Failing Grade: KU football starts slowly in 37-21 loss

Kansas wide receiver Steven Sims Jr. (11) pulls in a touchdown catch past Ohio cornerback Jalen Fox (21) during the third quarter on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016 at Memorial Stadium.

One of the many favorite phrases of second-year Kansas football coach David Beaty is that his players often “have the answers to the test.”

Saturday, during his team’s 37-21 loss to Ohio in front of a crowd of 28,467 at Memorial Stadium, the Jayhawks were equipped with the right answers but could not effectively utilize them.

During the days leading up to KU’s Week 2 showdown with Ohio, Beaty pointed out that the Bobcats’ strength on defense was up front and also noted that their vulnerabilities were in the secondary.

Instead of exploiting that from the jump, Kansas (1-1) began with a conservative offensive game plan that led to 21 yards of total offense in the first half and a 25-0 hole that proved to be too deep to overcome.

Junior quarterback Montell Cozart (17-of-24 passing for 198 yards and two touchdowns) and sophomore wide receiver Steven Sims Jr., (114 yards and 2 TDs on four receptions) both said they expected KU to test Ohio down the field more from the beginning. But both also gave credit to the Ohio game plan, as well.

“At halftime, coach Beaty came in and said we were about to start taking shots and getting vertical on these guys,” said Sims, who went over 100 yards for the second week in a row and, at halftime, told Cozart that he could beat his man. “That’s what we came out doing in the second half. We just needed more plays. We had to make more plays that we weren’t making earlier.”

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David Beaty talks about KU's 37-21 loss to Ohio

After a 37-21 loss against Ohio, Kansas coach David Beaty discusses what troubled the offense, the difficulties of the defense ...

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By game’s end, Ohio ran more than twice as many offensive plays as the Jayhawks — 93-44 — and made most of them count.

Almost to a man, the Jayhawks who spoke with the media following the season’s first loss said they were shell-shocked as to why the team started so slowly in the first half. Many of them gave credit to Ohio, which consistently showed different looks — on both offense and defense — than the Jayhawks saw on film throughout the week.

Never was that more evident than in the run game, where the Bobcats (1-1) rumbled for 329 yards and a 5.8 yards-per-carry average.

“We prepared for their running backs running the ball, play-action passes, stuff like that,” said KU linebacker Marcquis Roberts, who finished with nine tackles in his first game. “And they came out with a lot of quarterback run game.”

Ohio QB Greg Windham gained 146 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries and also threw for 167 yards and a touchdown. Most of that came in the first half, where Ohio outgained Kansas 359-21.

The lone bright spot in the first half for Kansas came when junior LaQuvionte Gonzalez returned an Ohio kickoff 99 yards to cut the score to 25-7.

Although thrilled about seeing those points go on the board, Cozart could not help but lament the missed opportunity earlier in the half, when he overthrew a wide open Gonzalez on what would’ve been an easy touchdown two minutes into the second quarter. KU trailed 22-0 at the time, but Cozart thought a connection there could have been a game-changer.

“I think it would’ve sparked us,” Cozart said. “That’s one I definitely wanted back.”

Related document

Box score: Ohio 37, Kansas 21 ( .PDF )

The Jayhawks struck first in the second half, when Cozart hit Sims with a 74-yard touchdown pass on the second play of the third quarter. The second Sims touchdown, which came less than four minutes later, cut Ohio’s lead to 31-21 with 10:59 to play in the third, and, just like that, a game that began with a thud suddenly was within reach.

But that’s where the Kansas offense stalled again. Time after time the KU defense made a play or got a stop, but the Jayhawks never could capitalize.

The Jayhawks basically gave points to the Bobcats on three different occasions in the second half, twice on muffed punts by Gonzalez and once more on a mismanaged punt of their own. Even those three turnovers, however, led to just nine Ohio points.

“They left us in the game,” Beaty said of his defense. “You take nine points off the board from those three turnovers... That’s why I take my hat off to our defense, because that could’ve been much worse than it was.”

