Kansas athletic director Jeff Long says he wants to hire a new football coach “sooner rather than later.” That would be the first of , hopefully, many smart moves that Long makes in his tenure as head of the Jayhawk athletic bureaucracy. That Long dismissed Beaty now was a smart move because it puts Kansas in the hunt before most other schools that will be looking for a new coach and there will be many, I assure you.
Currently only Maryland, among Power Five schools, has stated that they are looking for a new coach. That limits the competition for Kansas. The Jayhawks need all of the advantages they can get. Maybe former boss Mark Mangino is still available. The big guy on the sideline. After all, his KU record looks pretty glittering right now. In the post-Mangino years of Turner Gill, Charlie Weis, interim Clint Bowen and David Beaty, Kansas is 18-87. Sooner rather than later is desperately needed!
The name most heard for the opening is Les Miles, former LSU and Oklahoma State head coach. Another is current Mount Union Ohio coach, Vince Kehres. Mount Union is just a Div.III school but they have dominated the division for years. Interestingly, DeMontay Phillips, a 2018 graduate of Larned High School is on the roster at the Alliance, Ohio , school. I don’t see Long reaching down to Div.III to find a coach though. Kansas needs more “buzz” than that to fill some of those 51,000 seats.
Considering all of the candidates out there and who would maybe take the job, if offered, my dark-horse candidate would be Willie Fritz, currently the head coach at Tulane. Fritz is a known rebuilder of programs and comes from Johnson county so he knows the territory. The name and his record at Tulane may not immediately impress fans but the guy can coach and can find talent in lesser-recruited athletes which will be a plus in the early years at Kansas.
Wouldn’t it be ironic if Kansas ended up in a bowl game this year? They still have a shot you know. At 3-6, if they would win out they would be bowl eligible. Would David Beaty not only be allowed to coach out the season but also coach the Jayhawks in a bowl game? The odds of this are probably somewhere around my odds of winning the Powerball sweepstakes with Kansas State, Oklahoma and Texas remaining but, hey, wouldn’t it be fun to see how the Big Cigars at Kansas would handle that?
Sooner rather than later. That’s good. Real good.
— Things change when you get to playoff football in Kansas in November. Cold weather usually shows up. Perhaps sleet, rain and snow. All of that can change your offensive approach to football. It is the time of year when “your razzle freezes to your dazzle.” Cold hands can change a team’s passing game. You’d better be able to run the football! That’s why I like Central Plains to knock off Hoxie, the defending state champions. It won’t be over at halftime but Oilers win: 42-24.
— In only four games has Maize given up a touchdown this year. They will be a tough out for Great Bend as the game is at Maize. Black Panthers on a roll offensively so the “Irresistible force” meets the “immovable object”. Maize favored by 6.
— Hoisington DOES run the football well whether it’s November or September, and that will be a key as they tangle with Hutchinson Trinity (9-1). I like the Cardinals because they’ve played a tougher schedule. Hoisington 30, Trinity 20.
— KU vs. K-State? Not as meaningless as national media would like to think. Coach David Beaty’s last chance to beat Bill Snyder. Bill Snyder’s last chance to salvage the 2018 season. The game is in Manhattan. They say the home field is worth 10 points. Good enough for me: K-State 33, Kansas 24.
Buddy Tabler is a guest columnist for the Great Bend Tribune and his views don’t necessarily reflect those of the paper. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.