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Our First Mailbag

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Before we get to the mailbag, I’d like to give a big thanks to Zach Gray for the Andre Sexton picture. You can check out more of his OSU work here and his personal website here. Okay, on to the letters…

If OSU wanted to bring in a former player to be head coach of the basketball team, who do you think would be the best choice and why? Would having played at OSU make much of a difference? Elaina – Tulsa, OK

I think grabbing somebody who played in GIA would matter more to the fans than it would to the program. Then again the fans are the ones propping the program up with ticket sales and popcorn purchases so there might me something there.

If you’re asking me any question with the words “former player” in relation to the basketball program my answer is most always going to be Desmond Mason unless the question is, “which former player hasn’t put any of the millions he made in the NBA towards getting a respectable haircut?” Then my answer is Big Country.

Legitimately though, I think Brooks Thompson (who looks scarily like actor Harland Williams) because of how he’s turned UTSA (not exactly the Duke of the Southwest) around from 7-22 in his first year to 19-11 last year. He’s probably the most prominent former player now coaching and his fire could be a good fit for the old-timers who’ve never warmed up to Ford. Also don’t sleep on Corey Williams who coached under Scott Sutton when they beat KU in Lawrence and now coaches for Leonard Hamilton down in Tallahassee.

If you could build a pefect football player made up of OSU guys only (past and present), who would you use for vision, brains, leaping, strength, hands, speed, tackling, looking best in their uni, etc? Brian – Dallas, TX

I spent way too much time thinking about this. I think I finally narrowed down my criteria to these eight, because they seem like the most important attributes of a football player in general: hands, feet (speed), arm, intelligence, athleticism, “it” factor, strength, and most aesthetic. I know the last one is kind of gay, but whatever. Oh, and most of my knowledge only goes back to the 90s so for my 40+ crowd I apologize.

Hands – Rashaun, it was the only reason he was as good as he was. Well that and the fact that he figured out how to push off of people’s hips without the refs realizing what he was doing. But the hands thing sounds better, revisionists history and such. I think he only dropped two balls his entire career. One was against Nebraska in Kansas City and I don’t remember the other one but I’m sure it happened.

Feet (speed) – There’s a plaque on the wall of the old weight room under Gallagher-Iba that says Daniel McLemore ran a 4.3something but with my life on the line I have to go Tatum. He was breathtakingly fast when he got out in the open field. Justin Gilbert is probably quicker and Prentiss was probably more athletic (he definitely was) but nobody’s beating Tatum in an open-field race.

Arm – It’s definitely between Fields and Weeden and I’m going to give the nod to Weeden, mostly because I hope he’s reading this and responds by emailing me, “hey pistolsguy, I promise to come on the podcast twice a week every year I’m in the NFL.” but also because I think he truly has a better arm. Fields always looked like he was in pain when he was throwing, as if the ball was weighted and it took a little extra to get it out of his hand. Weeden’s deep and intermediate throws are perfect. Brings back weepy memories of my love affair with Chris Leak and his deep ball.

Intelligence – The cliche pick here is Billy Bajema but I’m going to say Andre Sexton. He wasn’t really the kind of guy you looked at and said, “wow, that dude definitely plays in the middle of the field for a division 1 football team.” He just always seemed to be in the right place at the right time. As witnessed by the fact that he’s 1st all-time in career games started and 8th all-time in career tackles.

Athleticism – This was the most difficult one. I want to say Dez, if only because I’ve seen him do stuff on the basketball court that would make Travis Ford audibly gasp. I have to go RW McQuarters though. You don’t go both ways in college at a major D1 university (although at the time that was probably arguable) without being freaky athletic.

“It” factor – Dez. Cue everyone born before 1980 cursing my name and  emailing me Hart Lee Dykes YouTube videos. I get it people, I know he had swagger, I know he was egregiously great in person, trust me, I know. The fact remains though, I didn’t get to personally experience “it”. I didn’t get to stand in the student section and hold my breath with 50,000 of my best friends wondering how (not if) he was going to house punt after punt after punt. I didn’t get to hear him own Bedlam with my own ears. Hart Lee never induced any kind of private writing binge on the otherworldly burden of being born with greatness. It’s not his fault, I’m just not old enough.

