Oklahoma State football coaches and media hit the greens at Karsten Creek on Tuesday for the annual OSU Media Golf event. After 18 holes, media members were given the opportunity to speak with coaches. That included their first chance for a Q&A with the Cowboys’ new defensive coordinator, Jim Knowles.
So far, Knowles’ arrival to Stillwater has been almost understated. There was never an official announcement or release from the athletic department about his hiring. That, combined with his 4-2-5 scheme, has only heightened the anticipation of many OSU fans — myself included — to finally get a look at this new Cowboy defense and see what exactly it was that convinced Gundy to hire him.
*If you get a chance, make sure and read the Tulsa World’s Mark Cooper’s excellent story about Knowles’ interview process.*
And with quotes like this, it’s hard NOT to be excited.
“This system was built with the number one goal to be the fastest play calling defense in the country,” said Knowles.
Be still my beating heart.
Despite the change in defensive scheme Knowles says his players will be ready to go week one.
“They will go into the first game knowing everything they need to know for that game,” said Knowles. “Will it continue to grow and move forward as the season progresses? absolutely.”
For this style to work -- one that allows more creativity from the players — all the players are going to have to make sure they understand the basics. For Knowles, that means making sure they have it ingrained into them, into a habit that comes naturally.
“Your players better know what to do,” said Knowles “You’re not making a lot of week to week changes. You’re tweaking things, but the learning and the knowledge of defense and the fundamentals of scheme... if they don’t know it well enough to teach, then I haven’t done my job.”
Knowles also talked a bit about the difference between the rebuilding job he walked into with Coach David Cutliffe when they took over at Duke, compared to the situation he arrived to in Stillwater.
“The fan base that is established here, and the winning that is established here, and the bowl run that Mike Gundy has done to put Oklahoma State on the map, I’m walking into that.”
Speaking of ingrained, Coach Gundy seems to have Knowles pretty ingrained into the Oklahoma State system, as he is already talking about one of Gundy’s favorite topics; the “Cowboy Culture.”
“I think what a lot of people don’t know... but what i learned quickly is the culture of being a cowboy and what Coach Gundy has built. Our players do the right things. I’m not chasing players around to get them to be compliant. They know and understand what it means to be a Cowboy.”
You can check out Knowles full interview below. He also talks about recruiting (!!!) compared to Duke, and the relationship you have to build with players to coach football.