KU’s Leipold speaks about possible distractions: ‘We have no plans of going anywhere’

Gary Bedore/KC Star file photo/gbedore@kcstar.com

Kansas football coach Lance Leipold says he’s spoken to his team about ESPN’s GameDay crew coming to town for Saturday’s 11 a.m. Big 12 battle between No. 19-ranked Kansas and No. 17 TCU.

He hasn’t however, discussed the fact his name has been linked to two other college coaching jobs — Nebraska, which fired coach Scott Frost on Sept. 11, and Wisconsin, which dismissed coach Paul Chryst on Sunday.

Both topics could conceivably be potential distractions for the Jayhawks, who are off to a 5-0 start (2-0 Big 12). TCU is 4-0 (1-0).

“We tried to talk (to the players) a little bit yesterday (about) GameDay,” Leipold said Tuesday at his weekly news conference, “because their hard work made this happen. I don’t want that to be taken away from them

“There’s a reason over 3 million people probably will be watching (the morning GameDay show preceding kickoff), because that’s how many watch that. That’s really neat. That part I want them to embrace. We also have to know when the ball is kicked off, we have to play at a level that earned that opportunity. And hopefully we’ll get another opportunity.”

But about his name relative to coaching vacancies elsewhere? No, Leipold said he has not discussed that with his team.

“Anything after that to me is wasted time with our team because we’re focused on this (opportunity Saturday),” the coach said. “I’m focused on this. We’re extremely happy here. We have no plans of going anywhere and anything (job talk) like that is just … when some of these things that have happened, we’re in the film room doing other stuff. I don’t even know what’s going on. I didn’t even know some of the stuff was going on Sunday until later in the evening.

“All of a sudden I got all these text messages. I have no idea (about what’s going on with those teams that have openings).”

Asked to comment in general about schools’ athletic directors firing coaches this early in the season, Leipold said: “Paul Chryst is a friend, if that’s what you are asking. I’ve known Paul since … I knew his late father (George). He tried to recruit me to Wisconsin-Platteville.”

Leipold played quarterback at Wisconsin-Whitewater.

“Good family. Good man,” Leipold said of Chryst. “It’s just unfortunate with guys who average nine wins a year get let go. That’s part, I guess, of what we signed up for these days.

“It’s a changing world in a lot of different ways. That’s unfortunate. It’s unfortunate for the locker room. I think we lose that as well. There’s a lot of components, and I’m not questioning anyone’s decision, because there’s a lot of factors go in these (situations) that none of us really know. That’s me as a person and a fan (speaking), not as a coach.”