Beaty, Jayhawks Talk at 2015 Media Day
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Joined by his assistant coaching staff and selected players, head Kansas football coach David Beaty addressed the media at the Jayhawks’ 2015 media day as part of packed day that culminates with Fan Appreciation Day at 5:30 p.m.
Beaty spoke about the quarterback battle, the new up-tempo style offense, the new standard that is Kansas football, fall camp to this point, as well as a handful of other topics.
KANSAS FOOTBALL MEDIA DAY
DAVID BEATY: Thanks for being here, everybody. Appreciate you. We have gotten off to a really, really good start. Really proud of our guys, and actually really proud of our strength staff. They did a great job getting our guys ready. They look really good, and that’s kind of really your big deal for your staff is you hand those guys over to them in the summer, and it’s kind of the passing of the baton when they come back, here in the beginning of two-a-days and camp.
Je’Ney Jackson and his staff did a really, really good job, all those guys, Springer, Erv, Tyler Hill, those guys all did a great job. My hats off to those guys. They’ve gotten them ready, they really did, and that’s helped us get into football, which is what we really have to do. The less time we have to spend time getting them into shape the more time we can spend doing what we do.
It’s been a lot of fun getting to know some of the new faces we have on our roster. We are still kind of in that evaluation phase with a lot of our guys just like we were in the spring. Talked to Matt (Tait) about it a little bit the other day. It’s not a whole lot unlike spring ball for just a lot of people in the country. You’ve got a lot of new faces here, and the way that you get them evaluated is by watching them do what they do in what we do. I think that’s the big thing.
It’s been really, really cool getting to kind of see that process unfold, and we’ve been very specific on how we want to rep so we get a good evaluation, particularly with a lot of young guys that we feel like might need to be able to contribute for us this year. We’ve kind of gone to great lengths on organizing it to where we can get those reps for those guys.
I know there’s going to be a bunch of questions, so we’ll get started. Fire away.
Q. What was the directive to Je’Ney and his staff? You said they got them ready. What specifically did you want them to do with those guys over the summer so they would be ready?
DAVID BEATY: The directive from the day we got here was that we’re going to train in our meetings, down in the weight room, everything that we do we’re going to train the same way out of season that we expect to be — the product that we expect to produce in season. So everything is a very tempo-based type of training.
We also wanted to make sure that we gave our guys up front, the guys on the front, the offensive line and the defensive line, we wanted to make sure that we built the strength platform that we needed to be able to survive in this conference, and quite honestly that’s going to take a while. That’s not something that you just do over a summer or even over a winter. We’ve got a bunch of new offensive linemen and defensive linemen here. It’s going to take time for those guys to develop that strength base, but man, he did a great job with that, and the way you do that is you spend extra time in the weight room getting that done, and those guys, they did a good job of it, they really did.
But one of the big things is we really looked at how they train guys out on the grass and how could we make sure that what we were doing out there was really applicable, and did it carry over when we got to fall camp and was it football-related, was it football specific. How could we get out of our box. That’s one of the things I loved about our guys is they embraced it. The ways that we worked on conditioning was things that carried over. They were football specific. We weren’t just running suicides or up-and-back type stuff. We were doing things that were real football movement.
I thought he did a really good job and his staff did a really good job of getting those guys ready for the tempo and the time of wind they would need to get into fall camp and the number of snaps we would take.
Q. You said tempo based in the meeting room, too. How do you do that?
DAVID BEATY: We always talk about practice and speed when nobody else does. Hidden there is where most of the time you may walk. We try to either jog or run or certainly walk fast, so when we break a meeting in here, those guys don’t walk. I mean, everything is speed when nobody else does. We get out of this room really quick. We don’t walk out of here slow. Everything is about — we talk about procedure, get lined up, get lined up, get lined up, hurry up and wait, so we’ll wait when we get there, but we’re going to hurry to get there.
When we move in and out of meeting rooms, we try to move fast in and out of meeting rooms, so we don’t allow them to just get up slow and kind of mosey to the locker room. You’ll start seeing these guys, they’ll walk fast wherever they go. We’re trying to build that tempo in for them to be able to get places quickly so we can have time to react.
That’s what the focus is.