Strength – Khreem Smith scared me to death. Quick story for you: I was working out one time in the weight room under Gallagher-Iba when the then NFL-playing Smith came rumbling in to do 1,000 lb. squats or something along those lines. I think I was jumping rope or doing crunches. Anyway, there’s this big refrigerator in the corner stocked with Gatorade milkshakes (sounds gross, actually amazing). So he brings in this massive Jansport backpack and just starts filling it up with shakes, he probably put 20 or 30 in there. I’m staring at him the whole time wondering if he’s going to get in trouble, imagining Holder walking in and cursing him up and down until he put every last one back. But he just turns around, stares me down, and barks, “what are you looking at?!” I thought my internal organs were going to fail and I was going to keel over and die right there.

Best looking in uniform – You know who’s kind of a sleeper in this category? Joseph Randle. He looks terrific with the #1 on, I’m glad he took the torch from Dez. I also debated Dez, Blackmon, Zac, TD Bryant (probably just because his name was awesome), Pettigrew, Alonzo Mayes, and Shawn Willis (also a candidate for strongest) before finally settling on Donovan Woods. Except, you know, that one time…

I’m huge fan of college basketball and would love to go to the tourney every year, but would going to the NIT really be so bad? Phillip – Tulsa, OK

Were you at the Marist game in 2007? Seriously though, for this team it would be because it’s not like we’re dealing with a bunch of Freshmen here. Two Seniors, a Junior, a Sophomore, and ONE Freshman in the starting five isn’t exactly a “let’s just get them some experience and move on next year” type of squad. In fact, OSU’s average experience this year is 1.8 years which comes places them right at the average of NCAA teams, and ahead of teams such as Florida, Mizzou, Arkansas, Duke, Utah, Louisville, Baylor, Arizona, Syracuse, UCLA, and UConn (kenpom.com). So no, the NIT would not be a welcoming and/or good experience for anyone involved.

It’s been 15 minutes! Somebody get me a Red Bull!!!
Dana – Morgantown, West Virginia

I would, but I’m too busy writing posts about how your successor is going to be a better fit at OSU than you were you hotel-living, skullet-wearing, Baylor-hating nut job.

Just kidding. I loved having you here. I like to think of our relationship like the one between Dennis Rodman and Carmen Electra — brief, and a little odd, but absolutely legendary.

Will Karron Johnson be a problem at OSU like he has been in junior college? Brian – Oklahoma City, OK

I wrote this last week before Travis Ford announced that Karron would not be a Cowboy. What does it mean in retrospect? I’m a genius!

No, because I don’t think he’ll ever get to OSU. He was kicked off his junior college team in the Fall and although he’s been reinstated to the school he hasn’t rejoined the squad which, by the way, is his fifth in five years. You read articles like the one Jimmie Trammel wrote in 2009 (which contains some absolutely epic quotes from KJ) and you want to root for the kid but at some point there has to be some accountability. With the Darrell Williams situation fully in the Stillwater spotlight, Travis Ford can’t keep putting himself in a position where one of his players is going to embarrass him. Not to mention the fact that he allegedly has to pass 28 hours of class by the time the Fall semester rolls around. Considering the schools that originally recruited him out of high school: Memphis, Georgetown, Miami (Fla.), Cincinnati, and West Virginia don’t exactly scream, “I’m going to be a Rhodes scholar someday and study at Oxford with Myron Rolle!!” I’d say this is going to be an issue.

Rashaun, Dez, or Blackmon?
Dave – Oklahoma City, OK

That’s like putting me on a deserted island and saying I can have food, fire, or water. They’re all ideal and I could use them all in different ways. Gun to my head, I have to say Dez. He could do more than the other two. You can use him in different ways as a receiver not to mention on punt returns. Holgerson would have had a Red-Bull-induced out-of-body experience every game if he could have used Dez in his offense. I think now is the time I’m supposed to mention we were a few decisions away from rolling out Dez, Blackmon, and Broyles as our 1-2-3 WR combo last year.

We kind of overlook the fact that Blackmon has one of the five best quarterbacks in the country throwing to him. What kind of numbers would Dez have put up with Weeden throwing to him? What kind of numbers would Blackmon have put up with Zac throwing to him?

What do you and Mrs. Pistols do for date nights?
Jane – Oklahoma City, OK

Watch football film and go to LeBryan Nash games.

Give me the Top 5 coaches (from anywhere, any sport) who have had the greatest impact on Oklahoma State’s Athletic Department in the past 20 years.
Brett – Oklahoma City, OK

This should probably get its own post but I’ll say…

Gary Ward – 16 straight Big 8 titles and 7 straight CWS appearances is absurd. He transformed the program in a very dramatic way.

