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Oklahoma State football: West Virginia will be familiar with the Cowboys

Several former OSU coaches are running the show at West Virginia — and they have a good idea what the Cowboys can and can't do.
by John Helsley Published: November 4, 2012
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Some old friends return to Boone Pickens Stadium on Saturday.

Wolves in sheep's clothing.

Four West Virginia coaches — Dana Holgorsen, Joe DeForest, Robert Gillespie and Jake Spavital — once served the Cowboys and served them well. Especially DeFo, who devoted 11 years to Oklahoma State as a special teams coordinator, defensive assistant and recruiting rock star.

Yet make no mistake, while this bunch might find some fond memories the visit, their full focus is making memories for the Mountaineers, at OSU's expense.

And they'll be out for blood, scrambling to right a rocky first season in the Big 12, entering at 2-3 in conference play after opening as a popular pick to win the league championship.

And they'll use every available resource, including inside information, in their effort to reclaim some respect and wreck OSU's own hopes at a rebound from a weekend loss at No. 2 Kansas State.

That inside information: familiarity with many Cowboy players, as well as intricate knowledge of offensive and defensive philosophies.

“I don't think there's any doubt that Joe knows our personnel and knows our defensive schemes inside-out and backwards,” said OSU defensive coordinator Bill Young. “I think that'll be a huge advantage for them.

“And Dana, having been here, he's seen us. He knows what we do.”

Within that knowledge, DeForest and Holgorsen and the others have an understanding of certain OSU players' strengths.

And, as offensive coordinator Todd Monken points out, their weaknesses.

“You can't do anything about it,” Monken said. “You just have to go play and try to execute it better than they defend it.”

When Holgorsen went to work building his staff, he did so strategically, accumulating coaches with knowledge of the Big 12 and its prime recruiting grounds.

Holgorsen, of course, had that after stints at Texas Tech, Houston and OSU. DeForest was embedded as a talented Houston-area recruiter. Gillespie and Spavital had short stints in Stillwater, while cornerbacks coach Daron Roberts is a Texas alum. Co-defensive coordinator Keith Patterson is a former Oklahoma prep coach and Tulsa assistant who ran up against Big 12 teams on many occasions with the Golden Hurricane.

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by John Helsley
OSU Reporter Sr.
John Helsley grew up in Del City, reading all the newspapers and sports magazines he could get his hands on. And Saturday afternoons, when the Major League Game of the Week was on, he'd keep a scorecard for the game. So the sports appeal was was...
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