STILLWATER — Todd Monken is gone, clearly needed in Hattiesburg, Miss., where he's the new head coach of a Southern Miss program in much need of work following an 0-12 season.
So, with Oklahoma State's offensive coordinator post now vacant — plucked for a head coach for the third time in Mike Gundy's eight seasons — who's calling the offensive shots for the Cowboys in the Heart of Dallas Bowl?
How about this: anybody and everybody.
“We're going to get together as a group and just do it as a group,” Gundy said Friday, in his first meeting with local media since the Baylor loss to end the regular season. “We may make a decision at the bowl.”
Pressed further on who would actually make the final decision on any particular call, Gundy didn't waver: “A group.”
Included in that group: Gundy, offensive line coach Joe Wickline, receivers coaches Kasey Dunn and Doug Meacham and running backs coach Jemal Singleton.”
Explaining further, Gundy said that this offense, originally brought to OSU by Holgorsen, is so uncomplicated that the actual play call isn't so much dictated by any coach, as it is by situation — down and distance, etc.
In essence, there are a few specific calls — run and pass — that automatically apply to each scenario.
“This offense is easy to call,” Gundy said. “You have a script. Really, that's why you can just (use) a small piece of paper and call the plays.”
With that, Gundy pulled just that — a small, folded piece of paper — from his pocket, and pointed to the few plays associated with different situations. Holgorsen seemed to use a cocktail napkin, lending proof to the point.
The real work, Gundy went on to say, is what's put in place during the week, more than on Saturdays.
Cowboys quarterback Clint Chelf, whom Gundy confirmed as the starter, said that while the team can feel happy for Monken landing a head coaching gig, it doesn't have to feel sorry for itself.
“Once you learn it, it's really not that hard to move forward,” Chelf said. “All of our coaches know it, they do a good job with it. They do a good job coaching.
“Everybody on the field knows what to expect in certain situations. That's just how the offense runs. The transition today was just like a normal practice that we've had all year.”
Still, it would seem that somebody would certainly have to put some play call into action.
And that would figure to be Gundy, who has assumed Monken's duties as quarterbacks coach and has joined staff meetings for a larger role.
Chelf said that he knew who would be calling the plays, yet didn't figure he had the clearance to say so.
It's a role Gundy knows well, having served as OSU's offensive coordinator as an assistant under Les Miles and as the play caller as Cowboys head coach from 2008-09.
It's a role, however, Gundy has since pushed back from. Citing a need to devote more time to the overall scope of the head coaching job, he hired Dana Holgorsen to run the offense in 2010, then brought in Monken when Holgorsen left for West Virginia.
Professing no hurry to name a replacement for Monken — and declining comment on rumors that former Missouri offensive coordinator David Yost has been offered the job — it seems only natural that Gundy will be heavily involved.
The last time Gundy lost an offensive coordinator, Holgorsen stayed on through OSU's Alamo Bowl win over Arizona in 2010, before taking off for a planned head-coach-in-waiting position at West Virginia.
That was not an option here, with Monken focused on building a staff, recruiting and getting acquainted with the team and program at Southern Miss.
Before ever interviewing with Southern Miss, Monken talked about the difficulty of serving two masters just as a candidate who entertains job talks or engages in interviews.
“I owe it to our university and our players to do my best,” Monken said the week of the Baylor game. “When you're involved in a job, you cannot. When you're involved in an interview, you cannot give the best to the place you're at. There's no way you can.
“Anybody who says they can, they're liars.”
So the Cowboys move on without Monken.
And with a group approach to calling plays.
“There's other guys in the room who can do it,” Gundy said. “I don't just need to do it myself. Over the next two weeks, we'll come up with a game plan, work it in practice and at the bowl site make a decision how we want to do it on game day.”