STILLWATER — Last week, Todd Monken called his parents to remind them to watch their son as a prominent character on ESPN's “Depth Chart” special about Oklahoma State football and its quarterbacks.
The Cowboys' offensive coordinator has not heard from Mom or Dad since the show aired.
Monken expects that is because of his language used on the program, as he was “bleeped” more than 20 times for profanity during the one-hour special broadcast to a national audience.
“I'm embarrassed,” Monken said. “I get excited, I'm passionate about coaching and I would never want that to be portrayed the way it was. I haven't even finished watching (the show).
“That's something that I've tried to do a better job of the last couple weeks. And yet, I don't want to stop who I am. I can't be who I'm not.”
In “Depth Chart,” Monken is depicted as a fiery, energetic coach who also happens to be the mastermind behind a high-powered OSU offense that ranks second in the nation in scoring (49.17 points per game) and total offense (551.17 yards per game).
He is also depicted as a coach who uses plenty of words that must be censored on cable television, whether it's on the practice field or in the locker room or in the coaches' booth. During one segment of practice footage that lasts about one minute, Monken is bleeped 10 times.
Spend time around any average college football program, and you'll hear a similar vocabulary, OSU quarterback Brandon Weeden said.
“It's football; it's not figure skating,” Weeden said. “You're out here and you're going to get yelled at, you're going to get your butt chewed, you're going to get cussed at. As players, we don't even blink an eye to it.
“It doesn't brother anybody, and it's not as bad as that show made it sound, I promise you. He's not like ‘F this, F that.' It's not like that all the time.”
But most college football programs do not have ESPN cameras following players and coaches around for five weeks, gathering hours of raw footage that are cut and edited together for a one-hour show.
Gundy said he did not hear of any negative reaction about Monken's language following the special, not even from OSU athletic director Mike Holder or president Burns Hargis. But Gundy was disappointed that Monken's profanity likely shifted a considerable amount of attention away from the offensive coordinator's football knowledge or ability to coach.
“I didn't want anybody to get caught up in the beeps and take away from, wow, this guy can really coach football,” Gundy said. “He's a smart guy — listen to him. He's fundamentally sound and he's teaching these kids how to become better players and he's teaching them the game.
“That bothered me. Not for me—it bothered me for the perception of Oklahoma State football, and it bothered me for him, because I want good things to happen to him.”
But since “Depth Chart” was filmed, Monken has been trying to change.
Monken, Gundy and the rest of the OSU coaching staff recently decided it was time for Monken to cut back on the profanity. Since then, Monken has gone 17 consecutive days without cursing at practice, which dates back to before the show aired.
“You can definitely tell he's working on it,” Weeden said. “Not saying he won't let one slip here and there, but who doesn't? I had a little bleep on (the show).”
Gundy believes that Monken has all the tools to be a head coach in college football, much like former OSU offensive coordinators Dana Holgorsen, now at West Virginia, and Larry Fedora, now at Southern Miss. Monken can scheme. He can teach. He can motivate. And he can relate to college players.
But Gundy said Monken still has some things he needs to “clean up,” meaning the language.
Monken now sees that, too.
“Sometimes that has to be shown for you to realize how it comes across,” Monken said. “I'm not disappointed in who I am. I'm just disappointed in the way some of that could have come across.”