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Oklahoma State football: Will Mike Gundy need two coordinators?

by Berry Tramel Published: December 18, 2012
talks to the media after football practice in Stillwater, Okla., Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman
talks to the media after football practice in Stillwater, Okla., Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman

Is Bill Young about to coach his final OSU football game? That certainly would a large legion of Cowboy fans happy, though it wouldn’t necessarily insure better State defense. Young’s unit was very good in 2011, when OSU won the Big 12 title, and not so good in 2012, when the Cowboys slipped to 7-5.

I hadn’t even thought about Young retiring or be nudged out the door, but then he told our Jenni Carlson that he didn’t know what the future held. You can read her Sunday column here.

Young basically said he didn’t know if he would be back in 2013, and when people talk like that, it usually means they aren’t coming back. Young had health problems during the season, he’s past retirement age and he’s certainly had a superb career. He coordinated Kansas’ defense to an Orange Bowl victory and OSU’s defense to a Fiesta Bowl victory, and go find the coach who can match that.

But Young admitted to frustrations over OSU’s 2012 defense. Maybe he’s ready to step aside, or maybe Mike Gundy has talked to Young about bowing out gracefully.

What kind of bind would OSU be in if Gundy had to replace two coordinators? It’s certainly not ideal. But surely Gundy always keeps a short list of both offensive and defensive coordinator candidates. Lots of coaches will be clamoring for those jobs, especially the offensive side, which has become a door to a solid head coaching opportunity. Getting a defensive coordinator to take over a Big 12 defense job is a tougher sell, but if you’re successful, you’re a genius.

Coordinators have done less and less recruiting over the years. The head coach oversees, the coordinators game plan and the assistants recruit around practice. So I don’t think the coordinator void is a recruiting issue, other than recruits want to know who will be leading their side of the ball.

I hope Bill Young stays. He’s an elder statesman and a straight shooter. He goes back to the OSU days of the 1960s, and he’s coached all over. But if Young retires, Gundy’s program is going to be totally new blood. That can be bad or that can be good.

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by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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