STILLWATER -- Oklahoma State's new offensive coordinator Kasey Dunn is an "old soul" and an old school coach. For instance, last December at the bowl practice in Houston Dunn was dressed in his normal practice attire consisting of sweat pants, a hoodie sweat pullover, and an OSU hat that looked like they were used in the 40s. No kidding, you can't age clothes like that on purpose. I think Dunn still wears the set of practice clothes that he received when he first showed up in the spring of 2011. I think he has worn them every day since. The players and yours truly were kidding Dunn that he would be uncomfortable. I told him he would have a new clothes itch for months.
Good thing is Dunn never got out of town and former Cowboys running backs coach Marcus Arroyo had to hire Glen Thomas to be his playcaller for the Rebels. Now, UNLV is shut down for this fall. Meanwhile Dunn is still putting some wear into his sweats and coaching his wide receivers and servinf as the offensive coordinator for Mike Gundy's treasure chest of an offensive playbook.
Make no mistake, Dunn is still coaching his receivers. He is still the master of the pre practice Juggs machine football catching drills. He is still hitting all that man up to test their hands on the Juggs machine with some friendly smack talk.
"It's stayed the same really, he's a great coach and knows what he is talking about. It's been awesome," senior receiver Dillon Stoner said on a Zoom call earlier this week.
Dunn was out there on Thursday directing the Oklahoma State offense in a helmet and shorts light workout that usually proceeds a scrimmage. Oklahoma State has only been in full pads once (Tuesday of this week) and they have not scrimmaged yet. Dunn said he is anxious and he pined that he would have loved to had those spring practice days lost to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"It is definitely challenging," Dunn said of his balancing his new and his old jobs at once. "I wish I had those 12 spring practices back. The players need it, but so do I. It is different when you're in this chair. It is different making those calls on the fly and we're working on that now, you know ot make sure that I'm ready to go. As much as I want them to be ready, I want myself to be ready for this."
Dunn was certainly ready last August in Corvallis, Ore. after the Cowboys came out for the start of the second half of the opening win over Oregon State. The press box elevator was stuck with the Cowboys staff, including offensive coordinator Sean Gleeson, in it. The Cowboys went on a 10-play 75-yard drive that finished with a two-yard touchdown run by Chuba Hubbard. Now there was a script worked on in the locker room, but Dunn also went off script and head coach Mike Gundy claims he wasn't aware of Gleeson's absence until after the Cowboys kicked the point after.
Dunn has been around to see several chapters added to the OSU offense including Monken's material and the array of RPO and other additions from Mike Yurcich. Dunn has added to it and will add even more, but the offense at Oklahoma State is a combined attack going back Mike Gundy's love or run game and play-action and the early influence of Larry Fedora spread and Dana Holgorsen air-raid concepts coming from Mike Leach and Hal Mumme.
"We're learning more about the ins and outs of things (in the offense) and not just our receiver job," added Stoner. "We're understanding the full play from the offensive line responsibility to the running back and it's been awesome. I think it has been really good for us as an offense and for us as a receiver corps."
I have complete confidence that Dunn will be just fine.
Special teams will be fine too. Tom Hutton is back to punt and I'm done predicting, but I think fans will be happy with the Aussie. They need to be because the new field goal and extra point kicker is another Aussie in Alex Hale, a red-shirt sophomore from Point Frederick, Australia. LD Brown, Braydon Johnson, and electric freshman Brennan Presley are potential kick-off returners. All three can bring the speed.
Meanwhile, the veteran Stoner had two 20-yard plus punt returns, a 25-yard return at Iowa State and a 22-yard return against Baylor. He averaged 8.6-yards a return which led the Big 12 in conference play only. He was 23rd in the nation in punt returns and he is being propped on preseason lists as the All-Big 12 punt returner.
"Obviously, that is a great award going into the season, but it doesn't mean anything unless you back it up," the fifth-year senior admitted. "The main job is securing the ball. I know when we call a return that my teammates are going to do their best to help me spring one loose."
Stoner is primed for some good returns and I'm predicting a kick-off or two will go back all the way this season.