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With words and wardrobe, Kansas football coach Lance Leipold continues to emphasize team above everything in wake of Jayhawks 3-0 start

Kansas football coach Lance Leipold meets with the media on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022, at Mrkonic Auditorium inside the Anderson Family Football Complex to preview KU's Week 4 showdown with unbeaten Duke.

It may be cliché, and it isn’t because he’s unimpressed by his team’s fast start, but Kansas football coach Lance Leipold made it clear Tuesday that the Jayhawks haven’t done anything yet.

“Yeah, it’s nice to be 3-0,” he said during his regular weekly press conference at Mrkonic Auditorium. “But it’s only as good as we’re going to do this week.”

Those words, while common throughout sports, rang out like they came from a man who has won a time or two in his life. Leipold, of course, has done plenty of that during stops at Division III Wisconsin-Whitewater, where he won six national championship, and Buffalo, where he went 24-10 and to three straight bowl games in his final three seasons.

While Leipold’s process at Kansas has closely resembled the work he did at those schools, Leipold said the emphasis inside the program at this point is simply on continuing to do the things that have produced good early results.

“We’re sitting in a spot that this program hasn’t seen in a long time,” he said. “But if we spend a lot of time worrying about that we’re never going to keep moving to our fullest potential. I’m very proud of these guys, I’m very proud of our staff, all those things, but I don’t walk up and down the hall and tell them how proud I am every minute.”

The reason for that is simple. Kansas has another game to play on Saturday. It will come against unbeaten Duke (3-0) and kick off at 11 a.m. on FS1.

Just because it’s one of the most highly anticipated KU football games in the last 13 years, and just because it promises to deliver an environment that has not been seen in Lawrence in more than a decade, does not mean that it’s any more important to Leipold and his staff, or the Kansas players, than the three games that came before it or the eight games that will follow it.

“You have to keep your expectations and your work ethic and your attention to detail the same,” Leipold said. “And we talked about that as a staff on Sunday. It’s nice to see that our early start’s being recognized, but shortly after that happens you have to just keep your head down and stay focused on what you’ve got to get done and get better at.”

There are plenty of areas for the Jayhawks to work on, but they’ve been better than expected in far more facets of the game.

Leipold credits that to the approach, communication and buy-in that have been executed at a high level for months, and so much of it was derived from the earliest conversations Leipold and his assistants had with the players on the roster. When the new coaches arrived in Lawrence in the spring of 2021, they asked the returning players what they needed and wanted to see, and Leipold and his staff have built a lot of their plan around addressing those needs.

“That has helped us,” Leipold said Tuesday.

Accountability, attention to detail and passion and enthusiasm were on the list. But so, too, was a consistent approach.

“A year ago, we talked about that as things started to change, they’re going to see that the approach and expectations are going to stay consistent,” Leipold said. “Our guys have handled it (well) and understood (that).”

They also have handled the extra attention that has been put on the program from all corners of the college football universe.

Pregame shows have talked about Kansas and Leipold, analysts have picked the Jayhawks to win in each of the past two weeks, and oddsmakers have even made the Jayhawks a 9-point favorite this week against Duke.

After a self-deprecating joke about what talking about him would do to ratings, Leipold said he was “proud” that the program was “getting recognition.”

But he also knows all too well that the attention can disappear as quickly as it arrived if the Jayhawks don’t continue to put in the work required to be worthy of that attention.

“I think we’re doing a good job,” he said of handling the increased attention. “It’s easy to be distracted, but I think once they’re in this building they’ve done a good job.”

One of the reasons behind that is the focus, from top to bottom, has remained on the team above everything else. Leipold even subtly emphasized that point on Tuesday with his wardrobe, wearing a black, longsleeve Adidas T-Shirt that featured the word “We” written above the word “Me.”

“That’s what’s important,” Leipold said. “It isn’t a player. It’s not Lance Leipold. It’s a program and a staff that’s worked extremely hard since we arrived. It’s a group of players that have bought in. For us to get our little time nationally is good. It’s good for our current players, it’s good for future players, it’s good for this university and our community. But we’re not DVRing it and running it back and forth, OK. It’s just like everything else, and hopefully we can continue to build excitement and consistent excitement.”

Comments

Dale Rogers

Maybe they are not "dvr'ing it" but in this household we have watched our recording of the game once already and will no doubt do so, again. More than once. Just like we have watched the Texas game a few times and I have watched the highlights of that game numerous times. Now, give me some more games I want to watch over and over.

1 week, 3 days ago

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Brad Watson

THE BEST COACH IN AMERICA...PERIOD!!!!!!!

1 week, 3 days ago

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Chris Bailey

He's very good, I just hope we can keep him at Kansas.

1 week, 3 days ago

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Doug Roberts

Dale, I'm right there with you. I've watched each of the first 3 games at least twice. Perhaps that will die down as wins become less rare.

1 week, 3 days ago

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Fred Lucky

Doug, just wondering - how do you replay the ESPN+ games. I can't figure out how to either record or replay from their website? IO hate ESPN+

1 week, 2 days ago

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Dirk Medema

Matt - At first I thought the players were going to be required to wear suit and ties to the game, but that’s a former staff. Glad to see Coach making the message visible though I’m sure he’s talking with the players, and commending the players when they execute we/me.

Dale and Doug - The reruns of old games is so much better than the barren wasteland of television shows (imo).

Brad - #COTY. I’ve been been ridiculed for saying it early in the season, but with vision past the end of the nose, it is much easier to see. I thought it was even visible before the season began though it did take a lot more effort to see. Glad we’re getting to see the results of all the effort from the coaches and staff down to the players and out onto the field.