The final score says Kansas competed in this one. And, sure, in the second half, the Jayhawks did. But far too much of the first half resembled the kind of inept football that Kansas fans have come to expect during the past seven seasons, and the lasting image of a game that began with so much hope and promise stemming from last week’s 55-6 season-opening victory ended with an all-too-familiar picture — obligatory empty seats at Memorial Stadium.

So now the Jayhawks move forward to an uncertain future. While last week’s rout of Rhode Island inspired many around town to start whispering about the potential for a three- or even four-win season, this week’s loss surely will bring with it chatter of 1-11.

Such is life around Kansas football. But the players and coaches in the heart of it can only promise one thing — to keep working, keep “going to school on the info” and keep trying to get better.

“Last week, as great as it was, we learned a lot from it, but I guarantee you we didn’t learn as much from it as we’re gonna learn this week,” Beaty said. “We’re gonna learn a lot this week. And it starts getting glaring to our guys, our coaches, everybody, including myself.”

— See what people were saying about KU's matchup against Ohio during KUsports.com’s live coverage



More news and notes from the loss against Ohio


Comments

Brad Sherp

Beaty proved to be a HORRIBLE OC today. Horizontal passes were completely unproductive, so why keep going back to them? It reminds me of how Terry Allen would call the same 5 plays over and over and over again... no matter how unsuccessful they were. When we finally got momentum by shifting to a vertical passing game, we decided to revert back to the ineffective horizontal passing game. I suspect Beaty will look even worse as the competition improves. 21 total yards of offense in the first half against Ohio? Seriously? I will give Beaty credit for one thing - He managed to make Ohio look like Ohio State.

To Coach Beaty: If you don't trust Cozart to throw on deep balls, then don't play Cozart... or switch to an offense that better suits his talents, like the West Coast offense that specializes in short passes. If you are 100% committed to the Air Raid offense, then use a quarterback who you feel comfortable stretching the entire field with. I fail to understand why you wouldn't want Willis to get more experience against lesser teams prior to the Big 12 schedule.

6 months, 2 weeks ago

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Suzi Marshall

I held off making any critical comments about Beatty last year but today's game, especially the first half has me leaning heavily toward the conclusion that Beatty is not the coach we need. That first half was about as bad a team and coaching we've had at KU since before Gill and Weise. I have no idea who the coach we need could be. Nobody has much of an appetite for going out to spend big money on a coach.

Looks to me like KU will go through untold numbers of 3-year head coaching cycles.

6 months, 2 weeks ago

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Jack Hoff

Good coaches and good teams aren't immune from bad halfs of football. Speaks more about the state of the team being able to adjust at half and put some points on the board and making the game semi interesting. They could have folded and gotten blown out ala Gill and Weis. Y'all ask for the patience and years to build the program properly then spew nonsensically after game 2 of year 2. They are clearly improved despite the loss.

6 months, 2 weeks ago

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Suzi Marshall

I hope it is nonsensical but the play calling and lack of discipline fall back to coaching.

6 months, 2 weeks ago

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David Robinett

No excuse for not attacking their secondary, when that was their weak spot from last week.

And what the heck was the sideways pass on 4th down!??

6 months, 2 weeks ago

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Bryce Landon

It's days like this that make me glad I have to be at work on Saturdays. I missed almost the entire game except for the final minutes of the second quarter and the last 90 seconds of the game.

6 months, 2 weeks ago

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Humpy Helsel

It's painful to watch the wheels come off of the bus. Get back to work guys. Clean up special teams stuff! Players hike back to punters, and punt returners field punts, at every level. Let's get the wheels back on. Memphis isn't out of the question.

6 months, 2 weeks ago

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Doug Roberts

Beaty is a rah rah coach, which is fine, but sometimes kids need a kick in the pants and someone screaming in their ear. Mangino's teams were always tough. I haven't seen a tough Kansas team since, and it shows on the scoreboard.

