While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up. Yesterday we went through Nos. 10-6 on our list for the top return men in Oklahoma State history.Let’s get to our top five.No. 5 Tyreek HillDuring his lone season in Stillwater, Hill averaged 24.7 yards on 30 kickoff returns. That’s the fifth-highest average for a season at OSU. His two kick return touchdowns still leaves him tied for fourth-best for a season at OSU.Another guy you just wanted to see with the ball. He was the featured returner on both kickoffs and punts but his punt return average was a pedestrian 9.5 yards. But he had a pretty big one you might remember. That 92-yard punt return is the second-longest in OSU history and his 99-yard kickoff return at Kansas is alone in the No. 2 spot.AdChoices广告No. 4 R.W. McQuartersMcQuarters was the definition of a Renaissance man. As a freshman, he was the first OSU player in over 30 years to gain offensive yardage, return a kick and make tackles in the same game.The Booker T. Washington product and Super Bowl champ averaged an impressive 23.4 yards on punt returns and 15.3 on kickoff returns. He was an All-Big 12 punt returner in 1997. He gets points for his overall production and being featured in both phases of the return game.No. 3 Barry SandersThe top 3 are not only elite athletes and playmakers, they’re separated by a razor-thin margin. I’m sure I’ll get a couple of comments on the Barry sacrilege but since looking strictly at the return game, production had to be weighed.When Barry Sanders came to Stillwater, he knew he would be playing second fiddle. Another future Hall-of-Fame running back in Thurman Thomas was well on his way to stardom. Pat Jones stuck Barry behind Bobby Riley at both kick and punter returner and he quickly showed his all-world talent.As a sophomore, Sanders led the Big 8 (No. 2 nationally) in punt return average and led the nation in kick return average. He is the only Oklahoma State player to score on multiple kick returns and multiple punt returns in the same season (1987).Sanders recorded three of the school’s five 100-yard kickoff returns. He broke more NCAA records over his three-year college career than most players know exist. There’s little argument against his claim as best football player — if not athlete — to lay his head down in Stillwater.No. 2 Justin GilbertGilbert’s NFL career hasn’t quite panned out as of yet but that doesn’t take away from the special career he had while in Stillwater.Gilbert holds the record for most kickoff returns in a season at OSU (32) and is the career leader in kickoff return touchdowns (6). His 2,681 career kick return yards ranks him second in both Oklahoma State and Big 12 history and his career kick return average of 26.3 is second in school history.Gilbert lands at this spot because of his consistency and overall production. He had three of the top 10 OSU seasons in kick return average. He’s also the only Cowboy other than Barry Sanders to record a 100-yard kickoff return. Sanders had three. Gilbert recorded two.No. 1 Perrish CoxCox had it all. The production. The big-play threat. Great name.All of the top three on the list ended their careers with six return touchdowns which made it that much harder to separate them. But Cox gets the nod for his overall production and being the featured returner on both kickoffs and punts. It took a player like Dez Bryant to usurp Cox in punt returns and that was just for one year (2008).Cox is the all-time leader in OSU and Big 12 history in kickoff return yardage (2,804) and lands at the top of my list. More importantly, any time he caught the ball off another team’s foot, you knew there was a chance you were about to see something special.This doesn’t hurt either.Click for the TD. Stay for an all-time call from Brent Musburger.“And Bullet — exhausted.”
