Why Todd Monken Works As the New OC

I can hear the Oklahoma State fans now, "here goes Robert Allen again, kissing the head coach's hind parts and trying to convince the fans that Todd Monken in the right guy." Well, I really do think Todd Monken is the right fit for a variety of reasons.

The day I first heard Monken's name come up on the job was early in January and I immediately called him in Jacksonville to touch base with him.

Monken confirmed that he had spoke with Gundy and that he was interested in the job and apparently Gundy had interest in him. However, nothing happened for several weeks and Jacksonville head coach Jack Del Rio promoted Monken from wide receivers coach to quarterbacks coach and bumped up his salary. I thought that was end of any discussion of Monken returning to Stillwater.

Still it was that conversation I had with Monken, who was sitting in his office at the Jaguars complex, that led me to believe that this could be a home run.

I asked Monken, what do you know about this offense that Holgorsen ran this season? "I've seen it on television a few times," answered Monken.

Wow, that is comforting I said with a little smart ass in my voice.

"Robert, I know Mike Leach and I know Dana Holgorsen," said Monken. "I know there offense some and I can learn it. They (Oklahoma State) have the offense and I can come in, learn it, study it, watch how they used it last season.

"A good football coach can learn an offense. The real challenge is putting your personality into it and becoming good at calling it," Monken added.

Monken was right. He was saying the same thing that Holgorsen had told Dave Hunziker, John Holcomb and myself last spring when he came arrived at Oklahoma State.

"The offense is not that much. There really isn't that much to it," said Holgorsen. "You put it in, install it over and over, rep it over and over so that the players absolutely know what they are doing, then it is the personality of the guy calling the offense that makes the difference."

Monken, who used to blister his Cowboy receivers when he was on my radio show so severely that I would call for a commercial and spend the break asking him to tone it down, was right. He was as right as he was to push Rashaun Woods, T.D. Bryant and John Lewis hard every day! It is the guy calling the offense as much or more as it is the offense.

"When you are calling a game offensively, no matter what system you are using, you want to run when they think you are going to pass, and pass when they think you are going to run," started Monken.

"You want to keep the back seven of the defense in constant conflict between run and pass. You want to play to the strength of your personnel, create as many explosive plays as you can, and not turn the ball over. If you do all those things then you will be successful on offense."

Monken has quite a bit in common with Holgorsen. They both are capable of calling on some colorful language and making it work to their advantage. And while I don't think Monken can put away Red Bull in nearly as prolific numbers as Holgorsen, they both get their share of caffeine.

More than anything they both have "swagger." Monken has it in more of a staff conforming fashion than Holgorsen did. Holgorsen was more of the "Lone Ranger."

The OSU offense fed not just on the offense but on the attitude of the man calling the offense, and Monken brings that swagger to the table.

Besides he won't be lacking for credibility when he walks in the door for his first meeting. Two players at the head of the class, quarterback Brandon Weeden and wide receiver Justin Blackmon, are heading to the elite level of football that Monken is arriving from. His experience in the NFL will grab their attention from the get-go and it will pull in the rest of the offense as well.

Okay, Monken isn't from the Mumme/Leach family tree in coaching, but he is from the cocky factory of coaches, and in working with and inspiring this offense that is more important than having experience with the offense.

This version of the spread can be learned. With swagger, you either have it or you don't.

In a nutshell, Todd Monken is Dana Holgorsen with manners.


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