The Monday After: There are plenty of options but no easy answers for Kansas football
A look back at the week that was in college football -- with one game left Monday night
David Beaty is probably going to get fired.
It doesn't take a genius to figure that out. When you look at the situation the Kansas coach finds himself in, it seems like an outcome that will be nearly impossible to avoid. Kansas lost to FCS Nicholls State on Saturday in its season opener, dropping Beaty's record at Kansas to 3-34. Now in his fourth season with the Jayhawks, Beaty has lost more games to FCS opponents (two) than he's won against FBS opponents (one, Texas in 2016). He's gone 1-32 against FBS teams and is 1-26 against the Big 12.
He also finds himself with a new boss. Kansas hired Jeff Long to be its athletic director in July, replacing Sheahon Zenger. Long came to Kansas after serving as athletic director at Arkansas for 10 years and had been at Pittsburgh for five years prior. He also served as the first chairman of the College Football Playoff Selection Committee. Now, he's tasked with maintaining Kansas' basketball tradition and solving its football tradition. There generally aren't many athletic directors who inherit a football coach with Beaty's record at a school and decide, "I'm going to keep him around."
For better or worse, the fate of an athletic director is usually tied to that of their football coach. Even at basketball schools.
So, yeah, Beaty is probably going to get fired.
That doesn't mean he should be, however, and this is the dilemma currently facing Long. There is no easy answer to the question, "How do you fix Kansas football?"
While Beaty's record at Kansas is awful, and the Jayhawks have become a running joke nationally, the general public isn't aware of the situation Beaty inherited in Lawrence, Kansas. As The Athletic's Max Olson did a terrific job of cataloging over the summer, Beaty inherited a roster in worse shape than most teams deal with after suffering NCAA sanctions.
Remember when the NCAA hit USC with sanctions after the Reggie Bush case? The biggest punishment was limiting the Trojans to 75 scholarship players on the roster. When the NCAA initially punished Penn State in the wake of Jerry Sandusky (penalties that were later reduced), it limited Penn State to 65 scholarship players.
David Beaty's first Kansas team had 38 scholarship players in 2015. Thirty. Eight.
While it's not clear how many the Jayhawks have on their roster in 2018, Beaty's fourth year with the program, he was hoping to have 70 scholarship players by now, many of whom began as walk-ons and earned scholarships.
Since you're only allowed to bring in 25 scholarship players per recruiting class and there's always attrition, it could be at least another three years before Kansas has 85 scholarship players.
So, if Kansas continues its struggles for the rest of 2018 while dealing with an undermanned roster, Long has to consider quite a few different factors. Would it truly be fair to Beaty to fire him for the results given the massive rebuilding project he inherited from Charlie Weis' disastrous tenure? And more importantly, while it's easy to fire Beaty, who exactly would Long bring in to replace him?
There's a reason Beaty is in Lawrence in the first place.
After Kansas fired Mark Mangino, it hired Turner Gill, who lasted two seasons before getting replaced by Weis, who is mostly responsible for the scholarship situation Beaty is trying to solve. His short-sighted approach of heavily recruiting junior college players put Kansas in this roster crunch.
When Kansas fired Weis, it ended up with Beaty, who wasn't some hotshot coordinator at the time but the wide receivers coach at Texas A&M. He was known more for his recruiting than his coaching acumen. The reason Kansas hired him was that it hoped his recruiting would help solve the problem, but it was also partially due to the fact Beaty was willing to take the job.
If Kansas fires Beaty, who is going to want the job? Who will want to take over not only the worst Power Five program in the country but one in need of a massive rebuild located in an area of the country without a fertile recruiting base?
That's another question Long needs to have an answer for before he decides to fire Beaty.
And when it comes to Kansas football, there are no easy answers.
Fanboy Concern of the Week
I fell in love with Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate last season. He was one of the most exciting players in the country, as he was one play away from a huge play on seemingly every snap. After Arizona fired Rich Rodriguez over the winter and brought in Kevin Sumlin, however, I grew a bit concerned. I worried that Sumlin, who brought Noel Mazzone to Tucson, Arizona, as his offensive coordinator, would change things up with the way Tate plays QB.
These concerns weren't alleviated when I heard that Sumlin planned to turn Tate from "an athlete who plays quarterback into a quarterback who happens to be athletic." It's a statement that makes sense for anybody, but what it really means is "we're going to take this entertaining and exciting player and try to make him a pocket passer."
Maybe that's what Tate wants, as a transition to a pocket-passer would undoubtedly enhance his NFL potential, but if the first game is any indication, it might not be what's best for Arizona.
The Wildcats lost to BYU 28-23 in their opener. Tate completed 17-of-34 passes for 197 yards and a touchdown. He only had eight carries for 14 yards and another TD. Now, some of that is due to BYU's defense doing an excellent job of containing Tate in the pocket, but it's not as if Arizona was calling for a lot of runs with Tate. I don't think they ran a zone read before Tate's 2-yard TD run early in the fourth quarter.
Now, I'm not dumb enough to think that this process only needs one game to convert Tate from Whirling Dervish to Cam Newton, but I remain skeptical. Hopefully, Arizona finds a middle ground as the season progresses.
Stat of the Week
Since 2011, Maryland has played 24 games against ranked opponents. It is 2-22 in those games. Both of those wins have come against Texas. The first one was in the 2017 season opener, and the second came on Saturday. The key is playing Texas in the first week of the season because that's the only time its ever ranked these days.
Random Ranking of the Week
It's Labor Day, so let's rank holidays that fall on Mondays. All rankings are final!
- Labor Day
- Memorial Day
- Martin Luther King Jr. Day
- Columbus Day
- Presidents' Day
Rules Question of the Week
How many players need to be ejected from games for targeting before we realize that it isn't going to stop targeting from happening? It happens every week, and it will continue to happen. I'm not saying to get rid of the rule because I think the spirit of the rule is just as relevant today as it was when the rule was implemented.
At its heart, it's about player safety, and that's of the utmost importance.
It's just that I think we can get the same results if we stop ejecting players from games and leave it as a 15-yard personal foul. We could even adopt a soccer-like approach, where a player isn't ejected for his first targeting call. But if he picks up a second targeting -- even if it isn't in the same game -- then he should be ejected from the game as part of the punishment.
I don't think that will do anything to slow down the progress that's been made.
Perception Poll of the Week
This year, I'm polling the public opinion each week to see what the college football world thinks at any given time. This week I asked them for their perception of Notre Dame and Michigan following Notre Dame's 24-17 win over the Wolverines.
As you can see, two-thirds of voters think the result means Michigan is bad. Now, I purposely left the definition of "good" and "bad" to the voters. Either way, I'm not entirely in disagreement with the results. I'm not of the mind that beating Michigan means Notre Dame is in line to make a playoff run, but at the same time, I don't think it means Michigan is bad, either.
It's easy to pile on Jim Harbaugh because Michigan has lost four straight. Still, while Michigan struggled at the beginning of the game, both teams were even throughout most of the night. Plus, if we look around the Big Ten East, Penn State nearly lost to Appalachian State and Michigan State only beat Utah State by seven. I can't help but think a close loss to Notre Dame on the road is more acceptable than barely surviving Appalachian State and Utah State at home.
Michigan has problems, but I don't think this loss makes it any less of a contender in the Big Ten yet.
Turnover Item of the Week
OK, so teams giving out rewards to players following a turnover is surely a trend that's going to get old quickly, but Tulane's turnover beads are fantastic.
Lettuce of the Week
College Football Playoff Projection of the Week
It's never too early.
Until the next Monday After!
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