A couple weeks ago our OSU beat writer John Helsley told me Todd Monken was a guy Mike Gundy would seriously consider as Oklahoma State’s next offensive coordinator.
Way back in December, when Dana Holgorsen left, assistant sports editor Ryan Sharp played the Monken card. Guess I should have listened.
Monken was the Cowboys’ receiver coach when Gundy was offensive coordinator under Les Miles. When he left for LSU with Miles, I remember being a little disappointed. I met the guy at media day one year and talked to him again at another function. He seemed like a reporter’s dream: Bright, funny, congenial.
Oklahoma State announced Wednesday afternoon that Monken will be the Cowboys’ new offensive coordinator, about 24 hours after I blogged my theory it would be Doug Meacham. It would have marked the first time Gundy hired a coordinator from within. I also thought it would help him maintain some of the continuity from last season’s record-setting offense.
Gundy has now hired six straight coordinators from the outside — sort of. Monken comes to Stillwater after four seasons as receivers coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars. But he has the advantage of being an insider and outsider.
Gundy has said he viewed play-calling experience as a priority for his next coordinator. Monken’s last season calling plays came in 1998-99 at Eastern Michigan.
Here’s a Q&A with Monken that Oklahoma State’s sports information department just sent out:
On why he is returning to Oklahoma State and the college game:
“It’s a great opportunity to serve as offensive coordinator at Oklahoma State. I was there with Les Miles and the program has had tremendous success under Coach Gundy. My family loves Stillwater and I have always enjoyed coaching college football.”
On what he knows about Oklahoma State’s current coaches and players:
“I was there with Coach Gundy and Joe DeForest and there are other people in the program that I am familiar with like Mack Butler, Gary Calcagno and Dale Patterson. My wife and I came up to Stillwater last spring and we saw the new facility and how the program has changed. I am not as familiar with the current players other than from what I have seen on some of the film we got with the Jaguars.”
On what he plans to do offensively at Oklahoma State:
“I want to blend what this team has done with what I’ve done to make this Oklahoma State’s offense. We want to have flexibility with it. With all of the returning starters, it would be silly to break up what they already have going. When I was at Louisiana Tech, we were no-huddle. When I was at Oklahoma State under Les, it was power running and going straight ahead. The key is to be flexible.”
On taking over an already-productive offense:
“Dana Holgorsen did a great job and I’m just trying to come in and find what fits best. Even before Dana was there, Oklahoma State didn’t lack in offensive productivity. It’s never been an issue under Coach Gundy. The biggest thing is just to have an identity where this is Oklahoma State’s offense and we know what we want to do.”
Here’s some things I found interesting about Monken:
– He’s been part of a coaching staff that reached the NFL Playoffs — Jacksonville reached the second round of the 2007 playoffs — and the SEC title game (2005 LSU).
– In Monken, Justin Blackmon gets former OSU star receiver Rashaun Woods’ old position coach as a coordinator. He also gets someone who can start prepping him for the NFL right away. That decision to stay in school and forego the NFL Draft looks better.
– Jacksonville thought enough of Monken to promote him to quarterback coach last month. Monken thought enough of the OSU job to pass on that job. I’ll be interested to see what his OSU salary will be — probably more than what an NFL assistant with four years experience makes in Jacksonville.
– Brandon Weeden is getting a guy who can start prepping him for the NFL right away. Back to the Jacksonville QB coach decision: The Jaguars preferred Monken over incumbent Mike Shula. Here’s what ESPN AFC South blogger Paul Kuharksky — a guy I worked with at The Tennessean way back in the Music City Miracle days — had to say about Monken’s Jacksonville promotion last month:
“Monken is a great teacher and he has experience with quarterbacks from his work on the college level. I’ve watched him work with the Jacksonville receivers at practices and really have an appreciation for the way he operates. He’ll be missed in that group, but if he has the same influence on David Garrard and a drafted quarterback, they will be fortunate to work with him. Cox will have a tall task to do Monken-caliber work with the wideouts.” Read the entire post here.
– Monken was mentioned as a candidate for the LSU offensive coordinator job that went to former Tulsa and Louisville coach Steve Kragthorpe. Last month Mark Rodgers said on the Sports Animal that a source told him the OSU offensive coordinator job was Monken’s if he wanted it.
Maybe he was waiting to see if he could get the LSU job, maybe not. But we now know Monken wanted the OSU job.