University of Kansas

KU Q&A: David Beaty’s job security and looming Jayhawks basketball questions

Kansas football coach David Beaty.
Kansas football coach David Beaty. skeyser@kcstar.com

We’re back for another Kansas Jayhawks Q&A.

Thanks for the questions, and please follow my Facebook page if you haven’t yet.

This seems to be the most pressing topic for KU Athletics now, and because new athletic director Jeff Long only was introduced this week (with an official start date of Aug. 1), it’s obviously too premature to know exact answers.

Here’s my gut feeling on it, though: I think we’ll know a lot after the season’s first three games.

KU football has one of the weakest non-conference schedules in the nation, with home games against Nicholls State and Rutgers sandwiched around a road contest at Central Michigan.

The Jayhawks should be competitive in all three games. Nicholls State is an FCS school, while Rutgers shares the same odds of winning its conference (800 to 1) as KU does according to Bovada. Central Michigan also is not an overwhelming team, and that game will provide KU with its best chance this season at breaking an ugly 46-game road losing streak.

So let’s be frank here: An 0-3 start would be disastrous, while a 1-2 beginning wouldn’t be much better. Lose two of those three — in your fourth season on the job — and I wouldn’t think Long would need to see more to go ahead and make a move.

Something else to consider: I’m not sure how much KU would benefit by firing Beaty early in the season. Long could hypothetically start his work to bring in a new coach, but it also would leave the program, players and assistants in a difficult spot, with most of them understanding the reality that the football team would be getting a fresh start the next season.

It’s also tough to pin down an entire-season win total needed, just because there is much to evaluate outside of wins and losses. Will KU simply be more competitive in Big 12 games? And will individual players start to show development under Beaty and the rest of the coaching staff?

Long has little motivation to keep Beaty in place if he feels he’s not the coach of the future, so even four wins this season (after three in Beaty’s first three years) might not be enough to get an invite back in 2019. If Beaty wins five, though? And ends the road losing streak? And wins at least two Big 12 games?

I’d think Long would at least have to give him one more year to see if the progress continues.

Beaty’s absence from Long’s opening press conference was definitely worth noting. And Long, to his credit, did everything he could to lessen the storyline by explaining that he’d told Beaty to continue vacation with his family.

For Beaty, this was not ideal optics ... yet I believe it will not matter at all in the end. The coach understands the situation, just like his staff and also Long.

Beaty could have been standing at the front of the press conference and could bring Long flowers every day for the rest of the summer to his office ... and none of that would matter if he doesn’t produce on-field results this season.

Let’s not make too much of this. Would it have been better if Beaty was at the press conference? Yes. Will that be a factor at all in whether he keeps his job? Absolutely not.

I think this is a great question even if I have no idea how I should answer it.

Vegas has previously set KU football’s over-under win total at three games, though I think many fans believe that is slightly optimistic. Meanwhile, KU basketball — as I discussed some earlier this summer — has the potential to be one of those Bill Self teams (like 2007-08, 2009-10 or 2010-11) that has the talent and depth needed to potentially have an overwhelmingly dominant regular season that could include a 16-2 Big 12 record or better.

I’ll stick with the conservative pick (I think?) and say KU football’s win total is higher, but I do think this one will be close.

The Svi hype is crazy, you guys.

A few days ago, a Tweet that claimed “Svi Mykhailiuk means Next Klay Thompson in Ukrainian” got more than 3,000 likes. Klay freakin’ Thompson! Three-thousand likes! So yes, the combination of Mykhailiuk’s strong summer league start combined with one of the nation’s largest markets has made for quite the buzz.

But seriously, if Svi keeps doing this?

Maybe he just will be the steal of the NBA Draft.

At the end of a recent radio interview with 810’s Soren Petro, I projected 2022 as the next bowl year for KU football. Using that as a guide ... I’ll say KU will be in a bowl before it raises all the dough needed for its football stadium. That will take some time.

It’s a great question, and one I tried to tackle a bit earlier this week.

Vick, if focused, remains as one of the most intriguing talents on KU’s roster. And though he won’t play as much as he did last year, he certainly could regain his starting spot if he shows the potential that helped him to both a strong start and finish in 2017-18.

KU still is incredibly deep on the wing; K.J. Lawson, Marcus Garrett, Quentin Grimes and Sam Cunliffe are all former top-rated prospects, while point guards Charlie Moore and Devon Dotson will earn perimeter minutes as well.

Even knowing all that, it still reasonable to think that Vick will likely be in the team’s top five when it comes to minutes next season.

I honestly don’t think so.

Self has remained consistent with his stance throughout, which includes comments he made earlier this week; time and again, he has stated that De Sousa personally has not done anything wrong, that the NCAA previously declared him eligible and that Self has received no word from the NCAA to believe that De Sousa will not be eligible for next season.

Earlier this summer, Blair Kerkhoff and I tackled what the FBI probe might mean for KU basketball moving forward, and exploring that topic only re-emphasized how much is still unknown when it comes to how the NCAA will — some day — choose to act on the FBI’s college basketball investigation findings.

Until he hears differently, though, Self seems content to continue down this path, keeping his support behind De Sousa while planning to play him this season.

I am not the best person to ask about KU recruiting, but this is a good time to point you to Aaron Reiss’ excellent story about Robinson-Earl from earlier this week.

I will say this, though: When a recruit starts a quote with, “A lot of people didn’t recruit me because they think I’m a lock for Kansas” ... the Jayhawks are probably in pretty good shape.

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