During Wickline’s nine-year tenure, OSU ranked in the top 20 in the nation in total offense six times. The Cowboys also produced six consecutive first-team All-Big 12 running backs from 2007-12.
Some of Wickline’s prominent pupils include 2009 unanimous All-American and top-10 NFL Draft pick Russell Okung, 2011 Big 12 Offensive Lineman of the Year Grant Garner and 2011 consensus All-American Levy Adcock. Eight total offensive linemen have earned All-Big 12 honors since 2006, including Graham this past season.
Wickline is also known for his intense style — one that Graham said is beneficial on game day.
“He’s very hard on us,” he said. “He’s very loud and he's very in your face. Once you get accustomed to that, getting in the game’s not even a problem. The crowd’s not a factor. The other team’s not a factor.
“That’s just straight through how he coaches and how he approaches the game. He really gets you prepared.”
Wickline called Strong “brilliant,” a “perfectionist” and “an extremely hard worker”— qualities that were already evident during their long hours working as young coaches in Gainesville. He also compared Strong’s overall philosophy — one that relies on discipline — to the way Gundy runs his program.
“He demands accountability,” Wickline said of Strong. “The kids understand that. That’s why they’ll go to class, they’ll get their degree and they’ll be accountable. Very much like Coach Gundy.”
This wasn’t the first time Wickline drew interest from Texas. Mack Brown tried to hire Wickline after the 2010 season, but he opted to stay at OSU because of what the Cowboys were building on the field and his family’s comfort in Stillwater.
So he’s certainly thankful for where he’s spent the last nine years. He stressed that he wants the OSU faithful to know that.
But now he’s ready for a new opportunity he calls both “attractive” and “a challenge.”
Not to mention, working at Texas means reuniting with an old pal in Strong.
“It’s a place, from a professional standpoint, you want to be a part of if the opportunity is right,” Wickline said.