Matt Tait: Chip Lindsey departure doesn't have to spell doom and gloom for Kansas football

Newly-hired Kansas football coach Les Miles greets the Allen Fieldhouse crowd during halftime of the Jayhawks’ game against Stanford on Dec. 1, 2018.

There’s enough reason to believe that Chip Lindsey was not Kansas football coach Les Miles’ first choice as KU’s new offensive coordinator to make Lindsey’s departure a little easier to digest.

But that’s only if Miles’ Plan C or Plan D or Plan E or wherever we’re at on the list at this point can bring the same kind of buzz and clout to the long-suffering KU program.

More about that in a minute.

First, let’s address Lindsey, whose time at Kansas will forever go down as a little more than a month on the recruiting trail without a single play call, personnel decision or postgame interview.

Hey, at least he didn’t have time to screw anything up, right? That puts him ahead of at least a couple of guys who did the job before him.

By all accounts, Lindsey was excited about the chance to work with Miles in Lawrence and had big plans for the Kansas offense. From how to call it to how to recruit to it, the former Auburn offensive coordinator appeared to be one of Miles’ better hires.

Here’s the rub: That belief only grew this week when Lindsey, who had reportedly interviewed for the OC position at Tennessee before going to KU, on Thursday, officially accepted the position of head coach at Troy in his home state.

No matter how well you think Lindsey would have done as KU’s play caller, losing him is a blow to the Kansas football program. But how can you blame a man for accepting an offer to run his own program at a place so near and dear to his heart?

So chalk this one up to bad luck, bad timing or just good, old-fashioned Kansas football karma. One of these days, the breaks are going to start going the other way for this program.

And if Miles’ replacement for Lindsey is anywhere close to as good of a hire as Lindsey was in the first place, those days could be here sooner rather than later.

Not for nothing, but if Tennessee wanted Lindsey to run its offense in the SEC and a legit Division I program with good tradition and recent success came after him to fill its head coach opening, one can only believe that Lindsey is a pretty darn good coach.

Now all Miles has to do is hire another one like him. And Miles’ ability to land Lindsey in the first place is enough reason to believe he will.

It’s even possible that Miles and the Jayhawks could end up better off after all of this crazy coach shuffling. His first round of hires took longer than many expected to complete and there will be some sense of urgency this time around. But there really isn’t that much of a hurry. The rest of the staff is in place, Miles has his feet firmly on the ground and KU has not even announced the dates for spring football yet.

Yes, recruiting is a concern, but there are enough offensive coaches in place already — receivers coach Emmett Jones is one of them and Miles himself certainly doesn’t hurt — to believe than the program can survive another week or two of making sure Miles gets this one right.

You might have to squint and tilt your head to see it this way, but losing Lindsey in the fashion that the Jayhawks have could, in and of itself, represent the smallest bit of progress for this program.

In years past, most coaching moves have come as a result of firings or assistants seeing the writing on the wall and jumping off the sinking ship. This time around, the Jayhawks lost a coach because he was good. There’s no shame in that. And if things go well and Miles is successful in turning Kansas football around, it won’t be the last time we see it happen.

Might as well start getting used to the idea now. You know, just in case.

Comments

David Robinett

But interviewing for the OC job at Tennessee after he already was committed here is low integrity.

7 months, 1 week ago

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Dirk Medema

Completely reasonable that he would pursue the HC position at his alma mater and would essentially write it into his contract. Really pathetic that he would start shopping himself like he was on the corner.

The redeeming thing is that if he's interviewing at Knoxville as well as Troy, Les has got to be doing his own searching already.

7 months, 1 week ago

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Ray Winger

How would they like it IF: KU kept interviewing candidates for OC , after we had already signed him to a contract....to see if we could find someone better?

7 months, 1 week ago

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Benton Smith

The wording on that was off in the original post. To be clear, Lindsey had reportedly interviewed with Tennessee before coming to KU.

7 months, 1 week ago

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Matt Tait

Yeah. That's my bad for not making it more clear initially. Thanks, Benton. #thatswhyitshisbeat

7 months, 1 week ago

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Cora Smith

Concur. We are just a small stepping stone to just about every place else.

7 months, 1 week ago

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Dirk Medema

Sorry, but I'm not seeing this as being that different from past hirings and departures. In fact, it seems quite similar to others - except for the length of employment.

7 months, 1 week ago

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Matt Tait

You don't have to agree, but I can't recall any former KU football assistant coaches in the recent past leaving KU to take a Division I head coaching gig.

7 months, 1 week ago

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Dustin Peterson

Fedora Fedora Fedora

7 months, 1 week ago

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Dane Pratt

Brilliant. He was the OC at Okie State.

7 months, 1 week ago

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Dirk Medema

Fedora is intriguing, especially because of the OSU connection with Les, though you gotta wonder about the stability, or lack thereof, unless he is AHC/Coach in waiting.

7 months, 1 week ago

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Dane Pratt

Ed Warriner

7 months, 1 week ago

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Andy Godwin

Lindsey had no idea that the Troy head coaching job would become available after he agreed to sign with KU. Assistant coaches contract are usually structured to allow them to leave freely for a better position, I.e., head coach (no idea about the interview for another O.C. position which is lateral other than Tennessee football program is more prestigious than KU). Nevertheless, the coaching carousel will continue.

7 months, 1 week ago

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Dirk Medema

No idea that one of the top head coaching candidates would be taking a new job? No idea when you write an open escape clause into his contract?

Really?

Fortunately, I doubt that Les was in the dark, and fully expect that he has continued to recruit coaches as well as players. Especially coaches with escape clauses.

7 months, 1 week ago

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Matt Tait

I think Andy's point was that Lindsey probably wouldn't have left — or maybe even been offered — unless it was exactly Troy. Perfect storm that nobody could've seen coming for sure...

7 months, 1 week ago

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Jeff Coffman

When I have employees leave to better opportunities, I celebrate their success. This is a case where, 2 months ago, there was no expectation that Dana H from WVU would leave. When that domino fell, Troy's HC was syphoned off. As Troy tries to continue its resume, the school looked around, one of the key people that had coached at Troy, is from Alabama, and had a reasonable expectation to come was interviewed. Let's be honest, Lindsey was coming off a bad year at Auburn where he was terminated, he was looking to rebuild his career a little and Kansas was a perfect fit. That being said, when someone offers him a head coaching position, which has been his dream, why wouldn't you take it.

I don't think us painting Lindsey in a bad light here is correct. Two months ago there was no expectation that he would leave for a head coaching position. We benefited from his recruiting here quite significantly, and the future OC, I'm sure will come in and do the same.

7 months, 1 week ago

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Dirk Medema

Definitely agree with the benefitting and staying positive/celebrating success. Not so much with "no expectation".

7 months, 1 week ago

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Steve Corder

Spot-on, Matt!

7 months, 1 week ago

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Titus Canby

I like this line in the article.

"Hey, at least he didn’t have time to screw anything up, right? That puts him ahead of at least a couple of guys who did the job before him."

That sums up the last few years.

7 months, 1 week ago

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Cora Smith

Will Lindsey take other coaches from our staff and/or recruits he was recruiting for us?

7 months, 1 week ago

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