Reducing turnovers is key for Oklahoma State

OSU football: Additional plays mean additional chances for mistakes in Dana Holgorsen's new offense.
By Brandon Chatmon, Staff Writer, bchatmon@opubco.com Modified: September 1, 2010 at 9:36 am •  Published: August 31, 2010

STILLWATER — Whenever Oklahoma State fans think of the Cotton Bowl, visions of interceptions still race through their heads.

The Cowboys had six offensive possessions and six turnovers — including four interceptions — in the final quarter of 21-7 loss to Ole Miss. But that game told the story of all four OSU losses in 2009.

In those four setbacks, OSU turned the ball over 18 times including four interceptions each against Texas and Ole Miss. And statistically, the risk of interceptions will be even higher this season.

The Cowboys could easily double their pass attempts per game from 25.8 per game in 2009 in new offensive coordinator's Dana Holgorsen's spread attack.

Twenty or 30 additional chances for big plays; 20 or 30 additional chances for mistakes.

"The ball will be in the air (more)," receiver Justin Blackmon said. "Hopefully we'll be on the same page as Brandon (Weeden), which we are, and he knows where to put the ball. We have to catch it and not have deflections or missed ball."

In Holgorsen's two seasons at Houston, the Cougars were unstoppable — unless they turned it over. In 2009, the Cougars led the nation in passing offense, scoring offense and total offense but ranked No. 84 in interceptions thrown (15) and No. 83 in total turnovers (26). In 2008, Houston finished No. 42 in interceptions thrown (11) and No. 93 in total turnovers (28).

It's a concern that Holgorsen addresses daily.

"Every day we talk about turnovers and penalties," Blackmon said. "We do up-downs after practice if we have any turnovers. He really stresses that."



Turnover tales

A major concern with any offense is turnovers. Here's a look at the fumbles, interceptions and total turnovers by offenses run by Dana Holgorsen since 2005.

Year, Team, Fumbles, Interceptions, Total Turnovers

2009, Houston, 11, 15,26

2008, Houston, 17, 11, 28

2007, Texas Tech, 11, 15, 26

2006, Texas Tech, 13, 11, 24

2005, Texas Tech, 7, 12, 19

Cupcakes and turnovers

Dana Holgorsen's offense brings a certain amount of risk and reward. The reward is record-setting scoring and eye-popping passing numbers the risk is turnovers particularly interceptions. Here's a look at the best and worst days (in relation to turnovers) during Holgorsen's last two seasons at Houston:

Best

Year, Opponent, TD, TO, Score

2009, Tulane, 6, 0, W 44-16

2009, SMU, 5, 0, W 38-15

2009, Memphis ,8,0 ,W 55-14

2009, Rice, 10, 0, W 73-14

2008, Tulsa, 10, 1, W 70-30

2008, UTEP, 6, 1, W 42-37

2008, UAB, 6, 1, W 45-20

2008, Southern, 7, 1, W 55-3

Worst

Year, Opponent, TD, TO, Score

2009, Air Force ,2 ,6 ,L 47-20

2009, East Carolina, 5 ,4 ,L 38-32

2009, Central Florida ,4 ,3 ,L 37-32

2009 ,So. Miss ,6 ,3 ,W 50-43

2008, Colorado St., 3, 4 ,L 28-25

2008, East Carolina, 5, 4, W 41-24

2008, Marshall, 3, 3, L 37-23

2008 ,Air Force, 4, 3, W 34-28

Compiled by Brandon Chatmon

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