Tom Keegan: OC Doug Meacham wise to tap brakes on KU offense

Kansas offensive coordinator Doug Meacham points during a drill in the team's second practice of fall camp on Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2017.

Coaching is all about assessing the personnel you have and figuring out how to bring out the best in it. It’s not about trying to make the athletes fit the preferred style of the coach.

Credit first-year Kansas offensive coordinator Doug Meacham for quickly recognizing his old way of doing business doesn’t quite fit the talent he inherited at Kansas, so he’s changing the way things were done at Oklahoma State, Houston and TCU to fit the team he now coaches.

In short, Meacham is tapping the brakes on an offense that couldn’t handle flooring it very well.

“I don’t know if we’re a great tempo team,” Meacham said. “I don’t know.”

Which means he knows and he’s doing something about it.

“Some of the stuff that’s been fairly effective in my career has not been as (effective at Kansas)," Meacham said. "I think it might just be the youth part of it.”

Youth and the depth of talent.

So stick with it and hope the players adapt?

“I don’t think so,” Meacham said. “I don’t think so. I think I’d rather them see a little bit, rather than us trying to fool them with speed. Our normal tempo is not super slow. It’s OK. Probably a little bit more that, I think.”

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As he talked, hurry-up-and-flop plays popped into my head and then he said it himself.

“We burned some plays on super-fast plays and just haven’t hit any of them,” he said. “Everywhere I’ve ever been, those plays are pretty good, but our job is to figure out what we can and can’t do as we go. Right now, I don’t feel like we’re great at that.”

This isn’t the first time a coach in charge of KU's offense has been willing to say what he thought would work isn’t cutting it. The switch is just more subtle this time and quicker in coming.

In the middle of his second season at KU, Charlie Weis, never quite the know-it-all some perceived him to be, basically acknowledged that the college game had passed him by, the spread offense was the way to go and he wasn’t equipped to teach it.

After David Beaty’s first season as head coach, he took over play-calling from Rob Likens and demoted the offensive coordinator to walk-around guy until he recruited Meacham from TCU.

Given the talent, tugging on the tempo reins a touch might amount to rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, but it's worth a try.

Even if it can’t help a ton, it certainly can’t hurt. At the very least, trimming a few hurry-up-and-flop downs per game will make the offense more efficient. It also might give the defense more rest.

Comments

Ralph Gage

Maybe a really good coach would've recognized this BEFORE his team got embarrassed.

1 month, 1 week ago

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Danny Delgadillo

So glad to see this. This was my number one issue with the performances of the last 2 weeks although it showed more last week. However, I hope they don't just go to a total slow offense though. I think there are times they are going to need to be able to move in and out of a hurry up offense.

1 month, 1 week ago

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John Gorski

Does this mean Beaty didn't know what he was doing by trying to go up tempo? Does this mean we haven't done a good job recruiting players to fit Beaty's "Air Raid" offense? Does this mean we are going to keep the one thing that is consistent at Kansas and that's change? The only thing Kansas Football related that I'm interested in seeing is the renovations. And to bring back my interest in KU football for future seasons the stadium renderings are gonna need a huge wow factor for me.

1 month, 1 week ago

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Gerry Butler

Air Raid offense? - -do we have that? - -62 passing attempts and barely hitting over 50% of those attempts? and zero TD passes - - 4 int's two games into the season and should be more like 6-7 int's this is an Air Raid offense? - more like here let me throw this up and let's have a free for all. You have to have a QB that can run the so called Air Raid offense. - Bender -- - - -is NOT THAT QB. - what he is, - -is a Interception looking for a place to happen. A QB with feet cemented in concrete. We as fans do the same thing every year we listen to what Coach says about oh how this kid can play - -what do you expect him to say - Oh dam were in trouble, we ain't going to be worth a crap this year? - - -We don't have the receivers for the Air Raid offense - at least they haven't showed. - -In reality I guess we have ONE receiver that is Air Raid capable evidentally, he goes out and there go any kind of Air Raid attack I guess, others sure the hell aren't showing up. - You mean to tell me that there is the Big of Difference between Sims and the rest of our receivers that none other can step up and continue to be a threat when he is out? - -As far as the renovations -- umm I would imagine that KU going to find it kind of ruff going looking for donations from the Alum - -boosters for financing reno if they can't see some kind of improvement on the field, you want me to pour money into this? - First show me SOMETHING, let me see some evidence something show me some product me worth investing my money into. I was as big a fan as anyone else, but time to step up enough is enough. No more excuses like well this happen, that happened we hear this every dam year. We lose to a team that is predicted to finish what 5th in a advanced high school league? Not even really that competitive of a game and yet you want money for renovations? - this is not pretty - - it's UGLY. Time for some Coaches to step up and take some responsibility - Clint - - - umm ya - -the entire Defensive staff -The O-Line Coaches I could go on and on but why?

1 month, 1 week ago

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Robert Brock

The Jayhawks need to junk the "Air Raid." They don't have the players to run it. They never will.

1 month, 1 week ago

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Greg Ledom

Damned if you do, damned if you don't coach. Keep sawing wood. Your in year three and still ~10 scholarships down based on what you were given. Bring these guys around and show some improvement and we'll be fine. Rock Chalk!!

