As candidate to become KU football’s permanent head coach, Emmett Jones plans to be himself

photo by: Nick Krug

Kansas receivers coach Emmett Jones slaps hands with players at the start of practice on Thursday, Aug. 8, 2019.

As University of Kansas Athletic Director Travis Goff ascertains which coaches across the country are interested in the KU football vacancy, the man currently running the program, interim head coach Emmett Jones, is thrilled to be a contender for the position.

“Just being a candidate, I’m just blessed to be in this situation,” Jones said Saturday during his video press conference, while speaking to reporters for the first time since Goff on Thursday revealed his plans for a national search.

Goff informed Jones he would be among the prospective hires during the process. Now in his third year as KU’s receivers coach, Jones said to ultimately secure the permanent job, he only needs to be himself.

“I don’t need to get out of character. I just need to be Emmett Jones. Continue to be who I was as far as how I got here,” said Jones, who also serves as KU’s passing game coordinator. “That won’t change. I won’t make up anything. I just speak the truth. I’m not worried about that at all, just continue to control what I can control and be myself.”

Given the timing of KU’s football coaching vacancy and Goff’s search, with the Jayhawks in the midst of spring practices, some may consider what Jones is doing day to day right now as an extended job interview or audition.

However, Jones said he doesn’t take that into consideration.

“I just think about getting better every day at practice, getting better every day in the classroom with the players,” Jones said, reiterating comments from earlier in the spring about his desire to focus on the current objective of improving the team. “It’s just one day at a time — same mindset with the rest of the coaches, same mindset with the players.”

A frequent visitor to KU football practices since becoming the AD fewer than two weeks ago, Goff addressed the players following Thursday’s session and shared with them his plan to embark on a national search.

Senior quarterback Miles Kendrick said Saturday morale among the players remains high, even as the future leadership of the program remains undetermined.

“We’re focused on one thing, and that’s falling in love with the process of getting better each and every day. Enjoying it and taking advantage of it each and every day,” Kendrick said. “Last year we didn’t have the privilege, we didn’t have the opportunity to have spring ball. So I think this year we’re really just thankful.”

If Goff ultimately decides to make an outside hire as Les Miles’ replacement, that coach would most likely want to bring in a new staff, too.

Jones was asked Saturday whether Goff shared with him any plan for Jones’ future. Potentially, if Goff wanted to, he could keep Jones around in the same role or give him some type of promotion under the new head coach.

“I don’t even seek those type of conversations with him,” Jones said. “I’m so locked in on the program, that’s the last thing I think about. I’m just staying the course.”

Goff said during his introductory press conference earlier this month that he wanted to “listen, learn, absorb” and “understand where we’re at with this football program.”

According to Jones, the new AD has done exactly that.

“To be honest with you, we like him around. That’s what we want with our top, number one leader. We want our number one leader around us, supporting us,” Jones said. “He’s taking the best approach. I think that’s the right way to handle that. Especially when you’re trying to improve things, you want to be better.”


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