Here’s the thing about KU football, final scores are very misleading. It’s easy to look at a record and assume you know everything about the season, but that’s a very big misconception about the reality of the game.
Current AD, Sheahon Zenger made a huge decision when he arrived in Lawrence. He came to town shortly after Lew Perkins’ abrupt retirement following a ticket scandal. Perkins was the man in charge of bringing the infamous Turner Gill to Lawrence, but it was Zenger who released him after two embarrassing seasons at Kansas. Next comes the biggest mistake Zenger has made while in Lawrence. He was looking to make some power moves and brought a new “Big Guy” to Lawrence with the hiring of Charlie Weis.
For those who don’t know, here’s what happened next. Weis came into a program that was led by Mark Mangino’s players, playing under Turner Gill’s system, that were going into another culture shock and being switched up again by yet another coaching change. He immediately had a negative attitude about the program and that mentality showed onto the field. His biggest win came in an upset at home over West Virginia in a day where RB James Sims stole the show 211 yards on the ground and 3 trips to the end zone.
Charlie Weis’ biggest problem was his patience. He didn’t have any. He wasn’t into building for the future, he wanted immediate results and went the JUCO route. This resulted in a team of mediocre players in a power conference with one to two years of eligibility. Going into his 3rd season, he asked everyone to show up for September and he would provide a reason to stay for October and November. After nothing impressive, KU got lit up by Texas in a 23-0 performance at home in Week 4 and hours later Charlie Weis was out.
The following season David Beaty comes in. He came into a train wreck. He lost his QB for the season in the spring game and the only other one with game experience a couple of weeks in. He was short on scholarships which made that 0-12 team smaller both personnel wise and physically smaller than the Big 12 competition. Please keep in mind that Beaty’s first season was not his fault. So imagine this past season was his first year. He built up the defense along with Clint Bowen, and strengthened the receivers unit quite a bit. The O-Line was still small and he couldn’t get the QB situation figured out which hurt, but there was legitimate improvement. While staying uncompetitive on the road, this past 2016 team was competitive at home.
At home the final scores read 55-6 (W), 37-21 (L), 24-23 (L), 44-24 (L), 31-24 (L), and 24-21 (W). All of those losses had key moments in the second half where the games were lost, but in every single one of them, we had a legitimate chance. People seem to forget that when viewing the record. There was competition.
Even more strides have been made in this offseason. We have the tougher teams in the Big 12 coming to Lawrence this year and it still appears to be a 4 win season, which would be the best since Mangino. In two years we could make a bowl game.
Stay hopeful guys. Football will be there soon. Zenger is very capable of running the athletic department. He’ll renovate the stadium soon, he’s got facilities up to date, built Rock Chalk Park, new basketball housing, the DeBruce Center for the Original Rules of basketball, and hired David Beaty who seems to be the man for the job so far. Things are looking good at Kansas. Trust the process.