Kansas StateBill SnyderBill Snyder202 West VirginiaDana HolgorsenDana Holgorsen46 OklahomaBob StoopsLincoln Riley0 BaylorArt BrilesMatt Rhule0 Three years ago. That’s not that long. It’s less than 1,100 days. Thirty-six measly months ago, Art Briles was the coach at Baylor, Bob Stoops was the coach at OU, Paul Rhoads was the coach at Iowa State, Charlie Strong was the coach at Texas and Charlie Weis was the coach at Kansas. Now, all those schools have different leading men with a combined five wins at their current schools.And the big three — Baylor, OU and Texas (which have won or shared 12 of the last 13) Big 12 titles — have coaches who have a collective 0 wins at those schools. That’s astonishing, but it also points to something else: In a year when change has suddenly become en vogue, Oklahoma State now has maybe the best, most proven coach in the entire conference in Mike Gundy (he and Bill Snyder are the only two coaches in the league with outright Big 12 titles).This year begins an era of transition with the announcement of Bob Stoops’ retirement as the Texas and OU coaches’ combined age is less than Snyder’s. The Red River Rivalry will look different. Bedlam will look different. Baylor-TCU will look different. The whole thing is unrecognizable from three years ago.The last time the Texas-Oklahoma football game had 1st-year coaches for both schools was 1947: Blair Cherry for Texas; Bud Wilkinson for OU.— Brad Townsend (@townbrad) June 7, 2017 SchoolCoach in 2014Coach in 2017Wins by coach Iowa StatePaul RhoadsMatt Campbell3 While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up. TexasCharlie StrongTom Herman0 Here is a look at the coaching turnover in the last three years at all 10 Big 12 schools including wins at current school by each coach. It should be noted that Patterson and Gundy are two of the three longest-tenured CFB coaches at the same school (and Snyder would lead that by a wide margin if he didn’t retire for a few years in the mid-2000s).One crazy aside: Of the 10 current head coaches in the Big 12, seven (!) are at the only place they’ve ever been a head coach (and the other three have a combined 3 wins at their current schools). Wild. KansasCharlie WeisDavid Beaty2 Oklahoma StateMike GundyMike Gundy104 TCUGary PattersonGary Patterson149 Texas TechKliff KingsburyKliff Kingsbury24 All of this appears to mildly tilt the short-term scales towards Oklahoma State, Kansas State, West Virginia and Texas. We know what we’re getting with the first three, and Herman has at least done this at a pretty high level at a pretty mediocre school. With Lincoln Riley, we think we know — Stoops thinks he knows — but the reality of a 33-year-old taking over in Norman is pretty incredible. Maybe he’ll be awesome (with Baker Mayfield this year, he probably will), but that’s not even close to a sure thing.The Big 12 is going to be volatile for the next few years until we figure out what we have with Herman and Riley. Will OU still be really good in 2017? Probably, but I think everyone is sort of underrating how good Stoops was and how difficult it is to steer that ship. Dan Wetzel wrote about this for Yahoo and what the big picture looks like for the Big 12.Which, after Wednesday’s surprise retirement by Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops, means it may not be an overstatement to say the future of the league rests in the hands of two coaches who have never led a team at the Power Five level. Neither man owes anything to anyone other than their players and their school, but the stakes for college football are considerable.The league’s other members can have, and have had, great success. Everyone knows however that the league needs its national brands, Texas and Oklahoma, to serve as the glue for both membership and the collective ability to generate hundreds of millions in revenue. That’s just the reality of business – no matter how strong TCU or Oklahoma State or Baylor has been on the field. [Yahoo]Now I don’t care as much about the big picture for the Big 12 as I do about how it affects Oklahoma State, but his point remains. There is a lot of unknown in the league right now which is great for Mike Gundy and Co. Or at least it is right now. You’ll take a known commodity at the level OSU has been producing at over an unknown any day of the week. Maybe Herman and Riley will crush and Oklahoma State’s position as the No. 2 power in the conference will be in jeopardy. Maybe they’ll move to No. 3 instead of No. 1.Or maybe Snyder will retire, Holgorsen, Kingsbury and Patterson will keep pumping 7- 8- and 9-win seasons, and Riley and Herman will flail. And Oklahoma State will run the league for the next five years. It’s at least in the realm of possibility which is not something you could say this time yesterday.
