There’s not been much to criticize head coach Lance Leipold for thus far into his tenure at Kansas. He’s initiated a remarkable turnaround in such a short amount of time and has brought KU football back to relevancy – so much so that they are hosting a nationally televised broadcast (Fox’s Big Noon Kickoff) for the second straight year.
However, Leipold’s recent handling of Jalon Daniels’ back injury offers some cause for concern.
It’s well known by this point that the KU quarterback has been dealing with a back injury all season long. He sat out the first game against Missouri State because of it before returning in week two against Illinois.
Daniels then started two more games against Nevada and BYU before being a surprise, last-minute scratch nearly a month ago when the Jayhawks faced Texas in Austin.
Now here we are, nearly a month later, and Daniels still isn’t ready to play – and there have been no real answers as to why, nor do we have any details on the severity of his injury. Leipold just keeps saying things such as “he’s making progress” and giving other vague statements like he did when addressing the media on Monday.
Now it’s gotten to the point where Kansas fans are starting to show their frustration and question what’s really going on. Is he going to play again this season? Is he sitting out because he intends to transfer?
These are questions that are popping up more and more now and causing angst among the fanbase because Leipold has decided to keep fans in the dark.
Now, Leipold is a smart man, and there is certainly reasoning behind his decision to withhold the details of Daniels’ injury. But what could that possibly be at this point?
The thought of withholding Daniels’ availability week to week to keep defensive coordinators guessing no longer makes sense.
Backup quarterback Jason Bean has played in enough games now in Daniels’ absence over these past two seasons that there is plenty of tape on him to be studied by opposing defenses – almost as much as there is Daniels at this point.
And that mindset clearly didn’t work against Oklahoma State as the Cowboys pulled off the win in Stillwater two weeks ago and picked off Bean twice in the process.
Up until this situation, Leipold has been very transparent with Kansas fans about where he feels the team is at, what their strengths and weaknesses are, and the program as a whole.
But now, his decision to be coy about his star quarterback’s health is doing more harm than good to a Kansas fanbase that is simply looking for answers.