There's no telling what the future holds for Kansas University interim head football coach Tom Hayes, but he certainly shouldn't have any trouble finding work as a secondary coach.
"I told a couple of our defensive backs, 'You put both hands up, it works,'" Hayes quipped after snaring an errant pass on the sideline during the Jayhawks' 27-14 season-ending victory over Wyoming on Saturday at Memorial Stadium.
But seriously, folks
Hayes, who has been a secondary coach at every level from Coe (Iowa) College in 1972 to the Washington Redskins from 1995-2000, has set his sights a little higher.
Ideally, he'd loved to have the "interim" removed from his title by KU athletics director Al Bohl. Hayes has been interim coach since he replaced Terry Allen three weeks ago.
But he knows he's going to have to bide his time like everyone else.
"There's a process going on everybody knows about the process and I'm part of the process ... hopefully," said Hayes, who went 1-2 as the head man under less-than-ideal circumstances. "We'll see where it goes. I'm not going to get involved in that right now. It's not the time. I want to talk about these players and what they did (Saturday)."
One thing the players did was campaign for their coach.
"He's a competitive man. He wants the best out of you," junior linebacker Leo Etienne said. "It doesn't matter what he says to you or how he treats you out on the practice field or in the meeting room, he wants the best out of you.
"When all is said and done and it's over with, he has a lot of respect for you because you respected him."
With or without Hayes at the helm, Etienne is one of several KU starters returning next year. The Jayhawks lose just three offensive players wide receiver Termaine Fulton, left guard Bob Smith and right tackle Justin Hartwig who started Saturday's game.
Despite persistent rumors to the contrary, red-shirt freshman quarterback Mario Kinsey vowed he'd be back next season.
"I made the guarantee awhile ago that I would be back next year," Kinsey said. "I'm happy here. There's no problems."
He's not the only one who'll be back. There are 25 offensive players returning out of the 31 listed on the depth chart and 17 of the 27 on defense.
Granted, that's a lot of players back from a team that won just three games, but those wins did come against the toughest schedule in the nation, according to the NCAA.
"When you get on a losing roll like we were six in a row or whatever it was it's no fun," Hayes said. "You work like crazy all week long and the reward is going out and winning football games. It doesn't matter if you went out and played well. That doesn't make me feel good. I want our guys to play well, true, but the ultimate experience in college football is winning.
"(Saturday) they won and they enjoyed themselves. You know what? They enjoyed themselves from the very first play to the very last play and on the sideline it was fun watching them. I'm proud of them."
Saturday's win could help the Jayhawks get through the uncertainty of the upcoming months.
"I think you're going to be working a little harder now in the offseason," freshman linebacker Banks Floodman said. "You're definitely going to be thinking, 'We won that last game. That just shows what our potential is.' We've just got to get in the weight room and I think that's going to be a positive overall. It definitely will."