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Will Kansas hold on to Lance Leipold? Offensive explosion, 4-0 begin could have Jayhawks heading off suitors

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LAWRENCE, Kan. — Lance Leipold is aware of what’s coming. With each sport Kansas ‘coach wins, his attraction will increase and his horizons broaden. However first issues first.

One-third of the best way via the season, a red-hot coach of a red-hot program does not wish to lose his offensive coordinator. That is Andy Kotelnicki, a little-known 42-year-old whose schemes are behind one of the vital modern offenses within the nation.

“Do not write something about him,” Leipold pleaded following Saturday’s 35-27 win over beforehand unbeaten Duke. “He wants to remain proper right here. Do not give him some $2 million [coordinator’s] job.”

too late? Kansas is 4-0 for the primary time in 13 years, and there are a lot of causes past the nation’s fourth-highest scoring offense (tied with Tennessee, simply above Alabama).

Leipold is what they name a grinder, blend-in-the-woodwork developmental kind who has received in all places he is travelled. With three Energy 5 coaches already fired in September, that additionally makes him a fascinating candidate elsewhere in solely his second season at Kansas.

Leipold is one in all a number of coaches who’ve reignited their packages one-third of the best way via the season. You should not must be instructed Kansas has hovered round backside 25 lists for years. This system cycled via coaches like adjustments of garments. There was no continuity, even much less expertise.

Probably the most valued teaching capacity lately is turnaround capacity. Scott Frost did not have it at Nebraska. Neither did Geoff Collins at Georgia Tech. Arizona State treaded water below Herm Edwards. All three have been fired this month.

Leipold is that turnaround coach. Six Division III championships at Wisconsin-Whitewater received him the Buffalo job in 2015. In these six seasons, the Bulls performed for 2 MAC titles and received 10 video games in 2018 for the primary time.

“I actually would love a month’s value of simply specializing in our soccer staff,” Leipold stated late Saturday. “We have got to attempt to get this factor in good [shape].”

Leipold’s title has already been connected to the Nebraska opening. Extra might request the coach’s cellphone quantity within the coming weeks.

“We’re not going to take a seat idle,” Kansas athletic director Travis Goff stated. “We’re not going to take issues with no consideration. We will preserve constructing this factor. Principally, we’re not going to let another scenario dictate what’s greatest for the College of Kansas.”

Goff was not particular, however he understands what’s forward. An undefeated begin makes his coach a commodity and due to this fact a candidate for a increase and extension even when Nebraska by no means comes calling. Goff already prolonged Leipold for a 12 months earlier this month as a present of assist and method of restarting his authentic six-year contract.

It was going to take that lengthy to revive Kansas soccer. Leipold has sped up the timeline. Kansas shocked the world profitable at Texas final season. Whereas it was a 2-10 marketing campaign, it felt like progress. There have been 31 transfers added to the Jayhawks since Leipold arrived in April 2021.

The $3.5 million Leipold will earn within the last 12 months of his contract (2027) does not appear to be a excessive hurdle for an suitor.

Even getting illustration wasn’t thought of an pressing necessity. For years at Whitewater, he operated on a year-to-year contract. Leipold employed his present agent sight unseen. That was years in the past when Leipold decided his profession was changing into profitable sufficient to mandatory illustration.

“Some issues have been beginning to occur. We talked on the cellphone,” Leipold stated. “We had sufficient frequent hyperlinks. There was belief there.”

Issues simply received an entire lot extra difficult. Not between Leipold and his agent, Bryan Harlan, however between Leipold and a fawning school soccer world. The 58-year-old coach has completed loads, together with changing into the quickest in NCAA historical past to succeed in 100 wins. However little has he ready for being the unintended subsequent high mannequin of teaching.

Goff was a deputy AD at Northwestern when Harlan negotiated a 10-year deal for Pat Fitzgerald in January 2021. Nobody is saying Leipold is getting a 10-year contract simply but, however there’s a degree of consolation amongst all of the events at KU in maintaining him long run.

The chatter is definitely not going to die down. Former Kansas gamers flocked to city Saturday to witness the turnaround. Former record-setting working again Tony Sands was the primary to shake the coach’s hand at a non-public donor occasion following the sport. Sands held the NCAA single-game dashing report for eight years (391 yards), setting it in 1991 at KU. (Enjoying for Leipold in 2020, Buffalo’s Jaret Patterson reset the report — since surpassed — of 409 yards vs. Kent State.)

Leipold and Kotelnicki are usually not married to a single offensive philosophy. There are pistol ideas, however the ball appears to go in all places. Fourteen gamers have caught a cross and simply as many have scored.

Kansas is tied with Ohio State for many touchdowns scored this season (27). Quarterback Jalon Daniels threw 4 touchdowns in opposition to Duke, accounting for greater than 400 yards in complete offense. Simply as beneficial was backup RB Daniel Hishaw Jr. who contributed 61 yards in aid of injured starter Devin Neal.

Kansas Memorial Stadium was bought out for the primary time since 2009. That 12 months additionally was a cautionary story that might have time traveled to the current. These Jayhawks received their first 5 video games, misplaced their final seven and noticed coach Mark Mangino fired.

“If we give some issues away like this within the subsequent eight weeks in convention play, we ain’t going to win something,” Leipold stated. “We might be 4-8 and other people can be speaking about us being overconfident or I do not know what the hell I am doing.”

Iowa State involves city this week including to the teaching search intrigue. The Cyclones’ Matt Campbell is alleged to have an interest within the Nebraska opening.

Leipold himself has deep Nebraska roots. He treasures his time there as an analyst for Frank Solich and Nebraska and as an assistant at Division II Nebraska-Omaha. What he worries about are outdoors distractions that have been by no means round in Whitewater.

Nebraska is best resourced than Kansas and in a much bigger, richer convention, and … properly … what else do you must know? Requested in regards to the opening twice final week, Leipold stated he needs to see via what is popping out to be an incredible turnaround. Regardless of being on campus solely 18 months, Leipold has the Jayhawks on the cusp of being nationally ranked for the primary time in 13 years. (Kansas is already No. 23 within the CBS Sports activities 131.)

Nebraska certainty wants Leipold’s regular hand and developmental skills. At least Duke assistant Trooper Taylor — an SEC recruiting legend — went out of his option to congratulate Leipold on the win after the sport.

“This place has been ravenous for thus lengthy,” Leipold stated. “I used to be like, ‘We won’t [mess this up].'”

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