STILLWATER - Dana Holgorsen drew up Oklahoma State's full-house backfield formation not out of some quest for genius.
Instead: "Sheer boredom in the summer," said the Cowboys' offensive coordinator.
The set, utilizing three backs along with quarterback Brandon Weeden in the shotgun, sure looked smart in OSU's rousing opening win over Washington State. The Cowboys broke out the formation immediately, with Kendall Hunter scoring from the 3 on the second play of their opening drive, following a fumble recovery deep in Cougars territory.
And the full-house look wasn't reserved for strictly near the goal line or strictly running plays. The Cowboys used it all over the field. And there was a 42-yard touchdown pass from Brandon Weeden to Justin Blackmon out of the look in the second quarter, along with more scores from the set as the game played on.
OSU ran for 291 yards and passed for 253 more, with a number of big plays popping from the full-house, which featured Weeden in the shotgun, flanked by the three backs in a tight grouping.
"We scored with it throwing it just as much as we did running it," Holgorsen said.
It surely wasn't what Cowboys fans had in mind from Holgorsen, known for his four-wide spread offenses at Houston and Texas Tech.
It's not even what Holgorsen envisioned, except he's merely adapting to his talent, which, for now, tilts toward Hunter and his backfield mates as much as receivers. Holgorsen has been outspoken about his search for playmaking wideouts, a search that's ongoing.
"I'd still rather have guys who can score out there," Holgorsen said. "But we don't have a whole lot of those guys, so we try to be a little more diverse with our sets."
This bit of diversity was sprung from a slow day spent on Grand Lake during a Cowboys coaches retreat. That's where Holgorsen scribbled out his three-back thought, then shared it with offensive line coach Joe Wickline.
"I was like, 'What do you think of this?'" Holgorsen said. "He said, 'Yeah, that's good stuff.' He kind of liked the idea. And he thought about it for a few weeks and we started experimenting.