Jayhawks appreciate seeing KU football coach Lance Leipold’s fiery encounters with officials

Kansas coach Lance Leipold yells at an official as the team plays against Coastal Carolina during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Conway, S.C., Friday, Sept. 10, 2021. Coastal Carolina won 49-22. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond)

Kansas football coach Lance Leipold has had some fiery reactions to officials’ calls in Kansas’ first games of the season — and his players are taking notice.

Take Saturday’s game against Baylor, when starting quarterback Jason Bean got tripped up by a defender out of bounds. Leipold animatedly argued that a flag should’ve been thrown for a late hit. And Bean said that after the game, when he saw a video on Twitter of Leipold “getting after the refs,” he noticed a side of the coach that he hadn’t seen before.

“I was pretty fired up about it,” Bean said Wednesday, “because being around coach Leipold, he talks, but you don’t really ever see him get out of character like that. It’s exciting, seeing that your coach is going to have your back no matter what the situation is.”

Asked during his weekly press conference about his exchanges with the officials, Leipold said “that’s my role.”

“I know what I see and I’m pretty confident about it,” Leipold said.

Leipold is only three games into his time at KU (1-2 overall, 0-1 Big 12), but this is the former Wisconsin-Whitewater and Buffalo head coach’s 15th season leading a program.

He joked that “unfortunately,” showing his passion for the team and its players is how he goes about his business on game days.

“I probably feel like the cameras can find better things to focus on,” Leipold said with a grin.

It’s not just KU’s top quarterback who’s noticed it. Senior starting left tackle Earl Bostick Jr. said he’s been impressed by how Leipold has argued on his players’ behalf during the first three games of the season.

“He’s definitely a players’ coach, trying to stand up (for us). He knows what’s right and wrong and what should’ve been called,” Bostick said.

Leipold said he wouldn’t be able to just stand by and watch if he saw a bad call.

“When I know and see that a jersey’s being pulled, I feel pretty adamant about it, especially when it happened 5 feet in front of me,” the coach said.

What does that show KU’s players?

“He’s with us,” Bostick said.

Leipold said he already has heard that he was on the right side of some of the squabbles. He said the Big 12 office has let him know about missed calls after the fact.

“I get the reply that I was looking for — it’s just two or three days too late,” he said.

Leipold said that just as he has high expectations for his team, he also holds officials to a high standard. He said regardless of whether the scoreboard is in KU’s favor, his expectations are high for his players or “anyone that oversees the game,” and that goes along with the effort and strain he and his staff have preached since taking over the program a little more than four months ago.

“I’ve been that way for 15 years,” Leipold said. “I’m probably not changing.”


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