The will-he-or-won’t-he yo-yo of rumors this offseason for OSU football after a 7-6 season spilled out enough into the ether that it dominated headlines and discussions from after the bowl deep into the spring. Ultimately, though, Mike Gundy chose to mostly stand pat and not shake things up. Aside from having to replace Derek Mason with Bryan Nardo, Gundy effectively gave his staff a vote of confidence, as offensive coordinator Kasey Dunn framed it in an article that published Tuesday at The Athletic:
“He goes, ‘Listen, put all that stuff on the outside and just shelve it, because this is the same group of guys that won 12 games a year ago,’” Dunn told Max Olson. “He started off with that and everybody exhaled. And then we just said, OK, how do we make sure this doesn’t happen to us again?”
Staff changes under Gundy in general over the last two decades are few and far between and center almost entirely on coaches leaving for other jobs — not for getting ousted. That wasn’t going to completely change after a trying season.
So Gundy held a meeting with his staff, according to Olson, and told them to “stay the course.”
“I don’t fire coaches,” Gundy said.
OSU will have some turnover this offseason in breaking in Nardo — the third DC in as many years — but there is continuity on the offensive side of the ball in Dunn. And despite struggles on that side of the ball last season and subsequent transfers — lots and lots of them — Gundy appears content to re-roll the dice with the crew that got him here.
Extenuating circumstances perhaps not fully known beyond the walls of Boone Pickens Stadium seem to have also been a factor here for Gundy. Spencer Sanders played most of last season with a shoulder injury. Injuries piled up as bad as any season under Gundy.
“What we went through, we’ve never had that here — ever,” Gundy told The Athletic. “We were so decimated with injuries, and then we did not have enough strong core team chemistry. I didn’t know it, but I learned it looking back.”
There will no doubt be some new faces this offseason and some major changes across both sides of the ball — to be expected in Div. I now for any program — but there seems to be some quiet confidence within Gundy and his staff that they can reshape their roster and reboot for another competitive run in 2023.