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Gleeson ready to make a name for himself in Stillwater

Sean Gleeson

Sean Gleeson (right), Princeton's former offensive coordinator, accepted the same position at Oklahoma State, coach Mike Gundy announced Sunday.

Sean Gleeson is eager to coach.

His journey as a coach, however, hasn't returned success until recent years.

He's never coached in the big primetime games or in a stadium packed with fans cheering for their home team. But he isn't discouraged for not having experience in NCAA Division I FBS.

Whether it's 10,000 or 60,000 fans in the stadium, Gleeson only thinks about one thing: the game.

Gleeson spent the 2018 season as offensive coordinator at Princeton. In only his second season as a coordinator, he led an attack that helped the Tigers post an undefeated season for the first time since 1964, back when college football players were still wearing double-bar face masks. 

After former Cowboys offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich jumped ship to Ohio State, Gleeson was hired as his replacement. 

Almost seven months after being hired, Gleeson is gearing up for his first season in the Big 12. 

"I'm definitely settled now," Gleeson said. "I'm just eager to coach this team. I'm really happy to be here in training camp. As a coach, practice is your favorite part of the whole thing."

Head coach Mike Gundy said he believes Gleeson's tempo fits perfectly with the recent history of OSU football. The Cowboys have ranked in the top 10 in total yards per game each of the past four seasons. 

In Gleeson's two seasons as offensive coordinator at Princeton, the Tigers finished in the top five in total yards per game in the FCS.

"I really feel comfortable with his knowledge and understanding our tempo, the way we play and what we're trying to accomplish with our schemes," Gundy said.

In the Cowboys' high-powered offense, Gleeson said he wants his players to play fast, physical and hungry. It certainly worked for him at Princeton last year.

The Tigers' offense averaged 47 points and 536.8 yards per game. Those numbers ranked second and fourth, respectively, in the FCS. 

Now, however, instead of his biggest opponents being Harvard and Yale, Gleeson's offense will go up against teams such as Oklahoma and Texas.

"There's schematics and plays and things you can do personnel-grouping wise up and down the spectrum of football," Gleeson said. "What should never be mistaken is that our play is going to be fast, physical and hungry."

Being a first year coordinator means creating bonds with your players. The Cowboys became used to the coaching style of Yurcich and now have to get used to how Gleeson operates as a coach.

Junior wide receiver Tylan Wallace thinks Gleeson's coaching style has helped the team find its groove.

"I think it's been pretty good," wide receiver Tylan Wallace said. "You can tell that we're getting a stronger connection every day."

It's hard to not mention intelligence when talking about Gleeson. He spent the past six seasons coaching at one of the top universities in the United States.

For many players, they believe he coaches football smarter than previous coaches, including Yurcich.

Wallace believes Gleeson is better at reading defenses and knowing what plays to run than most coaches.

"(Gleeson) just brings a different type of intensity," Wallace said. "Him coming from Princeton, he kinda throws a little bit of, I'd say, smarter football in a way."

With two weeks left before the Cowboys head west for their season opener against Oregon State, Gleeson relishes the chance to prove why hiring a relatively unknown coordinator was the right decision. 

"My feet are on the ground on the ground here and it's full steam ahead," Gleeson said.

sports.ed@ocolly.com