Jayhawk Insider: The buzz around town
By: Adam Sullivan
LAWRENCE, Kan. – After defeating Rutgers 55-14 on Saturday, the KU football team improved its record to 2-1 on the season. The back-to-back wins are the first for Kansas since 2011. With the 15th ranked defense in the nation and an offense that has outscored its opponents 109-47, it’d be easy to understand if a little hype were building around Lawrence, but not for head coach David Beaty.
“You know, I live in [the Anderson Family Football Complex],” explained Beaty. “There’s times when I drive out of my driveway and we’re supposed to be heading to Menard’s or something and my car goes to this building. So I don’t go very many places other than here. I probably would not be the best one to ask. Our players would probably be the best ones to ask. We tend to keep our head down, and I don’t mean that to be disrespectful, I just know that there’s a buzz around our facility from our players. But I’m just not out and about enough to tell you that. I think our players could tell you a lot more than I could.”
The time and effort Beaty and his team have put in is translating on the field this season especially on the defensive side. Currently KU leads the Big 12 in seven categories and ranks second in the league and 25th nationally in scoring defense (15.7 ppg).
“He deserves a ton of credit,” Beaty said of KU defensive coordinator Clint Bowen. “I’ve talked about it for a long, long time how much I believe in this guy, how hard he works, how smart he is, how much those kids believe in him, how he gets the best out of players and just his resiliency. He’s a guy that really helped me over these last three to four years with his steady approach. He’s a guy that motivates you and inspires you as you come in to work each day. All of those guys deserve the credit. They’re the ones that are building the plans and they’re the ones that are passing it down to our assistant coaches doing a good job of passing it on to the kids.”
After forcing 12 turnovers in the last two weeks, the Jayhawks boast the nation’s best turnover margin at +12. KU has forced its opponents into 13 turnovers in three games, the Jayhawks produced nine turnovers by its opponents in all of 2017.
“It’s so fun to be a part of this defense right now,” KU linebacker Keith Loneker Jr. stated. “The games are fun but it’s great to see the effort in practice as well. It’s a credit to fundamentals, coach Beaty always preaches if you don’t do it in practice then you won’t do it in a game.”
Leading KU defensively is Lawrence native Joe Dineen Jr., who has recorded 40 total tackles on the season, one interception and recorded his first-career fumble recovery in the victory over Rutgers.
The strong play by the Jayhawks has caught the attention of several KU basketball players who cheered on social media, which didn’t go unnoticed after the victory over Rutgers.
“It’s a cool feeling,” said KU safety Mike Lee. “You have to show love if you want to receive love. I always reach out to those guys win or lose and show them love. At some schools teams think they’re too big for the other ones on campus, but here we’re all just family.”
That family feeling has spread from campus to around Lawrence where the buzz has definitely been felt by KU players. Whether its walking to class or taking a stroll down Mass Street, KU athletes have noticed a difference in the town after the back-to-back wins.
“It’s cool to see the city backing us right now,” said Dineen. “We know it comes with winning and hopefully we can keep that up for them. As a team we really appreciate the support from the community.”
Kansas looks to add to its winning ways on Saturday as KU opens Big 12 Conference play when it travels to Waco, Texas to take on the Baylor Bears. KU-BU will kick off at 2:30 p.m., at McLane Stadium, with a live broadcast on FOX Sports 1.