Army’s Jeff Monken may be heach coach that Kansas football needs

BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 13: Head coach Jeff Monken of the Army Black Knights calls a timeout during the second half of their 17-10 loss to the Navy Midshipmen at M&T Bank Stadium on December 13, 2014 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 13: Head coach Jeff Monken of the Army Black Knights calls a timeout during the second half of their 17-10 loss to the Navy Midshipmen at M&T Bank Stadium on December 13, 2014 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

The Kansas football program has long been in disarray and should be concluding the David Beaty era come December. However, their current status may not be in vain for too much longer.

The reality, following a 26-7 loss in their Big 12 opener against Baylor, is that the Kansas football program needs some immediate shifting.

Following a two-year tenure under Turner Gill (5-19 overall record) and three seasons with Charlie Weis, then Clint Bowen at the helm (7-29 combined record), the Jayhawks find themselves in need of a boost in program development. To this point, David Beaty’s tenure with Kansas has been dismal to say the least, with one or two pinches of hope sprinkled in.

After concluding this season’s non-conference schedule with a 2-1 record, Beaty had many Kansas die-hard’s believing that the program may be on the rise, despite his 5-34 record as the head coach of the Jayhawks.

The hopeful prayers of the Jayhawk faithful fell flat against Baylor on Saturday. The Kansas offense tallied 149 total passing yards from three different quarterbacks and a measly 122 rushing yards from star running backs Pooka Williams Jr., Khalil Herbert, Dom Williams, and others. Beaty’s “strength”, coming from the offensive powerhouse that was Johnny Manziel’s Texas A&M squad, has largely proven to be the biggest weakness for the Kansas football program.

I have discovered the solution: the triple-option.

“But, the Big 12 is a high-octane, spread offensive league.”

“The triple-option would never be able to keep up with the scoring of the Big 12.”

“What the heck is the triple-option?”

If you asked yourself any of these questions, you are certainly not alone. The benefit is that I am going to help explain why this offensive system would be successful in a pass-first conference. But, first things first – who would run this type of offense?

The best candidate to run this type of offense is someone who has grown through the coaching ranks in the triple-option system and went toe-to-toe with the Oklahoma Sooners, just this past weekend.

Army’s Jeff Monken was named as the 37th head coach of their program back in 2013 and holds an overall coaching record of 64-44 at the helm of Georgia Southern, in addition to the Black Knights. Monken, much like Gill in 2010, would come to Kansas with virtually no big-league experience on his resume, although leading the Army football program has been no simple task.

Kansas’ boosters and athletic department have tried all avenues by pushing for the “proven” commodity in Weis, the program “builder” in Gill, and the “recruiter” in Beaty. To say all of these tenures were failures would be valid, but the unfortunate part is that each coach had at least one strength and if any of them had improved in additional areas, the program may look a lot different today.

Arguably, Gill’s tenure with Kansas proved to be the most successful of the three, given his lone two years of service to the program. He took over a team that was low on scholarships and had a very low moral following the departure of Mark Mangino, one of the school’s most successful head coaches.

Some would argue that, had Gill been given the time that Beaty has been allotted, he may still be leading the program to this day. I would be one of those in favor of this idea and Kansas can, in a sense, right their wrongs by choosing Monken to right the ship out of the storm.

The truth is that, despite losing to Oklahoma in overtime and being a far less “talent-laden” team on paper, Monken’s squad was clearly the more disciplined and determined unit. This has been a large issue with Beaty’s teams over the past few seasons.

There is no hiding the fact that Kansas will not be able to out-recruit the rest of the Big 12, at least not for a while. But, where Kansas can compete will be in discipline and determination until the final whistle every week.

Monken’s offense gathered almost 340 rushing yards against the Sooners, led by quarterback Kelvin Hopkins Jr. (102 yards, one touchdown), running back Kell Walker (80 yards), and running back Darnell Woolfork (71 yards). This should be incredibly appealing to new athletic director Jeff Long.

With a roster that boasts the two Williams’ and Herbert, all of which have, at one time or another, been among the best rushers in the Big 12, Long should be hard pressed to consider the possibilities with Monken at the helm. And, in regards to opponents, the Big 12 is built to stop the pass. The conference has long been known for their pass-happy offenses and are not structured to stop a heavy rushing attack.

This is proven by Army’s ability to run the ball at-will against the Sooners. And, if not for two tipped passes at the line leading to interceptions, the Knights would have left Norman with a victory. It should be noted that current Kansas quarterback Miles Kendrick, who is a much better passer than current Army starter Hopkins, is a very talented runner and could be an ideal fit for the triple-option.

Regardless of where you stand on the triple-option offense, a change is on the horizon in Lawrence, Kansas and if I were AD Long, Monken would be my first call.