The noise level inside the Sherman Smith Training Center was loud today as the semifinals for off-season workouts Competition Day was ongoing. Next Tuesday it will be the teams headed by offensive tackle Zach Crabtree and linebacker Justin Phillips taking on the team drafted and led by cornerback/safety Ramon Richards and offensive guard Marcus Keyes.
The Crabtree/Phillips team jumped out early to lead the team headed by safety Tre Flowers and running back Justice Hill. Team Richards/Keyes won big in its semifinal over the team led by defensive end Cole Walterscheid and slot receiver Jalen McCleskey.
Watching all the events coordinated by Rod Glass and his staff were head coach Mike Gundy and the football staff. Yes, the entire staff was in place as offensive line coach Josh Henson was roaming around watching the performances by his offensive linemen. Brand new running backs coach John Wozniak (pronounced Waz-knee-ack) was there dressed in Oklahoma State sweats head to toe.
"I didn't waste anytime checking out gear, and yes, I am very glad to be here," said the new assistant coach making his way from one event over to watch another.
The entire staff was there including offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich as his room really only has one change. Henson was in the room last season and involved in game planning, just not on the field coaching. Marcus Arroyo is gone and now Wozniak, who several people that have worked with him have said they believe he will bring some of the same qualities like a versatile background having coached quarterbacks, wide receivers, tight ends and running backs previously, his personality of being a players coach that has the demeanor that makes players to want to play for him, and an aggressive recruiter that is extremely competitive when it comes to going after players and winning their commitment.
A former offensive graduate assistant at Oklahoma State under Les Miles in 2004, Wozniak won his first national title while serving in an offensive quality control role under Miles at LSU in 2007, then claimed his second as a special teams analyst under Nick Saban at Alabama in 2012.
“What I like about John is that he is a self-made guy who worked his way up and did it the hard way,” Gundy said. “He worked with us here at Oklahoma State and then went on to have success with Les Miles at LSU and with Nick Saban at Alabama. I know him and I know he’s a hard worker and that he can recruit. He’s been with people who I’m close to, so I’ve followed his path along the way and we’re excited to have him back here with us.”
Wozniak comes to Oklahoma State from Southern Miss, where he spent the previous four seasons coaching wide receivers and special teams. When Todd Monken was hired as head coach of the Golden Eagles in 2013, he brought Wozniak along as part of his first staff and Wozniak was retained at USM after Monken left for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2016.
In a release sent out by Oklahoma State, Wozniak expressed his thoughts on coming back to Oklahoma State where he served as a graduate assistant in 2004.
“Oklahoma State is a special place. Just like the players, coaches want to be at a place where football is important – a place where the fans care and the players have bought into the university and its football program. Ever since I left here in 2004, I’ve wanted to be back, and fortunately, now I have that opportunity,” Wozniak said. “Being around Coach Gundy in 2004, I had a lot of respect for him as a football mind, and more importantly, as a man. I knew that if I ever had a chance to work with him again, that I definitely wanted to do that.”
Wozniak is married to the former Jessica Swaye.
Year School Position
1999 Knox College Tight Ends/Punters
2000-03 Knox College Offensive Coordinator
2004 Oklahoma State Offensive Graduate Assistant
2005 LSU Offensive Graduate Assistant
2006 Georgia Southern Tight Ends/Special Teams
2007 LSU Offensive Quality Control
2008 Montana State Tight Ends/Special Teams
2009 Memphis Special Teams Coordinator
2010 West Georgia Offensive Coordinator
2011 UAB Running Backs
2012 Alabama Special Teams Analyst
2013-16 Southern Miss Wide Receivers/Special Teams
2017-pres. Oklahoma State Running Backs
2005 Peach Bowl
2007 BCS National Championship
2012 BCS National Championship
2015 Heart of Dallas Bowl
2016 New Orleans Bowl
Mike Thomas, Los Angeles Rams
Casey Martin, Southern Miss
Allenzae Staggers, Southern Miss
Darrin Reaves, Kansas City Chiefs
Carson Tinker, Jacksonville Jaguars
Jeremy Shelley, Atlanta Falcons
Corey Acosta, San Francisco 49ers