Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy can be a little distant, at least with media obligations. His appearances on the Big 12 coaches teleconference are usually, shall we say, reserved; he won't disclose injuries or which quarterback will start the next week.
In short, Gundy's not an "all-access" kind of guy.
There's nothing wrong with keeping a tight lid on things, especially in the wake of the Sports Illustrated series on alleged violations within the program. Still, Gundy is a brilliant coach who has shown he has strong views on the game. When the NCAA proposed the controversial substitution rule last week, he took to Twitter to voice his opposition:
College Football is constantly evolving. Coaches have to make adjustments based on their team, their talents and their opponents.— Mike Gundy (@CoachGundy) February 13, 2014
The 10-second rule is like asking basketball to take away the shot clock - Boring!. It’s like asking a blitzing linebacker to raise his hand— Mike Gundy (@CoachGundy) February 13, 2014
When he wants to be, Gundy can be engaging and informative—and not in a "I'm a man! I'm 40!" sort of way, either. Like many other coaches, his personality shines when talking about X's and O's.
Oklahoma State has figured out a way to share that with others.
On Wednesday, Gundy began a new video web series—a coach's chalk talk—in which he breaks down different plays from the playbook. The first edition covered a four verts play:
Gundy isn't giving anything away here. Four verts is a play in every coach's playbook, and all future videos will likely cover something similarly generic.
The videos aren't unique to Oklahoma State. Gus Malzahn did a similar series when he was the head coach at Arkansas State. Since Malzahn is considered one of the top offensive minds in college football, there's naturally going to be a lot of interest in how he calls plays.
Still, this is a great move by Oklahoma State to get fans past the same old coach-speak and into a more unique, personalized look at the game. While four vertical receiving routes seem simple, Gundy's step-by-step explanation demonstrates there's a lot happening as the play develops.
The video series also makes Gundy more accessible without really peeling back layers on the program. In a way, the goal is to make fans feel like they're more connected to the program, strengthening brand loyalty in the process.
While this can only increase interest, it isn't necessarily a strategy to boost ticket sales. Oklahoma State averaged 59,126 fans per home game in 2013, according to NCAA numbers, and sold out the Nov. 23 win over Baylor.
Rather, this is a small move in a controlled environment that brings out another side of Gundy and keeps fans interested during the long offseason. However, it's a move that will only bring Gundy and the fan base closer.
Ben Kercheval is the lead writer for Big 12 football.