Tom Keegan: KU football lets season opener slip away

Kansas safeties Bryce Torneden (1) and Mike Lee (11) tackle Nicholls State running back Dontrell Taylor (1) during the first half on Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018 at Memorial Stadium.

It happens all the time in sports. It starts to occur to the underdog from the smaller conference that it’s about to score a significant victory. The moment becomes too big. The jitters set in. The underdog makes one too many mistakes and the bigger school escapes with a victory.

That seemed to be what was happening to Nicholls State, the 17th-ranked school in the FCS. The Colonels botched a snap, a play that gave Kansas two points. One of Nicholls’ better players, Damion Jeanpiere, fumbled a punt that led to another seven points.

Nine points gift-wrapped from Nicholls to Kansas and it still wasn’t enough for fourth-year Jayhawks coach David Beaty to win for the fourth time.

After a Saturday night game at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium that so loudly drove home the point that this is a football program stuck on a hamster wheel, forever promising progress, yet never showing it, Beaty repeatedly mentioned afterward that the “sun will come up tomorrow.”

This was not the time for sunny talk. Nor was it time to praise the opponent because the next 11 games are against FBS schools that have a limit of 85 scholarships, as opposed to 63.

Nicholls had just defeated Kansas 26-23 in overtime, meaning Beaty has won 50 percent of his games vs. FCS competition and 3 percent (1-32) of them vs. FBS foes.

Those sort of results don’t allow a football coach to keep his job, but with 11 games remaining on the 2018 schedule, what’s an athletic director to do? Stay away from reading social media? Hire Les Miles now instead of waiting to choose a coach in the offseason?

Twitter, where emotions rage, blew up with #FireBeaty sentiments even before KU fell behind, 17-10. Diehard Kansas football fans who showed up because they love their school and want to believe the worm will turn filled the air with boos on at least five occasions. Even they have had it and their patience with the program has been extraordinary.

Alex Fontana, the new KU center, a graduate transfer, had the shanks snapping the ball and was booed after his third crooked groundball during his marathon of a night.

He showed up for the postgame interview session — not all athletes in his position would have — and booed himself louder than any crowd ever could.

“Everything was self-inflicted on our part, especially I had three bad snaps, that’s minus 25, 20 yards, and that’s unacceptable,” Fontana said. “That just in and of itself makes me feel responsible for this loss. I’ve never felt so bad before. I’ve never felt so responsible for a loss before and if there are any fingers that need to be pointed, they can be pointed right at me. I feel like everything that happened to make us lose, I was responsible for it.”

He meant what he said and he did have an unusually poor game, but wasn’t correct in saying he was solely responsible.

KU looked disconnected for so much of the night in so many ways.

A KU defensive player could be heard passionately airing his frustration over how slowly the plays were being sent in.

Quarterback Peyton Bender received little help from blockers, had trouble spotting blitzes, and was sacked six times. Repeat: six times.

Beaty’s indecisiveness resurfaced: Go for it. No, wait, timeout. Punt. Burn another timeout later to ice kicker Lorran Fonseca, who ended up making the 43-yard field goal that tied the score, 20-20, which was where it stood when the game went into overtime.

Nicholls, warts and all Saturday night, continued its remarkable turnaround from the 18-game losing streak that fourth-year coach Tim Rebowe inherited. The streak grew to 23 games after Rebowe started 0-5. The Colonels are 17-13 since then.

In contrast, Beaty’s Jayhawks are stuck on the hamster wheel, 3-34 since he inherited a program that had gone 3-9 the year before he took the job.

Comments

dumpster. fire. wheres bryson for some 'positive outlook'?! jfc. 🤦‍♂️

2 weeks, 6 days ago

Report

Owens Smithson

BryBryStrick
Junior

"The only people who truly think we have a shot at losing against Nicholls St are the radicals and the idiots who don't want to believe anything positive. We SHOULD win by 40. I'd say we will probably only win by 20-30. We are SIGNIFICANTLY better than them, just based on the previous few years, theres a good chance our product on the field isn't near its potential.

I have a buddy on USD's team who beat them in the playoffs, he talks shlt on KU's football team all the time and simply said he thinks if everything fell USD's way, they would lose by 20 to KU. First game of the year isn't going to fall anyone's way but ours.

Hawks by 30. Book it.

13 May 14, 2018"

2 weeks, 6 days ago

Report

Bill Kackley

Good, honest reporting of the situation Tom and I have not been a fan of your negativism. But here you just reported the facts as they were.

2 weeks, 6 days ago

Report

Armen Kurdian

At least Fontana had the courage to call himself out. Based on Beatty's comment about the sun, that alone warrants his firing. Too bad his contract probably doesn't have a gross incompetence clause to avoid having to buy out yet a third failure of a coach.

