One of the hottest topics — and over-scrutinized topics — of the spring and offseason focuses on Oklahoma State's change at offensive coordinator.
Not that you need a refresher, but Todd Monken replaced Dana Holgorsen, whose 2010 offense rolled up staggering stats.
So the warning flares have soared, with analysts across the country wondering about the possible impact of the switch.
Much ado about nothing?
The offense figures to be fine — pending all the usual conditional elements, primarily the health of the quarterback and his stud wide receiver, who formed the most dynamic pass-and-catch duo in college football a year ago.
With Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon and the running back duo of Jeremy Smith and Joseph Randle, along with an offensive line that returns intact, dry powder remains for the fireworks show.
And the players are what it's all about.
Still, there's some intrigue in seeing Monken's personality on the job.
His off-the-field personality: loud and bold. And it's hard to imagine anything different when the headset is on.
But who shaped Monken as a play caller, as the major influence on his offensive approach?
From his own father, Illinois prep coaching veteran Bob Monken, and his four coaching uncles to the men he's worked with like Jack Del Rio, Jimbo Fisher, Dirk Koetter, Mike Gundy, Les Miles and more, the Cowboys' new OC isn't short on impactful experience.
“To be around the other coaches was tremendous,” Monken said. “Jack Del Rio is a great coach and a great person and great with the players. Dirk Koetter is about as organized and as good of an offensive coach as there is around, along with Jimbo and Mike and those guys.
“You're always hoping to learn. No matter where you've been, you're hoping, ‘Boy, did I pull something from that guy? Was I learning?'
“And I've been fortunate that since I've been coaching, wherever I've gone, I've felt like I got around somebody where I thought, ‘Wow, I'm pulling that. I'm soaking that in.'”
Now it's time to see the result, with Monken finally in charge of his own attack.
And he can't wait.
The outside perception might suggest he has a tough act to follow in Holgorsen, who parlayed his big season at OSU to land the West Virginia head coaching gig.
Monken envisions Act II.
“I'd rather come to a place where you replace a guy who did great things and the players are still there,” Monken said, “than to end up somewhere where the sky's the limit, but you don't have the bullets to do it.”
The Cowboys have plenty of ammo.
And that's the bottom line. Not systems or schemes. Not genius.
OSU's offense was good long before Holgorsen.
“When I was there before,” said Monken, who was OSU's wide receivers coach from 2002-04, “we didn't do it the same way, but we weren't too shabby on offense.”
The Cowboys weren't at all shabby in the years preceding Holgorsen's arrival, either. Many recall the late-season stumbles of 2009, when OSU was beaten 27-0 by Oklahoma and 21-7 by Ole Miss in the Cotton Bowl. But those scuffles were more the result of injuries to quarterback Zac Robinson and the absence of wideout Dez Bryant in the days before the emergence of Blackmon.
More than a few folks have wondered what might have been if Weeden had been given a shot to rally that struggling '09 offense in relief of the clearly hampered Robinson.
Holgorsen, it seems, found out.
Now it's Monken's turn. And the intrigue shouldn't so much be focused on whether he'll succeed, but how he does it.