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Chat transcript: OSU writer John Helsley talks coaching changes, hoops chances and starting QBs

by John Helsley Modified: January 14, 2014 at 10:30 am •  Published: January 14, 2014
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John Helsley 11:02 a.m. Greetings, on a rather nice day in the Heartland. A lot going on with the Cowboys. Football staff shakeup. OSU men with two games coming up, including a rather big one in Lawrence Saturday. Bring your best...
Coach T 11:02 a.m. What's the latest on Football Coaching vacancies? Beford gone? and Wikline is gone. Correct.
John Helsley 11:05 a.m. Interestingly, however, Bedford is on that staff at Texas, too.
John Helsley 11:05 a.m. Bedford has been gone a long time, so I'm assuming you mean someone else. But yes, Wickline has headed south of the Red River, and not to recruit for the Cowboys. He's joining the Texas staff, where he'll reunite with Charlie Strong. They were on the same staff at Florida once upon a time.
Eric 11:05 a.m. What is the word on the street regarding Glen Spencer and Georgia?
John Helsley 11:07 a.m. At this point, it seems to be a lot of rumor and people connecting dots that may or not be there. That's natural, of course, considering Spencer's ties to the state. But there haven't been any serious connections developed yet. Spencer is in Stillwater working for the Cowboys at the moment.
Pistolio 11:07 a.m. Sad to see Wick go. Is there conflict on the current staff and is that one of the reasons he left (other than it being Texas and a friend coaches there).
John Helsley 11:10 a.m. Sticking with the topic... I don't know of any unrest, although I've heard it mentioned elsewhere. Until Wick says it, probably not best to speculate. Texas is an attractive job for obvious reasons, although Wick had turned down overtures from there before. And there is the relationship with Strong.
DB 11:10 a.m. % Chance Spencer leaves?
John Helsley 11:13 a.m. Hmm, percentages, always tricky. Glenn has teenage sons that have been through personal upheaval already, with the loss of their mother to cancer. My thoughts had always been that he'd want their lives to remain as smooth as possible during these years. But because of his roots in Georgia, and family support there, this is one job that could be a natural fit. Now, Georgia has to be interested in him and he still has to be interested in leaving. This remains fluid.
Guest 11:13 a.m. Josh Henson seems the most logical choice for the open position. The queston is will Gundy admit he made a mistake with Lego boy and move on?
John Helsley 11:15 a.m. Henson would be a great hire to replace Wick's spot on the staff. And you make the obvious point -- he'd have to come in as offensive coordinator. He's got that title at Mizzou and wouldn't come to OSU, whether it's his home or not, without that title AND the play-calling duties.
Bryan 11:15 a.m. In this elevated season of the Big 12 I think 4-5 conference losses gets it done. So a team has to hold serve at home and after wins at WV, TCU and Tech pick up 2-3 more road wins. With a loss to KSU, where do you see those 2-3 road wins coming from for OSU?
John Helsley 11:17 a.m. A basketball question. Good. Yeah, I think four losses or more is a good number. KU and K-State tied for the title last year with 4 league losses. Now, KU has two big road wins already at OU and Iowa State, so they're going to have to stumble. But it can happen. The Big 12 is good. And there will be some upsets. Some BIG upsets.
DB 11:17 a.m. Why didnt you cover OSU in Morgantown?
John Helsley 11:20 a.m. In the ongoing effort to manage the budget, we have to sometimes make choices to save money. Covering a game in Morgantown is expensive. It requires a flight, and two nights of hotel rooms. And it's essentially a three-day trip to cover one game. Sometimes we make tough choices. This was one of them. I'll be everywhere the Cowboys are from here on out.
Orange Jesus 11:20 a.m. Is it more important for OSU to lock up the perimeter against KU or to keep Embiid off the court and in foul trouble?
John Helsley 11:22 a.m. Both? Clearly, without Cobbins, this is a difficult matchup for the Cowboys because of KU's size and their depth. OSU will defend better than Iowa State. No doubt. And I'd expect them to take a similar strategy at the Jayhawks as they did in the Texas game: go right at KU's big guys and try to draw fouls. You'll get some shots blocked, but it's like a boxing match, go to the body early and to the head late.
Billy 11:23 a.m. John, OSU is a good and sometimes exciting team, but they lack one key ingredient which will likely keep them out of the Final Four - a dominating presence on the inside. One really good big man and OSU would be a favorite to win it all.
