OSU football's Kasey Dunn working to find his footing as a play-caller: 'He's still on a honeymoon'
STILLWATER — For years, Kasey Dunn has been a mouthpiece on the sideline for the Oklahoma State offensive coordinator upstairs in the coaches’ booth.
Now, Dunn is going to be the one upstairs calling plays, and though he hasn’t had his first game as the Cowboys’ offensive coordinator, the nuances of his position change are showing through in practice — particularly as he races toward his debut Sept. 12 against Tulsa at Boone Pickens Stadium.
“It’s definitely challenging,” Dunn said. “I wish I had more time through spring ball. I wish I could get those extra 12 practices back. The players need it. So do I.
“It’s different when you’re in this chair. It’s different making those calls and decisions on the fly, so we’re working at it hard now to make sure that I’m ready to go. As much as I want the players to be ready, I want myself to be ready for this opportunity.”
One benefit for Dunn is that his personality, even when he was simply a receivers coach, has always lent itself to keeping relationships with all the players.
“Coach Dunn’s always been a great coach and he’s always kept in with everybody,” senior center Ry Schneider said. “He never just stuck with the receivers. He would joke around with the offensive line, so we knew him.
“We just see him and get to talk to him a little bit more.”
But the tough moments are coming. If not against Tulsa, then maybe two weeks later against West Virginia, or a month after that against Iowa State.
“Anybody can sit up in the box and call first-and-10 when you’re up 20,” Dunn said. “It’s not that call. It’s the ones where there are sudden changes and things are moving fast.
“(In practice) you hit that fast-forward button and try and get as much done as possible, putting yourself in pressure situations — two-minute or score-zone situations or those type of things where it’s happening fast.”
Head coach Mike Gundy has confidence in his new play-caller, but knows those moments will test Dunn’s — or anyone’s — mettle.
“He’s still on a honeymoon,” Gundy said of Dunn. “We haven’t played a game yet. He hasn’t made the calls on third-and-medium, hasn’t made fourth-down calls yet, hasn’t made calls inside the 5-yard line. So we don’t have any idea from that standpoint.
“But what we know is his ability to coordinate with our coaching staff and relate with our players has been fantastic up to this point.”
The Cowboy offense hasn’t changed much in Dunn’s decade on staff, but he’ll get the chance to mold it into his own within the already existing framework.
“We vary our plan of attack to the strength of our players and our quarterback,” Gundy said. “And then each coordinator has had a little bit that they feel comfortable with, and I’ve always allowed them that opportunity based on that they’re the play-callers and that’s what they have to do to develop themselves as a play-caller. So he’ll have certain things that he feels very comfortable with.
“You can talk or think a lot about what plays you’re gonna call, but you kinda go back to what you believe in and who you are in most cases, so about halfway through the season, we’ll have a pretty good idea what his touch would be on our offensive schemes.”