Gundy Says Defensive Coordinator Won’t Be Named until after Fiesta Bowl

STILLWATER — The coaching carousel has been as crazy as ever the past month, but Mike Gundy said he isn’t taking part in the in-season coach swapping.

Oklahoma State lost defensive coordinator Jim Knowles to Ohio State last week. Coaches from all around the country have bounced between programs ahead of Wednesday’s National Signing Day, but Gundy said he doesn’t intend on naming a new defensive coordinator until after the Cowboys’ Jan. 1 Fiesta Bowl game against Notre Dame.

“I’ll do it after the bowl,” Gundy said Monday. “I don’t like to take coaches off coaching staffs during the season. I just don’t like doing that. If I really wanted to, I could, but I don’t want to do that. I just don’t think it’s fair. That’s just my opinion. I don’t believe in that.”

In the mean time, Gundy said he got the defensive staff together before the Cowboys returned for bowl practices and started divvying up Knowles’ responsibilities as the Cowboys prep for the Fighting Irish. Gundy himself has spent more time with the defense in practices than normal. A former offensive coordinator, Gundy was in the middle of some defensive drills during the Cowboys’ Monday practice. He said he doesn’t expect the defense to “skip a beat.”

Gundy said he doesn’t intend on naming an interim DC for the Fiesta Bowl and that he hasn’t made a decision who will call defensive plays in Arizona yet.

“I’ll make that decision probably the day we get there,” Gundy said. “I’m watching everything. I’m watching it take place in practice. I’m watching everybody do their job. I’m listening in meetings. I’m gaining knowledge and information on guys in the room that can give me information on Notre Dame’s offense. And I’m just gathering that information, and then I’ll make that decision when we get out there.”

He said he is looking for three things in his next DC, someone who is:

  1. Smart
  2. Hard-working
  3. Loyal

Gundy went as far to say whoever that person is doesn’t have to be a defensive coach.

Defensive line coach Joe Bob Clements has seen a growing swell of support within the fanbase to be promoted as the Cowboys’ next DC. Clements has been on Gundy’s staff since 2013, making him tied for the longest-tenured defensive coach with corners coach Tim Duffie. It doesn’t sound as if Gundy has yet made a decision as to whether he intends on promoting from within or looking outside the program.

“There’s guys here that I have some thoughts about, but my job is to find the very best person, whether it’s here or somewhere else, to be in charge of the defense and keep the tools we have in the toolbox and keep it moving forward because we have a good plan right now,” Gundy said. “That’s my job. That is a difficult part because the easiest thing to do is just move somebody and not change, but I have to make sure that, in my opinion, I can be wrong, that that’s what’s best for the organization. And I just don’t have that answer. If I did, I’d give it to you.”

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