John Helsley 11:26 a.m. Billy, no doubt. The loss of Cobbins is a blow to this team. It's affected depth and and leaves the Cowboys vulnerable in the paint. Still, there aren't a lot of teams with quality big men. They don't exist much in college basketball anymore, or in the NBA for that matter. It can be overcome. And OSU's guards, defense and athleticism creates matchup problems for their opponents. I still like them as a team with big possibilities.
OSUDave 11:26 a.m. Does Gundy realize that his hiring Yurchich over Meachem has now cost him his best coach?
John Helsley 11:28 a.m. That's why they pay him the big bucks, to make big decisions. Most of Gundy's hires have gone well. He has a strong track record. And frankly, there weren't a lot of people inside at OSU who thought Meacham was the man for the job.
DB 11:28 a.m. Is Mason Rudolph attending class in Stilly?
John Helsley 11:29 a.m. Yes. Two of OSU's key recruits, Rudolph and speedy playmaker Tyreek Hill are already in the fold.
Randall 11:29 a.m. Any thoughts on new o-line coach?
Pistolio 11:29 a.m. What are the names you're hearing for Wick's replacement?
John Helsley 11:32 a.m. It's still early in the process, if Gundy's recent hires are an indication. He has taken his time before, although this one might be more pressing if there's any indication recruits are starting to waver. This class is nearly complete, so they don't necessarily need a replacement on the trail.
All that said, some popular names are former LSU line coach Greg Studwara, Vandy's Herb Hand, who is interviewing for the HC job there, a few others.
Robert 11:32 a.m. Gundy's arrogance will cost him.
John Helsley 11:33 a.m. Could be a factor
Billy 11:33 a.m. I am tired of the criticism of Yurchich. He will be here next as OC and calling the plays. Let's let it play out.
John Helsley 11:36 a.m. Yurcich's first season came with challenges. The O-line was average. It took a while for the RB position to develop. Blake Jackson, a star of the spring, was a non-factor. And he didn't inherit Brandon Weeden, Justin Blackmon and Joe Randle, the way Holgorsen and Monken did. The jury is still out. I wasn't crazy about some of the play calls in the final two games, but I'm just a sportswriter.
dr. el prez 11:36 a.m. John, if Sam Presti could somehow extract Marcus Smart from the upcoming NBA draft...would Marcus be ready to handle backup point guard duties from Day 1 with the Thunder?
John Helsley 11:38 a.m. Oh yeah, El Prez. He impacts a game in so many ways. And they don't need him to score. He's a great teammate, a great locker room guy. And he's a winner, first and foremost. He would love facilitating for KD, Westbrook, et al. They'll have to make a major move up in the draft to get him. But don't count them out.
Darryl 11:38 a.m. I don't think Vince Young should have been the All-Big XII BCS era qb. He couldn't beat OU when OU was good. Young had to wait until OU lost a bunch of players from the 2004 team to beat OU. So basically Young is being rewarded for beating a down OU and winning his Big XII title in one of their down years.
John Helsley 11:39 a.m. Well, he won a national championship, all but single-handedly carrying the Longhorns past USC. VY wasn't perfect. But he was really good. I didn't have a problem with the selection.
Carson 11:39 a.m. I was blown away by KU's athletes last night against ISU but ISU shot horribly from 3 and still kept it close due to KU's turnovers. How do you like OSU's chances to create turnovers and hit perimeter shots against KU? What about our free throw shooting?
John Helsley 11:42 a.m. KU definitely has athletes, loads of them. And the freshmen are finally figuring things out together. You knew that would happen with Bill Self coaching them. It was just a matter of time. OSU's best chance is to do what you say, create opportunities with defense, have a hot shooting day -- recall Brown's 7 3-pointers last year in Lawrence -- and not get battered inside. It's doable. The Cowboys have athletes, too.
PokeFan83 11:42 a.m. Do you not thing a little much with all the coments of Gundy's arrogance? Have people not been listening to other head coaches. Doesn't that attitude kinda come with the position.
John Helsley 11:43 a.m. All head coaches are arrogant. I think the previous question, and what can cause trouble, is when the HC is arrogant within his program.
j waller 11:43 a.m. Joel Embiid has a career day against the Cowboys. Yes or no? And on the football side, who's your way to early starting QB prediction?
John Helsley 11:44 a.m. A career day? No. A good day, perhaps. On Jan. 14, I'll go with Mason Rudolph. But as you say, it's way, way early.
John Helsley 11:45 a.m. OK folks, a great run of questions. Obviously, a lot going on. We'll do this again next week. Look forward to it. Have a great week ahead!

-- JH

by John Helsley
OSU Reporter Sr.
John Helsley grew up in Del City, reading all the newspapers and sports magazines he could get his hands on. And Saturday afternoons, when the Major League Game of the Week was on, he'd keep a scorecard for the game. So the sports appeal was was...
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