Gundy, New Coaches Address Media

Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy and his three new assistant coaches - offensive coordinator Todd Monken, wide receivers coach Kasey Dunn, and running backs coach Jemal Singleton – met with the media to answer questions on Valentine's Day. Gundy and the Cowboys assistants addressed a number of topics, a number of which we picked out for our readers.

Topic: How important the play-calling capabilities was in the hiring of Todd Monken as offensive coordinator.
Mike Gundy: "I think the first thing is that Todd Monken is not Dana Holgorsen and vice versa. Todd is a smart football coach and Dana did a lot of great things for us and he brought in a style of offense that I wanted. It worked out well for us. Todd has been around and he is very personable and the players will like him and they will like his attitude and the approach of being on the attack. It is just a great fit. The first criteria is a smart football coach that understands the game and can relate well with the players."

Todd Monken: "The best way to call plays is to have good players and be sound in what you are doing and do the preparation before you get to the game. Yeah, there are changes once you get to the game but don't let it be guess work. Rep it enough where the guys (players) understand what you expect and that was an area where they did a great job last year. That part of it, obviously there is a difference when you call it. That would be a lie to say all of a sudden you are the wide receivers coach and doing personnel and now you are calling the plays. Yeah, there is a difference in that.

Topic: What the Cowboys offense will look like next season with Monken calling the plays.
Mike Gundy: "We wanted a guy that was willing to come in and run our offensive plays and our system, Oklahoma State football, and not necessarily a system from the outside. We are pleased with what we do here and we're pleased with our offense. Todd, being a first time coordinator at this level, was a really good fit for us to come in and make the adjustments, so that we didn't have to vary our offense much. We have a number of returning starters and obviously some key players that we didn't want to have to learn new terminology and so he was a great fit for us.

Todd Monken: "If Dirk Koetter would have left the (Jacksonville) Jaguars and I would have been the coordinator there, I would have run what they run. It is what happens, that's what I'm sure Dana (Holgorsen) has a basis of (Hal) Mumme and (Mike) Leach and then took his own (offense) and made it his own. That is what we have to do. Our guys could go out there right now and do the things that they have done and execute and have success, so it would be silly to come and change those things that have made them successful. With that being said, I'm not Dana and I can't go out there and teach it that way because I haven't been around that. Whatever we throw out there as the product the players will get it if they believe that you believe in it. They have to feel that in you. That is something that I thought about those guys (last year) was they had an absence of fear. We are going to do what we do and we're going to do this even if the second or third teamers are in we're going to throw the football and keep coming after you. The team feeds off of that."

Topic: How important was Monken's conversation with quarterback Brandon Weeden before the new offensive coordinator was officially hired?
Mike Gundy: "That took place prior to us hiring Todd as offensive coordinator. I thought it was important that Brandon have a comfortable relationship with the offensive coordinator because he is not your typical college quarterback because he is 27 years old. It is almost like dealing with an NFL player. I thought it was important that the coaches we thought could be the offensive coordinator here that Brandon have a conversation with them and that he feels comfortable with them and we would move forward. Out of respect for what he has accompished here and what he has done for us, you know he passed up early on going to the NFL, so there is some give and take there as a coach. I just felt like it was important for him to communicate with the guy we thought would be our next coach. I visited with Todd about it and I visited with Brandon about it and both sides felt really comfortable and that allowed me to move forward.

Todd Monken: "Him being older it was more like talking with the guy next door and you're sitting there having a beer and talking football. He just wanted to know about me and what I'm about and he had already talked to Mike a little bit and it was more about people than it was about scheme."

Topic: Gundy's hiring of two coaches - Monken and Dunn - with NFL coaching experience.
Mike Gundy: "I think it is good to have guys that have seen it from both sides. Some of the best coaches that are out there are high school coaches. It is always humbling when you go out there and you see guys that are coaching offense, coaching defense, cutting the grass, cleaning uniforms, and they are really experienced and really good. I think there are good coaches at all levels. They have some knowledge and information that they obtained from coaching at that level that will be beneficial to our players."

Kasey Dunn: "I think there are some things that the guys probably look at and say he has been there, so he knows what it takes to get there, how the draft works, and the mechanics of it. At the end of the day it is still about the player and how much he wants to improve. I thinbk at any level if you can show him that you can make him a better football player then that is the bottom line. That shine of the NFL wears off soon if you don't know what you are doing."

Topic: The experience that Jemal Singleton brings from playing and coaching academy football at Air Force.>
Mike Gundy: "Those guys are special that can go to an academy and graduate and play football and got through all that they go through. Information came to us about Jemal and I became infatuated with it just because of that and then the more people that I called, I though this guy is a great hire for us. Then there were a few people that said why would you bring in a guy from Air Force and that style of offense. One thing is Air Force is not completely option, in fact their number run last season was the outside zone. Jemal is a smart football coach and guys that understand the game can adapt. He has been really good with his players and he understands hard work, loyalty, and effort and those are all things that are important. I think he can continue to instill toughness in our young running backs."

Jemal Singleton: "The service academies are a different place. When you graduate you are going on to a higher calling, to serve your country, so it is definitely a place that most people have any interaction with it sticks in their minds, the kind of young men that are there and the type of young me those institutions graduate."

Topic: The wives of Kasey Dunn (Janelle) and Jemal Singleton (Jennifer) are avid rodeo competitors in barrel racing.
Kasey Dunn: "She is not anymore, but she is excited to get out here and jump on a horse again. Growing up that was her thing, rodeos and doing horse shows."

Jemal Singleton: "I tell you what, my wife might be as fired up as anybody about this opportunity. We have horses and she has been riding her entire life. The fact that she is going to get to compete in this part of the country barrel racing is something she wants to do. She has been competing professionally the past couple of years up in Colorado. She is hoping to come down here and do it this Oklahoma way."

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