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OSU football notebook: Focus of offense is first downs, not big plays

Three freshmen are competing for playing time in the Cowboys defensive backfield. Lavocheya Cooper, Zack Craig and Deion Imade have impressed safeties coach Joe DeForest.
BY BRANDON CHATMON, Staff Writer, bchatmon@opubco.com Modified: August 17, 2010 at 11:10 am •  Published: August 16, 2010

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.

Not necessarily.

"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.

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