Many think of graduate assistants as guys in their early 20s who cut up film and do nothing more than behind-the-scenes work for a college football program.
That certainly isn't true at Oklahoma State.
GA Ty Linder has taken on many of the responsibilities usually assigned to a special teams coordinator. And with Bill Young currently away from the team while recovering from an undisclosed medical procedure, GA Jermial Ashley has been coaching the defensive linemen during practice.
OSU coach Mike Gundy said the mold of the grad assistant has changed in recent years. Specifically, they're older. Linder and Ashley are both closer to 30 years old than 22 and have spent the past few seasons coaching.
Before arriving at OSU, Linder was a member of the Texas Tech staff for four seasons and spent the last two working with the tight ends and special teams. Ashley played for Young at Kansas and is in his third season working with the OSU defensive linemen.
“They used to be 22-, 23-year-old guys that were just breaking in,” Gundy said. “And now, we have graduate assistant coaches who are 26, 28, 27, 29, 30, married and got a kid. So they're more mature. It helps that they have some maturity. So we've got a number of guys that help us in that area that we trust.”
LB JEREMIAH TSHIMANGA, CB JONOVAN GRIFFIN OUT FOR SEASON WITH KNEE INJURIES
OSU announced Thursday that true freshman linebacker Jeremiah Tshimanga and redshirt freshman cornerback Jonovan Griffin are both out for the season with knee injuries.
Tshimanga can redshirt this season and still have four years of eligibility starting in 2013. Griffin initially provided depth at cornerback and was projected to see the first playing time of his career this season before the injury. He did not play against Savannah State last week.
Additionally, inside receiver/returner David Glidden (ankle/hamstring), inside receiver Torrance Carr (foot) and cornerback Andrae May (knee) are out for Saturday's game against Arizona.
Defensive end Tyler Johnson (undisclosed injury) and DeMarcus Sherod (shoulder) are probable to play Saturday.
ARIZONA WON'T TAKE MUCH FROM SAVANNAH STATE, EITHER
There's been much debate about what the Cowboys took from their 84-0 victory over Savannah State.
But for a new Arizona coaching staff trying to get a feel for what OSU has in quarterback Wes Lunt, and others, was it at all helpful?
“I don't think we can take a whole lot from that film,” coach Rich Rodriguez said, “because I'm sure after the first couple of series, they were going to be very vanilla and were going to let the backups play the game out.”
THE MYSTERIOUS NO. 47 IDENTIFIED
When the Oklahoma State players and coaches sang the alma mater following the Cowboys' 84-0 drubbing of Savannah State Saturday night, true freshman quarterback Wes Lunt had his right arm around the shoulders of a guy wearing a No. 47 jersey.
Naturally, plenty of cameras captured the moment. And, of course, the common practice for the photographer is to use a caption to identify the people in the shot.
The problem? There was no No. 47 on the roster. Bigger problem? Even after some quick investigating following the game Saturday night, OSU officials still didn't know who that player was.
But the mystery has since been solved.
It was sophomore linebacker Kyle Culver, who had switched his number from 32 to 47 before the game. The walk-on from Pawhuska had been wearing the same number as fellow linebacker Kris Catlin, which ultimately did not make much sense since they play the same position.
Culver's number has since been updated on the OSU website's roster.
JAMES CASTLEMAN'S ARIZONA CONNECTION
OSU defensive tackle James Castleman relished his first career start against Savannah State last week.
His second start will also be memorable, because it's a homecoming of sorts.
Castleman's mom grew up in Tucson, and he's seen Arizona play in person a couple of times during visits to the desert.
“I'm actually really excited for this week's game,” Castleman said. “…I have seen them play quite a bit. I actually get to start against them this year.”
As a true freshman, Castleman recorded two tackles in the Cowboys' 37-14 victory over Arizona in Stillwater last season.