At the end of last season, Coach David Beaty was wrapping up his second season at Kansas and optimism surrounded the Jayhawk football program. After racking up moral victories with near upsets, a break through finally came with a big win over the Texas Longhorns. Or so it seemed.
Fast forward to now, and the program has taken a massive step back. Even moral victories are wishful thinking at this point. After beating SE Missouri State in week one, the Jayhawks were handled by two MAC schools. In Big 12 play it has been blow out after blow out, as Kansas has not scored a point since the first week in October.
To add insult to injury, Kansas broke a record on Saturday night that nobody wants to break. The Jayhawks gained just 21 yards of offense against TCU to set the Big 12 record for fewest yards gained in a game.
With things at an all-time low, is it time to wonder if coach Beaty is on the hot seat?
The short answer is no…ish.
The long answer is that trustees and fans expecting Kansas to be winning multiple games in Beaty’s third year are, quite frankly, unrealistic about how far Kansas had fallen. When Beaty took over for former head coach Charlie Weiss, Kansas had just 63 scholarship players. He was basically down 20 scholarship players to every other FBS team.
From talking with people around Kansas, and who take an interest in more than just the basketball season, Beaty was always seen as having five years to show improvement. Five years seems like a long time in college sports where many coaches are given three years or less. But, that is what Kansas needs.
Beaty finally got up to 85 scholarship guys this year, but they are young. Basically, Beaty had to take two years to get to most team’s starting point because Kansas was so far behind.
So no, Beaty is not on the hot seat, but it is warming a little. No matter how you paint it, Kansas has regressed in his third year which is a troubling sign. The offense and defense are ugly once again, and star players are not having the impacts they did the past two season.
The performance this year is also having an impact on recruiting. During the offseason, KU picked up commitments from 4-star athletes in the heart of SEC territory. They were a significant boon for the program looking to make strides. However, the Jayhawks have now lost sixth of their previous commitments as recruit are losing faith in the opportunity in Lawrence.
This past week is going to put a spotlight on Kansas and Beaty. Just 21 offensive yards will do that to a program. Beaty should feel some heat, deservedly so. A scheme change or something needs to happen. But, despite the losses to the class, Beaty continues to out-recruit what Kansas should realistically expect to bring in considering how far they have sunk, and some would say they were never going to hold on to their start commitments anyway.
Beaty will feel some heat for that recruiting class starting to fall apart. However, defections should have been expected. Beaty and his assistance were getting commitments from 3-star players with high upside. Those players are now getting a lot of love from more traditional powers. Seeing Kansas on the field product it makes sense that some of them would jump ship. With so much time left before signing day, Kansas fans need to take a deep breath and relax for right now.
For Beaty and his staff this should be closer to a Year Zero for Kansas fans than a Year Three.