How Jason Bean can still help KU Jayhawks even if he’s not the starting quarterback

·2 min read
Charlie Riedel/AP

Jason Bean is confident he’s the fastest player on the Kansas football team. When asked last week who was the speediest, the redshirt senior quarterback answered with no hesitation.

“Me, without a doubt,” Bean said.

So even after Jayhawks coach Lance Leipold said he expects junior Jalon Daniels to start at quarterback at the start of fall camp, Bean’s speed and athleticism could still come into play in other ways.

Bean said he and offensive coordinator Andy Kotelnicki “haven’t really talked” about what his involvement with the offense could look like if he isn’t the starting quarterback.

But Kotelnicki, who followed Leipold to Kansas from Buffalo, continues to emphasize putting players’ talent first in his schemes. At Buffalo, he shifted from an offense that led the Mid-American Conference in passing in 2017 to one that led in rushing in 2019 and 2020.

“One of the things I think we do a really good job of is making sure that our best personnel is on the field wherever they are,” Kotelnicki said. “If we’ve got seven really good offensive linemen, we’ll have packages for them. If we’ve got five really good receivers, we’ll have packages for them.”

The advantage that comes with using Bean’s speed could come with the disadvantage of a potential injury and the loss of an experienced backup quarterback, however. Leipold and Kotelnicki know that situation well — last season, after Bean, the starter, and Miles Kendrick, the backup who is now at New Mexico, were hurt, Daniels was the next man up.

With seven games as a starter already under his belt, the third-string quarterback led the Jayhawks to their big win over Texas. This year, the backups, freshmen Ben Easters and Ethan Vasko, won’t have the same experience

“Ethan’s good,” Bean said. “He still has a long way to go, obviously. It’s his first couple months here. But I think he has the potential to be really good and, once again, I’m always here for him to help him to grow.”

Bean said he was always there for Daniels as well. Even after the transfer from North Texas couldn’t play last season due to an injury, Daniels said Bean supported him as he started and played well in the final three games of the season.

So no matter who wins the starting quarterback job or where Bean lines up on the field on Saturdays, the two close friends know there’s “no animosity between either of us,” Bean said.

“We’re very tight, especially outside of football,” Daniels said. “That type of stuff, we don’t worry about all that. Because at the end of the day, it’s not in our hands. It’s in the coaches’ hands.”