The Oklahoma State offensive line will have a solid mix of veteran leadership and young talent this season with seniors Johnny Wilson and Marcus Keyes leading the way.
Junior Teven Jenkins is the third returning starter for the Cowboys’ front, but one new addition to the group is someone whom coach Mike Gundy has been wanting for a while.
Gundy previously tried to pull Charlie Dickey away from the Kansas State coaching staff but couldn’t get him to leave.
Wildcats coach Bill Snyder’s retirement after the 2018 season helped Gundy finally get Dickey to Stillwater. He hired Dickey as the offensive line coach in February and Gundy said he loves the new addition.
“He’s perfect for us,” Gundy said during the Night with OSU event in Oklahoma City on Monday. “I think he’s going to bring a little bit of a hard-nosed approach. I’m excited about what he’s done.”
“He lives in his world, which means from tackle to tackle. He’s pretty much not involved in anything going on out here or over here. He just lives in his world.”
Dickey helped lead a K-State program that ranked in the top four in the Big 12 Conference in rushing offense his last three seasons. He coached three offensive line All-Americans and 23 All-Big 12 recipients during his 10-year tenure at K-State.
Dickey has had a solid coaching history, but he isn’t afraid to pick the brains of some of the veterans about the Cowboys system. Dickey is inheriting an offensive line that helped lead an OSU offense to a national top-15 ranking in scoring offense, total offense, passing offense and first downs last season.
He is also joining an offense that plays much faster than his former Wildcats. Dickey wasn’t bashful about using Wilson and Keyes as resources when he first arrived. Establishing trust with his players is important for Dickey and he said hopefully his willingness to learn from the veterans has helped create some trust.
“We’re in this thing together,” Dickey said. “I don’t have all the answers. I don’t claim to have all the answers. I’m trying to get better just like they’re trying to get better.”
Creating genuine relationships with his players is another aspect that drew Gundy to Dickey. He said the most impressive thing about Dickey is the type of praise he receives from his former athletes. Those relationships are why Gundy said he expects Dickey to be a great recruiter for the program.
“There is story after story about players that have gone on, whether they’re playing in the NFL or they’re just out here in the real world, and they talk about what kind of person he was; not just a coach,” Gundy said. “That’s pretty special. A lot of guys don’t get that, but those guys said ‘he was a role model and a guy I could go and talk to. He wasn’t just my coach.”
Dickey has a potential Rimington Trophy Award finalist in Wilson, who was named to the preseason watch list for the best center in college football. Keyes and Jenkins will help Wilson lead the way, while junior Dylan Galloway is returning after starting in five games last year.
Gundy said the Cowboys have six guys on the offensive line who have experience, but he is expecting to play a few freshmen this year.