Kansas ended the nation’s longest losing streak to open the 2016 season, but the Jayhawks have since resumed their familiar struggles. As a result of those struggles, David Beaty has decided to make a change under center.
On his weekly radio show Monday, the KU head coach revealed that he has decided to bench starting quarterback Montell Cozart in favor of Ryan Willis. Beaty’s decision comes a few days after Cozart, the starter entering the season, completed 9-of-20 passes for 97 yards and an interception in a 36-point loss to Texas Tech Thursday night. In that same game, Willis went 14-26 for 142 yards, one touchdown and, most importantly, zero interceptions.
In his 53 pass attempts this season, Willis has thrown just one interception; Willis has been picked off four times in 90 attempts.
“[Willis] has shown some real progress for us, you know, from fall camp moving along, in terms of how he’s studying and the way he’s starting to understand. And I think his efficiency has been a little bit better for us, even though Montell’s produced for us,” Beaty said by way of the Lawrence Journal-World.
“The thing I love about those two guys is they are for each other, man. Those guys on the sideline are working hand in hand, and today when we talked to both those guys, neither one of them batted an eye, and they’re ready to go. I mean, they’re team guys. I know Ryan’s excited about it, and we’re looking forward to seeing him take advantage of the opportunity.”
Willis, who’ll make his first start of 2016 against TCU this Saturday, started eight games as a true freshman last season, while Cozart has started 15 over the past three-plus seasons. A redshirt junior, Cozart received a medical hardship waiver earlier this year after his 2015 season was shortened by injury and has a year of eligibility remaining after this season.