It’s no secret that David Beaty has had a rough time as the Kansas football coach. He wasn’t exactly given much to work with as he started with only 29 scholarship players. But as the scholarship players increased the team still hadn’t progressed as much as expected.
That was until this year, his fourth year on the job.
In three games Beaty has won more FBS games than he did in his previous three years. His defense also has more turnovers (13) than they had all of last year (9). And he even has a running back in Pooka Williams that could arguably be one of the best true freshman to ever come through the program.
What seemed to be another lost season after a 23-26 overtime loss to FCS Nicholls now seems as promising as ever.
They finally broke the 46 game road losing streak by dominating CMU in the second half and winning 31-7. They then followed that up with an even more impressive outing by pummeling Big 10 foe Rutgers, 55-14. In that game they rushed for 400 yards and for the second game in a row forced six turnovers.
Currently Kansas is even in first place in turnover margin with +12. The next closest team has a +8.
Impressive to say the least. But also, too little too late.
These are things we expected last year. And it wasn’t just the fans that expected it, it was also Beaty and the players as they kept spreading their bowl game expectations.
And now as we sit in the most confusing time to be a Kansas football fan, Beaty has the team playing better but with a future that still looks dark and cold.
It’s so bad in fact that Kansas only has two recruits for the 2019 class which is good enough for a 146th place ranking. There are only 130 teams in the FBS.
It’s also worth noting that Beaty can only have 15 total scholarship players for 2019. This is due to his excessive use of the blue-shirt rule, which is borrowing from the next year’s class to fill the current one up with non-traditional recruits. Not exactly a wise plan when those scholarships can be used on players the team actually spends time recruiting to make sure they fit within the program.
Also by doing this he’s caused a bit if an issue when it comes to scholarship numbers for the future. Imagine if you will that Kansas is at 75 scholarship players this year. I don’t know the exact number but it’s close to that range. It appears they’ll be losing at least 22 seniors to graduation. Add in another five projected transfers and you’re looking at around 27 scholarship players that could be leaving this year. Obviously the transfer players are just a guess and it’s no guarantee that Kansas will even lose any players to transfers. But it’s more likely than not.
This would put Kansas at 48 scholarship players. Add in the 15 Beaty can recruit this year and that’ll bump them back up to 63.
It doesn’t stop there, though.
Kansas will lose an estimated 28 seniors to graduation in 2019. Once again add in another 5 transfers and you’re looking at them potentially losing a total of 33 scholarship players. Subtract that from the 63 left and they’ll be back down to 30 scholarship players, just about where Beaty started when he took the program over.
Now I’m not saying that’s exactly how things will play out. Beaty could continue to bring in blue-shirts and keep borrowing from the next year’s scholarships, but it’s not an ideal plan of attack. And eventually it will catch up.
This is why I think the biggest mistake for Kansas football would be to bring Beaty back for the 2019 season regardless of his record.
The team should be better this year. And the team should be beating inferior FBS teams and they should be competing in the Big 12. These are things that aren’t exceeding the programs expectations and it shouldn’t exceed Jeff Long’s either.
What would exceed expectations is to have had all of these things start to take shape in year two, and then in year three seeing a huge jump. And by year four we’d be watching a team that has potential to make a bowl game.
There also wouldn’t be an issue with bringing in recruits and the class would be comfortably sitting in the top 50 instead of looking from the outside in on the other 129 FBS programs.
Beaty has done well for the program there is no doubt about that. But right now this Kansas team needs a solid and proven coach. They need someone who can coach up the players he recruits because they can’t rely on getting guys like Pooka Williams or Coe Harris every year.
Long even said he’s pressing the breaks on the impending $350 stadium renovation in order to get the program back on track. This makes complete sense. Why try to build a stadium that fans won’t even show up to?
But it goes to show more than ever that it’s important Kansas finds a new qualified and proven coach for 2019. They can’t move forward with the same wait and see approach. It’s time Kansas football gets what it deserves in a leader. Someone who is qualified, confident and will make his players better at the game they play—football.
I respect Beaty and I like him as a man. I even think he’s earned the rest of the year to keep this momentum going and see how he can help the next coach with trying to fill up the recruiting class.
But after the season it should be time to part ways.