Mr. Iba – You can argue until the end of time that OSU is now a football school etc. etc. but I’ll always counter that its DNA is (and will always be) more basketball than anything else for this reason.

Eddie Sutton – There’s a reason the student section in GIA doesn’t chant “Leonard! Leonard! Leonard!”

Mike Holder – Technically his impact didn’t come as a coach but you would probably make a case that, based on his fundraising efforts, Mike Holder is the most beneficial and/or influential employee in the 120-year history of the school.

Ed Gallagher – In terms of wrestling influence, it’s not really close which coach had the greatest influence on the most prolific sports program in the nation. He won 11 national titles, had 19 undefeated seasons, didn’t lose a match between 1919 and 1931 (wonder what that does for Geno Auriemma’s ego?), and went 138-5-4 in his career. And did all of it while making the seemingly odd transition from athletic director to head wrestling coach…only in Stillwater. Oh, and he once (allegedly) ran a 9.8 in the 100-yard (not meter) dash. So, yeah, I’d say he “had an impact.”

Why doesn’t OSU have an indoor facility yet?
Michael – Stillwater, OK

In 2007 Boone Pickens’ friend Sherman Smith pledged $20M to OSU for construction of the aptly named “Sherman Smith Training Center” which would not so subtly be “the crown jewel of the athletic village” on the North side of Boone Pickens Stadium. What’s happened between now and then to halt construction? Well a lot of things went very badly in 2008. Apparently the money Smith donated was filtered into BP Capital, Boone’s Dallas-based hedge fund. According to a 2008 Tulsa World report the money that was in that fund went from being “an obscene amount” to “not an obscene amount” in a hurry. So that’s the short and probably not-very-complex answer. The good news though is that after the Tech game last Fall, Mike Holder announced that OSU would start taking bids for a redesigned facility that wouldn’t have “all the luxuries” as the original design. But then in November those bids were halted. Which leaves us here, still the only Big 12 team without an indoor facility. Maybe we should start taking donations on the Pistols Firing Blog? Surely we could get to $1,000. If we could get Boone to match every $1 we raised with $50,000 then we’d be set!

How many conference wins would our basketball team have if they had a competent point guard? How about Eaton (Senior year)? Dave – Oklahoma City, OK

Well if you ask me they do have a competent point guard, they just aren’t playing him there right now. How long is the Keiton at point thing going to go on? Until he graduates? Until Fred Gulley is healthy again? Until the game he finally snaps and screams at Travis Ford in a timeout, “look you imbecile, all I want to do is stand the corner and lead the nation in threes!!”? To answer your question though, I think OSU would be 7-6 instead of 4-9 in conference play with Eaton this year. You don’t know how much it kills me to say that either considering the level of vitriol I had for the way he played in his time here. Nonetheless, he was incredible at creating open space in the lane. Keiton thrived with him because he was never not open. Marshall would be averaging 22-10 a game (as long as somebody could wrap a bungee cord around his hands on the defensive end). I have no doubt OSU would have won the Tech game (even though Keiton did play out of his mind there) as well as the Colorado game (lack of point guard induced total meltdown).

Will OSU be getting new jerseys next year? And what might they look like?
Matt – Stillwater, OK

As is the case with most rumors, I won’t believe anything 100% until I physically see it with my own eyes, but Justin Blackmon did say on the Pistolcast that he’s seen the new football uniforms and is excited about them. In case you haven’t seen what’s been floating around the message boardosphere you can look at it right here. I don’t know if this is a final version or, for that matter, even an actual mock-up of what OSU is going to be wearing in the Fall but I am excited. In fact, I think OSU should go all-in on capitalizing on whatever Nike wants to give them right now. OU and Texas are never going to Oregonify (to steal a term from Q) themselves because they have too much tradition. It becomes a competitive advantage issue for OSU because they can, and presumably will, trade in their short-term success for long-term branding. In other words, Boone and Phil Knight better be texting as I write this.

What are conference officials going to do about the Big 12/10 dilemma?
Anthony – Oklahoma City, OK

My suggestion is to start calling the Pac-12 the “Pac-17” and the Big East the “Big Northeast” and just explain to everyone “look, incorrect is the new correct, you’ve seen our postseason plan, right? We’re going to give ridiculous monikers to every conference in the country so nobody really knows what’s going on or what to do about it. It’ll be no different from the BCS, nobody wins and we get rich, YAY!!”

Thanks to everybody who wrote in questions, we’ll do it again after March Madness concludes!

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