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OSU football: Todd Monken loves to coach, confront challenges

Cowboys assistant coach looks forward to finding the replacements for Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon.
BY GINA MIZELL, Staff Writer, gmizell@opubco.com Published: April 1, 2012
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Now, he believes OSU's up-tempo spread is “the way,” to the point that he called Holgorsen “maybe the best hire (Gundy's) ever made.”

That's the case with or without Weeden and Blackmon.

“Right now, it's hard to say, ‘(Screw) what we just did,'” Monken said. “Now, is (a lot of the success) because of Weeden? Is it because of Black? Yeah, it is. But did (Mike) Leach and them have continued success (at Texas Tech) once they lost kids? Sure they did.

“So, where that all goes, I don't know. But there's almost no way of turning back.”

OSU averaged 46.5 points and 535 yards per game during the past two seasons. That's part system, part elite playmakers. And now it's a baseline that fans and those involved with the program will likely expect.

Obviously, replacing talents such as Weeden and Blackmon will be nearly impossible, and Monken said it will be difficult to reach those same numbers in 2012.

But Monken does have high expectations of the running back tandem of Joseph Randle (1,216 rushing yards, 24 touchdowns in 2011), Jeremy Smith (646 yards, nine touchdowns) and even Herschel Sims (242 yards, two touchdowns). Should J.W. Walsh or Clint Chelf win the starting quarterback job, they could add another element to the offense because they bring mobility that Weeden didn't have. And Monken believes in OSU's frequent success with developing offensive playmakers.

This spring will be crucial to that process. But, as Monken said, this is the fun part of his job.

“There'll be plenty of days where we're like what in the (shoot)? That was terrible,” Monken said. “And there'll be days like, ‘Man, I think we're getting a little bit better.' It'll be baby steps.”