The tape doesn’t lie and Kansas head coach David Beaty likes what he saw from freshman quarterback Ryan Willis last week. With that, he’ll get his second career start Saturday, when Kansas hosts Texas Tech at Memorial Stadium.
Willis’ numbers didn’t wow anybody in last week’s 66-7 loss to Baylor, but it was the little things, the glimpses of what could be down the road, most notably, the scoring drive he engineered, which he capped off with a scoring strike to fellow freshman Steven Sims.
“I'll tell you, once again, I go back to I like his demeanor. I like how he handled the moment,” Beaty said “I like how he made a mistake, and he didn't let it rattle him. He came right back and was able to continue to look forward and didn't let one bad play turn into two or three down the road, which was good.”
“I thought, after the initial drive of the game, where we scored -- you know, we scored on that first drive, but early, I thought after he settled down, he started really seeing the field well and understanding where to start and go with the ball,” Beaty continued. “Once he did that, he kind of caught a little bit of a rhythm there, which was good.”
The Baylor defense and huge talent and experience advantage made things difficult on Willis, but it’s Beaty’s hope that some of what he showed can grow in his second start and then blossom in the months and years to come. If even made him recall someone who once play the position pretty well at Kansas.
“I thought, when he got into the open field and scrambled, the guy showed some poise and found open receivers down the field, which is something you knew he could do, but you just don't know until you get him out there in significant minutes to see it,” Beaty said. “He did some good things as a first game starter. I think he was the first true freshman starter here to throw a touchdown since Todd Reesing. That's a big deal. That's something we talk to him about and high five him and say that's a big deal. That's hard to do in college football.”