STILLWATER — Mike Gundy's most important signee is, oh, probably 5-foot-10. Maybe 190 pounds. Receding hairline. Recruited to help Gundy keep his hair.
Gundy's difference-making addition to Oklahoma State football is Dana Holgorsen, a transfer from Houston U.'s coaching staff.
Too soon to tell if Holgorsen, handed the reins of OSU's offense almost three weeks ago, will make a difference in points and yards. But Holgorsen most definitely will make a difference in Gundy's peace of mind.
All those OSU fans — count me among them — who thought Gundy was nuts to be his own offensive coordinator were right. But not for the reasons we gave.
Gundy, talking Wednesday for the first time about Holgorsen, felt fine about game-day operations. But Gundy said he felt stretched awfully thin during the week, trying to be head coach and run an offense.
"I just felt like it was taking away from my every day" duties, Gundy said. "Wear and tear."
Consider Gundy's typical Monday. In early for offensive meetings and film study, interrupted throughout the morning with head-coach responsibilities, from dealing with team issues to conducting the Big 12 teleconference. He would dash up to his weekly media briefing, then dash back and set up the practice schedule before players reported for meetings.
It was too much.
"About a week after the (Cotton) bowl, I started to think about it, being stretched too thin," Gundy said. "It made me think, I can't keep up with all this."
So Gundy considered a change and quickly looked to Holgorsen, whose Mike Leach-offense represents a most definite change in OSU's philosophy.
Holgorsen fit Gundy's three prime conditions:
1. Someone who could run the offense solo. "I didn't want a guy who would rely on me," Gundy said.
If that's a funny thing to say from a coach who's been running his own offense the last two years, agreed. But it's also exactly what Gundy did five years ago, when he hired Larry Fedora as his initial offensive coordinator and gave the Mad Hatter total control of the offense.
2. An offense that could not only conform to OSU's current personnel but also give the Cowboys the best chance of winning.
In the last 11 years, both Oklahoma and Texas Tech transformed their programs almost immediately with the Leach offense. No reason it couldn't happen again, though it might not be as easy this time, since defenses now have a decade worth of experience trying to stop it.
"It sure worked for us, attracting the quarterbacks it did," Bob Stoops said Wednesday. "It allowed us to move the ball at that time without running over people."
Gundy says Holgorsen will tinker with his system to make sure it fits the current Cowboys, and Gundy is quick to point out that Fedora's offense, both before and after he left for Southern Mississippi, produced yards and points for OSU.
But Holgorsen's system "I feel like gives us the best chance to win, score some points and win Big 12 championships."
Some of that decision is recruiting-based. OSU signed no fullbacks or tight ends Wednesday, and going back to the Les Miles days and even before, the Cowboys have relied on bruising fullbacks and multi-tasking tight ends.
Trouble is, fullbacks and tight ends, "you can't find in high school football," Gundy said. The spread formation revolution has spread to high schools. Fullbacks and tight ends are rare, and the best are headed to the cream programs, many of whom don't run the spread.
3. A coach had to be willing to come and immerse himself in an already-established staff. Gundy says Holgorsen will adapt well to the Cowboy coaches, though we'll see how that chemistry develops.
Robert Matthews will be reassigned from coaching duties to administrative duties, while Gunter Brewer will lose his offensive coordinator title, though Gundy in reality had the job.
So the net result is this. OSU gets a full-time offensive coordinator with great potential. And a full-time head coach. Few recruits can top that.
Berry Tramel: 405-760-8080; Berry Tramel can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1.