These dueling pieces from Bill Haisten and Berry Tramel — which have gotten a lot of deserved run over the past week — talk a lot about the future of Oklahoma State football and, more specifically, Mike Gundy’s remaining years.
The crux is that he presumes he’ll coach until he’s around 60 years old, which would mean 1. Nearly another decade of the mullet and 2. A 22-year run at the same school. The former would be great news for OSU, the latter is unheard of. The entire thing is fascinating.
But maybe the most intriguing tidbit of them all came from Haisten when he talked about potential future replacements. He mentioned Todd Monken — duh — but he also mentioned a former Oklahoma State QB under Gundy, just not the one I expected him to mention.
The other is 32-year-old Zac Robinson, who was Gundy’s quarterback in 2007-09 and became OSU’s career leader in total offense. After having become a renowned QB instructor in the Dallas area, Robinson this year was hired by the Los Angeles Rams as an assistant quarterbacks coach.
If Robinson performs well with the Rams, he could be fast-tracked to more prominent employment in the NFL. Whether it’s sooner or later, his track might lead back to Stillwater. If Gundy sticks to a retirement-at-60 strategy, Monken might be aged beyond consideration. Not Robinson. By 2027, he would be a coaching veteran and in his early 40s. [Tulsa World]
As fans, we love to do this thing where we just toss out random ex-players as potential future replacements for head coaches. Brandon Weeden? Sure, he’d be great. Big arms always translate to savviness with the media and strong recruiting. Kendall Hunter? Tenacious runner, let’s do it. All three Woods brothers as co-co-co head coaches? Why not!
And yet with Robinson, it seems like there’s a little something more here. Robinson was hired by the Los Angeles Rams in February as an assistant QB coach following a stint working for Pro Football Focus over the past few years. His QB1, Jared Goff, recently spoke glowingly about his new tutor.
“And then Zac’s brand new and at times they have to play the therapist role where I’m venting to them about stuff and then other times they have to get on me about stuff and it’s been good. They’ve both been incredible for me and I’ve enjoyed my time with them.”
Robinson is a former NFL quarterback himself and previously worked at Pro Football Focus as the site’s lead QB analyst. He’s watched every throw made by Goff and has studied the Rams quarterback extensively, so he has a great feel for where Jared can improve.
If all goes well, the Rams have to hope another team doesn’t poach Waldron or Robinson as their next head coach or coordinator, as so many others have done in recent years. [Rams Wire]
As we’ve seen with, ahem, Kliff Kingsbury, sometimes the #narrative and the #trajectory is as important as anything else. Robinson is now in the rocket attached to Sean McVay’s back — the one that has launched many a coaching career. Jumping from being in a pack with us lowly media members into the Rams organization — even as low on the totem pole as Robinson is as an assistant position coach — is far different than becoming the head coach at Putnam City North.
It’s even different than the path J.W. Walsh is on. The man who Robinson replaced as the quarterbacks coach in Los Angeles — Zac Taylor — is now the head coach for the Cincinnati Bengals. The man who Walsh replaced as the running backs coach in Abilene — Rodney Freeman — is now the special teams coordinator at West Texas A&M.
It’s not to say he wouldn’t be great, but I’ve never really envisioned Zac as a college head coach. He’s too laid back and there are too many great golf courses to play. Maybe as this type of an assistant or even a coordinator, sure, but not as the head guy.
But 2026 (or whenever Gundy hangs up the zip-off windbreaker pants) is a long way away. A lot can happen. A lot can change on both the landscape and a person. Between the orbit Robinson has entered and this tidbit trickling out of Stillwater, this is definitely something to keep an eye on going forward.
Because for all the speculating we do about the present and the future, this carries a lot more weight than normal. Who knew that the quarterback who linked the Les Miles and Mike Gundy tenures might also be on the receiving end of an era himself. Only time will tell, but it’s as in play as anything else.