STILLWATER — An Oklahoma State offseason already filled with coaching staff turnover got a late curveball Tuesday, with news surfacing that cornerbacks coach Jason Jones has left Stillwater after five seasons to take a similar position at Mississippi.
An OSU source confirmed Jones’ departure, which was first reported by KFOR’s Bob Barry Jr.
The move leaves the Cowboys shorthanded less than a week before spring practice begins. Cornerback is projected to be one of the premium position battles, with sophomores Kevin Peterson and Ashton Lampkin bidding to replace Brodrick Brown opposite returning starter Justin Gilbert.
Jones’ departure means OSU will have four new assistant coaches in 2013.
Mike Yurcich was hired as offensive coordinator to replace Todd Monken, who took the head coaching job at Southern Miss. Jason Ray replaced receivers coach Doug Meacham, who left to become Houston’s offensive coordinator. Joe Bob Clements was hired as the defensive line coach, which helped fill the void left by former defensive coordinator Bill Young, who was not retained after the 2012 season. Additionally, Glenn Spencer was promoted from co-defensive coordinator to defensive coordinator.
Jones is the fifth assistant during the Mike Gundy era to leave for another position coaching job, joining Gunter Brewer, Curtis Luper, Trooper Taylor and Robert Gillespie. Seven former Gundy assistants have left for promotions, including four who were hired as head coaches.
At Ole Miss, Jones replaces Wesley McGriff, who was announced as the new defensive backs coach of the New Orleans Saints on Feb. 25. Jones will join a program that has garnered plenty of recent buzz after raking in a top-10 recruiting class following Hugh Freeze’s first season as head coach. Jones joined OSU prior to the 2008 season and coached three Cowboys to first-team All-Big 12 honors: Perish Cox in 2009, Andrew McGee in 2010 and Brown in 2011. Cox and Brown were also semifinalists for the Thorpe Award, presented annually to the nation’s outstanding defensive back.
But the Cowboy cornerbacks took much of the outside blame for OSU’s defensive breakdowns during the stretch run of the 2012 season, often because of the large cushions they gave opposing receivers to catch the football. OSU ranked 110th out of 120 teams nationally in passing defense, allowing 280 yards per game.
Staff Writer John Helsley contributed to this report.