Stillwater News Press

January 13, 2014

Cowboy offensive line coach bolts for Texas

By Jason Elmquist
Stillwater News Press

STILLWATER, Okla. — The Texas Longhorns delivered a big blow to Mike Gundy and the Oklahoma State football program.

New Texas coach Charlie Strong was able to lure away one of the best offensive line coaches in Joe Wickline away from Stillwater to join the Longhorn staff over the weekend.

Reports swirled most of the weekend around Wickline being pursued by the former Louisville coach with Wickline breaking his silence Sunday to confirm he was headed to Austin, Texas.

When news broke of Wickline’s departure from the Oklahoma State staff after nine years under Gundy — the last hold over from Gundy’s original coaching staff — current and former Cowboy players were devastated by his leaving.

Former offensive lineman Lane Taylor, who now plays for the Green Bay Packers, took to Twitter: “Texas just got the best Oline coach in the nation.”

Current Cowboy Brandon Garrett, who sustained a severe leg injury in the Cotton Bowl loss to Missouri, had this to say on Twitter: “Hard to believe Wickline is officially leaving.. Guess that’s the coaching world for ya.”

Since 2006, OSU has had seven offensive linemen earn All-Big 12 first team honors, with Russell Okung — a top 10 NFL draft pick by the Seattle Seahawks — earning unanimous All-America honors in 2009 and Levy Adcock earning consensus All-America recognition in 2011. Under Wickline’s tutelage, the Cowboys led the conference in rushing from 2006-09 and ranked in the top 20 nationally in fewest sacks allowed from 2006-12.

Despite the loss of linemen to graduation and injury over the last few years, Wickline has still been able to piece together successful offensive lines for the Oklahoma State squad. This past season, top lineman Devin Davis — the projected left tackle — was lost to season-ending knee injury during the fall camp, forcing Wickline to shuffle the line early in the season.

During his tenure at Oklahoma State, the Cowboys ranked in the top 20 nationally in total offense six times.

This won’t be the first time Wickline and Strong have joined forces on college coaching staffs. The two worked at Florida as graduate assists in 1983 and were on the same staffs at Mississippi in 1990 and again at Florida in 2003-04 under Ron Zook.