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Mike Gundy Explains Why He Hired Jim Knowles as Oklahoma State DC



Oklahoma State’s football team was back in action as Mike Gundy’s mullet was tucked into a visor inside Sherman E. Smith Training Center on Friday. It was the Cowboys’ third spring practice and marked the first time the team practiced in pads.

“You find out a lot more about a coach in pads than you do in shorts,” Gundy said.

Gundy said nobody has stood out yet after only one practice in pads but said Malcolm Rodriguez made a nice interception near the end of practice.

There are 12 more sessions leading to the Spring Game on April 28. This was the first practice in which Gundy and players were made available to the media afterward, and he provided a good amount of insight regarding new defensive coordinator Jim Knowles.

Gundy spent time browsing the web for his next defensive coordinator, searching for someone who had success at schools with inferior talent on the field. He was looking for someone with a “certain quality,” and Duke defensive coordinator Jim Knowles fit the bill.

Gundy was pleased with Knowles’ intelligence, citing his past as a Cornell graduate as well as his experience coaching there.

Senior safety Kenneth Edison-McGruder said Knowles’ 4-2-5 defensive scheme is different from what he and his teammates are accustomed to but added it isn’t difficult to learn because of how it’s been taught.

“It’s not difficult at all with the coaches we have helping us learn it and me studying and all the guys studying on their own, it’s not difficult at all,” he said. “We’ve been good for the first few days.”

Seven candidates were interviewed for the job, but Knowles’ personality, along with his smarts, is what led him to Stillwater, Gundy said. Gundy has, from a distance, watched more defense in practice than he had in his entire tenure at OSU.

“He’s commanding the defense, is what I would say,” Gundy said. “At this point, he’s pretty active. I think that the Wall Street approach and the Ivy League image that he gives is not really the way he coaches. He’s been very successful in many different ways, and we’ll know a lot more in a month.”

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