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Dana Holgorsen talks about his time at Oklahoma State

by Anthony Slater Published: November 6, 2012

By Anthony Slater – Aslater@opubco.com – @anthonyVslater 

As expected, much of Dana Holgorsen’s weekly press conference was spent talking about his time at Oklahoma State. Here are some excerpts:

On his relationship with Mike Gundy…
We competed against each other for eight years, almost 10 years now. I had the opportunity to go work for him, which was a step up from Houston. This isn’t anything that I haven’t been quoted on saying in the past, but I left Houston to go to Oklahoma State because it was a different level. It was a different league, and I knew he had a lot of things in place that were appealing to me from a facilities standpoint, a recruiting standpoint and a program standpoint. I went there and had a good year; I knew there were good people in place.

He does a wonderful job from a structural standpoint and from an organizational standpoint, as far as how you run a program and as far as what your day-to-day operations are like. I took a lot of things from him, and from an offensive standpoint he took a lot of things from me that we were doing over the course of the previous years that fit into what he was trying to do at Oklahoma State.

On whether he planned on being at Oklahoma State for one year…
I felt that in order to get a job like the one I’m fortunate enough to have now, that it would take being a coordinator at a higher level. I took that opportunity; my conversations with him and Mike Holder, their AD who is a good friend and a great administrator, (were that) I wasn’t going to go there for a year and leave for the same job. It was going to take a job like this for me to leave the situation that I was in.

On how much the Oklahoma State offense has evolved since he left…
It hasn’t changed much at all. Just looking at it on tape there are some specific things that they do better than what we do. It’s the same offense. If you look at it the very closely, it’s called the same and a lot of the routes are the same. There’s always going to be tweaks here, tweaks there, an added formation, a different run play, a different pass play or a different set.

When they had J.W. (Walsh) in there for the four or five games that he played, he did a tremendous job. They had a little bit more of a quarterback run game because that fits his style more than (Wes) Lunt or (Clint) Chelf. It goes back to the scheming aspect of things – you’re not going to out-scheme many people. The next week when we play OU, we’re going to be looking at an offense that is very similar to ours as well. That just exists in this league.

On changing signals this week…
We do it every week anyway. I’ve watched a couple of their (Oklahoma State’s) TV copies here, and I can call out about 90 percent of their plays, so I’d assume that’s something that is on their mind as well as it is on our mind. We have to be careful what we do from both an offensive standpoint and a defensive standpoint.

On how it works when two teams are so familiar with one another…
It comes down to the effort being there. They play with tremendous effort, so we have to play with tremendous effort. We then have to execute which means finishing blocks, running routes, running full speed, going through your reads offensively, checking the proper run based on what coverage you get, throwing and catching, making the catch and getting up field.

Defensively, it means being in the right spot and having a chance to make the tackle. If you have a chance to pull the trigger as a quarterback, then you better pull the trigger. If you have a chance defensively to strip the ball, strip the ball. If you have a chance to make a play in the air, you need to make the play. I don’t want to put it all on the players; you can’t put it all on the players. Our job is to get them in the proper mindset to play determined, motivated and with tremendous effort and to get the right people out there and try to put them in the right situation. At that point, hopefully we’ve coached our guys to be able to pull the trigger and make a play.

On containing the Oklahoma State running game…
Joseph Randle is a fantastic football player. He’s one of my favorite kids I’ve ever coached. I had him for one year as a true freshman, and it means a lot to him. He lives it. He’s quick-twitch, he’s powerful, he’s very skilled, he can catch the ball out of the backfield, you can throw him screens and you can line him up as a receiver and throw him the ball downfield. He’s a good player. You take him out and put Jeremy Smith in, who is downhill, physical, fast and can take it 80 yards (quickly). Oklahoma State has always had good running backs, and it’ll be a challenge. We have to be sounds in our gaps, be physical and get off blocks. It doesn’t stop there; Joe Wickline is a good offensive line coach and has been for two decades. They have guys up front that continuously get better and have good depth.

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by Anthony Slater
Thunder Beat Writer
Anthony Slater started on the Thunder beat in the summer of 2013, joining after two years as NewsOK.com's lead sports blogger and web editor. A native Californian, Slater attended Sonoma State for two years before transferring to Oklahoma State in...
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