STILLWATER — With a new coordinator for a second year in a row, head coach Mike Gundy is taking full advantage of the Oklahoma State spring-practice period.
While the Cowboys are gearing up for the 2019 season, first-year offensive coordinator Sean Gleeson and the rest of the coaches have been communicating on headsets during recent practices, a move that should make the transition to games relatively seamless come fall.
“I needed to see Sean operate the tempo of our offense without a script,” Gundy said last week. “We’ve been on the headphones for the past six practices, for the majority of those practices. We’re going to do it all the way through (the spring).
“I should have done it last year or should have always done it in the spring. I think it’s really good for the coaches, but we’ve never done it because I’ve had the same guys here for so long. You just kind of get used to doing the same stuff, but I think it’s been beneficial for the organization.”
Gleeson’s predecessor, Mike Yurcich, was at OSU for six years. Jim Knowles was hired last year as defensive coordinator, replacing Glenn Spencer, who was in that position for five years and was on the staff for a decade total.
Heading into his 15th season, Gundy is on his fifth offensive coordinator and his sixth defensive coordinator. Knowles oversaw a defense last season that ranked 96th nationally while allowing 2.61 points per drive but recorded 39 sacks, the second-most in the Gundy era.
“I think the chemistry with Jim is obviously further ahead because he’s been here and he has a pretty good feel for who we are and what direction we need to go,” Gundy said. “I think he’s given good answers when you guys ask him (questions).
“There’s two things we were good at last year and there were several things we weren’t very good at. We’re responsible for correcting those and continuing to get better in the things that we were good at.”
Gleeson’s first season brings challenges, with him also coaching what will be a new starting quarterback. Hawaii grad transfer Dru Brown and highly decorated redshirt freshman Spencer Sanders are expected to split reps during the spring game Saturday at Boone Pickens Stadium.
“He’s a young, enthusiastic guy that’s highly intelligent,” Gundy said about Gleeson. “I’m learning more about him as we go along. He has a tough job. He’s at the one position where I actually know a little bit, so I can be very critical at times.
“It seems like it’s going to work out and be fine. We’ll know a lot more later, but we’ve had different personalities at that coaching position and had tremendous success for a long time. I don’t really see that changing.”
After a successful stint at Princeton, Gleeson has hit the ground running in Stillwater. He has seemingly acclimated quickly while getting on the same page with the rest of the staff.
“He knows the terminology,” Gundy said. “I haven’t noticed any difference in the tempo on our offense, so I’m going to say it’s all gone pretty well.”