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Beckman headed to Toledo as new head coach

12/4/2008

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Newspapers in Toledo and Tulsa are reporting that Oklahoma State defensive coordinator Tim Beckman will be introduced later Thursday as Toledo's new head coach. A press conference is scheduled for 1 p.m.

This much is true: The Toledo job is a nice first head-coaching gig because it's one of the power schools in the underrated Mid-American Conference. Gary Pinkel started there and used his success to catapult to the job at Missouri.

Beckman's name didn't surface in the search at Toledo until very late. He's a good choice with state ties. He grew up in nearby Berea, which is about 100 miles away. Beckman also cut his teeth as defensive coordinator on coaching staffs of Gary Blackney, Urban Meyer and Gregg Brandon at Bowling Green. And he later served as a cornerbacks coach on Jim Tressel's staff at Ohio State, giving him some wide exposure in that football-crazed part of the country.

After some initial struggles last season, the Cowboys improved markedly under Beckman in his second season. His offense was undersized, relied on a lot of junior college talent and didn't pressure opposing quarterbacks very well. But it was sound schematically and improved in most areas in his second season in charge in 2008.

Oklahoma State played well defensively before two late stumbles against Texas Tech and Oklahoma. But Beckman was credited with developing the blueprint to beat Missouri, which the Cowboys did by intercepting Chase Daniel three times.

But it is interesting that Beckman will be getting the head job considering his team ranked 109th nationally in pass defense, 108th in sacks and 85th in total defense. Some of those numbers have been skewed because of the offensive surges across the Big 12 in recent seasons.

There is no word on whether Beckman will continue with the Cowboys in their bowl game. But one of the first names to surface as a possible candidate for his replacement is former New Mexico coach Rocky Long, who served as a defensive coordinator at UCLA, Oregon State and TCU before getting the Lobos' job.