VTM: Last year it seemed that Clint Bowen was doing some really good things for KU. Hanging in with OSU, Tech, and TCU. Was it strange that after the progress he seemed to make that David Beaty was hired? Did you like the hire? And if so, do you still?
Rock Chalk: Clint Bowen was what the team needed last year, but I really think most of the improvement came from getting rid of Charlie Weis. Beaty gets me excited simply because he has all the right qualities you want in a young, first time coach looking to make a name for himself.
Bowen is a great cheerleader for the program, but I have serious reservations about his ability to lead an entire team. A large group of the fanbase didn't even want him back as the defensive coordinator, so it's really no surprise that he wasn't the automatic hire.
At the time, it was hard to make any sort of real judgement on the hire, since so little was known about Beaty and his ability to run the team. But he seems to have made all the right moves so far, and we really won't be able to evaluate the hire until he has had a few years to rebuild the program. I like the hire mainly because they are saying all the right things at this point in the rebuild. Hopefully they keep it up.
VTM: Unfortunately, some of the aerial shots of Memorial Stadium last week were less than flattering. How does Beaty sell the program to recruits who visit with that lack of support in the stands?
Rock Chalk: Selling this program isn't about the attendance right now or the ability to win a lot in the first year or so. While Charlie went about it all the wrong way, he was right to say that the team is a pile of crap. However, in this case it's not because the players are junk, but instead because of he completely destroyed any shred of the program that we did have. The sell here is that this next batch of recruits gets to build something, and their work will allow them to make a name for themselves as they can help see this team all the way back to respectability.
VTM: After losing to Iowa State, is there another game on the Kansas schedule where you say, "This is our best chance for a win"? If so, is it this week against Texas Tech? And to that end, if KU ends up going winless this year, how much time does Beaty get to turn the program around?
Rock Chalk: Honestly, before Saturday, I would have said that Texas would give us an opportunity. But honestly, we knew coming into the year that South Dakota State, Rutgers and Iowa State were probably the only three games that were really winnable for us all year. We came close in the first one, but I don't know that the team is going to be competitive the rest of the year.
VTM: With Ryan Willis getting his second start this week, how excited are Kansas fans about seeing a young QB grow in this system and what can we expect from him?
Rock Chalk: With the offensive (and I mean that in every sense of the word) line that we have, I don't know that I expect him to do much. The soft Texas Tech secondary should give him a chance to make some plays with his arm, but it's only a matter of time before the defensive line pushes through and locks him down for the rest of the game. However, I am excited to see someone who actually looks to have promise when the other pieces around him fall into place.
VTM: Who are some players Tech fans should keep an eye on this Saturday for KU?
Rock Chalk: Ke'aun Kinner comes to mind, but I'm going to have to go with Taylor Cox on this one. He filled in admirably last week, getting at least a little production when the offense couldn't do much else. If KU is going to have any chance at all this week, he will have to be a big part of the offense, even if Kinner goes crazy this week.
On the defense, I'm going to have to say Ben Goodman, only because he is the senior leader of the defense and he has to do good stuff at some point, right? Plus he is tied for the Big 12 lead for sacks on third down plays with 3. That's got to count for something.
VTM: What is your prediction for the game?
Rock Chalk: Absolute annihilation. The Texas Tech offense scores on every possession, only getting to third down once (on which Goodman gets a sack but the next play is a long TD strike), and the Kansas offense can't do anything except suck time away from the Red Raider offense. Kansas gets a couple pity scores in the second half when the 3rd stringers come in and lose 70-10.
VTM: And lastly, what is up with the Jayhawk logo on the helmets? I liked the old Jayhawk better, just saying.
Rock Chalk: I have no problem with using just the Jayhawk head, but the proportions look all wrong, like someone chopped off its head and then put it through a taffy puller. I agree that I liked using the full mascot a lot better.