Now that the David Beaty era is finally over, what are the next steps for new coach Les Miles?
I think it goes without saying the Mad Hatter has a full plate. And how ironic Thanksgiving was just a few days ago.
The first task on the docket will be finishing up his staff. There’s been a lot of speculation that Miles already has most of his staff in place, he just needs to finalize contract details. He also mentioned he’d like to interview every staff member on the current Kansas staff to see if there’s an opportunity to keep them.
My guess, if he were to keep anyone, the most likely candidates would be Tony Hull, Bill Miller and/or Garrett Riley. Will he keep all of them? One of them? None of them? We’ll find out soon enough.
There’s also been some chatter from fans and media members that Miles should keep Clint Bowen on the staff. I completely disagree and feel it benefits him more to steer away from Kansas and get experience at a smaller program. Maybe even land an FCS head coaching job in the near future. Many may not agree but that’s how I view Bowen, as a solid FCS head coach.
Now, there is one position I’d love to see Bowen kept at if he were to agree. A huge part to this Kansas program moving forward will be landing as many Kansas targets as possible. And not just scholarship players, but more importantly walk-on players. Bowen would be a great person to solely focus on Kansas recruiting and I think with his passion for the program and his all around enthusiasm for football he would greatly succeed in this area. Would he take a demotion, and a rather large one at that to stay at Kansas? Hard to tell but it’s an option.
While finalizing his staff Miles will need to find time to recruit as well. With a 2019 class that is currently ranked 174th in the nation per 247 Sports and only has one committed recruit, you can tell there is plenty of work to do. The good thing is he’s already reached out to the top Kansas target, being a DB, and a former LSU QB. As the days pass and his staff is finalized look for recruits to start committing and the class to fill out. And if I were a betting man I’d say it will look rather impressive for even being limited on available scholarships.
What Miles can’t forget about, though, are the potential walk-on players in Kansas that grew up huge fans of the program. Beaty made it a point to have a solid walk-on program involving loads of Kansas players. He had the right idea but it didn’t seem to blossom like he had hoped. Miles will need to not only continue this but be much more effective. Bill Snyder has taken advantage of this in the past, bringing in walk-on players in Kansas, developing them into quality football players, and then putting them on the field. With the limited scholarship numbers Kansas currently has this process can’t be more important.
And while Miles is doing all of this, finalizing his staff and recruiting, he’ll also need to find ways to generate enough buzz around the community to get season tickets sold. I’m sure his name enough will bring a lot of new comers, but it won’t do all the work. He’ll need to convince those on the fence and it likely won’t be an easy task especially with how the last ten years have turned out.
Either way, the future is absolutely bright. We have a true head football coach who’s both excelled at recruiting and winning football games. It’ll be a long nine months until next season but I can promise it’ll at least be exciting and entertaining.