Q. What do you expect from Tre’ Parmalee this season?
DAVID BEATY: You know, Tre’ is a vet, been around for a long time. I know he didn’t have a ton of catches last year, but I’ll tell you what, I’ve really enjoyed watching him over spring and fall camp. He’s a guy that is going to be one of our leaders, as well. He’s a guy that’s played a little bit of ball, which not a lot of those guys have. That helps him in that regard.
Man, he’s a talented guy. But the thing about Tre’ is just like the rest of them, there’s some new faces here and they all want to play, too. He’s in a competitive fight for playing time just like the rest of them.
I tell them all the time, I do, we play favorites. They’re the best players. Whoever is the best, those are our favorite guys. We put a lot of emphasis on competing, and that’s what these new numbers have done is now we’ve got — those guys got to compete. We didn’t just bring bodies in here. Those coaches, our recruiting staff, they did an unbelievable job of specifically looking at people that can contribute at this level.
That’s what I was most excited about.
Tre’ is not unlike the rest of those guys. He’s competing right now. He’s battling because there’s some dudes out there that can play.
Q. How are you going to handle captains?
DAVID BEATY: We’re going to do captains the two weeks prior to the first game. We’re going to get through fall camp, obviously, and that will give us an idea of who’s still with us. It’s not for everybody, and there’s a new standard here, and my hope is that every single one of these guys chooses to be a part of it and stay with it. But there is a standard, and it’s not easy. But then again, winning in the Big 12 certainly isn’t easy. Really just winning a Division I football game is incredibly difficult. It doesn’t matter who you play. It is so hard to win a Division I football game.
So we put a lot of emphasis on understanding that that task is difficult, so you have to live a difficult day every day for you to be able to relate to that on game day.
That’s why we make it tough for them. We talk about getting up every day and being perfect from the time we wake up until the time we go to bed, and the byproduct will be what we’re looking for.
Q. Do you have a number for how many captains yet, or does it depend?
DAVID BEATY: We’ll see how it plays out, but we’re probably looking at the standard number, from three to five. We’ll see how the votes play out. We’ll do what we need to do to make sure we’re represented well, but around two weeks from the first game, somewhere around that time, maybe a little bit closer, but around that time. We’ll also do like a lot of people, our guys will be empowered. We’ll have a leadership council here where they’ll be heavily involved in some of the bigger decisions that are made around here. But those will be guys that we certainly trust and are respected by their teammates because they do things right.
Q. O-line, how do you like it so far?
DAVID BEATY: You know what I love about those guys is there’s a lot more of them. Jackson Jenkins, his dad passed away on I believe it was Monday, earlier this week, so my prayers go out to the Jenkins family. It was a sudden deal, and man, we put our arms around him and his family, and it’s been tough. But with him we’ve got — I want to say we’ve got 18, 19 bodies there with him. That’s great because we didn’t have but about nine guys in the spring, and that’s very difficult to get done.
Some of you have been out there for a practice and you’ll see today. We’ll have two different seven-on-sevens and two different teams going, and you can only do that when you have enough numbers to get it done. That has been really, really nice, really nice.
It’s allowed us to really rep those young guys. We’re getting double the reps. You might be getting 40 team plays in a team setting. Well, when you’ve got two fields going, now you’re getting 80 reps, and those guys that are normally sitting there watching, they’re repping instead of just sitting there watching. So that’s been really good for us.
I take those young guys. You’ll see me today, I take all those young guys over on the other field with some of those younger GAs, and the coaches stay over on the other field and then we just kind of move them up and down based on how they perform that day.
My hats off to those coaches because a lot of guys, they don’t like letting a guy go rep without their eyes on them, so it’s been a really good deal. That’s what I love about our staff. We just care about winning and trying to get better every day, and nobody worries about their personal agenda. We just do what we’ve got to do to be the best we can be for our players, and that’s what that’s done for us. Our O-line is getting a lot of reps now.
Q. Do you film both teams?
DAVID BEATY: Absolutely. I mean, it’s a great question. The way we’re doing it is really cool. Those guys will stay on what we call the A field, and the B field, we don’t have ones and twos, threes and fours, we don’t have that. We have an A field and a B field, and those coaches will stay on the A field and I’ll go with a couple of the GAs and we’ll go to the B field, and when we come off the field, those coaches will go straight in and watch the B field first, so they’ll get to evaluate them off video, so we didn’t miss anything, and those guys got to rep. I’ll come in and I’ll watch the A field, and then we’ll come together and we’ll kind of get our notes together and we’ll move from there and guys will move up and down, so it’s a way to create competition for those guys to get to that field.
