What Mike Gundy Should Do with His 10th Assistant Coach Spot

Written by Kyle Cox

Last week, we learned of some rule changes, mostly for the better, that will be taking place in college football. Kyle Porter outlined the changes earlier this week.

One of the more significant changes — that most people won’t care about — is the allowance for schools to add a 10th assistant to their staffs starting January 9, 2018.

You can’t run a Division-I football program on ten assistants, or nine for that matter. Schools get around the limit by hiring graduate assistants to fill in the gaps. It’s part of the big machine that spits out future professional college football coaches.

On top of that, Oklahoma State was one of the first schools to start employing multiple offensive and defensive analysts. Last year’s offensive analyst, Josh Henson is now the offensive line coach.

Former defensive coordinator Bill Clay has been a defensive analyst going on three years. The Cowboys also added Brian VanGorder, a former college and NFL defensive coordinator and A.J. Ricker, a former offensive line coach, to take Henson’s place.

So, with that army of GAs and analysts and assistants, what could Mike Gundy do with one more spot? Well, if he doesn’t use it to employ a full-time end-of-game rules aficionado, I’ve got a suggestion.

We always hear how much importance Mike Gundy places on special teams. It’s something I’ve heard assistants, current and former players and even Rattlesnake Gundy (similar inflection to “Crocodile Dundee”) himself profess. And it sounds good.

You hear how he takes a hands-on approach in those meetings. It lets those players know how important their jobs are — and they’re crucial. When former graduate-assistant-in-charge-of-special-teams coach Robby Discher left for a full-time gig at Toledo a few years ago, Gundy even planned on taking over the job himself.

Fortunately for Gundy, he was able to entice former staff member, Steve Hauser, to return from a job with the Cleveland Browns and head the specialists himself, but on a GA’s salary.

So why not have a permanent, full-time assistant head up such an important and undervalued phase of the game? This is what a few other Big 12 coaches have suggested they will do already.

You have a coordinator for offense who made $510,333 last year. You have a coordinator for defense that made $664,500. And a graduate assistant coordinating special teams on a total salary of $4,409.

Now, I’m not suggesting that Gundy grabbed the first loose orange polo he saw by the collar and shoved him into the special teams room. Everything is meticulously planned out. There is a deliberate system and order for things and Mike Gundy picked Hauser because he was confident he could do the job.

And this isn’t an indictment on Hauser.By all accounts, he knows football. And this is how coaches are made. Besides, he’s done some nice things since taking over.

• Oklahoma State fielded one of the best punt teams in the nation last year. Partially due to Zach Sinor’s excellence, OSU was second nationally, only giving up 15 total punt return yards on 16 returns. They were in the top 15 in opponent kickoff returns, as well.

• He’s still got Sinor and a couple of kickers with some potential. Matt Ammendola figures to continue in his kickoff duties after a solid year last season and would like a chance to place kick. He’s also got incoming signee Jake McClure, who has the skill set to be OSU’s kicker/punter of the future.

Is there room for improvement? Sure. The Cowboys’ return game hasn’t had a game-changer since Tyreek Hill was shown the door. That may be more on the recruiting/talent evaluation side then coaching. But you’d think with the “dudes” OSU has, someone has enough wiggle to bust out a big play from time to time. Is it blocking scheme or just a matter of finding the right returner?

If Mike Gundy wants to know what do with his upcoming 10th assistant slot that’s opening up — and some of that extra money he’s asking for — I think it’s a no brainer. Complete your staff. Whether that means bringing in some type of special teams guru or investing in the one you already have.

  • MadsAboutOSU

    100% support the idea to employ a full-time end-of-game rules aficionado! Just make it a graduate assistant position, and his only job is to know the rule book forwards and backwards. I’d say have him basically study all of the materials you have to know to become a ref, but that system is obviously flawed… *cough* Central Michigan *cough*

  • Hal

    kickers aren’t even people why do they need a coach

    • Tomball Poke

      Who to kick to, which corner, high, low, pooch, onside, low, high, etc, etc

  • Doc Holliday

    I’m a little embarrassed about the ring deal..we lost to CMU that day guys. I’m a poke fan through and through but we were out played and out coached simply put. Gundy has continued to whine about it but has not once admitted that he and his coaching staff and his players were truly awful that day. We saw what Tulsa did to them. CMU shouldn’t be within 3 touchdowns of us but have played us close two years in row. That game and how Gundy has handled it is flat out embarrassing

    • David Einstein

      We won. Not budging.

    • Mark

      Harping about being embarrassed and insisting on the game being a loss makes you sound like a Sooner fan, or heck, even worse, an Alabama fan. What do you want to do, revisit the outcome of every close game OSU has still managed to win and give the other team the victory because OSU looked bad? No???? – How is THIS game ANY different? I didn’t realize we were out there playing for style points and not literal points. Couple that with our recruiting class ranking, which you also harp about, I don’t even know why we bother playing a game.

      Call it embarrassing, call it whatever you want to call it, but
      IT DOES NOT MATTER how poorly the team played. IT DOES NOT
      MATTER how poorly ANY team plays on ANY given Saturday. When
      the clock reaches 0:00, the team with the higher score wins. The worst
      travesty of this whole ordeal is the fact that this simple truth escapes
      the comprehension of many fans AND the actual referees and conference
      officials presiding over the game itself!!

      You can call yourself a poke fan through and through, but I swear you must be a closet Sooner. The very fact that you have to preface your words over and over again with ‘I’m a poke fan!… No, really guys,.. I am!’ makes me very dubious about your true affiliation. /rant

      • Doc Holliday


        • Stepdaddy

          Doc Holiday…unfortunately you are arguing with a mullet worshiper. You know it was an embarrassing loss, I know it was an embarrassing loss, everyone outside the mullet church knows it was embarrassing loss, but these mullet worshippers live in fantasy land. They would rather fantasize that if they cry loud enough and long enough an NCAA rule fairy is going feel sorry OSU, magically appear and the change loss to “double win” (again which does not exist outside of fantasy land), than to move on like the rest world has.

          • Doc Holliday

            I will be stealing Mullet Church from you??

          • okstate4life

            I am so glad to see others on this site that actually use logic in their thought processes. Once again Gundy played down to an inferior opponent except for this time it bit him in the @$$. Then he and some of the fan base want to whine and complain about the outcome?? Here’s an idea….BLOW THE DOORS OFF A CRAP TEAM LIKE THIS AND WE”LL NEVER HAVE THIS ISSUE! I’m so sick of people on here making up excuses for Gundy concerning this and all his other faults (OU/recruiting/etc). We’ve literally become the football program of “ifs” and “buts”. It’s pathetic.

    • Christian Baker

      I somehow agree with everything you said, and I also like the ring as a final jab.