The subject of our next installment focuses on a former junior college transfer who’s facing one final year to make his mark at OSU.How he got to OSURichards came to Stillwater as part of the OL-heavy 2016 signing class by way of New Mexico Military Institute. The 6-foot-8 and 325-pound tackle was born in Jamaica and raised in Canada, where he was a three-time Calgary High School All-Star. After two years of steady production at New Mexico Military Institute, Richards became one of the top junior college prospects in the 2016 class and chose Oklahoma State over offers from Louisville, Illinois and Southern Miss, among others.AdChoices广告What he’s done in StillwaterRichards saw spotty action in four games for the Cowboys last year. While OSU’s running game saw new life, Richards found himself just outside the rotation.Role in 2017With the turnover at OL coach, Richards could see a path to more playing time if he impresses this fall. Ahead of him at tackle are mainstay starter Zachary Crabtree and incoming Cal transfer Aaron Cochran. Richards should be in the mix for a backup spot with redshirt freshmen Teven Jenkins and Dylan Galloway. You can also include 2017 JUCO-transfer (and the sole linemen in the class), Arlington Hambright.Noteworthy stats and highlightsRichards is yet to realize his potential at Oklahoma State but 2018 should be a big year for the Cowboys and could be a big year for him as well. Here’s a look at some of the film that impressed OSU coaches from his time a New Mexico MI. While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up.
YearAmount On Tuesday, Oklahoma State fans got good news. Mike Gundy (finally) signed a new contract that ties him to OSU for the next five years (and likely beyond). Gundy inked a deal for at least $22.25 million over the next five years with an automatic annual renewal that makes it read like a lifetime contract for Gundy (we’ll get to that in a minute) and a built-in $125,000 annual raise.This is terrific, obviously, but it also begs a lot of questions. Here are my five thoughts on Gundy’s new deal and what it means for the future of Oklahoma State.1. It’s a great deal for Gundy (maybe)Gundy already has more money than he can ever spend on hair product or tractors. He desires security and power. That’s the triumvirate of success in our economy, and Gundy has largely only had a third of it (the dollars) throughout his career. Now he has the security part locked up, and as the landscape shifts in Stillwater, he will likely acquire more power as well (see final point).AdChoices广告That’s the good news for him.The reason this might not be a great deal for Gundy is that he’s locked into relatively small salary bumps over the course of the contract. Like I just noted, I don’t really think he cares about that, but by the time this thing is over, Gundy could be the 55th or 63rd highest paid coach in the country instead of in the top 20 like he is right now. Heck, he’s starting out as the third (or maybe fourth) highest paid in the Big 12. What’s that going to look like in five years as more and more money is poured into the CFB world?Consider the following: Six years ago Nick Saban’s salary was $4.8 million. Bob Stoops’ was $4.1 million. In 2016 those two made $6.9 million and $5.6 million respectively. The point is that salaries change a lot in six years. Those are ~40 percent bumps in six years for those two guys. Gundy’s contract will only pay him 15 percent more in its sixth year of existence.The other part of that equation is that this is not a contract you tear up. This is a lifetime contract (literally), and I don’t think Gundy will ever sign another one as long as he’s at Oklahoma State.2. It’s (probably) a great deal for OSUOklahoma State’s leverage here is that it can argue that Gundy would not have the type of success in Fayetteville or Knoxville as he has in Stillwater. So it has a top 10 (?) 15 (?) coach locked in at top 20 money with minimal increases into the indefinite future. That’s excellent. What’s not so excellent is that this brings to mind Travis Ford and his 900-lb. albatross of a deal.Here is the exact language on okstate.com:The new deal is for five years and provides for annual automatic rollovers. [okstate]So it just … renews every January 1? I presume there are qualifiers (see below), but it sure reads up front like Gundy can be in Stillwater as long as he wants. Which leads us to …3. Contract language will fascinateThe full contract will be released at the beginning of next week, and it’s going to be incredibly interesting. What are Oklahoma State’s outs? What language is in there that will allow the university to free itself from