Who Will Gundy Pick As Defensive Coordinator?

First let me clarify that Mike Gundy has made no comment to me on who he is hiring, or even considering, for the important and vacant defensive coordinator position on his staff. I do believe that with the departures of Curtis Luper and Trooper Taylor that Gundy will address the defensive coordinator first and then hire the two other coaching positions and a new director of football operations.

Gundy has plenty of coaches to go out and recruit in successful recruiters like Joe Wickline, Joe DeForest, Gunter Brewer, Glenn Spencer and Jason Jones. Doug Meacham, who has been a strong recruiter, did not have many 2010 prospects in his Central Texas region, so the Arlington, Texas native that knows the Metroplex well can move in and work the areas that Luper and Taylor were working in Dallas, Fort Worth and surrounding vicinity.

Recruiting has already been addressed and will be handled and the expectation here is that Oklahoma State will not lose a single commitment because of the departures and the finish of the recruiting class is not likely to be altered.

I do believe that Gundy will be seeking a defensive coordinator that can work with the current defensive staff of Joe DeForest, Glenn Spencer and Jason Jones.

All of the candidates that I identify below would either coach defensive line or linebackers, which would work well as Spencer can and has coached either line or linebackers. I know that Gundy feels really strong about these coaches and should as all three are quality individuals and excellent coaches.

That said, here is my "spectacular seven" candidates for defensive coordinator. Remember these come from responsible sources, people in the know (except for Ron Vanderlinden, who I threw in there because of his connection with Gundy).

I am listing the candidates in the order that I think they could possibly be in for the position.

1. Dick Bumpass, TCU
It is hard to argue with the way TCU has played defense since Bumpass came on board in 2004. He has been up for the Broyles Award and has coached multiple All-Americans and all-conference players.

The former Southwestern Conference Player of the Year as a defensive tackle at Arkansas has coached at TCU, Western Michigan, Utah State, and Navy as a defensive coordinator. He is one of the 4-2-5 disciples that believes in being aggressive with that scheme. It would work and could be very comfortable for the current OSU defensive players to learn.

He was also a co-defensive coordinator at Houston and coached his current boss, Gary Patterson, when he was an assistant coach at Kansas State. He also has coached at Tennessee. He is believed to be in his late 50s.

2. Reggie Herring, Dallas Cowboys
I know, it's hard to believe but the situation at Dallas is volatile these days and Herring could be looking for some stability. He may be out of the Cowboys' price range but you never know until you try.

He has been a successful college coordinator at TCU, Clemson, North Carolina State, and most recently Arkansas, before taking the Cowboys job. He was briefly at Texas A&M before going with Dallas.

The former Seminole linebacker is 49 years old and he came along with Jimmy Johnson to OSU where he started his coaching career as a graduate assistant and then full-time assistant. He actually played against OSU while he was at Florida State.

3. Phil Bennett, Pittsburgh (college)
The former Texas A&M wrecking crew linebacker knows the Big 12 like the back of his hand with stints as defensive coordinator at Texas A&M, Oklahoma and Kansas State. He was also on staff briefly at Southern Cal and was a defensive coordinator at LSU.

His defenses have been stout everywhere he has gone. He was a head coach at SMU before going to Pitt and helping Dave Wannstadt have a big year this season and go to the Sun Bowl, a 3-0 loss to Oregon State. You don't see too many defensive battles like that anymore.

His wife is still in Texas, so are his kids. He is renting in Pittsburgh and reportedly wants to get back to the Southwest. Bennett, 53 years old, would coach linebackers.

4. Bill Young, Miami (college)
A big blast from the past as the 1968 Oklahoma State graduate started his coaching career coaching offensive and then defensive line for the Cowboys. Young's career took off as he has been a defensive coordinator for 23 years. He has headed up defenses at Tulsa, Ohio State, Southern Cal, and Oklahoma. He also did a stint as the defensive line coach for the Detroit Lions.

More recently he helped Mark Mangino turn Kansas around as the Jayhawks defensive coordinator in their Orange Bowl championship season of 2007. He left before this season to take over those same duties at Miami.

The word is he would like to get back to Stillwater and finish his coaching career where it began. Young is 64 years old but doesn't act it. He would coach the defensive line.

5. Greg Hudson, East Carolina
Hudson is a popular guy these days and the second youngest of the candidates that I'm listing at 41 years old. A Notre Dame graduate that played linebacker, Hudson's Pirates defense did a number on the Tulsa Golden Hurricane in the C-USA championship game.

His defense has played well all season long. He has also served as a defensive coordinator at Minnesota and started out coaching on the other side of the ball, something that never hurts. He coached offensive line at Cincinnati, UConn, and as a graduate assistant at Notre Dame. He would coach linebackers.

6. Tyrone Nix, Ole Miss
Odds are he is now out of OSU's price range in the salary booming SEC. The former Southern Miss linebacker and eventual assistant coach and then defensive coordinator for 10 years. Nix is 36 years old. He is a good one and his defense did a number on Mike Leach and the Texas Tech offense in the Cotton Bowl.

He'd be great but you just know Houston Nutt is going to unload the bank at Ole Miss if he needs to in order to keep him. He is a future head coach candidate for somebody, and maybe soon.

7. Ron Vanderlinden, Penn State
The former Maryland head coach that had Gundy on his staff is now coaching the linebackers at Penn State. He is a good coach that coordinated defenses for Gary Barnett at both Colorado and Northwestern. A former center that graduated from Albion College he would coach linebackers. He is a long shot but Gundy knows him and likes him.

The other position that Gundy has to fill is the director of football operations. We won't go into detail and with Dale Patterson there as the assistant there is not the urgency to fill that position. Former OSU assistant and Texas A&M football administrator Johnny Barr, OSU video coordinator Jeff Naple, Patterson, and, perhaps, recruiting coordinator Robert Matthews would be candidates internally. There are others outside that are interested too.

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