Football coaches — heck, coaches in any sport, but especially football coaches — have pretty much perfected the media stiff arm.
Probing minds? Shove aside.
Eager for insight? Stand down.
Then there's Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Todd Monken.
Wanna know what's inside Monken's head?
Even at the poker table of the press, Monken rarely bluffs, instead providing rich story lines and scenarios — and yes, bankroll quotes.
For observant fans, at least those open to blunt and not always sugarcoated candidness, Monken pulls back the curtain to allow the ultimate insider's take on his offense and more.
Monken unedited? He knows no other way.
And here are his thoughts on several intriguing plot lines of the Cowboys spring:
On quarterback candidate Clint Chelf's bid to win the job, which hinges more on his leadership than any particular skill:
“Is he really going to be able to run our team? Is he really going to get guys going in the summer? Is he really going to compete? Or does he just see himself as the backup? You really don't know until you get thrust into that.
“So everybody is a little bit different when their role changes. He's had a really good offseason. (J.W. Walsh) has had a really good offseason, because that's his nature. And Wes (Lunt) is just feeling his way.”
On whether his early comments indicate a certain pressure on Chelf:
“Clint should be ahead of the others. If he's not significantly ahead, then we have an issue with him. I don't know where you go from there, because the others haven't been in the system long enough and played enough, like he has. Otherwise you're going to move on.
“Is that pressure? Sure it is, but we're in a pressure business. That's the nature of it. He knows that.”
On what should be the reasonable expectations of a new-look receiving corps:
“I think it's reasonable to think they can play. And the reasonable thing is they can make the plays afforded them and not hurt us. ‘I can get to the right spot. I can catch the ball.' Then we can function from there, doing the little things from there.
“Because it's all the little mistakes, the dropped balls, misalignments, running the wrong route, all that kind of stuff — you don't beat anybody. But at least if you have a certain skill set and you do all the right things, you get to the right spot and you catch it even if you fall down, you've got a chance.
“I think that's reasonable to expect, that they compete, play and give yourself a chance, ala Colton Chelf. Get to the right spot, catch the ball, do the right thing, you can have success.”
On who among the receivers has his eye this spring:
“I'm interested to see (David) Glidden and (Torrance) Carr. Glidden comes in, bad shoulder, so we don't get him. Carr comes in, bad foot. The reality is, it's time.
“Obviously, Blake Jackson has to be a factor for us. He has to be. There's no ifs, ands or buts around it.
“Tracy (Moore), moving him outside, that's big. Tracy's been a good player for us, but now he has to move outside. Obviously, (Josh) Stewart has to be a better player. We count on him being good, now he's the one guy returning who you say has to be a different guy out there.”
On keeping the offense humming, even without Blackmon and Brandon Weeden and others:
“It's not always about the big-time play. It's eliminating the crap that gets you beat before you even have a chance. It's misalignments, the motions, a bad snap, a pick, a misread. It's all the things that play into bad football.
“Play good football, then if you're good enough, you're good enough. If you don't play good football, you can't beat anybody. And I've been places, Iowa State, you turn it over five times, penalties, you're going to lose. I don't care who it is.
“Play good football, there's a number of ways to win games. The other team may screw it up before you even get a chance. All we did on offense against OU was play good football. That's all we did. And they turn it over. And we won the game. That's how you win. That's where with the quarterbacks, it's playing good football, letting the next play go, go to the next play, those sorts of things.”
On wideouts Moore and Isaiah Anderson responding to the opportunity they've always said they craved:
“The way we throw it around, it doesn't take much to catch 70, 80, 90 balls in this offense. ... we had 100 and eighty-something and sixty-something and the next spot would have had 50 between Chelf and others.
“It doesn't take much to be a guy who catches balls in this system. Now, it takes a lot for a guy to be a dominant guy with the ball in his hands, like Justin did. You can't just create that. But you can create a guy who runs routes and runs and cuts and catches the ball and does some things.”
On the always overlooked position of center, where Big 12 Lineman of the Year Grant Garner must be replaced:
“Grant was so smart. I can't remember too often when there were snap issues, which is the most important thing, since we're never under center. So the snapping part is a big part of it.
“And then he was such an even-keeled personality. Even though funny and joking around, the guys respected him and what he said. And just the way he carried himself and lived his life, so there's a lot to be said for that.
“We don't put a lot on our quarterbacks, so a lot's on them. Now a lot's on Evan Epstein. And he'll do fine.”