Brock Martin reflects on his college career, assesses the upheavals facing the OSU football program
STILLWATER – Brock Martin admits he only has two gears.
“It’s either zero or 100,” the former Oklahoma State quarterback said of his recent workouts.
Martin is currently focused on trying to make it to the NFL. After exhausting his varsity eligibility — his last game came less than two weeks ago in the Cowboys’ 24-17 loss to Wisconsin — he’s chasing his childhood dream.
He moved from Stillwater and now lives near St. Louis with his girlfriend and son. He’s in East Lansing, Mich., for a few days this week to work out with Brandon Jordan, a pass specialist from Michigan State.
He will participate in the Hula Bowl, a postseason all-star game, on Jan. 14, followed by an extended stay in Florida to continue the pre-draft process.
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“As sad as it is to no longer be a cowboy, to no longer wear the orange and black suits on Saturdays, I’m happy to be able to move on and move forward on this journey,” Martin said.
College football has changed significantly since the Ulogh native signed with the Cowboys in 2017. The transfer portal has taken over, NIL deals are rampant and roster changes are at the fore.
“The coaching carousel has always been pretty crazy, but now the player carousel has kind of coincided with the coaching carousel, so it can be even crazier with the players,” Martin said. “It’s gotten a little wild for sure, and it’s definitely changed a lot from when I first got there.”
Some of the most scrutinized player moves this offseason have come from Martin’s former locker room. The Cowboys lost 15 scholarship players, including many starters, and it quickly became a hot topic among fans.
What is happening at OSU? The speculation and conspiracy began this week after a trio of young wide receivers landed on the portal.
When asked if OSU has a culture problem, Martin said, “No. Gandhi has had a culture of its own for so long, and it’s what made the state of Oklahoma what it is today.
“Some changes are necessary. I don’t know where they should start. I don’t know, new scenery, new faces, new objects. I have no idea. In this business, you have to keep progressing, keep moving forward and adapt, and if you can’t adapt, you’re going to be left behind.”
Asked if he was disappointed to see former teammates enter the portal, Martin said: “I’ll always support those guys. No one knows what we’ve been through together. Those morning workouts in the winter, workouts in the summer when it’s 110 degrees. We’ve been through hell and back together, so I’m not going to knock the guy for wanting to leave.”
Among those who left the program was quarterback Trace Ford, who Martin calls his little brother. Ford decided to transfer from OSU to Oklahoma, a decision that drew significant backlash on social media.
“Rumors are rumors; you can’t put any weight on it, Martin said. “Definitely don’t bet all your chips on what people are saying on Twitter. Everyone on Twitter thinks they know everything, but they really don’t know anything.
“On Twitter, they can say anything to any player, any coach, without consequence. More power to them if they want to do that, but it doesn’t help anyone. It makes the fan base look bad. It puts everyone in a negative light. It hurts recruiting. These are things they don’t realize until it’s too late.”
Ford kept Martin close during his transfer process, often asking Martin what he would do in this situation. While Martin didn’t want Ford to transfer to OU, he told him to do what he does best.
“It’s tough for guys who have been injured like that and fought back,” Martin said. “They are afraid that they will suffer again. Trace could go to OU and have a 14 or 15 sack season. We have no idea. I guess we’ll see each other next year.”
On OSU’s defense, the transition from defensive coordinator Jim Knowles to Derek Mason has seen mounting issues. Despite his struggles this season, the Cowboys averaged fewer touchdowns per game in Mason’s first year compared to Knowles’ first year.
“All the people who jumped on the ‘Derek Mason fire train’ need to relax,” Martin said. “If he continues to progress next year and the year after, or however long he stays at Oklahoma State, this defense will be at a top level again.
“There was a lot of talent left … so for coach Mason to do what he did with what we had — new guys, new defense, new faces — it was pretty damn impressive.”
Martin, a mainstay of the Loyalty, has not been immune to the thought of transition during his career. He redshirted his freshman year and was a backup his sophomore year. He suffered injuries and split playing time before eventually starting the final two seasons.
“There have been times in my career where I’ve had to sit down with my parents and talk,” Martin said. “Obviously, I felt it was in my best interest and in my heart to stay in Stillwater and be a Cowboy until the end.”
Martin’s career is of the type that flourished under Gandhi. The three-star prospect, who was barely recruited, developed as a junior and flourished in recent seasons. The bread and butter of cowboy football.
It is also a difficult career to pursue in the current portal and NIL climate. As he moves on, does he have any concerns about the state of the program?
“No, I’m not worried,” Martin said. “It’s just the nature of the game at the moment. I don’t know what the administration is thinking. I don’t know what Gandhi is talking about with the administration or his staff.
“As much as I’d like to build on the momentum we built in 2021, obviously that’s not going to happen this year. I couldn’t tell you what happened or where it went wrong.’
He replayed some of those memories: A double-overtime upset of TCU, which will play in the national championship game Monday, and a win against Texas followed OSU, which has lost five of its last six games.
“I look back on it every other day and I’m like, ‘What the hell happened?’ but I just don’t know, Martin said.
That’s a question Martin will never be able to answer. But after 62 games, 146 tackles and a few fumbles, Martin keeps it short, reflecting on his patience and perseverance over six seasons.
“My career has been a whirlwind, man,” he said.
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