More from new Oklahoma State safeties coach Van Malone
I wrote about new Oklahoma State safeties coach Van Malone for Sunday’s Oklahoman and his journey from being tricked into becoming a high school assistant coach in Houston to the newest assistant for the reigning Big 12 champions.
Here are some leftovers from that interview that did not make it into the story. They hit on a bunch of topics.
On the connections between him and the OSU staff (which are detailed in the story):
“Just a lot of relationships over the years. It’s just a testament to don’t burn bridges. I really train my players, ‘It’s not what you know. It’s not even who you know. It’s who knows you.’ They know you because of the work you put in and your character.”
On his first impressions of this season’s group of safeties:
“The first thing that I was impressed with about them was their leadership, the fact that they go out and they work. Sometimes with younger guys, you kinda got to prod them and (say), ‘Hey, why don’t you come out and catch some balls? Why don’t you guys go extra?’ These guys do it, and Daytawion kind of leads it. I talked to him early on and said ‘OK, Markelle (Martin) is gone.’ We need a leader that stands in the secondary and represents the secondary. I’m not going to pressure you to do that right now, but definitely you have to be the leader of the group. Brodrick (Brown), of course, is over there in the other room. Fine, you can never have too many leaders.
“I was just impressed with the way they work and how they, as a group, they pull for each other. They’re aggressive. I’m an aggressive person, I like aggressive play. It’s about changing the game, but it’s about imposing your will on your opponent.”
On his biggest challenge this season:
“When you’ve got five juniors, finding enough opportunities for those guys. Because they all want to start, and I have no problem with that. I like that. I try to grow and develop them, but getting my guys to trust me to trust that, hey, the team is first, then you, then all that other stuff that comes along with it. Trust me that the team is going to be first. Trust me that I’m going to make, as best I can, the right decisions for the team. That’s probably my biggest thing. There’s not a lot of challenges around here. There’s a lot of pressure, but I think we have the resources, I think we have the players. I think we have, in Coach Gundy and the rest of the staff, I think we have the makings of some really good stuff. We just got to let the rest of the world see it.”
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