Kansas football coach David Beaty didn’t try to sidestep reality.
When he took his turn at the podium during Friday night’s Kansas pep rally at Corinth Square in Prairie Village, he wasn’t pretending like last year’s 0-12 season didn’t happen.
“I want to thank you for your support, because what you’ve been through is hard, but you’ve hung with us,” Beaty told the hundreds of supporters who gathered to hear him speak. “And the future looks bright, so just hang in there.”
Beaty remained his optimistic self during the kickoff event, which took place eight days before Kansas’ season-opener on Sept. 3 against Rhode Island.
The team officially wrapped up its fall camp on Friday, with the coach saying he was pleased with progress during one of the toughest weeks of the year.
“Really, there comes a time when the talking stops, and you just have to get out there, and you’ve got to show where you’re at,” Beaty said. “We’re really excited about doing that.”
Beaty also did something new at the 11th-year event, bringing four of his players along to be with him on stage. He said defensive end Dorance Armstong was “going to be something to contend with,” described transfer receiver Daylon Charlot as a “phenomenal athlete but even better person,” introduced safety Fish Smithson as a team captain and joked that receiver LaQuvionte Gonzalez was “not as fast as me, but getting there.”
“The greatest thing about our team right now,” Beaty said, “is the men on it.”
Beaty also spoke of how he hoped to turn around the Kansas program, saying it would be the byproduct of “being great men from the time we wake up to the time we go to bed.
“That’s how championships are won. There’s no other way,” Beaty said. “That’s how we’re going to get it done.”
Kansas started preparations for Rhode Island this week, going through a gameplan that will be repeated in the upcoming seven days. One sportsbook has the Jayhawks as a 29-point favorite.
“(Fans) just want to win, and you know what? I don’t blame them,” Beaty said. “I’m a (Dallas) Cowboy fan, and I don’t care why they’re losing. I just want them to win.”
It’s part of the reason Beaty didn’t sugarcoat his team’s previous struggles during his seven-minute speech Friday night.
“We thank you for your support — your unwavering support in staying with us through the rough times,” Beaty said. “You’re going to have something to be proud of here real soon. We’re excited about that.”