750 The Game Staff
There are Oregon State alumni everywhere you look on Trent Bray’s coaching staff in Corvallis.
There’s Bray himself, a Beavs grad, leading the charge. Keith Heyward, his defensive coordinator, a four-year letterman for the Beavs. New offensive line coach Kyle Devan played at OSU. And Ryan Gunderson, a four-year QB at Oregon State from 2003-07 and Central Catholic high school product, is the new offensive coordinator.
Gunderson joined John Canzano (3-6 p.m. on 750 The Game) and shared how much he is looking forward to making an impact at his alma mater.
“I’m really excited, my family is really excited,” Gunderson said. “Obviously, what’s happened over the last two years in college football, it’s kind of an opportunity to run to the fight and get back into it and fight for something you believe in and something you love, and do it with a lot of people that I care about and know and really am excited to work with.”
Gunderson spent the last three years as quarterbacks coach for the UCLA Bruins, working under Chip Kelly. Previous to that, he coached quarterbacks under now-Arizona head coach Brent Brennan when Brennan was at San Jose State. Add that to Gunderson’s experience as a player under Mike Riley, and you get a wide variety of offensive knowledge.
“I think when you talk about offensive football, there’s the specifics of what you do, and what everybody does I really believe is pretty similar,” Gunderson said. “You dress it up in different ways, but how you do it and why you do it, I think those are kind of the things I’ve learned.
“I spent so much time with Coach Riley when I was young, and now I’ve just been around some different styles, what I learned at San Jose State, and then with Chip the last three years, I feel like I’ve got kind of a pretty broad view of everything and what I like and how I want to do it. But just doing it in my own image and the way I think is best.”
Gunderson said his offensive approach ultimately will be one that sets the quarterback up for success.
“What I think is best for quarterbacks, and easiest for quarterbacks to execute at a high level,” Gunderson said of his offense. “It can be a play, but how you teach it can be totally different from system to system. Teaching them the way I think is best from a quarterback’s point of view is kind of how I’ll blend it.
“It will be a quarterback-friendly system, that gets the ball out of their hands, helps them make quick decisions, but a lot of it is, this play is the same as this play, it’s the same thing but you dress it up in different ways.”
Gunderson added that the way athletes play the quarterback position has changed since his playing days.
“There’s a lot of guys like me, were you a thrower and could you throw it first and foremost, and I wouldn’t say that’s totally changed,” said Gunderson. “You still got to be able to throw it. But the athleticism as it relates to the quarterback position has certainly blossomed and you’re going to get a lot of athleticism at the position, and I think that’s what I’ll be looking for when we look for quarterbacks. Do they throw it well enough, and are they athletic enough, and after that it’s a sliding scale.
“If you’re just good enough as an athlete then you better have a rocket arm and be really accurate. If you’re a dynamic playmaker with your feet, then are you a good enough thrower, you don’t have to be elite. So it’s a little bit of a sliding scale once you meet those minimums in my opinion.”
Gunderson inherits a quarterback room that returns the experienced Ben Gulbranson but saw last year’s starter, DJ Uiagalelei, transfer to Florida State, and freshman standout Aidan Chiles transfer to Michigan State. The Beavers landed a pair of transfer QBs in December in Gabarri Johnson (Missouri) and Gevani McCoy (Idaho), while redshirt freshmen Dom Montiel and Travis Throckmorton are also on the roster and incoming freshman Kallen Guttridge (Wilsonville HS) signed in December.
“I know what they can do just off of the film that I’ve seen,” Gunderson said of his early impressions of the QB room. “Varying levels of experience. The way it’s been explained to me in the past – there’s some different spices in the cabinet, there’s some different flavors, some guys that play with different styles and that’s fine. We’ve got really smart guys in the room, really good coaches, and I think we can blend it to who the quarterback is who gives us the best chance to win and score points.”
Listen to the full interview with new Oregon State offensive coordinator Ryan Gunderson at the podcast below.
John Canzano delivers the Bald Faced Truth afternoons 3-6 p.m. exclusively in Portland on 750 The Game.