July 20-21 were Big 12 Media Days, the annual gathering of Big 12 football players, coaches, administrators and reporters in Dallas. Each coach held a press conference to discuss the upcoming season, their team, issues in college athletics and subjects from around the conference. During his time, head Kansas football coach David Beaty laid out his plan for the program.
During his availability, Beaty gave a prepared statement and took some questions from the press pool. Beaty spent part of his statement discussing how the Jayhawk coaching staff plans to recruit the Dallas-Fort Worth area heavily to find the next batch of great KU football players, his plan to resuscitate the moribund program.
“One of the big things for me is we are located right now in one of the finest, most fertile grounds for high school athletes in the country, and those athletes are coached by some of the finest high school coaches in the country,” Beaty said. “The first thing we’re going to do is we’re going to work hard. And the second thing we’re going to do is we’re going to earn everything we get. From the first day we stepped on campus there in Lawrence, and I met with our team in the Anderson Family Football Complex, earn it has been the theme. We have continued to spread that as we’ve worked all throughout the state of Kansas and throughout this country. We’ve set out and set a goal to make sure that we earn the trust and respect of our stakeholders – our students, the people of our state, every high school coach, every high school player, our alumni, our former players – one person at a time. We’re committed as a team and as a staff to work hard together, and we expect to reach those expectations together. We’re currently wrapped up in preparing our staff and our team to create a brand of Kansas football that is tough, fast‑paced, disciplined, highly competitive, fun to watch, and, man, fun to play in. If you’re a guy that wants to play college football, we want you to want to come play in this. We feel like we have something really special in Lawrence, and we look forward to seeing great things as our time turns forward there.”
Beaty’s plan seems simple, and it is. Find the right coaches, recruit better players, coach them up to work hard, then perform on the field. However, executing it is much easier said than done. Beaty acknowledges that in the short-term, it will be a struggle for KU football to see success, but there is still a lot to be gained.
“That’s absolutely the message,” Beaty said. “The message goes in line with what makes us different? Well, the difference for us, in my mind, is we don’t control what makes us different. We only control what we make different. The way that we approach it is everything. I was fortunate enough to be there when Kansas was a really, really good football program under Mark Mangino. He won National Coach of the Year and went to the Orange Bowl, and that environment that he created, sometimes it’s hard to break bad habits, but it’s just as hard to break good habits. The good thing is some of those things are still there. I like our kids, and I like our team.”
Following Mangino’s lead will be difficult, especially since Mangino took the program to unprecedented heights during his tenure as coach with the Orange Bowl victory in 2008. However, Beaty was on that coaching staff and sees a path to that success for the KU program.
“There’s no doubt that it gave us a head start, understanding the culture that is the University of Kansas,” Beaty said. “And not really just the university, but the great state of Kansas and the people of it and what those people are like – the humble, hard‑working, blue collar people that make up that state. As we began to build the blueprint for what we want our team to look like, we look no further than the people of our state. The example that they set for us every day. We’re working hard to earn their respect and their support one fan, one person, one stakeholder at a time.”
For a school that will not be able to attract top flight talent, a blue collar work ethic and the right scheme fit will be huge for the Jayhawks’ success on the field.
Media day was one arena where the energetic and charismatic Beaty shined. He appears to enjoy talking to the media, unlike his intrastate counterpart Bill Snyder, who is famously frosty with the press. Beaty generated some positive buzz for Kansas football among the press, which is a welcome development after Charlie Weis generated nothing but, well, nothing for the Jayhawks. If Beaty’s skill and energy can translate from the press room to recruit’s living rooms and the gridiron, the Jayhawks will have found a gem in a coach with David Beaty.