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Five Thoughts on Golf Media Day 2018 at Karsten Creek

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STILLWATER, Okla. — Another year, another Kasey Dunn romp at the media golf tournament at Karsten Creek. Kyle Boone, Carson Cunningham, recruiting analyst Matt Clements and I teamed up this time around to shoot a 4-under 68 at Karsten. One problem: We were playing a scramble. Two problems: Dunn’s team shot a 56.

Whatever. We had a blast, enjoyed the peculiarly cool weather, scored some (more) Swinging Pete gear and got some good interviews with assistant coaches after lunch. Here are a few thoughts on the day.

1. Karsten always seems like a great idea

Until about the third hole. Here’s a general (condensed) idea of how the day goes: Show up around 8 a.m. before grinding on the range like Vijay Singh at his apex and working up a Kevin Garnett-like sweat in 68-degree weather. Carson and I were driving range All-Stars. Never a good sign (it wasn’t).

Then you go grind on the putting green (or we do) while Dunn chats people up in his flip flops en route to a two-TD victory lap. The game on Tuesday was a straightaway scramble, and we started on the second hardest hole (No. 17). We hit the pin twice (!) on a chip-in for birdie but settled for par. Birdie on No. 18, and we started feeling ourselves a little.

That might have been as good as the golf got. It was both literally and figuratively mostly downhill from there. The 68 led to a text from someone we’re all friends with that said: Is Kyle not as good in golf as I thought or is Carson just that bad?

That sums up the day nicely.

By the way, feel free to roast our swings below.

 

2. The Why

After the golf, we got to eat lunch and interview a variety of coaches.

Maybe the comment that most piqued my interest came from Josh Henson after lunch. He said that it’s one thing to tell linemen to block a certain guy or to pull in a certain gap or a bunch of other terminology I don’t understand.

“Obviously,” he noted, you can’t be good without (long string of terms that were anything but obvious to me). But it’s another thing, he explained, for them to understand why they’re doing what they’re doing (it starts when you hit play below).

You start walking down the path of “why” with me, and I’m gone — hook, line and sinker. It was a terrific entrance into the mind of somebody who has quickly become one of OSU’s most important assistants.

Mike Gundy noted this at Big 12 Media Days — and not to overstate the complexity of a violent sport like football — but teaching is so paramount to whatever OSU’s culture amounts to. It’s clear that his assistants have thought about that idea quite a bit.

One other example: Cornerbacks coach Tim Duffie noted that he teaches different guys in different ways, which to me is the sign of someone who understands how to motivate and lead people on a deeper level than most.

3. Dax on the mind

The comments section of this site is not the only place where Dax is being discussed. Behind closed doors. In front of closed doors. And all over Stillwater. Recruits ask coaches about him. Coaches ask each other.

Dax’s school of choice is a big deal, and OSU is in a strong position because I think him choosing Stillwater would be seen by OSU staff as a much bigger benefit than him not choosing would be a detriment. The most interesting comment I heard from somebody we talked to as we milled about: It seems like he’s just messing around with OU. I think it’s down to us and Bama.

4. Speaking of Hills

We talked to running backs coach John Wozniak for 10 minutes about his RB stable and a variety of other topics. He wouldn’t outright say that Justice is the best he’s ever been around (Wozniak was previously at Alabama and LSU), but he did say that nobody he’s ever been around is definitively better.

5. Yurcich is kinda great

We jammed with Yurcich on points per drive, what he thinks about criticism, which plays he’d like to have back and who he’s stolen from most. But the part of the convo that made me laugh the most came without a mic in front of him over chips and queso at lunch. I sat down next to him and Joe Bob Clements and introduced myself to both of them.

Me: Hey Coach Yurcich, my name is Kyle Porter with Pistols Firing. You told me last year that Tyron could get past me in a phone both.

Yurcich: I remember the interview.

Me: Do you think he could still get past me.

Yurcich: Yes.

Me: I’ve been in the gym.

Yurcich: (looks me up and down)

Me: (poker face)

Yurcich: …………….. body by Glass?

Me: Body by chasing three kids around.

(laughter) … and curtains on another great Stillwater day.

Other Notes

• They had the Old School Swinging Pete hats in the pro shop at Karsten and … I didn’t buy one! You could have gotten that at 85-1 in Vegas! I settled for a white Regular Swinging Pete.

• A theme I hear a lot from players and coaches who have been around: Nobody treats their players (or their walk-ons) better than OSU.

• I really like this day specifically (outside of playing a solid course) because we so rarely get to chat with the assistant coaches. I’d stay there until 7 p.m. if we could to chat with them about their background, their players and recruiting. Gundy has done a good job putting thoughtful, smart people in spots where they can succeed.

• I might have already known this, but I was told by somebody that a membership to Karsten is a perk of being an assistant. You probably never get to use it, but still.

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