I am disgusted. I have been one of the truest blue fans of a bad team, tuning in hope against hope. Enough. This organization is a festering pile of horse manure. I am sick and tired of this. You guys got a FIFTY MILLION DOLLAR donation from Booth and this is how you show your gratitude? This kind of player performance who do have real talent can only be caused by an utter lack of leadership from the guys wearing polos. Calling for this for the first time, KUAD:

FIRE DAVID BEATY NOW! THE FANS HAVE HAD ENOUGH.

2 weeks, 6 days ago

Report

Dane Pratt

I share your sentiment but given where the program is right now, my only concern is the players who have given their blood, sweat and tears and deserve better. Fans have sacrificed nothing except for their emotional investment, Firing Beaty now would satisfy the fans but I'm not convinced it gives the players the best chance of winning. I think Beaty needs to be given the rest of the non conference schedule before he is shown the door. Then perhaps a change of leadership might be what the players need.

2 weeks, 6 days ago

Report

Timothy Grillot

Do you really think Les Miles wouldn't even think about coming here? I kind of doubt it.

2 weeks, 6 days ago

Report

David Kemp

Give him the farm and bring him in today!

2 weeks, 6 days ago

Report

Blake Brown

I like the analogy of the Hamster Wheel. Speaking of Wheels, the coaches and players would do better going to The Wheel before game time.

2 weeks, 6 days ago

Report

Andy Tweedy

I like the new pants; otherwise, it was just another train wreck!

2 weeks, 6 days ago

Report

Jeff Coffman

$125000 it costs us for every game Beaty coaches, plus incentives, but let's be honest...he hasn't earned one yet, what makes us think he will ever earn one.

2 weeks, 6 days ago

Report

Robert Brock

The concessions need to sell beer. STRONG beer.

2 weeks, 6 days ago

Report

Al Martin

Screw that. Whiskey, neat.

2 weeks, 6 days ago

Report

Barry Weiss

Come on Bryson, come out of hiding and take your medicine like a man.

2 weeks, 6 days ago

Report

Randy Bombardier

Al, my vote for comment of the week.

2 weeks, 6 days ago

Report

Brian Skelly

I love folks who think coaching does not matter. Are you kidding me? There are HS coaches that could do a better job. It's hard to envision what it takes to get fired at KU.

2 weeks, 6 days ago

Report

Randy Bombardier

I will keep watching the news waiting, hoping for the inevitable. It will be hard to wait for the administration to do its due diligence. I don't expect a quick resolution. I think the past AD was too quick. I still think Turner Gill would have won many more games by now. As much as it pains me it may be in our best interest to let the year play out.

2 weeks, 6 days ago

Report

David Atchley

The criteria and understanding by the Administration and the circus-like assembly of selection committee, will have to change before Jayhawk fan needs to worry about Les Miles or any other relevant Head Coach. The program has historical fumbles in selection, whether its hiring Lew Perkins from a irrelevant football program like UConn, or some AD from an obscure small-time program at Illinois State. The examples are equally embarrassing on the coaching level, leading to the current Head Coach who previous to Kansas has ZERO Head Coaching experience. His only claim-to fame was two-fold: he was the Recruiting Coordinator at Texas A&M when Johnny Manziel was in his glory. This requires zero skill to attract kids who wanted to be a part of the SEC and the buzz surrounding Johnny Football. The other stellar hiring quality that Beatty possessed is he had previously coached at Kansas.. Are you effing kidding me? What pretzel logic has to exist to justify that? Beatty is dead-man walking and new A.D. needs to make the change now. Kansas lost their only hope yesterday of winning a game all season.

2 weeks, 6 days ago

Report

David Kemp

It wasn’t just about winning the game but how we lost. Just like last year after going to the semo game I could tell a good team would have beaten them 100-0 but we just kind of won. Really hoped we would look like a confident fb team this year but it isn’t going to happen and another week of practice won’t turn on the light bulb.

2 weeks, 6 days ago

Report

Chris Condren

The game was just another KUAD insult to the few remaining fans. And it appears that Beaty willl continue in his role as a historically incompetent head coach of the team for at least another game when KU goes on the road to extend its NCAA record road losing streak. Fans can expect this team to set many new records for football futility this season and every bit of this humiliation is due to the incompetence of the KUAD.

2 weeks, 5 days ago

Report

Jeff Coffman

2-2 against DII

0-6 against non conference D I

1-26 against conference foes

Evaluation complete.

2 weeks, 5 days ago

Report

Mallory Briggans

Again ………….26 DAYS UNTIL LATE NIGHT ….26 DAYS !

