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Can Oklahoma State's O Fly Without Holgorsen?
Oklahoma State WR Justin Blackmon
Oklahoma State WR Justin Blackmon
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Mar 31, 2011


How much of the Oklahoma State offensive explosion was offensive coordinator - and future West Virginia head coach - Dana Holgorsen, and are the players looking to show they can keep on rolling without him? From the Scout publishers, here's the inside info on the key questions this spring including the insight on one of the nation's top offensive attacks.


Spring 2011 - Key Questions

Oklahoma State

 
What's happening this spring season? Several Scout publishers provide their insider info on the key questions that matter to the real world of college football. Scroll down for the links to all the spring questions.

THURSDAY

- Can Oklahoma State Still Rock Without Holgorsen?
- Will Navy Throw Even Less Without Ricky Dobbs?
- How Is Maryland Different Under Randy Edsall?
- How Is Cincinnati Different In Butch Jones, Year 2?
- Will Idaho Finally Have A Defense?
- Are The Tennessee Lines Going To Be Better?

WEDNESDAY

- And The Notre Dame QB Will Be … ?
- Is Fresno State Going To Keep Running?
- Will Louisiana Tech Be The New Texas Tech?
- Have The Ugly Bowl Losses Affected Arizona?
- Is Michigan’s Brady Hoke Starting From Scratch?
- Is QB Jordan Wynn Ready To Run The Utah Attack?

Spring Questions
- Will Illinois QB Nathan Scheelhaase Throw More?
- Will Boise State's Move To The Mountain West Matter?
- Have Things Changed At Colorado Under Jon Embree?
- Who's California's Next Superstar?
- Is Florida State's E.J. Manuel Ready?
 
Q: How much of the Oklahoma State offensive explosion was Dana Holgorsen, and are the players looking to show they can keep on rolling without their offensive coordinator?

From GoPokes.com … Oklahoma State's explosion on offense in 2010 had a lot to do with former offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen, and that was by design. Head coach Mike Gundy realized after the 2009 season which ended with back-to-back losses to Oklahoma and to Ole Miss in the Cotton Bowl that the dynamics of his offense were changing. He had lost All American wide receiver Dez Bryant after three games (NCAA suspension) and All-American running back Kendall Hunter (foot injury). Heading into 2010, the quarterback, Zac Robinson, was gone and so was the best offensive lineman in NFL first round, Russell Okung, at left tackle.

Gundy said he needed somebody out of the box to adapt to new quarterback Brandon Weeden and also blend in a healthy Hunter's abilities. Holgorsen's Houston attack, which Gundy had seen that season and the one before it when they played the Cougars looked like it could work. It was exactly a fit, although the offense Holgorsen installed in the spring morphed throughout the year to include more multiple back formations and even some play action, which hadn’t previously been featured in that offense either in Lubbock with Mike Leach at Texas Tech or with Holgorsen in Houston.

Another major part of the offensive success was the swagger that Holgorsen brought with him. Quite frankly, the guy is cocky and displays an attitude that his offense is going to run over any defense in its way … he’s 100 percent sure of it. The players loved the swagger, and it rubbed off. It’s an attitude that will serve Holgorsen well at West Virginia as he prepares to assume the head coach duties after a year as offensive coordinator.

While Holgorsen had a lot to do with it, the talent at Oklahoma State with Weeden at quarterback and the emergence of a very physically gifted Justin Blackmon at wide receiver made a huge difference. Kendall Hunter is gone, but Joseph Randle was solid as a true freshman and Jeremy Smith played a lot and was fine. There are other receivers, like Josh Cooper, Tracy Moore, Isaiah Anderson, Michael Harrison, and Hubert Anyiam, to assist Blackmon. The offensive line returns intact; all five starters are back for offensive line coach Joe Wickline, who was courted by Texas, Florida, and the Dallas Cowboys in January and February. Wickline is considered one of the best offensive line coaches in the country, and one of the hottest, with two starting left tackles (Charlie Johnson at Indianapolis and Okung at Seattle) in the NFL.

