Monday, September 29, 2014

Kansas Jayhawks Football: Is Clint Bowen Even the Answer Right Now?

"No where to go but.... that way."
Who fires a head football coach when they’re 2-2? The Kansas Jayhawks, that’s who. Charlie Weis was 2-2 when he was canned on Sunday, just one win away from tying the most win’s KU’s had in a season in about five years. Of course, against actual opponents this season (aka, teams you’ve heard of and would like to beat) he was 0-2 and got outscored 64-3. And 6-22 overall. And 1-18 in conference. But seriously, is a new coach going to do any better than Charlie would have the rest of the season? Whatever the final straw was, it’s got to be more than Charlie taking advantage of the “eat free” clause in his contract (I know, fat jokes are mean). Perhaps not staying awake was a factor?

Either way, not holding my breath for interim coach and defensive coordinator Clint Bowen. Admittedly, he is the kind of guy KU should hire “permanently,” and that's in quotes because neither of KU’s last two “permanent” head coaches- Weis and Turner Gill- lasted three full seasons. Anyway, Bowen is young, excited, eager to make his mark, fiercely dedicated to the program. He’s a Lawrence native and a former KU linebacker who graduated in 1995. Even told his wife on one of their first dates that he would be KU’s head football coach someday (and she still married the guy).

But interim coaches go two ways: they’re even worse the guy that got fired and the team sinks further into the depths, or they provide a bolt of energy that can sometimes lead to a resurgence. Occasionally the interim coach then gets hired “permanently.” The case that springs to mind for me is another former linebacker who was named interim head coach, Mike Singletary and the San Francisco 49ers. After Mike Nolan was fired midway through 2008, Singletary got promoted and the team promptly spiked upwards, going 5-4 to end the season. Even though Singletary had never been head coach or even a coordinator at any level- he was the 49ers linebackers coach at the time of Nolan’s firing- he was nevertheless given the head coaching job at the end of the season on the basis of those nine games.

The 49ers finished 8-8 his only full season as head man, their best record in years, but Singletary had neither the temper or the organizational qualities necessary to be a head coach. As a position coach you can be rough on your players all the time, because the friendly guiding hand will be their coordinator or the head coach. As a tyrant, that approach works only as long as you are successful. When SF started 0-5 his second full year as head man, his fate was sealed. So it’d be cool if Bowen was the next Singletary, but only to a certain point.

After Charlie Weis’s casual attitude, at least in public, KU football certainly needs a jolt. The short-term solution is a Kansas graduate who said in his opening press conference that KU football is a “destination job” and a “sleeping giant of a football program.”

Hey, somebody’s got to believe it in order to get it started on the road to reality. Might as well be him.

If KU wanted a Bowen that would make everyone take notice...
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