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Did OSU's Justin Blackmon and Brandon Weeden make Dana Holgorsen?

by Berry Tramel Modified: July 16, 2011 at 3:27 pm •  Published: July 16, 2011

Last July, OSU's big football questions were these.

Could Brandon Weeden fill the shoes of Zac Robinson?

Could anyone fill the shoes of Dez Bryant?

Could Dana Holgorsen maintain the Cowboy standard of offensive excellence?

The answers last summer were maybe, probably not and hopefully. By November, the answers were absotively, posilutely and had it all the way.

This July, Weeden is the reigning All-Big 12 quarterback, OSU's first all-conference QB since the Missouri Valley days; Justin Blackmon boldly went where Rashaun Woods, Adarius Bowman and Dez had never gone, to the Biletnikoff trophy; and Holgorsen is head coach at West Virginia.

A transition season became a transformative season. Eleven victories, the most in school history. A tie atop the Big 12 South, matching the '76 Cowboys for the best conference performance in 50 years of Big Something football.

Now Weeden and Blackmon are back. Holgorsen is gone. Which leads to a different question.

Did Weeden and Blackmon make Holgorsen, or did Holgorsen make Weeden and Blackmon?

Was the meteoric rise of Holgorsen as an offensive mastermind the result of a whiskered quarterback, itching to prove himself after a failed crack at baseball, and a perfectly built receiver just waiting his turn? Or were the emergence of Rifleman and Justin B. the result of Holgorsen arriving from Houston to install a new-age offense?

The answer, of course, is somewhere in the middle.

Without a quarterback like Weeden and a receiver like Blackmon, no way would Holgorsen be the West Virginia coach today. He might have been noticed eventually, but to be identified immediately, even down the Country Roads, required players of exceptional quality.

Without an innovative mind like Holgorsen, no way would Weeden and Blackmon have ascended to the awards they won. Mike Gundy himself, the all-time Big Eight passing leader, never made all-conference. Blackmon was so under the radar last summer, The Oklahoman sports staff debated on which Cowboy receiver, Blackmon or Hubert Anyiam, to place on the cover of our football annual. We lucked out and chose J.B.

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by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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