6 months, 2 weeks ago

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Doug Wallace

ILL ASK YOU AGAIN!If Mangino was so awesome why the hell has he not had the same success elsewhere?Why couldnt he get a job as assistant Coordinator at Kentucky Kentucky mind you or Oregon State,Nebraska or even K-State?

Note a Orange Bowl winning football coach.Lane Kiffin who is the Alabama Offensive coordinator sucked and did not have success as Mangino did but got a job right away as many head coaches do?Why didnt Mangino? Why didnt he make a big splash at Iowa State when he got hired there?

Question is why is he still unemployed?

6 months, 2 weeks ago

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Doug Roberts

I don't care why he hasn't had success elsewhere. He had success HERE.

6 months, 2 weeks ago

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Doug Wallace

He had some good moments here no doubt! But it was not all good times 4 of his 8 seasons were not it took him 3 years to get a .500 record or better.Did you forget that?It took him 3 years to to get to .500.So give Beaty at leat that and he didnt have t he mess Beaty had inherited..

Did you forget that the team was 5-7 in his last year and had behavior problems with fights on the campus and his lack of control of the team.I think that success would have been gone even if he stayed and things did not go sour with all the things that happened off the field and with him.Even if things were rosy, he would have been fired somewhere down the road soon.

Yeah it does matter about Mangino after he left not just because of his lack of success but the fact no one would hire him in the first place.To have a coach with the credentials he had not to be hired by any major program even a assistant sends red flags to me or anyone with football sense I logically ask why do you interview him and pass on him even as a consultant or coordinator or some small job.Something is not right. .

I will appreciate the fact that we won the Orange bowl in his time here. But face it he has some personal issues I mean issues with other coaches and head coaches.There are times coaches butt heads with each other but when it comes to Mangino he just cannot work with other coaches and or players.

6 months, 2 weeks ago

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Bob Bailey

It used to be Bowen. Now it is Beatty AND B0wen!

Beaty is a mess as an OC. Bowen has always been a mess as DC. But the worst offender is Zenger. He doesn't know when he sees good coaching. Start at the top and re build or re-arrange the coaching staff!

6 months, 2 weeks ago

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Doug Roberts

Also, I think the team spends too much time deciding which pretty uniform combination they're going to wear to the dance on Saturday. Pick a GD uniform and stick with it. There's no FedEx Fashion Bowl.

Does this uniform make me look fat? How about this one? Or this one? What about this one? Ughhh.

6 months, 2 weeks ago

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Kevin Fest

I was going to type a long rant but you covered it pretty well Brad way to go. Smh. Looks like Beaty is just as bad as he is Likens was last year. Too bad he can't demote himself. My god after all that rah-rah offseason we are going to do this we are going to do that they look just as inept as last year. No excuse OC coaching was just deplorable.

6 months, 2 weeks ago

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Randy Bombardier

Whoa, folks. Does anyone remember Mangino s first few years. This loss took me back to the loss to another Ohio team, Toledo. Then, I think we beat them the second year. At any rate, yes the game should have exploited the very weakness the coach identified publicly, yet maybe he was trying to exploit weaknesses that he did NOT talk about publicly. Stop this crap right now about running off coaches and our AD. It doesn't get better with revolving doors. This ship will get righted. There were a ton of execution issues that fall on the players, not the coaches.

6 months, 2 weeks ago

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Doug Roberts

Magino wasn't perfect, but he got KU in a bowl game his second year.

6 months, 2 weeks ago

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Jack Hoff

In a mediocre Big 12 division. Apples to oranges.

6 months, 2 weeks ago

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Doug Wallace

If Mangino was so awesome why the hell has he not had the same success elsewhere?Why couldnt he get a job as assistant at Kentucky?Why didnt he make a big splash at Iowa State?

