Rob Likens

AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

David Beaty taking more control of Kansas offense in 2016


Kansas head coach David Beaty is shaking things up on his staff this season by declaring he will take on the responsibility for calling offensive plays and coaching the quarterbacks. That essentially strips offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Rob Likens of any defined responsibility on the staff, although he remains a member of Beaty’s assistant coaching staff.

“Rob is still going to carry the same title,” Beaty said earlier this week, according to “But I’m gonna call the offense, and I’m gonna coach the quarterbacks this year. And that doesn’t have anything to do with Rob. It has to do with me. I want to be more actively involved with the QBs and what we do offensively.”

Beaty last called plays for an offense in 2011 as a co-offensive coordinator and receivers coach. He also called the shots at Rice as offensive coordinator in 2010. The last time Beaty coached quarterbacks was 2006 and 2007 as a passing game coordinator with Rice. With Beaty taking on the lead role of calling the offense, Likens will be used as an extra coach where needed despite holding the same title, officially.

“He’s a little bit more of a walk-around guy right now,” Beaty said. “It allows him to help me a little bit. Rob can go address some of the running-back stuff, some of the O-line stuff, and we get a chance to come back and make sure we’re really doing everything efficient.”

Kansas ranked 10th in the 10-team Big 12 in total offense with an average of 331.5 ypg (115th nationally). Kansas quarterbacks (led by freshman Ryan Willis with junior Montell Cozart appearing in five games) completed 53.8 percent of their passes with 12 touchdowns thrown and 14 intercepted passes. Part of the problem for Kansas was simply a lack of talent to produce much with the offense, but Beaty is looking to set a tone and that was never satisfied last season with the anemic Kansas offense. How much that will change in 2016 is probably minimal, but taking authoritative control just put more of the bulk of the responsibility on Beaty for better or worse.

It is also worth mentioning Willis is continuing to recover from an injured right wrist, which will leave more reps in spring for Cozart, Deondre Ford, Keaton Perry and Carter Stanley.

Kansas nabs Cal o-line coach Zach Yenser

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Slowly, Kansas is building a staff that understands how the air-raid offense works. Time will tell if the pieces being put together now will be able to turn things around at Kansas any time soon.

New head coach David Beaty set out to put together a staff ready to make things happen, and so far it seems he has been able to do just that. Cal passing game coordinator Rob Likens was named the new offensive coordinator at Kansas on Monday, and on Tuesday multiple reports say Kansas will add another coach off the Cal sideline. As reported by Jayhawk Slant, Cal offensive line coach Zach Yenser will assume an identical role on the Kansas staff and will be the run game coordinator.

For Kansas, the staff seems to be in place to start building an offensive identity that takes a page from successful air-raid styles of Texas Tech and Cal. Having two coaches who worked under Sonny Dykes is a bad way to go after the improved play of Cal’s offense this past season. It should take some time for Kansas to see those kinds of results, but the mentality and coaching is there.

“Rob has been a major player in some of the best offenses in the history of college football,” Beaty said of his new offensive coordinator in a statement Monday. “I have always been a fan of Rob’s ability to develop players who produce at a high level. Rob has learned from some of the best in the country and is as fine of an offensive mind as I have been around.”

There is plenty of work to do at Kansas. The Jayhawks ranked 118th in total offense and 86th in passing offense in 2014.