As Glenn Spencer rounds out a clean decade on Oklahoma State’s campus, it feels hard to envision Mike Gundy parting ways with the longtime Cowboy assistant. The highs have been high — leading the way nationally at forcing turnovers and that incredible 2013 squad that finished fifth in the nation allowing 1.29 points per drive.
But as one of our more spirited commentor’s pointed out, settling for the status quo out of fear is a tough sell when your defense finished sixth in points scored against in league play and 58th in points per drive overall. It’s hard to reconcile the pitiful defensive performances of November with the stellar October.
So who knows what the future holds for Spencer. Again, just like we said with Mike Yurcich, we aren’t advocating for heads to roll. We’re only speculating on what would happen if they do. Heck Spencer could accept a head coaching gig somewhere. Positions are open at southern schools like Georgia Southern and South Alabama. Both could put him closer to his alma mater, Georgia Tech.
In going through this exercise, it’s important to remember that defensive coordinators don’t necessarily flock to jobs where they’ll be defending twice as many possessions as their peers. After engineering a masterful turnaround at Colorado, Jim Leavitt took over a million a year to go to Oregon and counter an uptempo attack.
So two things stick out as guideposts in this endeavor of considering a candidate:
1. An up and comer is more than likely a lottery ticket. Just because Iowa State found Matt Campbell doesn’t mean they didn’t have to go through Paul Rhoads and Gene Chizik first. There’s a significant risk this person won’t work out or be better than the status quo. It’s worth noting that if they do, they could be headed to higher paying assistant jobs or a mid-major head coaching role (not a deterrent necessarily but worth noting).
2. An established name could be expensive. Oklahoma was willing to pony up a million to keep Lincoln Riley, a top-shelf OC. Is Oklahoma State a program that can afford that? You pay for proven assets (unless they’re Josh Henson and they give you the hometown discount) and that has to be evaluated.
Let’s take a look at a few names that could make sense.
Paul Rhoads — DC at Arkansas
You may remember him as the Iowa State head coach pre-Matt Campbell, one who’s familiar with Big 12 offenses. He’s been successful in previous stops with Auburn and Pittsburgh as well.
Over his nine combined seasons as a defensive coordinator at Auburn (2008) and Pittsburgh (2000-07), Rhoads’ units ranked in the top 30 nationally in scoring defense six times and the top 12 for fewest yards three times. [ArkansasRazorback.com]
And lucky for folks with openings, he’s now on the market since Bret Bielema, the head coach at Arkansas, was let go. A clean-cut, pedigreed guy in his early 50s could be prime territory for the taking. Not a long move if he wants to head over on 412 from the Ozarks, the Cowboy faithful would be happy to have him.
Chad Glasgow — DC at TCU
Why would Chad leave TCU? Because he’s an OSU boy who played for the Pokes in the mid-90s. And Gary Patterson calls the plays defensively for the Frogs. Now, it’s a pretty sweet gig to sit under Patterson for 16 years, especially when you have such good job security.
He’s had some experience coordinating Texas Tech a few years back and hopefully, he learned from that struggle.
Glasgow spent 10 seasons as the TCU safeties coach, 2001-10. Then he was hired as defensive coordinator for Tommy Tuberville at Texas Tech. That didn’t go well – that never goes well for anyone. Tech had seven defensive coordinators in seven seasons, 2009-15.
So Glasgow returned to Fort Worth and has coached TCU safeties ever since. But Patterson named Glasgow co-defensive coordinator in 2015 and dropped the “co” a year later. [NewsOK]
Van Malone — DC at SMU
The name may ring a bell – Malone coached defensive backs at Oklahoma State from 2012 to 2014. His defenses have neared the bottom of the American Athletic over the past couple of years, but he’s a known commodity to Gundy, a trait he values. Coordinating a defense for the Pony Express scoring at a high rate – 19th in points per drive – would qualify as good, relevant experience. He was recently named the AFCA assistant coach of the year – props for that.
SMU DC Van Malone named the AFCA assistant coach of the year for FBS. pic.twitter.com/gy71hV1LuN
— Chris Vannini (@ChrisVannini) November 29, 2017
He did a spot-on job with the defensive backs and his recruiting ties throughout Texas would likely be helpful. The former Longhorn defensive back feels like the least appealing of the three but could be fiscally practical as well, although SMU coach Chad Morris’ exodus to Fayetteville could affect this possibility.
Off The Radar Hires
First the “Yurcich-types”, improbable names to throw out there: Arkansas State’s Joe Cauthen — second in the Sun Belt in scoring defense, UMass’ Ed Pinkham — did really well leading Western Michigan’s defenses in the MAC and allowing less than 300 yards in league play
And “throw money at him just in case” types
Randy Shannon — The Florida defensive coordinator was just hired by UCF.
Kerry Coombs — A way off-the-radar idea as he’s the Ohio State co-defensive coordinator. He could be the DC in waiting for when Greg Schiano takes another head coaching gig, but why not engage?