LAWRENCE — Brent Dearmon isn’t looking to reinvent the wheel, at least not this season.
That said, Kansas football’s new offensive coordinator has already brought something to the table that Jayhawk senior quarterback Carter Stanley believes will be noticeable from the get-go, beginning with the team’s 6 p.m. Saturday contest at No. 15 Texas.
“Tempo, yeah. I’d say tempo for sure,” Stanley said Monday. “Just throughout practice, just moving around, always running on and off the field, every position. Yeah, just the pace.”
Dearmon, who replaced fired former offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Les Koenning in those roles on Sept. 6, oversaw the Jayhawks’ subsequent bye week. Previous stops for the 34-year-old included Auburn (analyst), Arkansas Tech (offensive coordinator) and Bethel University (head coach), the latter a one-year stint where Dearmon guided his Tennessee alma mater to the nation’s most productive scoring offense at any level (55 points per game).
KU hired Dearmon as a senior offensive consultant in January.
“I thought the initial hire (Koenning) was the best hire, OK, and I felt like that there needed to be change, and I think Les did a strong job. I think he worked hard,” said KU head coach Les Miles. "We just needed a change, and change philosophically as I saw it.
“Again, I think Les is a quality man, did a great job for us. It's time for us to look at Dearmon.”
KU (2-4, 0-3 Big 12) ranks 95th nationally in both scoring offense (22.6 points per game) and average yards (356.6).
Like Dearmon last week, Miles cautioned fans against expecting immediate wholesale changes.
“I think there are some similarities and some dissimilarities. I don't know if they'll find it unusually different,” Miles said. “I think it'll look hopefully more successful.”
Stanley, who has started every game this season, said it’s “tough to tell” what realistic expectations are for the Dearmon-led offense in the abbreviated Year 1, though like Miles, he’s hopeful.
“We’re going to go out there and do our absolute best,” Stanley said. “(Dearmon) hasn’t had a whole offseason to install what he truly wants to have. I’m excited for the guys next year that are going to be here and get to run under that. But no, I think what we have in for this week and the rest of the season will be really good and really effective. As players we just have to execute.”
Stanley said the team ran 11-on-11 drills Tuesday and Wednesday and an effective “mini-scrimmage” Thursday, which helped acclimate running back Pooka Williams, wide receiver Andrew Parchment and other offensive players to what Stanley described as Dearmon’s fast-paced, often off-the-cuff play-calling style.
“I think everyone realizes there’s just going to be more production,” Stanley said. “The potential for us to run tempo just creates more plays and more opportunities to make plays.”
The 6-foot-2, 198-pound signal-caller is also looking forward to the increased freedom and decision-making responsibilities given to quarterbacks in a run-pass option offense. It’s a luxury that should benefit all Jayhawk skill position players, assuming Stanley makes the right reads.
Stanley indicated he’s looking forward to that challenge.
“The way I would put it, it’s like drawing and dumping in basketball,” Stanley said. “I almost kind of feel like a point guard at times — ‘Going based off a defender, I’m putting the ball here or here.’ It feels like you can’t really be wrong, which is a really good feeling.”
More than anything, Stanley said he’s gained an appreciation for Dearmon’s intelligence, an attribute that shows itself in a multitude of ways.
“It’s film room. It’s reaction-based stuff,” Stanley said. “Something will happen maybe unexpected and on the fly he’ll adjust to it. He doesn’t necessarily go off a script. He just will call plays based off, again, reaction and situation. ...
“He’s been waiting on a moment like this for a while, you can tell. I think he’s extremely deserving with how dedicated he is, how much he loves the sport. I couldn’t be more happy for him.”