KU’s HC David Beaty: WVU’s Perimeter Speed An Issue
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia has Kansas’ attention.
KU head coach David Beaty raved about the Mountaineers’ speed, especially on the outside with Marcus Simms and in the backfield with Justin Crawford. The question for the Jayhawks is how to minimize that disadvantage and effectively defend a multiple spread offense averaging 46 points and 581 yards per game.
“Speed, speed, speed,” Beaty said when asked about WVU. “For years that university has been renowned for going down to Florida and getting a bunch of fast guys. They’ve continued to do that. They have really fast guys on the perimeter. Their receivers can really run. Their running back is really good, the Crawford kid. Like him a lot.
“Will Grier, really talented player. No doubt why he was one of the best players in the country coming out of high school. I think he’s been Player of the Week a couple times already in the Big 12. He can spin it. Got different arm angles he can do it with. That (line coach) is as good of an offensive line coach as I’ve been around. They’re always going to run the ball well.”
The superlatives extended to the defensive side. While Kansas has struggled, allowing 45 and 42 points in consecutive losses to Group of Five foes Central Michigan and Ohio, WVU gave up just 36 total points in its two victories. That gives a dose of confidence to KU’s offense, which as shown it can throw effectively and has legit threats at wideout, tight end and quarterback. Beaty has done an excellent job with junior college transfers – QB Peyton Bender is an example – and is steadily building depth and a more talented roster.
It leaves an anticipated match-up between the Mountaineer defense, especially the secondary, and KU’s passing game. Thus far, the Jayhawks have six scores through the air, though Bender has thrown six interceptions and been sacked a Big 12-most eight times.
“Gibby is as good a coach as there is in the league when it comes to defending spread offense stuff,” said Beaty, who has lost 24 of 27 games as Kansas’ head coach. “He’ll always be a challenge to coach against, plus he’s got a lot of fast guys over there. A little bit of youth, new starters. They lost a bunch from last year. We obviously have a great challenge ahead of us. But there’s some match-ups that we like and we’ll have a great game plan put together.”
Among those is likely receiver Steven Sims against WVU’s corners, and Kansas’ defensive end Dorance Armstrong, Jr., the Big 12 preseason Defender of the Year, versus the tackles. The Jayhawks move Armstrong – the school’s first-ever preseason defender of the year – to various positions on the field to maximize his impact. With linebacker Joe Dineen racking up the stops with a team-best 38 already (seven for loss), KU has showcased itself well in the running game, but been gashed via the pass.
“It really continues to be about us,” said Beaty, who came to KU after a stint as wide receivers coach at Texas A&M. “It’s not as much about them because we certainly can’t control them. What we can control is us. We can control our development. We’ve got some obviously younger players in some positions, but our coaches are going to continue to coach ’em up and continue to develop them.
“One of the things we talked about going into this last week is we have to be technically better from week one to week two, then we certainly have to be technically better from week two to week three. You look at the breakdowns, schematics is not the issue. It comes down to technique and it comes down to each individual coach and player committing to making sure our commitment is good, and it will cut down on the number of errors we have. We can get that fixed. I think we have a chance to do some fun things down the road here.”