Four Candidates to Watch as OSU Looks to Hire Defensive Coordinator to Replace Derek Mason

For the second consecutive offseason, Mike Gundy is in the hunt for a defensive coordinator. With Derek Mason’s somewhat surprising retirement from college football, the Cowboys are now officially in the market again a little over a year after losing Jim Knowles to the other OSU.

So which direction will OSU head this time? An in-house hire? An out-of-the-box, out-of-family hire?

With Gundy he could go any direction, but here are four names to watch.

1. Doug Belk, Houston

Belk is a long-time Dana Holgorsen disciple who was elevated to DC and Associate Head Coach several years ago. Houston’s defense took a step back this past season but was top-10 in total defense last year and seems to be generally well-coached. If OSU wanted to out-resource the Cougs they could while taking down an incoming Big 12 member in the process.

2. Gary Patterson, Texas

This feels like a pipe dream on paper — GP is one of the best defensive minds the Big 12 has ever seen — but his salary at Texas as Assistant to the Head Coach with the Longhorns is reportedly peanuts compared to what OSU could offer. Patterson could probably pick his next spot, though, and money likely is not a major factor for him given how much he’s made over the years.

3. Joe Bob Clements, OSU

Clements has been a loyal lieutenant at OSU serving as defensive line coach and linebackers coach at Oklahoma State under Mike Gundy. He doesn’t have coordinator experience but, similar to the Kasey Dunn elevation on the offensive side, he has a good reputation and a ton of experience in-house.

4. David Reeves, UAB

UAB isn’t exactly a football powerhouse — the school quite literally cut the program before reviving it — which makes Reeves an interesting one to watch given how significant a promotion it’d be. Cody Nagel at 247Sports reports he was on the radar a year ago before hiring Derek Mason, so him again entering the picture might be possible.