Holgorsen reunites with Ok. State
If West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen was good for Oklahoma State, then Oklahoma State was certainly good for Holgorsen.
In his one season as offensive coordinator, Holgorsen advanced the development of quarterback Brandon Weeden.
Weeden has moved on to the NFL, and Holgorsen, the coach who helped him get there, returns to face his former team at 3:30 p.m. Saturday in a key Big 12 matchup at Boone Pickens Stadium.
“I felt that in order to get a job like the one I'm fortunate to have now, that it would take being a coordinator at a higher level,” said Holgorsen, who is 15-6 with the Mountaineers. “It was going to take a job like this for me to leave the situation that I was in.”
Holgorsen joined Oklahoma State in 2010 following two seasons at Houston, where he worked magic with quarterback Case Keenum. Holgorsen applied the same principles to Weeden, who was 342 of 511 for 4,277 yards and 34 touchdowns in his first season as a starter.
“We were just a typical spread no-huddle offense,” said Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy, who hired Holgorsen. “We changed our style of quarterback, so we brought in a scheme that best fit what Brandon Weeden could have success with, which was pocket-style passing.”
Gundy said Holgorsen was the ideal coach to ease the transition.
“Dana was good for us,” Gundy said. “I was just learning the system and how we implement it and teach it and coach it. We learned a lot from his system.”
Holgorsen, in turn, learned from working under Gundy.
“I left Houston to go to Oklahoma State because it was a different level,” Holgorsen said. “(Gundy) does a wonderful job from a structural standpoint and from an organizational standpoint, as far as what your day-to-day operations are like. I took a lot of things from him, and from an offensive standpoint, he took a lot of things from me.”
Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Todd Monken said familiarity won't give either team an advantage.
“It goes both ways,” he said. “What we do and what they do are pretty similar.”
Some of the names have changed, but Oklahoma State's offense has remained virtually the same since Holgorsen's departure.
Despite being forced to play three quarterbacks this season due to injuries, the Cowboys rank No. 2 nationally in total offense and No. 3 in passing offense.
“Just looking at it on tape, there are some specific things they do better than what we do,” Holgorsen said. “If you look at it closely, it's called the same and a lot of the routes are the same. It hasn't changed much at all.”
John Harris is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.