Big 12 coaches give their unfiltered thoughts on Kansas football heading into 2022

Every year, Athlon Sports speaks with college football coaches on an anonymous basis to get a blunt look at different programs. This season is no different, as the publication spoke to coaches in the Big 12 about each opposing team. As a result, the publication got some unfiltered thoughts on Lance Leipold and KU football as the 2022 season approaches.

In Leipold’s first season as head coach, KU went 2-10. The Jayhawks opened the season with a win over South Dakota. KU subsequently endured an eight game losing streak that involved multiple blowouts. But the Jayhawks rebounded and knocked off Texas on the road. KU then finished the season strong. Although the Jayhawks lost both games, they were very competitive in both contests.

One coach raved about the job the KU staff did during its first 12 months in Lawrence, despite the record.

“This was one of the best coaching jobs in college football last year,” coach number one said. “Think about it — the guy shows up at that program after spring practice, then you get the back leaving, the receivers leaving, and then fast-forward a few months and they’re beating Texas. It’s incredible.”

The coach is referring to the transfer portal departures of wide receivers Andrew Parchment other Stephen Robinson once the coaching change was made. Additionally, Velton Gardner entered the transfer portal after the first weeks of the season.

KU was 1-8 going into the Texas game and ground out a victory in a shootout game.

Even with the win and strong offseason, two opposing coaches see KU in a building phase.

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“They’re still in a long-term rebuild; you see that on the defensive side,” coach number two said. “The defensive line was bad, and they couldn’t do anything about it. Just a personnel issue. They’ ve been aggressive in the portal, and they’ve been able to plug some Buffalo guys in, but that speaks to how bad the situation was before he got there.”

“It’s way too early still, honestly, but I think that staff is doing a better job than the previous one,” coach number four said. “Eventually, they’ll have to solve their recruiting problems and start finding a way to connect to four-year talent at the high school level, but they’re at least another season away from not relying on the portal.”

Last season, KU’s defense was the worst in the conference. KU gave up an average of 487.2 yards per game and an average of 42.2 points per game, which ranked at the bottom of the conference. KU’s run defense was the worst in the conference, allowing 250.3 rushing yards per game and an average of 6.1 yards per carry.

On the recruiting front, KU hit the transfer portal and junior college ranks hard, landing 19 players from those two avenues. KU only brought in six high school prospects in 2022 and the staff has eight high school players committed in the class of 2023, which is the fewest of any Big 12 team.

Finally, an opposing coach sees Daniels as someone KU fans should be excited to watch.

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“If you’re looking for a bright spot, I think it’s the QB,” coach number three said. “The quarterback play got better as the season went on. [Jalon] Daniels is really raw, but he was creating sparks. When you’re in a situation like Kansas, you’re looking for the rally point, the way to make guys believe. He can do that because he had the offense in a better state after a few games. They’re bringing in some transfer backs behind him that will probably start right away.”

At the start of the preseason camp, Leipold said he expected Jalon Daniels to be the starter. Over the final three games of last season — which were all starts for Daniels — he completed 70.5 percent of his passes for 706 yards, six touchdowns and three interceptions.

KU will start year two of the Lance Leipold era against FCS program Tennessee Tech. The game will kick off at 7 pm CT on Friday, Sept. 2 and will be televised on ESPN+. The Golden Eagles are coming off a 3-11 campaign last season. The program only played one Power Five team last season in Tennessee and lost 56-0.

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