John Wozniak (right) was on Todd Monken's staff at Southern Miss. / USA Today Sports

One-on-One With John Wozniak

New Cowboys running backs coach John Wozniak is familiar with Oklahoma State and has worked alongside many on the OSU coaching staff.

Finishing his second week on the job the Cowboys new running backs coach, John Wozniak is with the rest of the offensive coaching staff in Houston on the campus of the University of Houston joined by Virginia Tech, Utah, Texas A&M, and the hosts discussing offense and sharing ideas.

Wozniak was a graduate assistant at Oklahoma State in 2004 with then head coach Les Miles, and Wozniak was working with then wide receivers coach Todd Monken, but he was also under then offensive coordinator Mike Gundy. Since his one season at Oklahoma State, Wozniak has been at LSU, Montana State, Alabama-Birmingham, Memphis, Alabama, and he comes directly from Southern Miss where he served as wide receivers coach and special teams coordinator.

Taking a brief break in Houston on Friday, Woznaik spoke with Robert Allen of Go Pokes.

Go Pokes: We trust things are going along productive.
Wozniak: We've been real productive. We've got some good people here and everybody is taking turns talking and sharing ideas. A lot of us are really similar on offense, so there are some good ideas and it is always a good idea to stay razor sharp.

Go Pokes: You are a former Oklahoma State graduate assistant and with Virginia Tech there in Houston, Brad Cornelson (former OSU graduate assistant and now Virginia Tech offensive coordinator) should be there.
Wozniak: Brad is here, Brad and I did not overlap. He left just before I came, but we know a lot of the same people and we've met several times over the years. Same with Darrell (Wyatt, former Oklahoma State assistant and offensive analyst and current Houston offensive coordinator). I've never worked with him but he and I have talked a lot. We actually met when I was at LSU, so I know a lot of guys in this room and it is nice to catch up.

Go Pokes: This is a good bonding time for the Cowboy staff. I'm sure after the sessions there will be a little social time and that will be good for you being new to the staff. What was your reaction when Mike Gundy called and wanted you to come in and talk about the job?
Wozniak: I was actually driving into the office at Southern Miss, in the morning. It was a Friday morning and I just about drove off the road. That was quite a surprise and a great one at that. I was really excited. Then I got here and I interviewed with everybody and I knew I wanted the job. I was just hoping that I would really be a good fit for them, and it's worked out that way. When Coach (Gundy) was talking about the job, I couldn't wait to say yes. It is just a real blessing.

Go Pokes: You were with Josh Henson at OSU and then at LSU. There is Todd Monken, who I understand recommended you. You're predecessor, Marcus Arroyo, also recommended you. You even spent one season on the staff at Montana State, so you were with Jason McEndoo there. You know most of this staff.
Wozniak: Really, the only guy on the offensive staff that I didn't know was Coach (Mike) Yurcich. It's crazy that I know Kasey Dunn through Josh and Todd Monken and Arroyo. Kesey and I have talked a lot. I knew everybody in the room and it was kind of funny going in there interviewing because I knew everybody already. It has made the transition really easy and was a good positive for me in coming here and taking this job.

Go Pokes: No pressure or anything, but you come in and the returning starter is a Freshman All-American (Justice Hill) from this past season that rushed for over a thousand yards.
Wozniak: That's right, and I'll take the pressure to coach him to pick up the ball where it has been left off. I'll take the pressure over not having good players. I'm fine with this. It is really good to have a fine young man, a good student, and a sharp young man. He's been good to be around, so I've enjoyed that part and I'm looking forward to coaching him. We should have a lot of fun.

Go Pokes: Thanks to Marcus Arroyo, you have two talented freshmen coming in at running back with Canadian Chuba Hubbard and Georgia product J.D. King. Of course, Gundy and Yurcich recruited those two as well but those are two really talented prospects.
Wozniak: One of the first things that I did was, obviously, get with the guys that are here. I met with them and worked on developing with those relationships. Then second, was to connect with those incoming guys and they are certainly guys that I would have recruited. Marcus did a great job of evaluating those guys, recruiting them, and getting them here. I am really excited about those guys. It is always hard as to how you project a freshman until you get them here, certainly the skill set is there.

Go Pokes: it comes with the territory, and everybody that I have talked to that is familiar with you says you are a good recruiter. I've heard from a lot of fans, and we are in an age where fans are more knowledgeable about recruiting than ever before, and they want to know if you are a good recruiter?
Wozniak: I've paid a lot of people to say good things about me, so it's good to see that is working. We had a good run at Southern Miss in recruiting and it is great when you have a good product to sell, an easy head coach to recruit to, and so that is awesome. The success that they have had here makes it very exciting. You have positive things to sell in facilities, tradition, and all the things we have here in Stillwater and at Oklahoma State. It should be fun to recruit to all of this.

Go Pokes: This is an interesting spring for you and for the program. I'm excited because with Justice Hill sitting out following the shoulder procedure, you have Jeff Carr, who has played a little; L.D. Brown, a talented red-shirt freshman; JaRon Wilson, a really new player with talent, and walk-on Jakeem Johnson all vying to ear playing time and form the depth for the program.
Wozniak: it's too bad that we won't have Justice, because he is young and he needs reps too. At least he has played in games, so we will take these other four guys and cut it loose. Really, Jeff is the only guy that has played, so we are starting from scratch and they are starting from ground zero like I am. They all bring different things to the table as Jeff has a little bit of experience and he has bulked up. He has looked really good in drills. Wilson is the only thing we have close to a big back. L.D. Is really talented and he has lateral quicks, and has burst and I am excited about him. We have a lot of talent but we are going to have some growing pains this spring, we'll screw some things up and have some mental errors. We have to eliminate those things and move on and learn. That is why I'm here and I can't wait to get going and get to practice and get them reps.


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