Gundy names Tennessee assistant Taylor offensive coordinator
STILLWATER, Okla. -- Oklahoma State football coach Mike Gundy chose another former colleague to help run his offense, naming former Tennessee receivers coach Trooper Taylor on Wednesday as the Cowboys' co-offensive coordinator.
Taylor was on the same Baylor staff with Gundy and former Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Larry Fedora for one season in 1996. Fedora was named the head coach at Southern Mississippi last week and Gundy acted quickly to fill a void on his staff, even though he hinted earlier Wednesday, during his bowl media news conference, that he had had little time to consider potential replacements for Fedora.
Gundy said the Cowboys, who will play Indiana in the Insight Bowl on Dec. 31, will continue to run the one-back, no-huddle offense installed by Fedora. Taylor will not join Oklahoma State's staff until after the bowl game, when another co-coordinator likely will be named.
"We think Taylor is a good fit here," Gundy said. "He's not a guy who just wants to take the offense over. We don't want to bring in a guy from the outside and do that. Why change what we do? It's really that simple."
Regarded as a strong recruiter, the 37-year-old Taylor has been on Philip Fulmer's staff at Tennessee since 2004, this season coaching wide receivers and being in charge of player development.
The energetic coach is often seen on the sidelines of Tennessee games jumping up and down and bumping chests with players. He and his wife have hosted Thanksgiving dinner several times for players who were unable to travel home for the holiday.
Taylor played defensive back from 1988 to 1991 at Baylor, which also interviewed him for an open offensive coordinator position. Taylor spent six years coaching at Baylor, another at New Mexico and five years with Tulane before going to Tennessee.
Taylor has also coached running backs at Tennessee and is credited with developing tailbacks Cedric Houston and Gerald Riggs Jr., who are the Volunteers' only pair of 1,000 yard rushers in a single season. He also coached New Orleans Saints wide receiver Robert Meachem, a Tulsa native who set Tennessee's single-season receiving record with 1,298 yards.
He will coach for the Volunteers against Wisconsin in the Outback Bowl on Jan. 1.
Taylor will join an Oklahoma State offense that ranked ninth in the Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly NCAA Division I-A) in total offense (484 yards per game), seventh in rushing (245.8 yards per game) and averaged 33.4 points per game.
"I think Trooper has the capability of being a coordinator," Gundy said. "He wants to be part of Oklahoma State football. He likes what he sees here."
Gundy said earlier Wednesday it's yet to be determined how play-calling will be handled for Oklahoma State (6-6) against Indiana (7-5) -- whether that responsibility will fall to one person or a committee of coaches. He acknowledged toying with the idea of handling it himself.
Before becoming Oklahoma State's head coach in 2005, Gundy spent the previous four seasons as the Cowboys' offensive coordinator and has said how much he enjoyed the play-calling aspect of that position.
He said staff discussions about play-calling "are going to take place in the next couple of days. ... One luxury we have in our offense is a lot of what we do, we call at the line. We would like to be able to make some of those decisions at the line and do it as a group, but ultimately, somebody will have to come up with an original play call to start the system."
Starting quarterback Zac Robinson said the transition from Fedora to whomever calls the plays in the bowl game should be relatively seamless.
For players, "it doesn't matter who is calling the plays or who is doing what," Robinson said. "We're going to go out and play, regardless. We know that the coaches are going to put us in the right position to make plays, so we just have to go our and execute."
Gundy said he also is considering calling plays next season and that details of how a system with co-offensive coordinators might work haven't been ironed out.
"We haven't structured that, yet," Gundy said. "We're still working through all that to see what we think is best. I didn't feel there was any reason to bring a guy from the outside to implement his system, rather bring in a guy who fits our system. Trooper is good with that."
Gundy said during the news conference that he would not name an offensive coordinator until after the bowl. He later said that statement will apply to another co-offensive coordinator, who is likely to come from within the Cowboys' staff.
The possibility remains there could be another opening on the Cowboys' staff. Fedora asked Oklahoma State for permission to speak with three of Gundy's assistants about also making the move to Southern Mississippi. Those three are thought to be receivers coach Gunter Brewer, offensive line coach Joe Wickline and linebackers coach Todd Bradford.
Brewer said earlier this week he plans to remain at Oklahoma State.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press
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