Back in the summer, Holgorsen said: “We're not going to go into a hornet's nest without knowing about it. Now, that in itself isn't going to win you any games, but I do think it will be beneficial in the long run.”
Never, perhaps, will it be as beneficial as Saturday in Stillwater.
The knowledge works both ways, of course, with the Cowboys knowing what makes DeForest and Gillespie and Holgorsen — well, maybe not the quirky Holgorsen — tick. But the only thing they have on the Mountaineers players is what they see on film.
“We get a little advantage, too, because we got to see what he does,” Young said of Holgorsen. “And we worked against him. I don't know if it's a push, but it's something.”
Unlike the real world, there are no noncompete clauses when coaches depart for other jobs. Ideally, they don't switch sides to the enemy, but sometimes that's the way it works, especially when assistants seek advancement.
And that's understood.
“I'm happy for them,” Monken said. “People ought to be happy for Dana, he went there and became head coach. They ought to be happy for Joe. They elevated themselves.
“We just have to figure out a way to play better.”
And beat back the wolves, even if their snarls are disguised as familiar smiles.
“It's a real challenge, because you want to play well against them,” Young said.
“You'd rather beat your brother than beat your neighbor. That's the philosophy I've got.”