They couldn't coach heart.
Walsh's attitude is what jumped off the screen when Holgorsen first saw the quarterback on video, and the more he saw, the more he liked.
“Just watching him winning games and getting guys to rally,” Holgorsen said, “you can see it on the sidelines, you can see it in practice, you can see it in games, and it resulted in a whole bunch of wins.
“Every intangible that you want a quarterback to have, he has.”
Walsh is a coach's kid who has been around football all his life. He is competitive. He is tenacious. He is resilient.
So what if he didn't have a rocket for an arm?
“I think you can take those guys and make their skills better,” Holgorsen said.
Walsh is proof of that. He's worked diligently to improve his passing since arriving in Stillwater, devoting this past offseason to things like the transferring of weight from his back foot to his front foot and the movement of his non-throwing arm, and it's paid off. He is a much improved passer.
He broke the program's single-game record for completion percentage earlier this season when he went 24-of-27 against Texas-San Antonio.
Ironically, Walsh never got to play for the coach who so badly wanted him to be a Cowboy. Even though Walsh enrolled in January 2011, Holgorsen left for West Virginia a few days before Christmas 2010.
More irony: Walsh was out with an injury when West Virginia visited OSU last season.
Saturday, Holgorsen will finally get to see the legacy that he left at OSU. The way Walsh is playing, Holgorsen may not be as excited to see Walsh in Cowboy orange was he once was.
Jenni Carlson: Jenni can be reached at (405) 475-4125. Like her at facebook.com/JenniCarlsonOK, follow her at twitter.com/jennicarlson_ok or view her personality page at newsok.com/jennicarlson.