Sports Opinion

Tom Keegan: Ryan Willis makes big splash for Virginia Tech

Ryan Willis left the Kansas football program taking far less confidence out of it than he brought into it. He was a beaten young man in need of a fresh start. So he went to a winning ACC football program that already had four scholarship quarterbacks on the roster and didn’t have room for a ...

Tom Keegan: Freshman David McCormack leads with ‘brute force’

University of Kansas freshman post player David McCormack obliged when asked for a self-scout. “I would say, I’m just kind of like a brute force,” McCormack said. “I’m a hard worker. I go after every rebound, every loose ball. I run the floor. I bring whatever I can to help the team ...

Tom Keegan: Carter Stanley KU’s QB best suited to facing Big 12 competition

Carter Stanley’s nameplate was on an empty table in the front of the Gridiron Room, where select Kansas football players do media interviews every Tuesday afternoon. The empty table reserved for Peyton Bender was tucked in the left corner of the room. Neither player ever showed, a sure sign ...

Tom Keegan: Gary Woodland’s confidence riding high

Gary Woodland finished the PGA Tour season ranked 29th on the money list with $3,108,907, 26th in the final FedEx Cup standings and is 40th in the Official World Golf Rankings. He’s done that well before, even better in 2011 when was 17th on the money list, but in many ways this felt like ...

Tom Keegan: Army’s near upset of Oklahoma a nice blueprint

Look for eight more Big 12 defenses to play Kansas the way Baylor did Saturday in scoring a 26-7 victory vs. the Jayhawks: Put eight men in the box, gang tackle Pooka Williams and trust that KU’s receivers won’t get open deep. So if the Kansas passing game can’t take the heat off of the ...

Tom Keegan: KU football better prepared for Baylor this time

Waco, Texas — Embracing the safe, logical path of predicting the favorite to defeat the visitor in Saturday’s 2:30 p.m. kickoff at McLane Stadium easily can be defended. For one thing, one of the loudest unwritten rules of predicting sporting contests advises to never pick against a long ...

Tom Keegan: Pooka as flexbone QB?

Counting sacks as negative rushing yards qualifies as one of the sillier statistical practices of college football. So, for the purpose of this exercise, let’s count sack yardage against the Kansas passing game, not against the rushing numbers. Given that adaptation, KU is averaging 5.57 ...

Tom Keegan: Run game brings out best in KU’s improving offensive line

In the opening week of the season, the Kansas offensive line looked exactly like what it was — a collection of strangers thrown together at the last minute. Multiple bad snaps and general lack of cohesiveness made it look as if the unit had gone backward, if anything, from last season’s ...

Tom Keegan: Pooka Williams a fast learner and runner

If you feel like you learn something new every day about Anthony Williams Jr., better known as Pooka, don’t consider yourself out of the loop. Even fourth-year Kansas football coach David Beaty forever picks up fresh material about the sensational running back. Beaty revealed after Kansas ...

Tom Keegan: Pooka Williams through the eyes of a Louisiana high school football fan

Hahnville, about 25 miles upriver from New Orleans, is in the region of Louisiana known as the River Parishes. Early in the 20th century, it was famous for being the 1891 birthplace of jazz trumpeter Thomas “Papa Mutt” Carey. Later in the century, it became known as a high school football ...

Tom Keegan: A comparison of KU’s 98 games under Mangino to the 98 since

It took the 98th game of the post-Mark Mangino era for something to happen to make an awakening from a prolonged slump for the Kansas football program feel even possible. Freshman Pooka Williams Jr., the speedy running back from Louisiana, made such an amazing debut Saturday in Mount Pleasant, ...

Tom Keegan: Mike Lee early key to Kansas recruiting in Louisiana

No matter how great a new product looks on paper, it’s going to be tough to sell unless the salesman has that first satisfied customer to stand as proof of concept. For the Kansas football program's Louisiana recruiting plan, junior safety Mike Lee represents proof of concept. Associate head ...

Tom Keegan: Pooka Williams worth price of admission

Mount Pleasant, Mich. — Debuting Kansas freshman running back Anthony “Pooka” Williams killed more than a nine-year road losing streak late Saturday afternoon, so far from his hometown of Marrero, La. He also, at the very least, put on hold the apathy of a football fan base that had ...

Tom Keegan: KU football’s nightmarish road losing streak ends at 46

Mount Pleasant, Mich. — In sports, long streaks of futility tend to end on a fluke play. Many a hitter has broken his batting slump with a swinging bunt single. A tipped ball that leads to an interception returned for a touchdown or a blocked punt is how football teams are supposed to score ...

Tom Keegan: Kwamie Lassiter II returns punts, name for KU football

Jon Kirby, who covers Kansas football for Rivals, said hello to Kansas punt returner Kwamie Lassiter II and told him he remembered watching his father play for KU as a defensive back. “He’d hit you,” Kirby said. Responded Lassiter II: “He said he was a hard hitter. I believe ...

Tom Keegan: KU AD Jeff Long responds to questions on reeling football program

A pair of curious substitutions that took starting quarterback Peyton Bender out of the game, as well as ill-timed timeouts, repeated troubles with the snap from center, a drop in the end zone by the team’s best receiver, Steven Sims Jr., and several other tough moments during Saturday’s ...

Tom Keegan: David Beaty followed wrong recruiting blueprint

As the sun was setting on his tenure as University of Kansas head football coach, David Beaty was talking about the next morning’s sunrise. Somehow, that seemed fitting. For the record, the sun is still in the process of setting on the coach’s run as head of the KU program and hasn’t put ...

Tom Keegan: KU’s curious QB shuffle not the recipe for building swagger

Try to slide into Peyton Bender’s shoulder pads and wonder what the past couple of weeks must have done to his chances of developing the swagger any team’s starting quarterback needs. Coach David Beaty announces you as starting quarterback and, a week later, says you have “done a ...

Joe Dineen tops ratings in 26-23 loss to Nicholls State

1 - Joe Dineen: Had 12 solo tackles, several in big spots, and four assists. Was flagged for a face-masking penalty early in Nicholls drive that resulted in the field goal that sent the game into overtime, one blemish on an otherwise impressive night. 2 - Stephon Robinson: Blocked a punt ...