Intro To New Coaches: Marcus Arroyo

Fall camp for Oklahoma State begins on Tuesday. Even after a week off it should be a team in great physical shape that reports for that first practice Tuesday as info coming out of the summer program is that it has been a very good summer. The running backs will be greeted by a coach in great shape as Marcus Arroyo spent part of his summer training and then competing in his first ever triathlon.

Arroyo might be in good enough shape to go back to playing quarterback where he last took snaps at his alma mater San Jose State.

"I don't know if I would want to go back and play four quarters behind the line but that was my first triathlon and that has been on the bucket list for awhile," Arroyo responded. "It was a good time and I can see how that would be addicting."

He had some help from a fellow coach as Cowboys wide receivers coach Kasey Dunn has competed in a triathlon previously. The two did some training together.

"Training was good and I actually enrolled the steady help of someone that we all know well in Kasey Dunn because he did a triathlon last year and he has done stuff with his daughter. He was a good coach," said Arroyo.

"My wife was able to help because she has done several (triathlons) and she was a swimmer in college and that is the portion of it that most of us in athletics are unfamiliar with. It was fun and I got into cycling a couple of years ago and I was okay with the running. It worked out that the timing of it was good and it was really worthwhile. I finished fifth in my group in my very first one but I was upset because I wanted to be first."

Arroyo scoffed a little when asked if he did it as something to set an example or send a message to his players. Arroyo is very much new millennium coach. He embraces some old school football values, but understands today's players and their need to not only know when and how, but also why.

"I think that the thing most about me being here and being humbled by the experience is I chose this job over another NFL job because of Mike Gundy."

It is something he can apply to why he is in Stillwater and coaching at Oklahoma State. Illness thrust him at Tampa Bay into the role of calling plays in the NFL. That is a heady place for a young coach whose first full-time position was as an offensive coordinator at FCS Prairie View A&M.

He has made a rapid rise, but he says coaching for Mike Gundy was on his resume "bucket list." Gundy says in hiring Arroyo he has a very smart, very experienced young coach that he likely won't be able to keep long.

"That is humbling," Arroyo responded to the compliment and then threw one right back at Gundy. "I think that the thing most about me being here and being humbled by the experience is I chose this job over another NFL job because of Mike Gundy.

"I'd never worked for Mike but I've mentioned this before, that I've lived vicariously at times through one of my very good friends in Todd Monken (former OSU offensive coordinator and now Southern Miss head coach). I believe that if you are not taking notice of the other coaches on the staff, the head coach, the athletic director, and all the people around you then you are doing yourself a disservice.

"At this place with Mike Gundy, it is a place that I have kept close tabs on for a long time. When Mike called I was getting ready to interview for another NFL job. I came here because of Mike, because of this University, because of the people here, and what I have known about it and what people have told me about it."

Arroyo had better be good because Gundy wants to have a balanced offense and with no experienced 1,000-yard rusher returning the position needs guidance and development. Arroyo knows that.

"As a group, I'm excited because we are walking into camp with a clean slate," he said. "There is not a lot of experience and it is a stable of backs that are limited in that or inexperienced and I think that gives rise to a group of guys that are going to challenge themselves to push each other and really focus in on raising the bar of success for that position."

Arroyo is quick to identify the two leading candidates and that he has expectations and those have been communicated. He said it won't take long, the first few practices, to find out further if the two players have continued to follow through. All information floating out of the West End Zone, the weight room, and the Sherman Smith Center this summer is that pair and the rest of the backs have been working hard.

"Rennie Childs has done everything that I've asked him to do. Chris Carson has come in and the first few weeks of summer we had a chance to spend time together and I was just getting to know him," Arroyo explained. "That is in my evaluation, one of the areas that I spend the most time on, is what is he (a player) like inside. Chris has got some things that I really like about him and I am excited about.

"He and Rennie have done a great job of working hard of being team guys and doing that in the weight room and on the field this summer. I know it is cliche but I want to get better, a little better each day, each practice that we have. I'm going to be all over them because we need every rep and need to make the most of every rep that we have."

The reps begin on Tuesday. Count another junior college transfer in Todd Mays, high school signee and speedster Jeff Carr, along with the others as backs that want to prove something and want a piece of the pie at the top of the depth chart. The coach in charge will greet them in great shape.

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