFL…). And for the love of god, someone please explain Gill’s press conf statement to me: …“we will build winning football thru Christ”… What does he mean? Hmm, turn the other cheek vs go smack the schitt out of the opponent (and have the strength/conditioning to go do it).

    Food for thought.

  • Weis’ problem was his NFL playbook (proven) did not have the jimmies and joes to actually execute it. Hiring a “name” coach was an attempt at a home run hire, that would bring 4-5star guys to KU. But thats not what Weis did. He does bring Crist and Heaps to KU, and I have deep, deep sorrow we didnt have the O-line to protect them, nor the WRs who could actually catch. Weis’ playbook (& Crist + Heaps) was doomed because of the crap on the roster, but you also cannot say such in public and throw your own team under the bus with the pile-O-crap comment.

    Weis further compounded his problems by trying to get juco guys, which is Snyder’s whole approach, and the 0,1,2star KS kids (that no one else but Snyder wants). Well, wait a minute…wasnt the “name” hire supposed to bring “name” recruits? The minute Weis started going for the no-namer, unranked, unheralded players, the whole point of hiring him went out the window. Not going to beat Snyder at that game. Not enough sucky KS kids to go around. And lets not forget that Snyder absolutely must recruit as he does, because he has proven incapable of recruiting 4 and 5star recruits. So why would Weis stoop to that level?

    Want to play ball for real? Either give an up-and-comer a shot, or witness the mistake UTexas made: rumor of paying Saban $100mil over 10yrs, but no true offer: Saban coaching Bama at $7mil/yr, and TX hires Charlie Strong on the strength of exactly 2 (two) good seasons in a lesser conference. Strong was at least a better candidate than Lew’s buddy Turner Gill was. Strong at least played .500ball. I hope KU is past the joke-hires. For the joke is on us, until Beaty digs us out of our own grave.

  • The critique of Charlie Strong in many Texas publications was that the attention to detail seemed to be lacking and remained a consistent issue. Like 3 blocked PATs in the same game, really?

    I would then postulate to the Gill-lovers, that Turner F. Gill’s attn to detail was demonstrably worse than Charlie Strong’s. Proven, historical fact. A theory proven by Gill’s own body of work in this Power5 conference. I dont give a shiz about Liberty U, either, as we all know that simply doesnt count, cant equate, irrelevant, yada, yada…(not power 5).

  • @Texas-Hawk-10 very good point - -exactly just needed ONE of those field goals. They do need to know how to close, this is just from NOT winning for such a period I think a lot of times, I mean how many times did we actually play with a lead this year? Seems like we were always trying to dig out of a hole. But it just comes from l;osing for so long., BUT I do actually think we are progressing have to crawl before we can walk, we were soooo down it was in-believable - - -ROCK CHALK ALL DAY LONG BABY

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