1 month, 1 week ago

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Michael Maris

Remember folks, Weis tried to run a Pro-style offense. And, there was a lot of whining about that style then (as well).

So, what is going to make everyone take a breath and let the coaches coach, and you all support a tenure (instead of trying to run every new coach out of town 2 years in). Coach Saban, Harbaugh, Urban Meyer, and other's are pretty secure in their current positions.

If K-State fan base had this same attitude back in 1989, Coach Snyder would not have become the legend that he has with their alumni and fanbase.

I know for a fact, the majority of "The Ohio State" Alumni and Fanbase can't stand Coach Urban Meyer's off-field demeanor. But, they're paying him to win Games, Playoff and or Bowl Games. And as we all know, winning cures all.

Yeah, Kansas has had such a discipline coach or 2 (Coach Mason and Mangino). And, they evidently pissed in the wrong boots at some point and time. And, out the doors they were shown.

Coach Mason always desired the OSU job. But, his dream job never materialized. Kansas Athletics has always had their football program as 2nd fiddle program. So, if that mentality still exist with the powers that be. Then, we're all just pissing in the wind. And, Kansas Football Fanbase might as well just continue to look forward to Midnight Madness Evening. Hopefully, this IS NOT the case in Kansas Athletics Dept. But, I sure have my doubts at times.

1 month, 1 week ago

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Lucas Town

If its true, that the KU football program is a 2nd fiddle program in the eyes of the athletic department as you stated, this is a MAJOR problem. The success of the basketball team is well documented. The idea that this way of thinking is creeping into the minds of some fans is terrible. I have heard other people say to me, "KU only cares about basketball". I say that's not true, to all of the fans this is not true.

Could it be true to the all knowing athletic department? If the football team is ever going to turn itself around I fear that the change must come from the very top. Otherwise every word that comes from the athletic department may just be lip service. You raise a very intriguing point in your last paragraph.

1 month, 1 week ago

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Stephen Johnson

Until Meacham wakes up and realizes he's starting the wrong QB, the results are going to be the same, whether taps the brakes or hits the throttle.

1 month, 1 week ago

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Dillon Davis

WE WANT CARTER. Tom where are they hiding him?

1 month, 1 week ago

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John Fitzgerald

They believe he's injured but Beaty won't disclose it.

1 month, 1 week ago

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Dillon Davis

That is ridiculous. Why would they hide it at this point?

1 month, 1 week ago

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Mike Bennett

Just a reminder people, the offense went for nearly 500 yards and 27 points. It wasn't the offense that lost the last game. It was the defense and Bowen.

1 month, 1 week ago

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John Brazelton

I never seen so many Chicken Little's after one loss. If you are at the bottom of the heap, winning isn't a straight line up. It zigs and zags.. The offense made a game of it, but the whole defense had a bad game. We were four games left in the season last year before we started to play competitive football. It's take time and patience. Apparently, no one commenting on this article has either now days.

1 month, 1 week ago

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Chris DeWeese

You have to admit it's been more than just one loss. Everyone is tired of seeing the same thing year in and year out.

1 month, 1 week ago

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Brett McCabe

That's hilarious. Have you been watching the same games for the past two years? It's been 20+ losses. I don't think anyone is overreacting to number 20-something.

The big problem with your post, though, is that most improving programs don't zig and zag. In fact, it's usually a fairly straight line up. The angle of the line varies, but if you look at Mason, Mangino and Snyer - all three programs basically started trending upward in season two.

The apologists and the wait-and-see crowd must be seeing something that I don't. No doubt, this team will return 40 or so of 44 on the two-deep next year. But we were favored on Saturday, this is year 3, CMU is a below-average MAC team this year, and we got spanked.

1 month, 1 week ago

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Bob Bailey

Yes! DEFENSE wins games!

1 month, 1 week ago

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Edward Daub

If KU loses the TOP (time of possession) battle, KU fans present will chant "Hasan Defense Never Rests"! Rock Chalk. KU 41 OHIO 38?

1 month, 1 week ago

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Patrick Bryant

To win a game you must: score as many points as possible (offense) + you must hold your opponent to 1 point less than your score (defense) = total team effort. We scored 27 pts so we needed to hold CMU to 26. Who let down? 27 points appear to me to be enough to win a game. If we score less than 10 points then the question gets flipped.

1 month, 1 week ago

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Brett McCabe

Never been a fan of the Air Raid and, given all of the challenges we faced, it would have made a lot of sense to slow our games down, take advantage of the personnel we did have and, over time, transition into the type of team the coach wanted to create.

However, I don't care what offense we run as long as we run it wisely. A pro-style offense will work. Ask Alabama. An option offense will work. Ask Navy. A spread offense will work. Ask Clemson. An air-raid offense will work. Ask Washington State.

To the previous posters. Again. It's not the fans who have been impatient. It's the A.D. who has fired two coaches, hired two coaches with two opposing offensive philosophies, and a head coach who has shown lots of impatience when it comes to his own staff.

Give me a coach with a proven track record, and I'll give you your precious five years (though no one needs that much time to improve a program). Keep hiring coaches with absolutely zero pedigree, and yeah, you get a short leash from the fan base. Especially, when you can't seem to make up your own mind about what direction you want to go.

1 month, 1 week ago

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