Being the head coach of a college football team can’t be an easy thing. It makes things even harder when the team he’s in charge of has only won four games in the last two-plus years. To begin 2016, the Jayhawks are 1-2, and they have showed signs of much improvement under head coach David Beaty. While it does appear that the team is playing better, there are still areas that they need to improve in if they want their record to show it.
Here are five things that must change about the 2016 Kansas Jayhawks if they want to continue making progress:
1. Quarterback Play
One of the worst things to do is purposely cause inconsistencies with your team. David Beaty, who hasn’t chosen and stuck with a starting quarterback yet, has been splitting the time between senior Montell Cozart and sophomore Ryan Willis. If the offensive line weren’t such a problem, Willis would be the clear choice. He’s got the arm and accuracy to get KU back on track when down by a lot, or the strength to lead the team down the field when they’re looking to put a game away. However, with Cozart’s ability to scramble under pressure, combined with the line’s inability to protect the quarterback, the senior captain is better-suited for the position at the current moment.
Even David Beaty’s mom is commenting on how much the Jayhawks fumble! On Saturday against Memphis, KU coughed the ball up, and lost it, three different times. Montell Cozart threw two interceptions, one of which was a pick-six. Through just three games, they’ve turned it over 11 times, and their turnover margin is -7. Kansas has no trouble getting started, but it always seems like it shoots itself in the foot at the worst possible times.
This is another area that the Jayhawks struggle with, having converted just 11 third downs all season. They are 11-for-35 on third down opportunities this year, and they’re also just 1-5 on fourth down. A lot of this has to do with the team’s inability to hold onto the ball, but it’s also a problem that the quarterback who sees most of the snaps isn’t one who likes to throw the ball down the field.
4. Offensive Line
There are worse areas of play than the offensive line, but this is an issue, too. Collectively, the quarterbacks of KU have been sacked six times this season, and it always seems that they have no time to identify a target to throw to. Similarly, the backs have lost 57 rushing yards because of the line, and they are running for just under four yards per carry.
5. Slow Starts
For the last two weeks, KU has struggled to start the game. Against Ohio, it scored just one touchdown in the first half, but it was able to score two in the second and hold the Bobcat offense to just 9 points after halftime. Against Memphis, there was little scoring at all, with the defense again having a very strong second half. If the Jayhawks can just get the offense going out of halftime, they could put themselves in better positions to win games.
Overall, most of the issues with KU stem from their offense. They’re inconsistent, inefficient, and incapable of scoring a decent amount of points in the first half. They have questionable play-calls, a mess of a QB system, no offensive line, and they fail to hold onto the ball in a lot of important situations. Though they are still learning their identity with David Beaty at the helm, there are definite changes that need to be made if he wants to give his team the best chance of winning football games this season. A lot of their troubles can be fixed, but saying that they don’t have the talent to win games is absolutely untrue. They won’t win every game for the rest of the season, but to think that they can’t win games against teams like Texas Tech or Iowa State would be selling the team short. David Beaty can only fix so much, but with the experience that is on this team, adjustments should be no problem.