By Anthony Slater – Aslater@opubco.com - @anthonyVslater
Monday’s breaking news, of Todd Monken leaving Oklahoma State for the head coaching job at Southern Miss, is good news for a good guy. An intelligent offensive coordinator finally gets his long-awaited chance to run a program.
But in the Oklahoma media world, it’s a sad day.
Coaches come and go, bringing different personalities and systems. But from a soundbite standpoint, there’s no one better than Monken. He’s accessible, honest, revealing and personable, a breath of fresh air in a business that’s continually moving away from them.
But this is no time to mourn. I’d rather reflect.
So here’s Todd Monken’s 10 best quotes from his time in Stillwater, a list that wasn’t short on juicy (and hilarious) candidates. If I missed any, throw your favorite in the comment section.
10.) This one came before the 2012 season. Monken talked to Berry Tramel about which kind of guys have an easier time learning the spread offense. And he even threw in a Myspace reference
“You’ve got to get your guys studying, get in the playbook instead of Facebook and Myspace and all the social network. The guys that really want to do that will put themselves into a position to play as opposed to those posting pictures and hanging out and chasing girls.”
9.) With a little bit of foresight, here’s Monken talking about the pitfalls of an offensive coordinator’s search for a head coaching job
“You’ve just got to be careful. It’s OK to wave at the neighbor lady, flirt a little bit. I don’t know if it’s across the street. Better be careful, might not want to go in the house. But it’s nice to be wanted. It’s nice to have someone tell you, ‘Hey, we want you. And here’s this amount of money. And a five-year deal. It’s your own program.’ Everybody likes to be smoothed. Everybody likes to be wanted. And if you’re not careful, you can make an emotional decision, even if you know it’s the wrong thing.”
8.) Early last season, while the historic 2011 offense was humming along, Monken dropped this when talking about why he’s had early success despite taking over a foreign offense
“It’s not like they gave me a broken-down Volvo with 200,000 miles on it. I came in and they handed me a souped-up race car. All I had to do was drive the thing. My job was not to screw anything up.”
7.) Monken’s thoughts on statistics. Probably not a big Fantasy Football guy.
“Stats are, really, for losers. You don’t want to be 600 (yards) one week and 200 the next, because you’re going to lose that game…Most of the time, statistics and numbers are all there just to make yourself feel better…But sometimes all those stats just allow you to say, ‘Hey, it’s not me. I’m not the reason. We’re not the reason. If everything was as good as we are…’ That’s a bunch of crap. That’s (a) loser’s mentality of looking at things.”
6.) This was Monken reflecting on the 30-29 comeback win at Texas A&M last season, when he arrived on the scene with brilliant second-half play-calling
“Up until that point, there hadn’t been a moment for myself. Dana had been here, I was just running his stuff. Up until that point there was a trust, but it was still, ‘Who is this guy that stands in front of us?’ It’s like in ‘The Sandlot’ when the goofy kid with glasses finally catches the ball. It’s like, ‘All right, he’s OK.’ Up until that point he’s just the nerdy kid in the outfield with his hat on weird.”
5.) Maybe Monken’s most memorable soundbite from his time at OSU. This was to ESPN’s David Ubben, talking about how injuries around a QB can alter his play (and taking a not-so-subtle shot at Landry Jones). He later apologized.
“It didn’t take long when ol’ (Ryan) Broyles went down and (Oklahoma) started running (Blake Bell) to think, ‘Do we have our guy?’ That didn’t take long. Landry Jones went from like, ‘I’m the man,’ to all of a sudden, ‘I haven’t thrown a touchdown pass (and) I’m fumbling it over my head at Oklahoma State. I gotta go back and see my quarterback guru.’”
4.) Monken on the ESPN Depth Chart show, which had an entire segment devoted to his fiery style of coaching (plenty of bleeps included)
“I thought they took liberties at turning the show into 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.”
3.) Piggybacking off that, this is Monken on the downfalls of being known as a loose cannon
“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.”
2.) Mike Gundy and Todd Monken have a special friendship, dating back to the days when they both worked under Les Miles. Each summer, their families go to Vegas together. Here’s Monken’s rehash of those vacations.
“You don’t get a napkin and start calling plays. Otherwise, you’re going to miss a good thoroughbred race and you don’t want to do that. The main thing is how much we can gamble in a four-day period and not have the wives get pissed at you. That’s really the goal of Vegas.”
1.) For these two Bedlam quotes, Monken will likely live in OSU lore forever. A good pair to end on.
“The bottom line is we live in the Sooner state, and that alone pisses you off quite a bit…It’s two rivals. You got to be kidding me. You’re sharing the same airwaves, sharing the same everything. And you don’t want to share it. I know they don’t want to share it. They don’t want to hear about Oklahoma State, and I sure as hell don’t want to hear about them.”