The Kansas football outlook for 2016 season. The Jayhawks are trying to build everything back up to merely be competitive. But can they come up with a few wins along the way?
Kansas went 12-1 in 2007. From 2010 to 2015, over a span of six years, Kansas has won 12 games.
Outside of a mega-scandal, it’s not possible for Jayhawk football to be any worse than it was in David Beaty’s first season at the helm, going 0-12 with the worst defense in college football and one of the lowest-scoring offenses. Now it’s time to see if that was the proverbial step back to take a giant leap forward.
But there’s a way to spin this for the Jayhawks and start to think of all this differently. How will the Big 12 look in five years? How about in two years?
Considering the league expansion that’s coming, KU should be a part of a North division that’ll be far weaker than the South, no matter how the final configuration ends up looking. Bill Snyder almost certainly won’t be dominating the Kansas State world anymore in a few years, West Virginia might look a little different depending on whether or not Dana Holgorsen can come up with a big year sometime soon, and there’s a chance this Beaty offense starts to hum and becomes special along the likes of a TCU and a pre-Briles issue Baylor.
At least that’s the hope.
Beaty had to build up the program from a dead standstill, needing to start establishing recruiting ties, making the entire program more involved with the fan base, and trying to create the culture needed to start coming up with the identity that won’t keep leading to blowout after blowout.
Will it all start to kick in this year? Is the goal to come up with wins, or is it to simply be more competitive? After all, the Jayhawks got within double digit points in just one of the 11 games against Power 5 teams last year.
There’s a decent quarterback to build around in Ryan Willis, and there’s a veteran running back in Ke’aun Kinner to keep handing the ball off to. There’s a deeper receiving corps now than there’s been over the last few seasons, and Beaty and the staff are focusing on building up the line to start being able to attack more – the Jayhawks were shoved around too much last year.
The miserable defense has a better-looking back seven with five likely senior starters in the secondary, and a few good linebacker options to use in a rotation. Overall, the D has to get off the field and find ways to generate a few more turnovers to help out the mediocre offense. The veterans are in place, but the experience has to turn into production – just because they’re older, that doesn’t mean they’re talented.
There’s no pressure this season. 2016 is a step in the process of recreating a football program, and that means sacrificing a bit here and there with an eye on a few years down the road.
But for the long-suffering fans, a few wins here and there would be nice, too.