2 weeks, 5 days ago

Report

Tony Bandle

Mallory, I think that, ironically, our prestigious basketball program is part of the problem. There is no sense of urgency to fix football because "we always have got KU Basketball". Well, the inevitable creation of the super conferences based on football will be upon us and KU, despite our bball program, will be left out in the cold.

The time to act is now because I think a change in leadership is EXACTLY what the players need to know that KU is committed to winning, not just killing time till late night!!!

2 weeks, 5 days ago

Report

Craig Carson

@Tony..I actually have thought this for a long time..KU never seems to full commit to FB..its like they try to take the cheap route and hope it works out..I watched the Royals do this for decades..plagued by cheap ownership that didnt want to spend money and always depending on signing these over the hill past their prime players..then trying to sell the fans on hype....look at what happened to Kentucky FB..they invested in a new stadium and made FB a priority..it has paid off..even look at Boise State...they lost the coach that built them and here they are ..still competitive... KU BBall doesnt need to suffer in order for FB to improve..Beatty might be a good recruiter (though we havent seen that) but he isnt a good HC..least not at KU...Mangino proved you CAN win at KU....they need to get a hot shot coach at a D2 school and give them a shot....the next coach at KU needs to have previous experience at WINNING...

2 weeks, 5 days ago

Report

Mallory Briggans

True Tony we have begun to change leadership but they also need to recognize that 3-34 is not acceptable at any level . In no way do I want this team to fail but basketball eases the pain of bad football ….. Its all about coaching..... 3-34 Hire a coach..... a real coach and maybe the attitudes will change .

2 weeks, 5 days ago

Report

Brad Watson

Get Gene Chizik on the phone!

2 weeks, 5 days ago

Report

Brad Watson

I hear all of you in here mention coaches....Gene has won a National Championship...all of your suggestions haven't won anything....get Gene on the phone please.....he wants to coach again...he is available...hello?

2 weeks, 5 days ago

Report

Brad Watson

the games are UNWATCHABLE!!!!!!!!!

2 weeks, 5 days ago

Report

Joe Ross

Ask yourself this question:

Which is worse? The perception of Kansas football, or the actual state of it?

Whatever the answer is, it's very close to the other one.

Think about that for a few moments.

2 weeks, 5 days ago

Report

Joe Ross

Not even 24 hours ago I was of a mind where I thought Beaty would be fired at the end of the season. Then I got online today and saw the tidal wave of emotion from disgruntled Kansas fans and now I think, apart from anything having to do with good or bad sense, the disposition of the fans may make it necessary to have a change of regimes much sooner than that. You have to remember: BOOSTERS are among those fans!

Suppose you're the athletic director and you're going to be asking boosters for money soon. You can't come with your hand out in the midst of a travesty currently going on on the field, without showing a future to better days. You also can't make a pitch if you allowed an entire season to play out repeating the same kind of bad history that's been going on the last 9 years. You will have put mud on your own name. The only way to do it is to hire an effective coach mid-season, proving that you got the coach we need and justifying your own hire as AD...BEFORE you campaign for dollars. Otherwise, they won't come.

Remember: the weight of proving that we're worthy of being a Power 5 school rests on visible metrics that we are improving. A new stadium AND an effective coach are among those metrics. Long may have to do it NOW. Beaty's final days and hours in office may indeed already be here.

Also consider this. Suppose the unthinkable: Les Miles is interested in coming to Kansas. You still have time to get recruits for 2019. If you wait, even a big name like his might make you miss out while recruits find other homes elsewhere. But they know the name Les Miles, and if you bag him early enough, new recruits may be able to see a vision of change at Kansas and be willing to play here. Especially with a new stadium going in.

I think we fire Beaty mid-season. I know it creates some difficulty, and doesn't present the best situation. But it might have to be done.

I can almost guarantee you two things if Long is worth his salt:

1. He has a list of names for replacements.
2. He has contacted one or two of them already, and probably did so even before the Nicholls State game, to gauge interest..."just in case".

Beaty's seat is a bonfire right now. If we lose to Central Michigan again, my vote is to fire him on the spot in a press conference on Sunday morning.

2 weeks, 5 days ago

Report

Al Martin

For all the reasons you just listed, he should be gone *before* the CMU game. Some interim coach can mind the store for as long as necessary, but the boosters need to know right now that change is happening.

2 weeks, 5 days ago

Report

Brad Watson

I want to wake up on a Saturday morning with something to look forward to.....there is no reason why a competitive team can't be fielded here....AD Long will get it done!

2 weeks, 5 days ago

Report

Jack Brooks

I’m so disgruntled with the Beaty/Bowen tandem that I’d like them to be given the USC/Lane Kiffen treatment and pulled off the bus at the airport, fired, and left to find their own way home.

2 weeks, 5 days ago

Report