Now, the first couple days have been about getting reps and learning what we’re doing, but the next couple days you’re going to want to get over to the A field. So that’s kind of been a motivating deal for them, but it also lets us rep those guys, you know, so they don’t have to stand over there while everybody else is getting to play ball.
Q. Can you talk, Ford, the quarterback, was a significant pickup at a late time when the kid probably had offers for scholarship. Any stories you have about that, and then your thoughts about him as a player?
DAVID BEATY: Yeah, (Deondre) Ford came to us from Dodge, Dodge City down there, and I knew his high school coach. He’s the head coach at Waco Midway, and Deondre played for him at Waco Midway. If I’m not mistaken he was in a state championship game, or close. I know that. So he’s won a lot of games. We watched him on tape. I actually knew about the kid when I was at the last school I was at. We evaluated him. I love his feet. I think he’s a talented guy, I really do. He can spin it and he moves the team. He moves the team when he’s out there, and there’s something to that.
I love that quarterback race right now, and we’ll talk a lot more about that I’m sure as we go, but there’s some talented guys out there.
Ryan Willis is a talented dude. He really is. He can throw it. He’s a big dude. He moves a lot better than you think he does. He’s very smart, very intelligent.
His high school coaches did a great job with him over there, I mean, a great job. He’s a lot more — he’s a lot further along than I thought he’d be.
Carter Stanley, another very talented guy. Those two dudes are really, really different but he can move with his feet, he creates things. I’ve enjoyed watching him.
Keaton Perry, I like him. He’s played in this offense for a long time. He played in it in high school and he played over at TCU so he’s helped those guys a lot with procedure, particularly with those young guys because he’s been through it a lot longer than they have. So that’s been really good, watching T.J. Millweard compete over there.
But obviously Montell Cozart, you’ve got to feel like he’s got the inside track here. He is a very bright, hard-working, smart dude. He’s what you want, man, and you’ve got to run him out of here. I love the dude that he is. Our team loves him. He is a hard-working guy, and he’s a smart dude. He’s done everything we’ve asked him to do to this point. It’s going to be an interesting race when those pads come on today, and then when we start getting them kind of in live action, we’ll kind of have a little bit better idea. Realistically, guys, after a couple weeks, you’re going to have to start narrowing it down to a couple or three, and then from there it’ll get narrowed down from there.
Q. Were you able to see how much or where Montell has improved over the off-season even though you didn’t have him last year? Are you able to see that or is that too hard to tell?
DAVID BEATY: No, absolutely you can see it. You can see it. One of our goals has been to try to minimize his responsibility to help him play and utilize the attributes that he has. The guy is really fast. He’s a good-looking dude. He’s a big kid, and he’s got a really good arm. He’s not just a below-average arm dude. He’s got a good arm.
Our big thing was trying to help him with decision making and speeding up his processing, and one of the ways that we did that was trying to put our pride aside and figure out how we can help this guy be as productive as he can be, and one of the ways we do that is we take some of the things off of his plate, minimize his role at the line of scrimmage so he can pay attention to what’s important.
Man, he’s done a really nice job of understanding his reads and knowing what the defense is doing to him. The big thing for me with a QB is do you understand structure and how does that affect you, and can you get us in the right play. So understand the structure, how does it affect you, can you get us in the right play. That’s really what I’ve seen him grow into this point. And then that’s where we can start evaluating is his processing speeding up now, and I certainly think it is speeding up, which is good.
Q. Does he seem like a veteran?
DAVID BEATY: No doubt. No doubt. He is absolutely one of those leaders out there, no doubt about that. As a coach, you love Montell Cozart. I am so fired up to have him on our football team. He’s what you want. He is a consummate vet, no doubt.
Q. Going back to the early summer, late spring, did you have any conversations with Montell about he might be the guy, so this is what you need to be doing in summer? What were those conversations like?