Gundy if he slaps together back-to-back 2-10 seasons? Will he have qualifying plateaus he has to reach to get the contract renewed? Will the contract say “if Mike Gundy does not reach a bowl game his contract will not be renewed”?I realize Mike Gundy and Travis Ford are about as similar as coaches as me and Rickie Fowler are as golfers, but the secret subplot in the midst of this good news is that you do not want to be tied to any coach on that coach’s terms for as long as he wants. Any coach. Not Nick Saban. Not Urban Meyer. Not the ghost of Knute Rockne. I’m confident the language will play in OSU’s favor — Person Who Knows Things insinuated as much to me — but I’m going to be parsing that document like it’s the Rosetta Stone.Mark Cooper of the Tulsa World reported that OSU has basically said the decision will be on the university to renew the five-year deal every year until … well … it doesn’t feel like doing so anymore.What that means: Gundy’s contract will roll over — have an additional year added to it — every year unless the university provides notice that it won’t happen. [Tulsa World]In this sense, it’s better than the Ford deal because you’re never locked in for more than five years, and you apparently don’t have to renew. But did Gundy really give OSU unilateral authority to not renew him because they don’t feel like it? Again, the language in the actual contract will be fascinating.As John Hoover of The Franchise pointed out to me on Wednesday, this actually happened this week at Arizona State with Todd Graham. He was to receive one-year extensions so that he always had a five-year deal just like Gundy, but it was not re-upped in 2017 so now he has a four year deal.ASU Vice President for Athletics Ray Anderson said a contract extension for Graham is not mandatory although his contract reads: “If grounds do not exist for termination for cause, ASU will ask the board to extend coach’s contract for one additional year following completion of the 2016 football season.” Anderson said, “That’s not an automatic provision in the contract. It wasn’t rolled over because it didn’t need to be rolled over.” [Arizona Republic]The other part of this is that gets a little awkward when you don’t renew like with ASU and Graham. We know you have four years left on your deal, but the writing is on the wall. Good luck! Also, I hope Gundy’s says: “If he cuts his hair or wins fewer than eight games in any season, we reserve the right to not renew.”4. #MathLet’s say Gundy stays for 10 more years (from an outsider looking in, this seems optimistic). This would be his total haul in that decade. 2017$4,200,000 2024$5,075,000 That’s pretty good for both sides. And all Gundy has to do to earn it is to get his contract renewed in each of the first five years. All of a sudden that five-year is a 10-year deal and you’ve been paid 1/20th of a billion dollars. The other part of his contract that will be intriguing is the buyout which was previously set at $3 million.5. What it means for the futureI went on with Mark Rodgers and Dusty Dvoracek on the Sports Animal on Wednesday, and they posited something I hadn’t thought that much about yet: That this could be a signal of the end of Mike Holder’s tenure in Stillwater. It could be the final tick mark on his to-do list before he retires to a life of tending to Karsten Creek and doing whatever people like Mike Holder do when they retire.I think that’s plausible, and I think it probably means that we’re closer to the Weiberg Era than maybe we thought. It also shifts a bit of the power from Holder and others to Gundy and his staff (which also got raises in the new deal). Not that Weiberg won’t be in charge as AD, but it’s easier for Holder (who came in with Gundy and is much older) to assert his will than for the new, younger guy entering when Gundy is already into his second decade as the most important figure in Stillwater.Lastly, and I touched on this earlier, I think this is the beginning of the end for Gundy as well. I set the over/under for Carson last week at 6.5 more years that Gundy coaches. He’ll be 50 in August, and he’s not a lifer. I think he takes his shot at a couple more Big 12 titles, maybe makes a run at one more national championship (possibly this year) and rides for the brand a horse off into the sunset. This is a contract that has “that’s the last one, I’m richer than the owners of Bass Pro and Cabela’s combined!” written all over it, and I think it will be. 2023$4,950,000 2019$4,450,000 2026$5,325,000 2018$4,325,000 2021$4,700,000 2022$4,825,000 2025$5,200,000 Total$47,625,000 2020$4,575,000 While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up.