When Holgorsen left, Gundy had to bring in somebody to keep the offensive attack going. He was looking for a coach that had the experience to soak it in and improve on it in areas along with the confidence to run it and pass along those same confident vibes to the players. Todd Monken was the perfect man for the job. He has the experience having worked with Gundy when the current Cowboys head coach was offensive coordinator under Les Miles at OSU. Monken left with Miles and ended up in the NFL with Jacksonville for four years, all as receivers coach until recently being promoted to quarterbacks coach. He walked in the door with the respect of leaders Weeden and Blackmon, who had both just recently made the decision to stay in Stillwater instead of going early in the NFL Draft. He has adopted the offense with a few changes and advancements that he and the offensive players are comfortable with.

Spring practice in Stillwater is nearly a third through with the Orange-White Spring Game set for 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 16. With six practices under their belt everybody seems very happy.

Head coach Mike Gundy is happy with the improvement of quarterback Brandon Weeden, and Weeden with a big arm and the maturity of a 27-year-old was pretty good last season.

"I see him directing traffic out there and I've had a few brief conversations with him and a couple with Coach Monken," said Gundy. "I'll go into more detail in a couple of weeks, but I think he understands what we're trying to accomplish even more so than last year. We are doing a few things different with him. Todd has put his own twists on this style of offense and I think it's going to help us and it's going to help Brandon. He has done so well as a leader and he continues to throw well. His body is in such good shape and I expect him to continue and move up in the (NFL) draft (next year)."

Monken really likes the offense and loves what it has been for him in moving from the NFL back to the college level.

"We're pretty good on offense, got some good players," said Monken laughing. "This is a lot of fun. We don't get too big-headed and do the right kind of stuff then we ought to be pretty good. I knew exactly what I was getting into. Working for Mike is good. This place has got damn good players and that makes it a lot of fun. I've always said I can coach anywhere where we have damn good players and coaches and we can beat anybody on the schedule and that is what we have."

The players are happy.

"He is just the way you described him," said Weeden of his new offensive coordinator to this reporter. "He is a very smart coach and he has come in and picked this up great. He picked up the signals and when I look over there he even runs through them twice. Dana (Holgorsen) would do it once and sometimes do it so fast I would miss part of it and just have to guess. No, Coach Monken is perfect for this offense and we have a great relationship."

"I think it is going good and we are trying to get everything down," said Blackmon. "We are doing, if not better, at least as good as we were last year at this same point. We are doing good and need to stay on the same page."

The offense is every bit as smooth and productive in practice as it was at any point last season. Weeden is amazing as Oklahoma State has never seen a quarterback with an arm like his, and he’s getting better every day. 2011 could be very special, even with Holgorsen in West Virginia.

Q: Is this being seen as a rebuilding year at Louisville considering the turnover? What’s the coaching staff doing differently in Year Two under Charlie Strong compared to last season?

From Mike Hughes, InsideTheVille.com … Charlie Strong might have a bigger challenge this year than he did during his first season. Louisville is replacing 25 seniors, including star running back Bilal Powell, both starting quarterbacks and four of five starters on the offensive line. To make matters worse, the Cards have 14 players sitting out this spring with injury. With only 24 upperclassmen, Louisville will be young, but talented next season. If freshman quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is as good as advertised and some young contributors emerge this spring the Cards could be a surprise contender in the Big East this season. The defense is expected to lead the way with a strong front seven and the offense has more weapons than season.

THURSDAY

- Can Oklahoma State Still Rock Without Holgorsen?
- Will Navy Throw Even Less Without Ricky Dobbs?
- How Is Maryland Different Under Randy Edsall?
- How Is Cincinnati Different In Butch Jones, Year 2?
- Will Idaho Finally Have A Defense?
- Are The Tennessee Lines Going To Be Better?

WEDNESDAY

- And The Notre Dame QB Will Be … ?
- Is Fresno State Going To Keep Running?
- Will Louisiana Tech Be The New Texas Tech?
- Have The Ugly Bowl Losses Affected Arizona?
- Is Michigan’s Brady Hoke Starting From Scratch?
- Is QB Jordan Wynn Ready To Run The Utah Attack?

Spring Questions
- Will Illinois QB Nathan Scheelhaase Throw More?
- Will Boise State's Move To The Mountain West Matter?
- Have Things Changed At Colorado Under Jon Embree?
- Who's California's Next Superstar?
- Is Florida State's E.J. Manuel Ready?