Monday was the first time Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Todd Monken was made available to respond to the high amount of profanity that came out of his mouth during ESPN’s “Depth Chart” special about Oklahoma State football that premiered last week. Actually, he was available after the game Saturday, but that obviously was not an appropriate time to bring that subject up.
Monken welcomed the questions and said plenty that I could not fit into one story. So here are some more of his quotes:
“It affects you more when it’s you. If that was someone else, I wouldn’t have thought anything of it. If that was Mike Gundy ranting or someone else…but when it’s you, you wouldn’t want your players to see that. They wouldn’t see it as that—they would see me as being excited—but I was embarrassed over it.”
“I’m confident in my ability to coach and motivate and all those things, but I wouldn’t have figured that out of five weeks of filming, that’s what they came up with.”
“I thought they took liberties at turning the show into about reality TV and me being the swearing idiot, goofy, son-of-a-gun and took away from our university and our players, and I think that’s sad. But I think (the show) was well-done. I thought they had the best intentions.”
“I just didn’t want it to take away from the university, because you’re no longer just representing yourself. It’s one thing if I’m ranting at my house. It’s another when it’s a show on Oklahoma State University. I thought it showed a negative light on it.”
“The hardest part is when you’re trying to communicate and coach, if you’re not careful, the moment that you need them to be listening the most, they’ve tuned you out. That’s what I never want to have happen—that if I’m swearing and I’m ranting and raving, that the point I’m trying to get across, they’re now defending themselves and not listening because you’re M-F’ing them, and you’re not getting across the point.”
“First of all, it was me saying it, so it’s no one’s fault but my own. But the bottom line is that I want to make sure that our guys understand that in order to be great, you’ve got to be pushed. We’re going to push our guys, we’re going to coach ‘em hard. I just wish I had done it in a different way.”
I was “prepped” for the bleeps by our media writer, Mel Bracht, who got to watch the show before it aired so he could review it for last Wednesday’s paper. But I didn’t really need to be prepped…I’ve been to enough practices and have spoken to Monken enough to know his personality and vocabulary. And I didn’t think much of it while watching the show, because it’s not exactly uncommon to hear curse words on a football practice field. Gregg Smith, Arizona State’s offensive line coach, swears just as frequently as Monken. You can hear him screaming all kinds of creative forms of profanity from the parking lot.
But after the show aired, that was absolutely the No. 1 thing people were talking about. My dad, who has no connection to OSU besides the fact that his daughter covers the school, sent me numerous text messages about it. It was one of the first things I was asked about in Thursday’s Power Lunch chat. Folks in the OSU media relations office brought it up to me as well and wanted to know what fan reaction was like on my end.
I found it interesting that Monken is trying to change. And cutting out the curse words obviously was not a straight-up reaction to the show, because his 17 consecutive days of no swearing at practice dates back to before it aired. It was a group decision, and players and coaches have definitely noticed the effort. And it will also help Monken in the future if he desires to become a head coach in college football.
Gundy was asked about how often he’s used profanity during his coaching career, and he said he’s never felt the need to swear. He estimated he curses about three times during a week of practice, and that he only directs them at a group, not an individual.
“The approach you want to take is, if there was a fan or someone who was close to our program that was (at practice) and had their kid there with them, how would you coach?” Gundy said. “That’s really the way you want to do it, and then you won’t ever have any problems.”
I’ve touched on this before, but I like Monken. He’s an intense, colorful guy that will openly and honestly answer every question you ask. I appreciate that as a reporter. I’ve never taken him for a “bad guy” because he swears more than I do. His fiery personality is a big part of what makes him an effective coach, but if he feels toning it down will make him even better and he wants to work on that, good for him.