DALLAS — The departure of longtime assistant coach Joe DeForest to West Virginia during the offseason left OSU without a special teams coordinator.
And Cowboys coach Mike Gundy still isn't completely sure how he wants to fill that void. He hopes to make that decision by the start of fall camp, however.
“We have a pretty good idea of what we want to do,” Gundy said Tuesday at Big 12 media days. “We just haven't finalized it yet before we want to state it.”
Coaching special teams was a bit of a group effort during the spring. The Cowboys return kicker/punter Quinn Sharp, the reigning Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Year, and Justin Gilbert, a dynamic kick returner.
“We want to keep everything as close and as similar as that's been,” Gundy said. “(That's been) our philosophy when we've lost coaches, when we've lost coordinators and position coaches. We wanted to keep things rolling with very little change.”
GUNDY: MIXED FEELINGS ON PSU TRANSFERS
With the potential for Penn State players making themselves available as transfers, teams are considering possible fits.
Gundy suggested he'd be willing to listen, but isn't necessarily looking.
“There's a lot to digest,” he said. “So much information has come out in the last 24 hours.
“We have not had a lot of success with players that have transferred. The majority of our success has come from guys that have developed in our program.
“My comment would be that I think we have to take a look at everything that's going on. It's a long ways over there. It's not like they're a four-hour car drive from where we are.
“It's not a priority for us right now. But if there were some interest out there, I would think, just like any other business or football team, you would look at it.”
WHO'S THAT MASCOT?
In the midst of a media scrum, Gundy was approached by the TCU mascot, SuperFrog, who offered a fist – fist? – to the Cowboys coach.
Gundy obliged with a bump, then admitted some confusion.
“That's a frog? I thought that was Wally the Wildcat,” Gundy said, referring to the K-State mascot, who is actually Willie. “I thought he had a bad hair day.”
RANDLE ‘EXCITED' TO VISIT ESPN
With former stars Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon gone to the NFL, running back Joseph Randle has started to slide into the role as the spokesman of the OSU program.
He was the most popular Cowboy player at Big 12 Media Days. And Friday, he'll take a visit to ESPN to participate in the “Car Wash,” or a rapid series of interviews across all of network's platforms.
Randle, West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith, Kansas State linebacker Arthur Brown and Texas defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat will represent the Big 12 at the Worldwide Leader's headquarters in Bristol, Conn.
“I'm very excited,” Randle said. “I've been talking to Geno about it, and I'll get to hang out with Arthur some more, because we're from Wichita. It's going to be fun.”
GUNDY SADDENED BY DEZ BRYANT ARREST
Gundy was asked several times Tuesday about former OSU superstar receiver Dez Bryant, who was arrested in DeSoto, Texas last week for allegedly attacking his mother.
Gundy said the news saddened him and that he believed Bryant was a good person. But the coach also acknowledged that perhaps the receiver needs to purposely remove himself from his current environment.
“You can be a good person and make mistakes,” Gundy said, “and you can be squeaky clean on the outside and not be a good person, in my opinion. He's a good person. He's not making good decisions and he's in an environment where he's making mistakes.
“At some point, he'll have to grow through it, or he's going to run out of chances. (That) would be my guess.”
Bryant, who tallied 147 catches for 2,425 yards and 29 touchdowns in his career, never had a run-in with the law at OSU but was ruled ineligible for most of the 2009 season after lying to NCAA investigators about his relationship with former NFL star Deion Sanders.
Since leaving Stillwater, though, Bryant has had two other incidents involving the police. In January, he was detained but not arrested following an alleged altercation at a Miami Beach nightclub. And last year he was kicked out and temporarily banned from a Dallas mall for wearing sagging pants and using inappropriate language.
DEVIN HEDGEPETH, ANDRAE MAY COULD RETURN BY MID-AUGUST
OSU features two of the best cornerbacks in the Big 12 in Brodrick Brown and Justin Gilbert, but serious injuries to Devin Hedgepeth (Achilles) and Andrae May (knee) left the Cowboys with lots of inexperience in the backup roles this spring.
But Gundy said Tuesday that both Hedgepeth and May are likely to return to practice around the middle of August.
“You'd like for both of those guys to be able to get right back in that backup role,” Gundy said. “But if not, certainly one of them needs to. And then we have young kids behind them that will probably be better than people know.”
Those “young kids” include redshirt freshmen Miketavius Jones and Jonovan Griffin.
COWBOYS SKIP THE BLING
Former Cowboys Richetti Jones, a senior on last year's team, made the trip to Dallas with the OSU contingent. Jones, his playing career now over, is hoping to cross over to the media side.
“Anything that involves Richetti's mouth is a great idea,” said Cooper Bassett. “That thing can run all day, all night. And the things that come out of it are great. We've always said that Richetti belongs in front of a camera or something like that.”
Jones was flashing his Big 12 championship ring, too, and seeming somewhat disappointed that the current Cowboys opted not to bring the bling.
“Richetti, me and him have a little bit of an argument about that,” said Bassett. “He said, ‘Coop, you need to let everyone know who the defending champion is.' My argument was, ‘Richetti, this is 2012, it's not 2011. We want to be known as a repeating championship team, not a defending championship team.'
“That was his team last year, he can be proud of it. I was a part of it, but I wasn't a senior. This team is mine. It's something awesome. And it's something I'll enjoy when I have kids and grandkids. Five years from now I'll look at it and enjoy it. But right now, I'm living in the 2012 season. And I don't have any rings for 2012 yet. My goal is to get some for 2012.”