It’s no secret: Oklahoma State football’s success in 2021 has come on the strength of its defense. The Cowboys defense is among the top five in the nation in terms of total yards allowed, rushing yards allowed, third-down conversions allowed, sacks, tackles for loss, and first downs allowed.
The architect behind this talented unit is defensive coordinator Jim Knowles, who has been with head coach Mike Gundy and the Cowboys for four seasons. With the Cowboys continuing to exceed expectations in 2021, it’s only logical to think that other programs around the nation will look to Knowles when they’re searching for a new answer at the head coach position.
With a number of head coach positions available and the success of Oklahoma State football’s defense, these five programs could soon come after Jim Knowles.
Of course, the ideal for OSU fans would be that Gundy and the university would pony up for whatever it takes for Knowles to stay in Stillwater. The Cowboys defense has improved in each of its four seasons under Knowles and has especially played a prominent role in its winning ways from the past two years.
There are several nationally prominent head coaching positions open right now, such as USC and LSU. Some decent programs like TCU, Virginia Tech, and Washington State are also searching for new bosses. Any domino effect from these positions being filled on the coaching carousel could indirectly result in another potential suitor looking to Knowles as a head coach candidate.
OSU’s defense has paved the way for numerous victories during the past several seasons, including holding consecutive Big 12 opponents without a touchdown and nearly leading the nation in third-down conversions allowed.
This defensive success has elevated the Cowboys to dark horse contenders for a spot in the College Football Playoff. Many national pundits are now including the Cowboys in postseason conversations as the Big 12’s best team with two weeks remaining in the regular season.
It’s pure speculation for right now, but don’t be surprised if one of these programs gives OSU’s prized defensive coordinator a phone call this offseason.