Rock Chalk

1 week, 3 days ago

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Micky Baker

I think it's apparent. Leipold is using a lot of players and they are all executing. We don't know how far he is into the playbook, but the number of players with receptions, number of players with rushing yards, the more equal dispersion of tackles among the the top 3 or 4 tacklers on the team are indicators that Lance is using the strengths of every player on the roster including Locklin on the 60 yd TD reception. I'm thinking that he's setting up for some major curve balls to be thrown in games against the best teams left on the schedule.

The egg is only cracked open, but hasn't been emptied yet.

1 week, 3 days ago

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Rodney Crain

Another coach calls it rat poison.

Player of the week, who cares, getting votes in the rankings, so what. Band Wagon, only for fools. Sorry that might offend some on here, and a writer or two.

Head down - focus on who is next and be ready to play when the whistle blows.

I am with you coach, WE above Me!

A key injury at a critical position or two and we are not the team we are seeing.

1 week, 3 days ago

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Brett McCabe

So.....Koch and the Magats, with blessings from Magat Board of Regents, are on their way to destroy Emporia State. White Racist president, with an undergraduate degree, is decimating the English department as a sort of advanced-level book burning. If you care about KU, a FREE STATE University, then you must care about Emporia State. And if you don't, then you are bryce. And I hope to meet you one day face-to-face.

1 week, 3 days ago

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Jonathan Allison

cool

1 week, 2 days ago

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Ryan Mullen

Lance is gone. Enjoy this season fans cause we will have a new coach next year. Everything I'm hearing is Nebraska is going to press hard.

1 week, 3 days ago

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Brian Wilson

Maybe, IDK though. Besides paying off Scott Frost, it will cost Nebraska 14 million to buyout Leipold. That plus 4 years at 5 million is 40 million dollars...that's a bunch!!<br><br>
But, first, the salary: Leopold is making 16.5m in 6 years that's 2.75m which is only 2.25million less than what Nebraska's Scott Frost was being paid - 5m per year. If KU offers 5m to keep Leipold and KU sells 15000 more tickets per game, KU would generate 5 to 6 million more in revenue not including, concessions, KU apparel, etc., not to mention the big one - TV revenue....the tickets alone is more than twice enough to pay Leipold. In Nebraska's case....their stadium is already sold out and although they already have plenty of revenue it's not going to increase by hiring Leipold or increase attendance. <br><br>
Second: KU football history and coaching history is sparsely filled with legendary success. Lance Leipold has the opportunity to build a new stadium, program, and tradition that could be unmatched in the program's history. At Nebraska, in essence, he is following Tom Osborne. Since then all coaches have been fired. Some of them with winning records, and the longest lasting only 6 years. For the same amount of money why would you want to follow Osborne and probably coach for only 4 more years? You can be a winning coach but If your winning at least 9 games and in contention for a national championship every other year at Nebraska....you will be FIRED!!! At KU, Leipold has the opportunity to build his program out from under anyone's shadow and likely until he decides to retire.1 IMO, 10 years at $40 mil. is a lot better than 4 years at $20 mil. at Nebraska<br><br>
Three. Although Leipold has past history in LIncoln Nebraska and I am sure he loves the community, Where would you rather live Lawrence or Lincoln?<br><br>KU needs to be smart. Its the right time, and right coach to step to the plate and pay the money to keep it all together and have a winning program going into the future. The long term revenue and end result should be worth it.

6 days, 14 hours ago

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Ryan Mullen

Woah Brett that sounded like a threat toward Bryce. That should be an automatic ban.

1 week, 3 days ago

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Doug Roberts

Talking politics should be an automatic ban.

1 week, 3 days ago

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Ryan Mullen

I'm surprised the comment is still here

1 week, 3 days ago

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Edward Daub

When Lance Leipold talks, I listen!

Lance is saying that the coaches and players are totally focused on the Duke game.

And as Al McGuire used to say, "there is no "I" in Team"!

Rock Chalk!

1 week, 2 days ago

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Dirk Medema

Ryan, you have got to be the most doomsday person ever. I try hard not to remember, but your persistent pessimism is making the reality of some others seem like pure sunshine. The wonderful part though is just how consistently wrong you’ve been. Keep up the good work. It bodes well for us.

1 week, 2 days ago

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Dirk Medema

Rodney - Once again, great observations right up to the last sentence. Injuries are never good, but Mickey’s observation seems to show how the staff is even preparing for that inevitability. It seems like we’re at least 2 deep at virtually every position. All the cross training will help, but even more so is the offseason conditioning and decreased reps. Much has been made of the analytics on game day, but Coach has commented quite a few times on how much it’s a part of the ongoing conditioning program. Injuries aren’t good, but this staff seems to be preparing for them just as they have for the rat poison. The players get their postgame celebration time, but at least by the next day they are back to focus on that day’s improvement.

1 week, 2 days ago

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Ryan Mullen

Thanks Dirk! Ever since I was diagnosed with Autism I've tried to have a better outlook on life.

1 week, 2 days ago

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Doug Roberts

Fred, on ESPN+, if you go to college football and scroll all the way down there is a View on Demand section. The most recent KU game will be on there, but it's waaay down the list, LOL. I have Sling and that's how i watch the games again. I dont know if its the same for cable/satellite users.

The Houston game was on ESPN U which regular Sling doesnt have, but you can purchase a sports package that includes it for 11 freakin' dollars and I was able to record that game.

1 week, 2 days ago

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