STILLWATER — When Tim Beckman left his position as Oklahoma State’s defensive coordinator to become the head coach at Toledo, no one raised an eyebrow. The jump from major-conference coordinator to mid-major head coach is a natural career progression. But when offensive assistants Curtis Luper and Trooper Taylor left the Cowboys to take essentially the same positions at Auburn, some questions arose. Some fans wondered why a coach would leave a rising program for one in a rebuilding mode. Perhaps Auburn has a little more prestige than OSU. Same for the Southeastern Conference in comparison to the Big 12. But the difference isn’t major. So why are guys leaving OSU right now, when the team could be on the verge of its best season? There are multiple reasons, one of which is money. That’s not the biggest reason, but it is a factor. Reports have said Luper will make $400,000 coaching the Tigers’ running backs, a $172,000-per-year raise. Taylor was also making $228,000 a year at OSU, so if he’s getting a similar pay bump, it would be hard to ignore. Most would constitute nearly doubling your salary to perform essentially the same duties as a good career move. OSU was at the forefront of boosting assistants’ salaries a few years back, but those figures have been left in the dust behind the money that is suddenly being tossed around in the SEC. However, there’s another very important factor that had Luper and Taylor looking at other jobs, and it’s that natural career progression that Beckman found. Both Luper and Taylor want to be head coaches. Usually, before becoming a head coach, you’re a coordinator. And regardless of titles, college football teams have only one true coordinator. On the OSU offensive staff, that man is head coach Mike Gundy. Taylor and Gunter Brewer were called co-offensive coordinators for the 2008 season. But those were only titles. Doug Meacham is the team’s passing game coordinator. Joe Wickline is the run game coordinator, and Luper was an assistant head coach for player development. A lot of titles, and a logjam of candidates to be the next true coordinator if Gundy relinquishes play-calling duties. Maybe Gundy could have managed his offensive staff differently, and maybe he will in the future. He has not responded to interview requests since returning from the Holiday Bowl. Right now, it doesn’t appear that there’s a major in-house problem leading to the departure of assistant coaches, other than having too many coaches in similar career situations looking for advancement. And the odds of finding it at OSU appeared slim.