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
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
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
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