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Kasey Dunn’s Abridged Offseason in New Role Unlikely to be Problem for Pokes

Dunn is entering his 10th season with the Cowboys, but the first as the OC.



The position as the Cowboys’ offensive coordinator has proven to be something that looks great on a coaching resume, but, apart from being the head coach, it’s the most polarizing position on Oklahoma State’s coaching staff.

Kasey Dunn enters his first season as the Pokes’ OC with fan perception on his side thanks to his years coaching the most stable position group in the program: the wide receivers. But Dunn has had to take a crash course into his new position with spring practices getting stopped shortly after they began and the summer being moved into Zoom calls because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s definitely challenging,” Dunn said last week. “I wish I had more time for spring ball. I wish I could get those extra 12 practices back. The players need it, so do I. It’s different when you’re in this chair. It’s different making those calls and decisions on the fly. So we’re working at it hard now to make sure that I’m ready to go too. As much as I want them to be ready, I want myself to be ready for this opportunity.”

On Monday, OSU coach Mike Gundy said Dunn is in the honeymoon phase as a coordinator, and it’s something that Dunn alluded to last week.

Dunn said anyone can call a play when it’s first-and-10 and you’re up by 20 points, but there are some scenarios that he has to get to a comfortable spot with. Calls in the red zone, calls inside the 5-yard line, calls on third-and-medium, those are the types of calls good coordinators consistently get right.

Being OSU’s offensive coordinator is a good gig. Todd Monken went from the position to LSU to the NFL. Dana Holgorsen went from it to the head coach at West Virginia. Mike Yurcich went from OSU to Ohio State to Texas. Even Sean Gleeson spent just a year in Stillwater before heading back home to New Jersey and Rutgers. But as good as it is, it also brings you under a microscope from fans and from Gundy.

Gundy has made jokes in the past saying he lets defensive coordinators take more control over their unit while he harps on Yurcich or Gleeson. Outsiders also often wonder whether the OC is running the show or whether the offense is just an extension of Gundy. Gundy broached the matter a bit Monday.

“Our offense has stayed the same since I guess the years back when I was calling plays, I can’t even remember what years those were,” Gundy said. “We made some adjustments when [Brandon] Weeden came in here, and then we meshed those two offenses together. The majority of our terminology and system and what we believe in has stayed the same based on who the quarterback is. We vary our plan of attack to the strength of our players and our quarterback.

“Then each coordinator has had a little bit that they feel comfortable with, and I’ve always allowed them that opportunity based on they’re the playcallers and that’s what they have to do to develop themselves as a playcaller. [Dunn will] have certain things that he feels comfortable with. We’ll know a lot more based on four or five games of experience. You can talk and think a lot about what plays you think you’re gonna call, but you kinda go back to what you believe in and who you are in most cases. So about halfway through the season, we’ll have a pretty good feel for what his touch will be, I guess, on our offensive schemes.”

Dunn is entering his 10th season on OSU’s staff. He has seen the reigns of Monken, Yurcich and Gleeson firsthand. He has been at OSU as long as those three and Holgorsen had been OSU’s OC combined. And with Gundy’s track record of producing nationally dominant offenses no matter the coordinator, there’s reason to believe Dunn’s honeymoon will turn into a fruitful marriage with the Pokes.


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