STILLWATER — Clint Chelf admits he recently took time to think back on his improbable road this season from Oklahoma State's third-team quarterback to the stretch run starter.
The next step in that journey will be taking the first snap in the Heart of Dallas Bowl against Purdue on Jan. 1. And he will be directing an offense that recently lost its coordinator, Todd Monken.
Chelf talked with The Oklahoman last week about how Monken delivered the news he was leaving to the Cowboy quarterbacks, his favorite moment this season and how his family's Christmas festivities always featured a Bedlam twist.
The early bowl practices often allow a team to work on itself, rather than prepare for an opponent. How have those been going so far?
“It's going good. We went back and looked at the last two games and what we did wrong and tried to correct those mistakes and get better. And then after that was done, we started focusing on Purdue. They're a good team, and so we've got a lot of work to do left and we've got a lot of practicing to do.”
How did you find out Monken was leaving to become the head coach at Southern Miss?
“He called us in the day before (he left) and just told us. He's a matter-of-fact guy, so he just said, ‘Guys, I've taken the job.' We kind of understood. It was our day off when he called the meeting, so we kind of knew something was up.”
Were you surprised at all by the announcement?
“We know what kind of business it is. We know the best way for his family was for him to take a head coaching job and further his career. We all kind of understood that, and we all know he's a great coach and he'll do well down there.”
Head coach Mike Gundy also interviewed with other schools. What's the coaching carousel like for players?
“We just understand that coaches have to do what's best. When you win games, that's going to happen, they're going to talk to your coaches. We all know that we have another game left and for us, as players, we just have to go out and keep practicing, keep performing and help the team win.”
Do you take it as a compliment that other schools want to talk with — and hire — your coaches?
“Exactly. That's what Coach Monken told us. He said if we didn't score any points and didn't win games, he wouldn't be looking for other head coaching jobs. He'd probably get fired. So he's very grateful for that, and we're very grateful to have had him.”