Kansas, Kansas State players compare advantages/disadvantages of having new coach

photo by: Associated Press

FILE - At left, in a Nov. 18, 2018, file photo, University of Kansas new football coach Les Miles makes a statement during a news conference in Lawrence, Kan. At right, in a Dec. 12, 2018, file photo, Chris Klieman is introduced as the 35th Kansas State NCAA college football head coach, in Manhattan, Kan. Kansas and Kansas State both have new head coaches, and as Les Miles and Chris Klieman put the finishing touches on whirlwind recruiting classes, it is already clear that they will be butting heads for top recruits. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner, File)

New is always better. At least that is the mindset during the honeymoon phase, which both members of the Sunflower Showdown are currently in.

Kansas head coach Les Miles and Kansas State head coach Chris Klieman are both entering their first season with their respective program. It marks the first year since 1986 that both Kansas and Kansas State will have a new head football coach in the same season.

The Big 12 preseason poll suggests that it will be a tough first year for both, as the Jayhawks were listed 10th and the Wildcats were picked to finish ninth as voted on by the media. Yet, for both programs, most of the Big 12 Media Days was spent discussing the positive impact of having a new coach.

It makes sense that players and even fans choose to focus on the positive differences when a new coach takes over. But it is also worth mentioning that there are some downsides to making a coaching transition, especially for the veterans of both teams.

During Big 12 Media Days, which took place at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, I asked four players from each in-state school about the biggest advantage and biggest disadvantage to having a new coach. It was interesting to hear the different responses, so I decided to list the full quotes from all eight players.

Hakeem Adeniji, OL, Kansas

Biggest advantage: “I would say kind of a restart. Once you had a coach for awhile, there is certain players or people that have been there that may not listen to him as much. When there is a new guy, it is ‘Alright, we are going to listen to what you have to say.'”

Biggest disadvantage: “Unfamiliarity. Everything is new for all of us, so it can be harder for us veterans to help young guys out. We have to learn, it is a growing process.”

Khalil Herbert, RB, Kansas

Biggest advantage: “Learning new things, it brings in a new type of (lingo) and different type of schemes that you haven’t run before. Just learning new stuff.”

Biggest disadvantage: “If you are not able to pick it up quick. During the spring, I feel like they did a good job of teaching us things. We were able to pick it up and apply it on the field.”

Mike Lee, S, Kansas

Biggest advantage: “Just adjusting to the system that he runs. Different coaches have different schemes that they want to run. They have different expectations for their teams. Coach Les Miles’ expectations, he wants us to come together as a whole brotherhood and go into each week looking to dominate each opponent.”

Biggest disadvantage: “The loyalty. If your coach doesn’t have loyalty in you, I feel like he wouldn’t put you on the field. The loyalty that coach Les Miles has, I love his loyalty. He’s loyal to me, loyal to the team. I’m going to be loyal to him.”

Bryce Torneden, S, Kansas

Biggest advantage: “The element of surprise. Not a lot of people know what kind of schemes you are going to running, things like that.”

Biggest disadvantage: “This is the first coaching change that I have ever had, I don’t see it as a disadvantage. I see it as an advantage from our side.”

Trey Dishon, DT, Kansas State

Biggest advantage: “I would say, is having a little bit more say and ideas. Whether it is film, whether it has to do with the program, (or) things to help the players get better. I would say freedom and having a say. He’s going to listen to us, and take it into perspective.”

Biggest disadvantage: “This point in my career, I think the biggest disadvantage for me is it happening — I wouldn’t say the worst time because this has been a great thing — but just right before my senior season. I was a three-year starter for coach (Bill) Snyder, so I’ll be a redshirt senior this fall. Just having to adapt to a new scheme, new style of play and excelling at that just so I have hopes for a future.”

Wyatt Hubert, DE, Kansas State

Biggest advantage: “Just getting a fresh start on things. Obviously with a new coach, new program, that just resets everything. New playbook, new program, just new experience to how everything is ran. I think we have had a great first start to it all and a great first impression.”

Biggest disadvantage: “Just carrying on that team chemistry. Getting a new coach and a new program, that is something that can sometimes interfere with what was being built before. When I think of an example, I think of just the chemistry of an offense and a defense. Just knowing the playbook so well and then scratching that, learning a complete new one. That is obviously just a part of the game. KU is going through that same process, same with West Virginia and Texas Tech. It is a part of college football, and they are all going through the same thing.”

Dalton Schoen, WR, Kansas State

Biggest advantage: “I think it’s definitely all the energy that has come back into the program. I think a lot of guys were to the point where they were kind of dragging. Obviously we had a bad year, and people were down about that. I think it is a fresh start in a sense, just the amount of energy they brought into spring practice was huge. Building that personal relationship with coach Klieman has been incredible for me and a lot of guys on the team.”

Biggest disadvantage: “We have cleared it some as a team, but learning how they operate and how they run their practice. Obviously learning new offensive stuff, for me being a senior, I wasn’t super excited to learn a new offense. I haven’t had to study my playbook super hard since I was a freshman. To go, you have to review scripts, you have to go over plays and you have to do all this extra stuff. But I think it has made us better too, me especially. I couldn’t be like, ‘Oh, I know the plays.’ I had to go study, I had to go grind every single day. I think that helped. The only disadvantage is how we were in practice. It was a weird feeling, in that first practice, we were going through drills and I would be like, ‘I don’t even know if we are doing this right.’ We have already worked through all that, and we are comfortable with him now.”

Reggie Walker, DE, Kansas State

Biggest advantage: “The biggest advantage to having a new coach is basically you start fresh. That’s probably one of the biggest advantages, and the second is getting to know each other. That’s probably the biggest two advantages.”

Biggest disadvantage: “When you first come in, try to learn a new playbook. You just have to stick with it.”


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