Mike Gundy sparked immediate alarm in addressing his vacant offensive coordinator post Wednesday, saying it should be filled by March 1.
Then Gundy caught himself, saying it was just a date he was throwing out, and that the post was much closer to being filled than that, any day even.
Still, Gundy said that for all the appeal of running OSU's offense, hiring a guy to run it isn't as easy as it may seem.
Why? With the system in place, the new guy must adapt to the offense, not vice versa.
“I've put a lot of time and research into it, to try and find the guy who is the right fit,” Gundy said. “And it's not easy here. It's not the best job in the country for someone who wants to run their own plays.
“There are not very many coordinators, who are established coordinators, who say, ‘OK, I'll run your system.' That's why it's a little more of a difficult search than people realize.”
GUNDY ADDRESSES BILL YOUNG'S DEPARTURE
Signing Day was Gundy's first news conference since the Heart of Dallas Bowl, making it the first opportunity for him to address the messy departure of defensive coordinator Bill Young.
Young revealed to the Tulsa World last month that it was determined before the season that the 2012 campaign would be his last at OSU — in part, Young said, because of his age. Shortly after reports started to surface that Young would not return, OSU announced that Glenn Spencer had been promoted to defensive coordinator.
“I was not happy about some of the comments that may have been made,” Gundy said. “But at the end of the day, Bill and I sat down in his office and we had communication and talked. Any time there's a situation like that in the workforce, it's never easy.
“But I felt like we needed a change, we needed a spark. Bill still feels like, and I feel like, he can still coach and be successful. But we just needed something different here, and that's really what it came down to.”
Gundy said that some schemes and philosophies would change under Spencer but that it would not “be noticeable to the everyday fan.”
LACK OF IN-STATE SIGNEES ‘BOTHERS' GUNDY
The Cowboys signed just one player from Oklahoma in this year's class — Dawson Bassett, the younger brother of former OSU defensive end Cooper Bassett.
Gundy said that small number of in-state recruits “bothers” him.
“We want to take care of all the Oklahoma people, then we want to take care of Texas,” Gundy said. “We offered a number of players (from the state) this year and we didn't get them.”
Despite the struggles to land in-state talent this year, Gundy stressed that offering players from Oklahoma who fit the Cowboys' system will remain a priority.
“We may not get him, but we're going to move forward on him because, in my opinion, a geographical tie to a university and a football team, makes him a better player. If you just parachuted me out in the state of Washington, I'm not going to be as comfortable as if you dropped me over on the other side of Tulsa. It's the same for kids.
“That's why we don't recruit nationally as much here — we've had so much success with players who are within a six or seven-hour drive of our school.”
BY GINA MIZELL AND JOHN HELSLEY