Kansas football head coach Lance Leipold shed some light on why senior quarterback Jason Bean didn’t get the call in last night’s loss to Kansas State.
Last night’s dispiriting Kansas football loss broke the hearts of hundreds of thousands of Jayhawks fans across the state. Lance Leipold and Co. were unable to take down their in-state rival as KU’s losing streak to the ‘Cats extended to 15 games.
Among other reasons, such as a handful of special teams blunders, KU made costly mistakes through the air. True freshman Cole Ballard tossed a pair of interceptions in the second half, and although his 11-of-16 passing line for 162 yards and one touchdown was impressive, most Jayhawk fans would agree that the offense would have been more balanced with Jason Bean under center.
Ballard took every snap at quarterback for Kansas football in his first career start. The speedy North Texas transfer had started seven of Kansas’ 10 games coming into the Sunflower Showdown, but he left the game in the first quarter in last week’s loss to Texas Tech after he suffered a head injury.
Head injuries in college football enter a grey area that nobody except the coaching staff really knows about. There is no official concussion protocol in place like the NFL has implemented. Instead, schools have trainers and medical professionals privately checking on them during the week to ensure they aren’t putting themselves in harm’s way for the upcoming contest.
Considering Bean has ultimately been KU’s QB1 and been the most reliable option for offensive coordinator Andy Kotelnicki in 2023, one might have assumed that his absence was due to his injury. But Lance Leipold set the record straight in his postgame press conference.
“He was available. He was cleared to play,” Leipold told the media. “But just based on practice time and things like that, we had made the decision that was going to be best to go with Cole and see how that was. He was available if something happened.”
Those words suggest that Bean didn’t play simply because he didn’t practice as much with the first team over the past few days. Adding in the ‘if something happened’ part means nothing because we’ve seen him do the same when talking about Jalon Daniels’ status.
Maybe he wasn’t looking himself in team drills, or there were lingering effects from his prior ailment. However, if this social media post by a passionate Jayhawk fan on X (formerly Twitter) was true, Bean did in fact expect to start for Kansas yesterday.
I’m not claiming to know the specifics about his injury. Nobody truly knows everything going on behind the scenes. But if Jason Bean was ready and willing to go out there to cement his name in Kansas football history on his Senior Day, the staff should have let him do it. He’s done more than enough to earn that privilege.