DAVID BEATY: You know, they were very simple. They were not unlike the conversations that we had with the rest of the players. It’s real simple. I said, ‘Tell — I call him ‘Tell. Montell, if someone beats you out here, then it’s your own fault, and I know it’s not going to be because you don’t work hard. That won’t be what it is. Are you focusing on the things that you need to focus on to win the job, to be able to do what you want to do.
So the challenge to you is to listen very closely and understand what your weaknesses are and try to build up on those so you can eliminate those from your game and become the quarterback that you want to become.
You have the inside track. You have the thing they don’t have. You have experience. You have time here. You have time in our system now through the spring. So really for you, I think the challenge is to work on you, which is going to be really what we focus on a lot with us, is we’re going to work a lot on us. We know we’re playing an opponent. We get that. We understand that. We’re going to be prepared for those guys. But really at the end of the day, if we don’t handle us, it really doesn’t matter who we’re playing. Same thing with him. You’ve got to handle you. You’ve got to handle you. What are your weaknesses, how do you continue to work on trying to make those things strengths, or at least minimize the amount of weakness it is for you. That’s what the conversation was like.
And you couldn’t tell that to a better kid because he took that to heart and went to work on it.
Q. You mentioned some of the decision making, boiling things down. When a quarterback isn’t accurate, can sometimes that be more of a decision-making or mental thing than a physical thing?
DAVID BEATY: Absolutely. I mean, for me, you’ll hear me talk a lot about quarterback play tracking back to your feet, and your feet will lead you through a lot of things. If you don’t understand your reads and you don’t know what the structure is that you’re facing, the game is unbelievably fast for you. So the quicker you can understand what you’re doing from a procedural standpoint, now you get to work on the part which is how to do it. You’re learning what to do when you first get there, and then you transition into how to do it, and then you focus on what are they doing to me.
He’s kind of been that guy that’s been working on how to do it, and now he’s kind of getting to that point where he understands all that stuff. Now it’s time to figure out what is the answer to the test. All right, they’re in four-down, it’s a four-two box, they’re in cover-four, what are my answers to that, where do I need to go with the ball, what play do I need to get us into. I’ve got a run called here; do we have a favorable box to run it into. If we don’t, get us into the right play.
And the good thing is we try to minimize the package so that there’s not a whole lot. We say there are answers for a reason. If they give us this, then these are what our answers are. We’re not going to go in and draw up a bunch of new answers every week. We’re going to keep doing that over and over and over and over again until he’s comfortable with the answers and he knows where those guys are going to be, and those guys that are going to catch the ball, they know where he’s going to put it. They know where the ball is going to go before the ball is even snapped.
We utilize things like tempo to help us with that. The quicker he learns structure — and not only him but all of them.
That’s why I’m impressed with Ryan Willis. I see that kid out there. He’s beyond it a little bit. He’s a little bit more prepared than some of the young guys I’ve been around.
Same thing with Carter. I mean, he was coached in the system, too. Those guys, they know the answers to the test a little bit more than a new freshman would. Looking at that structure is important for what we do at least.
Q. The thing with Taylor Cox, I’m just wondering where he fits in? Does his experience help? Is he able to do everything you need him to do right now?
DAVID BEATY: Experience is no doubt a bonus for us, and he is a guy that has had some hard times here with injury. We’re watching him. He’s a senior. That guy is — he’s had a ton of reps. He knows what he’s doing. He’s smart, he’s mature. We don’t have to worry about that with him, so we’re taking care of him. Sometimes that deal is as much on a coach as it is on a player, to know what his body can do and what he can take.
This is obviously a high-volume time of year, so we’ve got to be careful and mindful of all of our players, and Cox is no different than that. Taylor is a guy that we need to get him to the games and get him there as healthy as we can get him because he’s a guy that can certainly help us if we do that.
I think his biggest role for us is he’s a good leader with those guys in the locker room, he really is. They look up to him. He does things right, and you know, he helps those guys. He’s not afraid of getting his spot taken. He’s going to train those young guys, and he’s not afraid of getting his spot taken. He’s not worried about that. He’s worried about helping us win. So that’s one of the great things about having Taylor in there, and hopefully we can get him completely healthy. I don’t think he’s all the way there yet, but he’s getting close. He’s getting close.
Q. Can he be a guy on special teams, too?
DAVID BEATY: Yeah, I mean, he’s a guy that you hope can play a bunch for you on some special teams, but we’ve got to be mindful of his history and some of the injuries he’s had, and where can he help us the most. The great thing about him, if that is on special teams, that’s what Taylor Cox will do. That’s what I love about him is he’ll do it.
