Van Malone fits Oklahoma State’s opportunistic defensive style
Two things stuck out to me when Oklahoma State announced the hiring of Van Malone to, essentially, fill the void left when Joe DeForest joined Dana Holgorsen’s staff at West Virginia.
One is that Malone is from Houston and recruits that area. That was practically a necessity in hiring DeForest’s replacement, given his handle on Texas’ Gulf Coast region. Relationships with high school coaches and programs aren’t formed overnight, and Malone already has plenty of those established.
The other is that Malone’s defensive philosophy, which clearly focuses on forcing turnovers, will mesh well with Bill Young, Mike Gundy and the rest of the OSU staff. Tulsa led the nation with 24 interceptions in 2010 and tied for 12th in that category with 18 in 2011.
The Cowboys ranked second in the nation with 24 interceptions last season and led the nation with 44 turnovers forced.
Conversely, the Golden Hurricane ranked last in the nation in pass defense (319 yards per game) in 2010 and 117th out of 120 teams (286.31 yards per game) last season. OSU ranked 107th in that category (271.85) in 2011.
Malone’s secondary units at Texas A&M didn’t have the same success with forcing turnovers, but the Aggies improved their national ranking in interceptions every year from 2007-09.
Here’s a breakdown of how Malone’s teams fared in key secondary categories, dating back to 2007.
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