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Mailbag: Gundy and Boynton Trading Spots, Jim Knowles Deserves His Flowers

Answering reader questions on OSU’s coaches, the upcoming Texas matchup and more.



Happy Tuesday! We’re a tad light on content this week given that OSU is heading into the bye, so, I figured, what better time to loosen things up with a little mailbag sesh?

I asked for questions and as usual you all delivered with some really good ones. Let’s hop right in.

Philip Jones: Thought experiment: would you rather Gundy take over the basketball program for a season, or Boynton take over the football program for a season? Extra credit: what about for just one week (single game for football, a few games for bball)?

This is precisely the type of thought-provoking question mailbags are made for. Shouts to Philip (one L!) for this one.

I’d prefer to see what it’d look like if Boynton ran the football program for a season personally. No idea if it’d work. Heck, it might be a total disaster. But I’d be very much on board with him landing top recruits and stacking the cupboard full of talent for when Gundy returns at the end of the one-season trial run. I’d also just love to see how he handles the nuances of a football season as the head coach specifically at OSU. Does he make a big deal out of Bedlam in football like he does in basketball? Does he … you know … beat OU? If so, and if yes, then … maybe we tab him as the Gundy successor? It seems like there are probably worse options on the table out there! (I’m kidding, I think.)

As a one-week experiment I think it’d be fascinating to see Gundy coaching hoops, though. I mean, seriously, can you imagine him just roaming the sidelines of GIA? I picture him sipping Diet Coke on the bench, grooming his mullet in between TV timeouts, trying to run the wishbone offense. It’d be glorious. And you know it’d sell tickets. I’d be there in a heartbeat to watch that show up close and personal.

Brad: Texas has the best offense we’ve seen all year. What should our expectations be for this defense? Any similarities to teams we’ve already played or is Texas just that good? What did Arkansas do to slow them down?

As a writer, I think this is where I should respond by saying that OSU’s defense has been great but offense at Texas has been exceptional, so we should probably temper some expectations. But where’s the fun in that? Truthfully, OSU’s defense has been absolute nails. Way better than I expected (and I expected it to be quite good). I actually think expectations against Texas should be high!

Texas is really good on offense but OSU’s defense is not a mirage, either. I think it can limit them to below 30 points. And if it can do that then OSU has a shot to win.

It’s definitely a unique test, though. Texas has an elite tailback in Bijan Robinson, a dual-threat QB in Casey Thompson and a ton of weapons outside to spread the ball to. OSU has faced tests against some of those challenges — like a dual-threat QB against Missouri State and an elite tailback in Deuce Vaughn from K-State — but this will undoubtedly be the biggest test to date. I’m already pretty nervous and yet weirdly confident at the same time? I’m Jim Knowles we trust!

James Engel: If Gundy retired at the end of this year, would Jim Knowles be the favorite to get the HC job?

Great q, James. I hope that Knowles would get strong consideration. Not sure I’d consider him to be the frontrunner, though. OSU brass operates in a way where, if Gundy were to retire on a whim, I think they’d already have a few outside candidates in mind. That said …. I’d definitely be among those pushing strongly for Knowles to get consideration. He has been nails as OSU’s DC and he seems to be heady enough to thrive in a role as the CEO of a program. More importantly, OSU’s players seem to respond well to him. He recruits well, develops his players as well as any coach I’ve seen at OSU in years and just has a way of figuring things out. Even without head coaching experience at the power conference level I think he’d be a worthy candidate.

Poke: Do we realistically have a chance to keep it close against Texas when they are stacked with 4-5 star athletes and our offense may keep the defense on the field all game? If we continue to stagnate in the 2nd half and keep tuning it over I don’t see how it’s close

Yes, yes, OSU has a very realistic chance to keep it close. OSU over the years has proven more than any program that recruiting stars, while they matter, are not the end-all be-all. Especially true against Texas! I’m definitely concerned about OSU’s offense going into the game and I’m even a tad nervous about facing this explosive Texas offense, but I don’t think there’s going to be an obvious talent disparity between the two teams even if on paper there is indeed exactly that. This team has played above its head all season and been really well-coached so I think OSU will have a real shot. Guessing the line will favor Texas by, say, 5 points? Should be a toss-up.

Poke: Not a question but a statement: Jim knowles deserves a raise

The man is paid rather handsomely but, uh, yeah. Honestly, could not agree more. If he gets a head coaching opportunity elsewhere after the season, then yeah, can’t blame him for leaving. But OSU should be willing to shell out everything in the budget to make sure he doesn’t leave for another more prominent program as the DC. Jim Knowles made defense happen at OSU. I don’t think anyone thought that was possible. Give him all the money. GoFundMe, donors, whatever you gotta do.

Bryan Metcalf: Who are the next five inducted into the ring of honor after Barry?

I think the list should probably start with Bob Fenimore. Gives a nod to OSU’s history and also acknowledges Fenimore, rightfully, as one of the best athletes in OSU history. So that’s one.

Another to pay tribute to the past: Chester Pittman, the program’s first Black player. That’s two.

Next three I would go: Mike Gundy (duh), Leslie O’Neal, and … Brandon Weeden.

Others I’d throw out worthy of consideration include Kevin Williams, Rashaun Woods, Terry Miller, Dez Bryant. Really tough!

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