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Oklahoma State football: Joe Bob Clements leaves familiarity of Kansas State for Stillwater

Joe Bob Clements earned a scholarship after walking on at Kansas State and had two stints coaching under Bill Snyder. But OSU offers a promotion to defensive line coach and a chance to learn from Mike Gundy and his staff.
BY GINA MIZELL Published: January 26, 2013

He often popped in the OSU tape to see how an explosive spread offense — the most common system in the Big 12 — could attack his defense. He came away impressed with how the Cowboys won eight games in 2012 despite losing stars Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon and sustaining numerous injuries, particularly at quarterback.

He personally saw how the Cowboys handled a jarring quarterback switch, when former third-stringer Clint Chelf was thrust into duty in Manhattan after Wes Lunt left the game with a concussion.

To Clements, that showed the foundation Gundy and Co. had built. And made the job opportunity attractive.

“To have to play three different quarterbacks, no one does that and has success,” Clements said.

Clements admits he's only met about half of the members of his position group — which returns a stout defensive tackle duo of Calvin Barnett and James Castleman but will feature plenty of new faces at defensive end — during his first two weeks on the job. That's because he's spent more time on the road than in Stillwater trying to quickly establish relationships with recruits as Signing Day looms.

“It's been hectic,” Clements said. “Because it's hard to build trust immediately. I'm just trying to get to know these young guys, get to know their families and just make them comfortable that I can help them become great players.”

There's been plenty of comfort in Clements' initial conversations with Glenn Spencer, who's also in a new role after being elevated to defensive coordinator following Young's departure. They've talked about bringing enthusiasm to the staff and aggressiveness to the field.

“My personal opinion is there's not a tackle on the field that they cannot make,” Clements said of his defensive linemen. “And I'm going to demand that they put themselves in that position to make that tackle.

“Our job is to ultimately control the line of scrimmage, stop the run, and then when the opportunity presents itself, we're going to affect the quarterback.”

When asked about his long-term goals at OSU, Clements cannot nail those down. He throws out the clichés about worrying about today, and being better tomorrow.

Perhaps that's the influence of his old home, and Snyder, seeping into his coaching philosophy.

But now Clements is ready for a new venture.


“Just learning,” Clements said of what he's most looking forward to at OSU. “Any time I can learn a new way to do things, or maybe a way I hadn't seen before, it's just going to make me that much better.”