6 months, 2 weeks ago

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Jack Hoff

I am literally stunned at the garbage being spewed. Now I understand KU played poorly and they should certainly be held accountable for that. But Jesus Christ how can you give up on a coach who was handed the worst team in the country by a mile in the second game of the season? KU scored 55 points last week and relative to the time they had the ball and all the errors 21 points is progress. Clemson had 6 points at half to Troy. TCU had an awful first half, etc. having a crappy half doesn't mean fire the whole coaching staff. Y'all are the same morons who wanna fire bill self after a loss though so why am I so surprised. I forgot that winning competitive NCAA games were easy and KUSports commentators know more about winning than he coaches and players. Have a good day.

6 months, 2 weeks ago

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Brad Sherp

Beaty as HC I don't have an issue with. Beaty as OC and QB coach is my problem.

6 months, 2 weeks ago

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Kevin Fest

Wow if 21 points is progress l can't wait for the rest of the season.

6 months, 2 weeks ago

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Doug Fogleman

No more screen plays. Please throw the ball more than two yards down field.

6 months, 2 weeks ago

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Max Ledom

Christ almighty, you fans complaining and yelling to fire Beaty will be the same ones screaming and yelling at the bar when we win big games down the road with Beaty, while you tell your friends how you "always believed in him". Some of the most uneducated football fans in the world in this comment section, starting with Suzi. Lord, when will we ban this guy?

Mangino may have done well his second year, but he didn't have to take on a team after Gill and Weis tanked a program.

How can you rebuild with you morons calling for a firing every 2 years? Unreal. Wake up! It's going to take time.

6 months, 2 weeks ago

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Doug Wallace

Exactly!

6 months, 2 weeks ago

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Charlie Gaughn

How is it that Zenger escapes criticism in all of this. Take a look at what we have left from the Weis debacle. Does anyone really think you can rebuild an entire staff and team in 14 games? This is truly going to be a 5 year plus process and calling for the HC's head after this short of time just isn't going to get us anywhere.

Let's hold Zenger accountable for not only hiring Weis, but standing by and watching the total destruction of the program. Not to mention while we were paying his salary, $12.5 M to Weis, and who knows how much to his assistants.

All of us would like to see wins but at this point we need to see improvement:

1. There's way too much trash talking. I believe we were penalized twice yesterday for that.
2. Fundamental tackling is still a problem.
3. Almost every aspect of special teams.

Finally, let's establish an identity. The white helmets look silly. The Jayhawk is way too large for today's helmets. The KU on the other side looks much better. If we want a Jayhawk on one side go back and look at some helmets from the Sayer's days. I think dressing differently for every game sends the same chaotic message to our players that the coaching merry-go-round has for the past 6 years.

6 months, 2 weeks ago

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Armen Kurdian

Beatty said he'd simplify the playbook, maybe he did that a little too much. He's trying to find a balance, he'll probably see that he should have been more aggressive in the first half. But then individual mistakes are still a problem. That's going to need some discipline to solve...muffs, fumbles, big mental mistakes, you run the stairs.

Didn't get to watch or listen. Not ready to write them off yet, though. The one comment I do agree on...pick a uniform and stick w/it.

6 months, 2 weeks ago

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Kevin Fest

Well at least the players got a shiny new locker room to relax in after each loss.

6 months, 2 weeks ago

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Jay Scott

What has to be encouraging to current players and potential recruits is that if the intelligence of some of the participants here is any indicator a degree from Kansas is attainable with minimal mental acuity.

6 months, 2 weeks ago

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Doug Cramer

For the first time, I'm disappointed in Beaty.

He's starting the wrong quarterback, and why in the world would he not take advantage of Ohio's secondary.

Clint Bowens defense played as usual with low performance.

6 months, 2 weeks ago

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Olympia Wilson

Reading these articles last week, I don't think people realized how bad Rhode Island was. We are all so desperate for a win we got blinded by the light. I don't think last years team would of lost to RI. but I also don't think they would have beaten them 55-6. Lets be honest, coaching really let us down this game, but I was COMPLETELY disappointed by the lack of discipline shown by the team, the celebrations, taunting, etc. while always still being behind by double digits.