While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up. We’re halfway through our summer-long countdown of Oklahoma State’s roster. Next up is a specialist with some prettyHow he got to OSUAmmendola hails from Lansdale, Pennsylvania, 28 miles northwest of Philadelphia, which is apparently close enough for him to earn the nickname “Philly” in Mike Gundy’s book. Unfortunately, holding the North Penn High School record for longest field goal and uploading his own trick-shot YouTube videos couldn’t land Ammendola a single FBS scholarship offer.When former graduate assistant and special teams coordinator at Oklahoma State, Robby Discher, offered him an opportunity to join the program as a preferred walk-on, he jumped at the chance.AdChoices广告What’s done in StillwaterAfter a redshirt year in 2015, Ammendola got a chance to try his leg at kickoffs. He split those duties the first two games of the season but by Week 3 had earned the gig full-time. Off of Ammendola’s toe, the Cowboys improved their touchback percentage from 23 percent (90th nationally) in 2015, to 43 percent which ranked 30th.Role in 2017Ben Grogan rode off into the sunset with three game-winners under his belt as well as the most points scored all-time by a Cowboy. Whichever side of the Grogan fence you reside on, an untested kicker is enough to give even Mike Gundy cause for concern.“Ammendola will kick,” Mike Gundy said prior to spring camp. “We’ll see how he develops. Right now, in practice and games, he’s been six-for-six from 55 yards and out, but he hasn’t been good from 35 and in.“We’re going to work him quite a bit this spring.”With any luck, the short kicks will work themselves out. Maybe Mike Gundy will trust his potentially elite offense to finish a couple more third-and-longs and fourth-and-shorts in enemy territory. Either way, the job should be Ammendola’s to lose. There’s no reason to think he can’t be the Cowboys’ full-time specialist for both field goals and kickoffs.Noteworthy stats and highlightsBroke the record at his high school with a 56-yard field goal. Is 1-for-1 in career field goals at OSU. That one was a 53-yarder and is tied for fourth-longest in school history.Matt Ammendola nails a 51-yard field goal to give Team Black a 10-7 lead! #okstate https://t.co/uGqw8wE3T7— Cowboy Football (@CowboyFB) April 16, 2016
Just before the start of fall training camp, OSU added a commitment from Tyler Junior College defensive tackle Latu Maile — the younger brother of former OSU defensive tackle Mote.Latu fills a need at the position after 2017 signee Fua Leilua backed away from the program, and although he’s a late addition for 2017, he’s already in Stillwater preparing for the season in fall training camp.We caught up with his defensive line coach from Tyler, Alex Wierzbicki, who gave a scouting report on what to expect from the younger Maile as he prepares for his Division I journey. Wierzbicki was hired in January, right in the middle of Maile’s freshman season, so he has a unique perspective after spending the entire offseason coaching him to his Division I opportunity.AdChoices广告On what Maile’s been as a player“Latu is one of the better one’s I’ve been around, both playing and coaching. He’s a leader, very coachable, extremely aggressive. He has a lot of strengths. His biggest weakness, just like any defensive linemen, if you don’t use your hands you won’t be very good. So when he starts getting consistent with that, I think he’s really going to be a big-time guy. He did really well for us, handled his business and now he’s at the highest level of college football. We’re obviously very proud of him.”On his attitude as a playerThe way he presents himself in the meeting room, the way he mentally prepares, and his attitude on the field — he always had a great attitude, never had to tell him twice — I think he’ll be a good player at OSU. He was great for us.”On what Maile needs to do to make an impact from a physical standpoint“It just depends on Oklahoma State and what their typical three-technique is. For us, he was a perfect weight. Strong, physical and could run at about 300 pounds.”The plan for Latu as he prepared for his sophomore season was to return to Tyler, his coach said, until a late spot opened at OSU. And while he’s got all the tools to develop into a contributor for the Cowboys, I would be surprised if he does anything but redshirt in 2017 as he builds out his skills and body in a Division I program. But the talent and willingness to be coached are two major reasons why OSU has to be thrilled to have stolen him away from the JUCO ranks. While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up.