DALLAS -- Kansas will open its season against an FCS opponent for the eighth straight year. And this year, it's not just any FCS foe -- it’s Rhode Island, which finished 1-10 last season and has lost 25 of its past 27 games.
So Jayhawks second-year coach David Beaty is not holding back.
“We are completely and totally focused on the most important game in the history of our program,” Beaty said, “which is the next one: Rhode Island. I don’t even know who we play [after the Rams]. I don’t care.”
For the record, the Jayhawks will host Ohio in Week 2. But Beaty’s point is understood. Kansas has lost 15 straight and went 0-12 in Beaty’s first year -- the second winless season in program history.
"The Jayhawk Nation deserves better than what we were able to give them and what they’ve gotten in the recent past," Beaty said Monday at Big 12 media days. “It pains me for that.
"Our deal now is we’ve got to win games. That’s why we’re here. We have to win football games."
Kansas emphasized “foundation work” in 2015. Beaty said the Jayhawks likely could have managed a win or two if they had veered from some of their philosophies.
But it “wouldn’t have been worth it,” Beaty said.
The coach brought linebacker Joe Dineen and safety Fish Smithson -- both of whom have earned second-team All-Big 12 honors -- to Dallas this week. Senior quarterback Montell Cozart also made the trip despite losing his job to Ryan Willis after an injury last season.
Willis threw for a KU-freshman-record 1,719 yards in 2015, but he missed spring practice with a wrist injury. The quarterback race is far from settled in Lawrence.
“The competition is going to go into fall camp,” Beaty said. “As soon as I decide what I need to see to know the clear divider -- and there will be a clear divider -- we’ll make the decision.
“We would like for it to be quick, but we don’t always get what we want.”