Oklahoma State running backs coach Marcus Arroyo, rumored to be in line for a promotion at Oklahoma State as either co-offensive coordinator or run game coordinator, received his promotion and a trip back to the West Coast where he grew up and spent most of the first decade of his coaching career. Arroyo, in a story first reported by Fox Sports, will now be the co-offensive coordinator and passing game coordinator for new Oregon head coach Willie Taggert.
Our sources tell us that Arroyo had told Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy that he was being considered for the Oregon job when the OSU staff took a break following signing day and that he was told by Gundy to get it handled quickly. Arroyo was at the Oklahoma State West End Zone football headquarters today, even this afternoon, but none of his co-workers knew what his status was until the story broke around 4:20 p.m. Thursday. Everything up to that point were just rumors.
Arroyo came to Oklahoma State from a season in which because of illness to his former boss at Cal-Berkely, Jeff Tedford, he had become the interim offensive coordinator and play caller for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Prior to being in Tampa he was offensive coordinator and outside receivers coach for Todd Monken at Southern Miss, and it was Monken that highly recommended Arroyo to Gundy.
Arroyo came in saying he had never coached running backs but he was eager to expand his coaching horizons and did while he was at Oklahoma State. He immersed himself in the run game and in teaching technique such as ball security and pass protection to the Cowboys running backs. He did an excellent job with working with Chris Carson and Freshman All-American Justice Hill this season.
Not only will the new coach need to be a good recruiter but he'll need to be able to come in and connect with the current running backs and the 2017 running back signees in Canadian speedster Chuba Hubbard and Georgia standout J.D. King. Gundy and offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich were both also involved in recruiting the pair, but Arroyo was the lead recruiter.
Prior to Southern Miss, Arroyo had been at Cal-Berkeley where he was passing game coordinator and the play caller for two seasons under Tedford. The former quarterback at San Jose State and native of California, Arroyo was an undergrad assistant as he finished at Cal, served one year as offensive coordinator in Texas at Prairie View A&M, then was at San Jose State from 2005 to 2008 as a graduate assistant, quarterbacks coach and play caller, and then co-offensive coordinator. He spent the 2009 and 2010 seasons at Wyoming as offensive coordinator and quarterback coach.
Arroyo married the former Kelly Thoni in 2010 and she is a former student-athlete at Southern Oregon (volleyball) and San Jose State (swimming), so she is also very familiar with the West Coast and in this case the Pacific Northwest.
This will be a major loss for Oklahoma State because Arroyo was well steeped in offensive football beyond the running game and during games was often the communicator on the field with quarterback Mason Rudolph since Yurcich calls plays from upstairs. Arroyo was a good sounding board for Rudolph as he had been a quarterback and was well versed in coaching quarterbacks. The entire offensive staff has been a good fit with Yurcich, Arroyo, Kasey Dunn, and Jason McEndoo handling the skill positions.
Now, Gundy has two positions to hire as he has been on the search for the replacement to offensive line coach Greg Adkins since he let Adkins know he wasn't going to be retained on Jan. 27.
Our sources had told us that Gundy was well into the process on the offensive line coach and that it could be announced or at least hired by the end of this week. If Gundy follows his past habits in these situations, the offensive line coach may be hired but he will not make a formal announcement until he has the staff at full strength and has also hired the new coach to fill Arroyo's position.
There has been plenty of speculation that Josh Henson, who left several weeks ago for Arizona State as the co-offensive coordinator, offensive line coach, and assistant head coach, has been contacted about coming back. That is an easy trace and we believe he was contacted but can't confirm anything on Henson other that that.