Tom Keegan: KU's curious QB shuffle not the recipe for building swagger

Kansas quarterback Peyton Bender (7) runs for the gain in the first quarter on Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018 at Memorial Stadium.

Try to slide into Peyton Bender’s shoulder pads and wonder what the past couple of weeks must have done to his chances of developing the swagger any team’s starting quarterback needs.

Coach David Beaty announces you as starting quarterback and, a week later, says you have “done a terrific job of taking command.” Then, the very next day, the coach says that Miles Kendrick also will play in every game.

The season opener finally arrives and you come out dealing, making some people watching think, “No wonder Mike Leach wanted this guy.” You even run up the middle for gains of 14 and 15 yards.

A few plays into the second quarter, you throw a beauty to Steven Sims in the end zone. He drops it. You have to avoid the temptation of thinking, “When your best receiver can’t catch a pass, I guess I’ll never catch a break.”

If Sims catches that 37-yard strike, here are your passing numbers to that point in the game: 10 for 15, 108 yards, two touchdowns. But he didn’t catch it. He dropped it. That happens.

What doesn’t happen is that a quarterback with a hot hand does not get to take the field for the next series, giving way to Kendrick. He leads the team to one first down, then KU punts, and Kendrick doesn’t come back in the game until KU’s final offensive play from scrimmage of the overtime period.

After the 26-23 loss to Nicholls, Beaty is asked if inserting Kendrick into the game in the second quarter might have broken Bender’s rhythm.

“We didn't think so,” Beaty said. “I mean, we thought there were some things that he did pretty well. I don't think that that necessarily disrupted it. You know, I'll look at the tape and maybe see it a little bit different.”

Bender was sacked six times. Afterward, Beaty said he could have thrown it away instead of taking the sack on a couple of them. Three of the sacks came on safety blitzes.

“Nicholls did a good job of blitzing,” Bender said. “They blitzed a lot more than they showed on film. We need to prepare better for that.”

And adjust better during the game. Maybe bring in a blocking back to pick up the blitz? Insert a tight end into the game instead of a fourth receiver? Something.

Bender also was the victim of wayward snaps from center Alex Fontana.

“That wasn’t happening throughout all of camp,” Bender said. “Alex has been pretty consistent. I don’t know if it was just his hand was wet, or I don’t know what was going on, but it’s unacceptable. We have to fix that. I know Alex knows that. He was disappointed in himself.”

Bender was disappointed he didn’t get to play on KU’s final play from scrimmage of the overtime period.

On third and 6, Kendrick was dumped for a 3-yard loss on a designed run play. KU settled for Gabriel Rui’s 41-yard field goal.

“I want to be out there, but you know, it’s a coach’s decision,” Bender said. "It was a good play call and it was just they played harder than us and they blew it up.”

And with it, blew up KU’s season. Too early to say that? I suppose so, but it sure had a similar feel to other recent seasons that didn’t start or end impressively and were particularly unsightly in the middle.

Comments

Kevin Robert Fest

Maybe its not Beaty's fault if the O line is that bad. 6 sacks? That's just one game. Smh. Against an fcs team. Wait til we face the big boys. Hello 0-12. Could we best last year's loss margin of 22 points a game?

2 months, 2 weeks ago

Report

Jeff Coffman

The Kendrick experiment was horrid. I could see mixing him in here and there in the second quarter although wasn't ideal. In overtime on a 3rd and 6 where everyone new he would be doing a QB draw was just embarrassing. The juggling of QBs among other positions by Beaty over the years is an indication of his poor coaching.

And where is the article about Bowen not being able to scheme against a run first team.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

Report

Aaron Paisley

What are you talking about? Bowen can't scheme against style of offense.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

Report

Jeff Coffman

I take it you meant against any style. My comment is that Bowen is horrible. I actually have been frustrated with Bowen more than Beaty. I would have been supportive of Beaty's 4th year if we had removed Bowen. However, since he didn't, I knew Beaty would never be the needed coach for KU. I think Bowen is worse than Beaty.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

Report

Dyrk Dugan

‘Tis to laugh; the defense cost us this game? Hardly. 4 possessions where KU had the ball on at least their 45 1st and 10; and got ZERO points. Yes, Dineen’s face mask was huge; but it shouldn’t have come to that. Our “air raid” offense shakes up no one; we put little pressure on the defense, and can’t block any type of specialty rush; blitz, stunts, whatever. CMU is the season; the road losing streak; any pride left in this program? We’ll find out about 1800 hours this Saturday.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

Report

Jeff Coffman

Last time I checked they gave up 26 points to a DII school. The offense was bad, but the defense was just as bad. KU basically a three and out to start and the defense watched Nicholls march down and score a touchdown on the first drive. Yes, they had some stops, but they were pushed around all night.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

Report

Bryan Summers

Bad decision after bad decision. I’ve had enough. New coach!

2 months, 2 weeks ago

Report

Kevin Robert Fest

I would give anything to know what Long is thinking after watching that.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

Report

Jason Venable

Long is probably thinking he wishes the season was over so he can make "the call".

2 months, 2 weeks ago

Report

Eric Eakins

Even if we give Beaty a break and say inserting back up QB on most critical play of the game worked because the other team had to take a timeout completely caught off guard. Great, but why then leave him in and run the play the other team just spent a timeout making sure their 11 guys were coordinated on?
I also believe he is masking pride with optimism by the way he answers post game questions about his strategy. He has no intention to learn, adjust and change. He is not showing self reflection. Time to go unfortunately. Probably a year to late.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

Report

Len Shaffer

Probably???

2 months, 2 weeks ago

Report

Eric Eakins

I have no issue with you deleting that word out of my sentence. In reflecting on my thoughts and strategies I was wrong to bring in reasonable doubt and won't do it again. Coach Beaty, see how that works. Self reflection and decisive action.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

Report

Chris Condren

Beaty cannot make decisions period. He is slow to process . He is slow to decide. The team never can maintain momentum. There is no plan. We have a coach would has no clue at all on fulfilling the role of Head Coach. The season will be another historic disaster. All of this falls upon the KUAD. A bloated bureaucracy that for the last decade existed to pay high salaries to a chosen few. The fans have been abused for too long. Positive change must come or shut it down.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

Report

Robert Brock

Does KU have an Offensive Coordinator?

2 months, 2 weeks ago

Report

Ross Hartley

I'm sympathetic with O-line. Bender is just too slow getting the ball out of there.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

Report

John Fitzgerald

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

Len Shaffer

"We need to prepare better for that."

He didn't need to add "for that," considering that he hasn't prepared KU for any game in his 3-plus years ...

2 months, 2 weeks ago

Report

Commenting has been disabled for this item.