6 months, 2 weeks ago

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Bryan Schmiedeler

Way too much negativity here. Yes the first half made me cringe. The fact that we fought back in the second gave me hope.

One of the first things I judge a coach on is if his team quits on him. I saw in that in Weiss, Gill, Allen, and even going as far back as Bob Valesente. That to me is one of the indicators if you are absolutely on the wrong track. A team *not* quitting is a necessary condition, but not sufficient. It is my minimum.

Beaty passes this test.

Another first thing I look to see is improvement and learning, by both the team *and* the coach, and especially at fundamentals. There are lots of basic things in football that you need to get right: the kicking game, clock management, open field tackling, minimizing stupid penalties, making adjustments. To make an academic comparison, these are skills you need to learn in high school (writing, reading, arithmetic) to be successful in college. You can't do calculus if you can't add and multiply. You can't go to Bowl games if you can't tackle or handle punts.

Here I am more concerned, and agree with some other posters. Why keep running plays when they are ineffective? Throw the ball down the damn field. Why did we have some real breakdowns on special teams? Dropping *two* punts.

More than wins or losses, more than anything else, I think this season should be judged on whether or not the coaching staff and the team improves in these areas.
If I were the coach (well first of all we would be in far, far more trouble if that were the case), I would have the return guys field about 4 million kickoffs/punts this week. I would do whatever it takes to eliminate those just stupid penalties like too many men on the field, delay of game, etc. If you cannot get 11 men on the field and snap the ball in time consistently, how do you expect to win games?

I know it is controversial to talk about Mangino on these boards, but I really liked how he identified those breakdowns and took ownership of them. He said something like "those are correctable errors. We will correct them." That was refreshing. And by and large we did. Would like to see Beaty do the same.

6 months, 2 weeks ago

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Chris DeWeese

I try to remember that this is only Beaty's second year as an FBS head coach. Plus, he's trying to be the OC. That's still a lot to take on and be successful at the same time. This is going to be a project that will take a long time to perfect. I had originally thought it would take 8-10 years to get the program respectable again. After RI, I was thinking more like 3-5, but now my original thought might be more on target than I realized. Like most of the posters here, I too am getting very impatient. However, we still have a lot of freshman and sophomores making significant contributions right now. We are still very young and inexperienced compared to most programs out there (e.g. Ohio). I do believe the talent gap is slowly getting smaller, but it's going to take a really long time to get consistently competitive players on the field. I think that's just the nature of FBS football in KS (just ask Bill Snyder).

6 months, 2 weeks ago

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Brad Sherp

Beaty made the choice to make himself OC. There is no one to blame but Beaty for that.

6 months, 2 weeks ago

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Olympia Wilson

Everybody says were young, but a lot of Jrs and Srs on that starting defense roster.

6 months, 2 weeks ago

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Aaron Paisley

The DLine is 3 sophomores and a 1st year junior with almost no depth behind them.

6 months, 2 weeks ago

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Kyle Sybesma

I'm still all in on Beaty. I was hoping for more vs Ohio and didn't see it but we have to remember what we looked like when he took over. Weiss drove this program off a cliff. Recruiting is much improved and it's coming from Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and even Louisiana. This is the foundation of successful football for KU. He needs at least four years just to get a foundation set. The culture is changing and he'll get plenty of time because Zenger knows his job is tied to the success of Beaty. AD's don't hang around for 4 coaching tenures.

6 months, 2 weeks ago

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Steve Macy

One week all is great, the next all is doom and gloom. Some folks are injurying their knees with their knee jerk reactions.
There will be days like this.

6 months, 2 weeks ago

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Aaron Paisley

Ohio is a good team and Kansas is a bad team. Ohio knows how to bounce back from a bad week while KU is still learning how to build off positives and bounce back from adversity. It's not a 1 or 2 year process.

6 months, 2 weeks ago

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Michael Lorraine

What happened to the call for patience?

6 months, 2 weeks ago

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