Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy's offseason flirtations with Tennessee and Arkansas resurfaced two weeks ago, when a report by CBS Sports depicted discussions between the coach and his family about what life could be like if they moved to Knoxville.
That, naturally, led to more questions during a recent session with local reporters. And Gundy cited transparency — and the 24/7 media and social networking cycle — as his reasoning behind revealing those details.
“What I have tried to do is just be as up front and honest as possible,” Gundy said. “And the truth of the matter is what I said (in the CBS piece). And that's really the easiest way for me to handle it, because there is nothing really else to say.
“I can't make something up. I just basically will say, ‘This is what happens and this is the way it is and go on down the road.”
Gundy would not reveal, however, if a job offer was officially made by Tennessee or Arkansas.
“I really would rather not comment, for respect out of both schools,” Gundy said. “There are conversations that go on with those situations that are private ...
“But I think what I would say is I was treated very well by both schools. They were very up front and honest, and (we had) very positive discussions that actually can help us here.”
RYAN SIMMONS GROWING INTO OUTSIDE LINEBACKER ROLE
OSU returns plenty of experience at linebacker, where starters Caleb Lavey and Shaun Lewis are both seniors.
Yet a player at that position the Cowboys are counting on to grow is sophomore Ryan Simmons, who has been elevated from a backup at middle linebacker to a potential starter at the “WILL” (weakside) spot.
Defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer said Simmons' biggest challenge as he moves into that role at a new position is learning how to balance his playmaking ability with staying within the Cowboys' scheme.
“Nothing can happen, play-wise, unless you know where you're supposed to be, you line up right and (your) assignment's right,” Spencer said. “Then after that, just let your ability to take over. But you take care of your business that can hurt us first, then go out and make big plays.”
Simmons saw meaningful playing time last season, leading all freshmen with 23 tackles and adding a forced fumble and 0.5 sacks.
JAKE JENKINS READY TO START AT CENTER
For the second season in a row, OSU will have a new starter at center, with junior Jake Jenkins slated to fill the void left by departed senior Evan Epstein.
Jenkins, who played in seven games in 2012 and made one start, said his primary goal this spring is to get comfortable making the offensive line calls and becoming the on-field leader of the group.
“Just making sure I have the offense down solid,” Jenkins said, “and knowing everything that we need to do and making sure everybody's going in the right place. The center is the top person in the offensive line. He controls the line.”