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Oklahoma State Football

EXCLUSIVE: Mike Gundy Says He’s Pointing to Outside To Hire New Defensive Coordinator

January 14, 2022

STILLWATER – Oklahoma State fans want to know who their next defensive coordinator is going to be. Since Frank Broyles Award finalist, and universally lauded defensive genius, Jim Knowles left for Ohio State, Cowboys followers have been curious who head coach Mike Gundy would choose to head up a defense that has become one of the most feared in the Big 12 and college football. Gundy says he won’t hire Knowles replacement for another week to 10-days at the earliest, but he did give fans a nugget.

Bruce Waterfield/OSU Athletics
Defensive line coach Joe Bob Clements called the Fiesta Bowl on defense and you know he is deserving.

“I was considering up to a few days ago hiring (the defensive coordinator) from within. I’ve decided to hire outside now for a variety of reasons,” Gundy told me during a radio interview on Friday (Jan. 14). “We’ve had a couple of guys inside (the staff) that are deserving. The way it all panned out this year with what is going on that I needed to bring in an experienced play caller. I had to clear all that up and have those discussions with my defensive staff. People know the direction we are going now.”

The Oklahoma State coaching staff has been off for the most part since the win over Notre Dame in the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl. Director of recruiting Todd Bradford and his recruiting analyst staff, and certain coaches have been working on the candidates Oklahoma State has offered in the transfer portal including offensive linemen Mason Brooks, who visited last week and Michael Shanahan of Tennessee-Martin, who is finishing up an official visit.

Gundy is concerned with adding players from the portal and he is anxious to complete the staff, but he doesn’t want to hire a coach while the NFL coaching cycle is churning and then lose that coach.

“This has happened to me before where I hired a coach, maybe two weeks ago on the calendar and the NFL changes started and the Forty-Niners came in and hired him,” Gundy explained of a situation that happened about eight-years ago. “We had him signed up and here. It is a long process to get people hired and moved across the country. The NFL needs to run its’ course and that is going to be another six-to-eight days with hirings or you take a chance on getting a guy and then over the weekend the Texans call him and say, ‘you want to come down here and coach linebackers,’ and he leaves. That is not a good look in my opinion.”

Gundy said it could happen anyway and it could happen in February when there is some movement after the Super Bowl, but there is a better chance of it happening now especially since there are eight job openings (for head coaches). Also, more college coaches than ever are trying to go to the NFL because they don’t have to deal with the portal and NIL.

“I’m not talking about head coaches, but position coaches because they don’t want to deal with the transfer portal and NIL,” Gundy explained. “Todd Monken is ready to be an NFL head coach (Gundy brought up his friend and current Georgia OC). “Some NFL team should hire Todd as an NFL head coach. He is a perfect fit for an NFL head coach. He is highly intelligent and he knows offense and you saw what he did the other night. There are more college coaches now trying to go to the NFL.”

If college coaches are trying to go to the NFL then maybe a few NFL coaches might want to be back in college.

Now there are some very interesting candidates among the NFL coaches that now find themselves looking for work. Some of those coaches will end up rebounding into NFL jobs and could possibly stay at their same team depending on the head coach hire at NFL stops like the New York Giants, Chicago Bears, Minnesota Vikings, Jacksonville Jaguars, Denver Broncos, and Houston Texans.

Try these on for size:

Patrick Graham – was defensive coordinator New York Giants

Patrick Graham graduated from Yale.

Graham is an Ivy League grad from Yale that did some college coaching at Notre Dame and Richmond but has primarily been an NFL assistant coming up with Bill Belichick at the New England Patriots. Mike Gundy liked having an Ivy Leaguer at DC in Jim Knowles.

Jeremy Pruitt – was senior defensive analyst New York Giants

Yes, the former Tennessee head coach that has also been a defensive coordinator for Nick Saban at Alabama and was also a defensive coordinator at Florida State.

Bill Shuey – was outside linebackers coach Chicago Bears

Shuey is a Slippery Rock College guy and that bodes well as Gundy really hired a plum when he pulled Mike Yurcich from Slippery Rock.

Chris Rumph – was defensive line coach Chicago Bears

Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports
Rumph has a long and successful college resume’.

Rumph is a South Carolina grad that may be a college guy at heart. He was the co-defensive coordinator and outside linebackers coach for Jeremy Pruitt at Tennessee. Could they reunite? Rumph has been at Florida, Texas, Alabama, and Clemson. He was at Alabama with Saban.

Josh Boyer – was defensive coordinator Miami Dolphins

Boyer is the most out of the box suggestion here. He is a small college bred coach having played at Muskingham College in Ohio and was the defensive coordinator at South Dakota School of Mines and Technology when he was hired by Bill Belichick at New England and followed Brian Flores to Miami. Chances are Flores gets hired at one of the NFL vacancies and Boyer follows again. That is what Gundy is talking about in letting the NFL coaching waters calm.

Lovie Smith – was assistant head coach and defensive coordinator Houston Texans

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
The unmistakable gray beard of Lovie Smith.

Smith has been head coach of the Chicago Bears and a multiple defensive coordinator in the league and was head coach at Illinois. He is a University of Tulsa graduate and may want to get back to Oklahoma?

Karl Scott – was defensive backs coach Minnesota Vikings

Scott tutored Patrick Surtain II and Treyvon Diggs at Alabama for Nick Saban. He is a Houston native that has coached in the Big 12 at Texas Tech. He was the defensive coordinator at Louisiana-Lafayette before going to Alabama. He has experience coaching linebackers.

Roy Anderson – was defensive backs assistant Minnesota Vikings

Coached safeties and was a defensive analyst for current Baylor head coach Dave Aranda at LSU including the National Championship season. He was a four-year starting quarterback at Howard University in his college days.

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Yes, Charlie Strong.

Charlie Strong – was outside linebackers coach Jacksonville Jaguars

Yes, the former Texas head coach but also the former Florida defensive coordinator. Strong is a good defensive coach.

Gundy will check out Division I, and as we know from experience, Division II as well. Stay tuned the Cowboys head coach is working on it.

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