Some may think Kansas’ narrow loss to TCU last week some sort of moral victory instead of the 34-30 defeat that the Jayhawks suffered, but don’t say that to interim coach Clint Bowen. While, his team came a couple of breaks from shocking the college football world, the word “victory” shouldn’t be uttered.
Moving forward starting with this week’s matchup at Oklahoma, close losses will only go down as that. To Bowen, the expectation must be and will be higher. The TCU game was nothing more than what it was.
“Yeah, the bottom line is that we lost the game, and that has to be the story is that we lost,” Bowen said. “A loss is never acceptable, and that's not what you go to do. We have talked about that our expectations are that we're Big 12 football players playing in the Big 12 Conference, and when you step on the field, you expect to win. You do everything possible in your power to win.”
However, while some people are shocked at the Jayhawks performance last week and perhaps overall under Bowen, the coaches and team will not be among those who share that sentiment.
Despite being 3-7 and 1-5 since Bowen replaced the fired Charlie Weis, progress is as clear as day. Under Bowen, Kansas is 5-1 against the spread and the players practice and play as if they are on a mission. Their confidence has grown week by week and against TCU, border lined on swagger. It’s as if they are starting to finally believe in themselves and each other.
“I think the confidence comes on a couple different fronts. One, I think it provides confidence in that they know now that if they show up and work during the course of the week and they prepare that they have confidence in the system and the way that things operate and what we're doing to get them ready for games,” Bowen said.
“You know, it's confidence in what we're telling them, if they carry it out, we'll have results on the field, and I think there is also confidence that they lined up against a team that quite frankly everyone thought that was going to kind of steamroll them over, and I don't think our players felt that way, but that's the outside perception, and let's call it, TCU is a good team, and I think it proved at a lot of different positions, our guys held their own, made plays against that type of competition, so I think it does validate a lot of things that we've been telling them, that hey, you guys belong here. You're recruited here to Kansas for a reason, and you're right where you belong and this is what you're supposed to be doing.”