But his deal is we’ve got to make sure that we listen to his body. He’s got to be smart about listening to his body, and we’ve got to get him to the games because we know he’s going to be prepared mentally. We know physically and from a fundamental standpoint he can do it. That’s not the problem. We’ve just got to keep him healthy.
Q. You mentioned 18, 19 offensive linemen and I think you’re a little bit thin at D-tackle. Do you look at that and think, maybe we can move a couple guys over here and fill some needs this way? Is that something you’re open to doing and comfortable with?
DAVID BEATY: We’ll do what we have to do. That’s not ideal to be moving guys from the O-line to the D-line, although I’ve been a part of teams where you have to do that, and we may have to do that at some point this year.
Guys with experience, yeah, we’re a little bit thin over there on that D-line. But you know, as long as we can keep them healthy, right now we’re in okay shape, in terms of people that are there.
There could come a time where injury could play a role, but we’ll see how that goes.
Q. You’re not thinking about that currently?
DAVID BEATY: Not right now. There’s nobody cross training or any of that type of stuff.
Q. At any position?
DAVID BEATY: Well, receivers, they learn every one of those spots. O-linemen, they can play everything but center. Some of them are playing center and guard, but most of them, they’ll learn every spot, guard and tackle.
Q. What have you seen from the guys coming off the edge like Mosley and Olobia and Goodman, those guys?
DAVID BEATY: You know, they’ve been consistent from what we saw coming out of spring. I still think that has to be one of the strengths of our team heading into this season. Those guys are big and fairly talented guys. I mean, those guys, I think, they played some ball, too, which they’ve got some stuff under their belt.
I love T.J. Semke, as well. They don’t talk about that guy. I think not only is he a good leader for us, man, he has got a good motor. I’ve had a couple guys in the past that Semke reminds me of. You just love that guy’s spirit, you love his attitude, you love his toughness. I like him. He kinds of stands out to me a little bit right now.
I love Anthony Olobia. He’s what they look like. There’s no doubt about that. We’ve got to keep him healthy. He had an unfortunate injury last year I think in fall camp or pretty quickly after we got started. He’s been healthy to this point. We haven’t had the pads on yet, Kirby, so I really don’t know yet. Today will be a little bit more of a great tell for us, and once again, we’ve got to be smart. We’re not going to get them get close to them quarterbacks, but we can see a lot up until that point, so I’m looking forward to seeing how they look today coming off the edge.
Ben Goodman has been super. Looking forward to him kind of expanding some of the things that he’s done in the past to be a little bit more productive even than he has been for us. He’s been working hard on that stuff.
Damani Mosby, man, I can’t tell you how proud I am of that guy. He’s done everything we’ve asked him to do since we got here, and I’m not sure that many people would have gave him a shot to even make it through this semester. I’ve got to take my hat off to him. And our people that work here, they’ve all worked really close with him. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know him. I think he could be a good player.
Q. Over 54 percent from the two-deep roster from November have either left the program due to graduation or transferred. How does that affect y’all on the field and in the locker room for leadership?
DAVID BEATY: There’s a standard that we’ve brought here, and ultimately I’ve brought here, with regard to our team. The best way to say it is it’s not for everybody, but it’s the standard that is set, and that standard is based on trying to do something special in this conference, and we’re not going to be able to reach those goals if we do not have very high standards, and that’s both physically and mentally.
Like I said, it’s not for everybody, but the thing I am proud of is that the guys that are here, which is honestly — I know that number of 54 percent sounds high, but honestly a lot of that is previous to my getting here. We haven’t really lost that many guys. I have not kicked a single kid off this team. They have put themselves in a position to where I couldn’t help them anymore, unfortunately, and I hate that. I hate that because all these guys, they’re my guys. I don’t want that to happen to them. But unfortunately that’s happened, and it happens all over the country. It does from time to time.
The thing I’m proud of is really with the exception of one guy, one guy, those guys that went through this summer, they’re all here, and they made it through a rough summer, rough summer. And I’m proud of them for being here.
Q. I know that Joe Dineen is just going to be a sophomore. Seems like he’s been moved around an awful lot. What are some of the challenges for him?
