AUSTIN (KXAN) — There’s no question in Tom Herman’s mind that, despite being fired after four seasons, outgoing Kansas head coach David Beaty has drastically improved the Jayhawks.
“I would say that they’ve made a ton of progress since coach Beaty took over,” Herman said. “You can certainly see that on the field. They’ve been in pretty much every game that they’ve played.”
Perhaps the biggest difference in Beaty’s tenure is the talent level in Lawrence. This year, KU has one of the Big 12’s best running backs in true freshman Pooka Williams.
“Offensively, they’re running the football.,” Herman said. “Obviously, Pooka Williams is one of the best players in the league.”
At 102.2 yards per game, he joins Kansas State’s Alex Barnes as the only two running backs to average over 100 yards per game. In KU’s last game, Williams ran for 252 yards and two touchdowns against Oklahoma.
“He’s a nice back, and he’s just gonna fight for whatever it is,” senior defensive lineman Chris Nelson said. “He could be surrounded and break out the whole other way.”
On defense, Kansas can best be described as opportunistic. It has 25 this season, which is tied for sixth most in the country, and its +15 turnover margin is tied for third best in the country.
Individually, senior linebacker Joe Dineen Jr. leads the entire country with 97 solo tackles.
“They’re nobody to take lightly,” senior tight end Andrew Beck said. “They have a lot of really good players, and they’ve got very veteran group. Especially on defense.”
So players with that kind of productivity combined with senior day festivities and Beaty’s last game as head coach and Beck expects the Longhorns to be fully locked in.
“With the situation surrounding that program right now, they’re gonna be playing hard,” Beck said. “We know that going into it, so if there’s any more reason for us to get pumped up for this game, that’s definitely one of them.”