The Latest on Coaching Staff Stablility and Possible Moves at Oklahoma State
STILLWATER -- As of right now, there is only one move for certain with Mike Gundy's Oklahoma State football coaching staff and that is Kasey Dunn leaving for UNLV to become the new offensive coordinator for new Rebels head coach and former Oklahoma State running backs coach Marcus Arroyo. Maybe just one, right now, but as we detailed when it first happened, it is a big loss for Gundy and the Cowboys.
Now, as for other potential moves, mainly with rumors circulating around offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Sean Gleeson and co-defensive line coach Joe Bob Clements, both of those have quieted down.
Clements loves Stillwater and the lifestyle there. One of his daughters is a volleyball student-athlete just up the road at Emporia State in Kansas. Never saying never, but Clements would need a strong opportunity to lure him away from Oklahoma State and I'm not sensing that UNLV would be that.
Two of the four schools that were rumored as having interest in Gleeson have either hired their new offensive coordinator or will soon. Penn State may want to consider Tyler Bowen, who stepped in and called plays in the Nittany Lions 53-29 Cotton Bowl win over Memphis. However, it is Minnesota offensive coordinator Kirk Ciarrocca that is heading to fill the spot on James Franklin's staff after his offensive coordinator became the new head coach at Old Dominion.
Down in Texas, where head coach Tom Herman is overhauling his staff and reportedly was interested in either current Cowboys offensive coordinator Sean Gleeson or former Gundy offensive coordinator and now Ohio State passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach Mike Yurcich. Yurcich will be named soon, if not before you read this story.
Oklahoma State fans missed the boat completely on Yurcich. Many fans never appreciated his prowess. During in Stillwater, Yurcich created a smoke and mirrors run game when there was none. He kept the Oklahoma State “Air Raid” spread offense moving when it started to grow stagnant. He was a two-time finalist for the Broyles Award at Oklahoma State, as the Cowboys averaged 478.3 yards and 38.0 points per game in his six seasons. Under Yurcich, the Cowboys had four of their top 10 seasons in total offense, scoring 40 or more points 35 times in 76 games and at least 50 in 15 games. Outside of the minds of some stubborn Oklahoma State fans, Yurcich was considered a very bright offensive mind. Now Herman will pay his $1.3 million or a little more than that to solve the Texas offensive issues and maximize the final season for Sam Ehlinger.
That leaves Rutgers and Boston College as suitors still believed to be pursuing or considering Gleeson and both are back home or closer to home for Gleeson and his wife. Yurcich showed appreciation for the big break that Mike Gundy offered him and he stayed six seasons despite some attractive opportunities. Gleeson may do the same and he was not saying much after the Academy Sports and Outdoors Texas Bowl on Friday night.
"If the amount of time that I spent in that locker room with the kids is any indication, you know I’m with these guys right now," Gleeson said in comment to media outside the locker room and that was printed in The Oklahoma. "I want to these seniors for all the hard work that they've provided this program and talk about the promise of this team going into the future. It’s not really something where I want to talk about me right now. It’s not about me, I don’t want to take away anything from these kids."
Gleeson made it clear that he does not want to comment on rumors and speculation and see his professional business discussed on social media, internet, or in print.
Either way, the Oklahoma State offense will need to be re-calibrated in the off-season. It wasn't the same after Tylan Wallace went down in practice the week of the TCU game and was lost for the season. The loss of quarterback Spencer Sanders further complicated the offensive recipe. Both are expected to be back with 2094-yards rusher Chuba Hubbard being the most likely to depart, but he hasn't announced yet.
That takes us back to Kasey Dunn, who has always had a heavy hand in the Oklahoma State offense as especially Yurcich and now Gleeson ran an open offensive staff room with contributions across the board for the game plan. Gundy was the oversight manager that would make changes he wanted.
Dunn will be hard to replace as he was an excellent evaluator of talent and strong recruiter in addition to being a superb developer of players. Witnessing his final meeting with his players in the locker room after the game, there were tears, a group picture, and a strong address from Dunn thanking his players and telling them to work hard to make the next receiver coach a success otherwise they would be disrespecting Dunn and what he instilled in that group of young men.
If Gundy followed through on his promise in the locker room after the game on Friday, then he is in the office today. So, even if he doesn't have to find replacements for any other positions on his coaching staff, the one he currently has is massive. He needs to get a dynamite coach and do it in a hurry to solidify and keep the talent there moving, as Dunn said, to make that next receiver's coach successful.