DAVID BEATY: I mean, that’s a good question. I watched him yesterday when I was at practice, and I was like, you know, I haven’t seen him do anything yet. I don’t know — I love Joe, and I hear all these great things about him, and I’ve gotten to know him a little bit, and it’s going to be interesting for me to kind of see how he develops over the next couple days and couple of weeks. He is definitely an athletic guy. There’s no doubt about that. He moves around good. I can see why they handed him the ball a few times last year I think against Duke if I’m not mistaken. I think he played against those guys. But I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do. I haven’t really seen him do a whole lot athletic. He was hurt in the spring, so I didn’t get to see him play. He was recovering from a shoulder surgery. But I’ve asked him every day how he feels, and he says, Coach, I feel great, and man, he’s got that wide eye to him.
I love his approach. He’s one of them guys I’m definitely rooting for, and we really need him to. We need him to come on.
Q. What are your overall expectations for the season?
DAVID BEATY: I’ve said that time and time again. Our deal is this: The way we’re going to get to this is the focus is just getting a little bit better every day, and when we do that, it’s going to be exciting to see kind of what the end result looks like. We’ve talked about earning things and we’ve talked about the talk being over now. It’s about going out there and doing it.
What we expect is we expect to give our fans, our stakeholders, our students, our administration, our coaches, our families, we expect to give them something they can be proud of, and the way that looks to me is being a very disciplined football team, a team that values possession, and a team that is ridiculously relentless on special teams, particularly those four-core. If we do those things, we feel like we can improve a lot faster than maybe we could without doing those things.
So the focus has been very, very direct on how we get better. We talk about training and effort and attitude are a minimum expectation. You hear it said all the time. That’s the price of admission. Those things are going to happen. We need to focus on how we get better and how do we become more competitive and be in every game in the fourth quarter because when we get to that point, you give yourself a chance to win. We want to be there in the fourth to give ourselves a chance to win. And that’s kind of what this summer was about was being there physically and being ready to make it through four quarters and pushing through some things that could be tough.
I watched Baylor play Michigan State on television last night. It was a replay. I want to say they were winning 41-21. I mean, a lot of teams quit right then. I think Michigan State came back and won that game. That was an unbelievable game.
We’ve got to learn how to get into situations like that because all teams do. Even teams that win the national title get in some situations similar to that. We’ve got to learn how to be able to push through those things, to know that it’s worth it to push through that momentary feeling of we just can’t make it. Yeah, we can, and yes, we can, and that’s how we’ve got to do it.
Q. You mentioned with the quarterback position here in a little bit, a week or two you have to narrow it down to two or three. Is it the same for every position, or are there other positions where you’d like to either identify starters or the ones maybe a little quicker than you will with that position?
DAVID BEATY: You’ve got to do it pretty quick for all the spots. You really do. You’d like them to start getting some cohesiveness together, so yeah, we’re going to try to get that done pretty quickly with all of them. And honestly, it’s not that difficult. If you were at practice — I tell my mom, I’m like, Mom, you really could do this because the cream truly rises to the top. They look different. There’s a separation.
And we talk to them about — we talk to our kids about that all the time. Listen, you know — I mean, when they’re competing, you know. It’s very clear who is doing it and who’s not.
Q. Without putting any kind of jinx on Ke’aun Kinner, what’s your thoughts on him having a pretty special burst and being able to help the team?
DAVID BEATY: I’m excited to see, I really am. I think the key for us is making sure that we do a good job of making sure that he stays healthy because I think he’s a guy that can certainly be maybe a guy we can build some things around this year. He’s a lot stronger than I thought he was. He’s a lot heavier than he looks. He’s 193, 195 pounds, and extremely hard worker.
He’s got some burst. I’ve been around some really good ones. We’ll just have to see. But he’s got some real burst, and he finishes runs. He’s a guy I’m glad is on our football team right now.
I like the Taylor Martin kid. I think that kid does some special things with the ball in his hands. I’m looking forward to putting the pads on and seeing how he scoots through that zone play. It’ll be fun to watch him. Reggie Mitchell has done a tremendous job with those backs. He’s done a great job getting the right guys here, too. De’Andre Mann, we’ve got a pretty good group of backs over there that we feel pretty good about going into fall camp.
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