When thinking about an explosive passing offense like the system Dana Holgorsen has installed at Oklahoma State, the natural assumption is the focus will be big-plays and deep passing.
"We focus on first downs," Holgorsen said. "In my last 10 years we've led the nation in eight of the 10 in first downs."
In Holgorsen's two seasons at Houston, the Cougars finished fourth nationally in first downs per game in 2008 (27.3) and first nationally in first downs per game in 2009 (30.3). Houston finished with four more first downs per game than second-ranked Texas A&M (26.1).
"We talk about big plays and all that stuff," Holgorsen said. "But if you're moving forward, eventually something good is going to happen for you."
Freshmen add depth to secondary
OSU finished the spring with a deep core of safeties but the summer injury to Daytawion Lowe was a big blow to their depth.
Fortunately for the Pokes, three freshmen safeties have arrived on campus poised to make an early contribution.
Lavocheya Cooper, Zack Craig and Deion Imade have impressed safeties coach Joe DeForest this fall.
"We've got three good ones in Lavocheya Cooper, Zack Craig and Deion Imade," DeForest said. "Right now, Deion is ahead of those other two, but they're all swimming right now."
Their emergence this fall is a terrific bonus on defense and, maybe more importantly, on special teams.
"They'll all play this year," DeForest said. "They'll play on special teams for sure. We have to use them. There's no doubt that we have to use them, just because of the lack of numbers that we have and we lost some depth from last year."
Josh Cooper, Tracey Moore continue to impress
OSU has plenty of concerns about its depth at the receiver position and rightly so.
But starting inside receivers Josh Cooper and Tracy Moore have been impressive early in fall camp with both players continuing to cement themselves into a starting role.
"I'm pleased with Tracy Moore and Josh Cooper," inside receivers coach Doug Meacham said. "Both of them are going to make a lot of plays for us. Those two guys right there, we're going to lean on them to carry the load."
Meacham said Moore's backup is likely to be Justin Horton while Cooper will likely be backed up by Michael Harrison or Bo Bowling.