PHOENIX, Arizona — Mike Gundy has yet to name a defensive coordinator or even a Fiesta Bowl playcaller in the wake of Jim Knowles leaving for Ohio State, but a popular name from the outside for both has been Joe Bob Clements.
A defensive line coach for Oklahoma State, Clements is the longest-tenured defensive assistant on Mike Gundy’s staff alongside corners coach Tim Duffie. OSU’s defense met with reporters over Zoom on Tuesday morning. It was supposed to be the defensive coordinator and a handful of players. For what it’s worth, Gundy sent Clements as the coach.
“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have aspirations in this profession,” Clements said on his career goals. “But at the same time, I’ve value patience. If something’s right, then it’ll happen. If it’s not right, then it won’t happen. I’ve had a lot of friends in this profession that have made moves, trying to ‘climb the ladder.’ In some cases, those moves have been good. Some cases those moves haven’t been so good.”
Clements came to OSU in 2013 from Kansas State, his alma mater. He’s been in the college coaching game for a long time, starting as a student assistant with the Wildcats in 1999. Having also spent time at San Diego State and Kansas, Clements returned to K-State in 2009 and was promoted to the defense’s run game coordinator in 2012.
In his news conference Monday evening, Gundy said he is leaning toward having two defensive playcallers for Saturday’s Fiesta Bowl against Notre Dame. It would likely be someone calling the defensive front and someone calling coverages.
Many of the defensive players, whether asked about Clements or not, mentioned Clements Tuesday. Defensive end Brock Martin said Clements has “stepped into the play-calling role.”
When asked directly whether Clements was ready to become the permanent defensive coordinator, Martin said his D-line coach could “easily do it” before noting he wasn’t going to tell Gundy who to hire because Gundy still hasn’t let go of Martin’s blank check tweet.
Clements was cool, calm and collected when talking about a potential promotion. He said potential changes in his profession start with his wife, Pelusa, and their four children.
“With me and my family, we’ve always faced any decision I make professionally: one, it’s our family first,” Clements said. “What’s gonna be best for my wife and my kids? And then secondly, it’s what’s best for me in the profession. Is it a good place? Will I be working around a lot of good people? And thus far in my career, it’s been really good. I have no anxiety over what may happen in the future.”
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