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December 28, 2010

One Last Go for Holgorsen

SAN ANTONIO - Usually, when a coordinator takes a new position elsewhere, he takes off and isn't around for his former team's bowl game.

But what Dana Holgorsen is dealing with isn't the normal situation, either.

The current and former-to-be Oklahoma State offensive coordinator and the soon-to-be West Virginia offensive coordinator and head-coach-in-waiting is still with the Cowboys, preparing for the Alamo Bowl against Arizona on Wednesday night.

Typically, when a coach accepts another position elsewhere, they have to spin two giant plates at once if they elect to stick around for the bowl game. Mike Price, now of UTEP, stuck around Washington State after taking the Alabama job, only to see Oklahoma destroy the Cougars. But when a coach moves on, teams have to scramble to prepare for a bowl game. The Sooners had to deal with the departure of current Arizona head coach Mike Stoops before its loss to LSU in the 2004 Sugar Bowl and will deal with the loss of offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson to Indiana in the Fiesta Bowl against Connecticut.

In this case, there's a coach with a new gig on the horizon, but he's able to do his old job one last time before heading elsewhere.

"I've got zero responsibilities at West Virginia right now," Holgorsen said. "That does not start until Jan. 1st. Due to the fact that there is zero responsibility, can't recruit, can't coach, can't do anything for them right now, it's allowed me to be able to be here and do this with 100 percent of my efforts."

And that means Holgorsen has one last chance to direct an OSU offense that ended the season with the best offensive production in the land. One more chance to direct Justin Blackmon, Kendall Hunter and Brandon Weeden. With a trio like that, you can see why he's willing to hang out with the Cowboys for the bowl game.

Just from talking to him, you can sense the pride he has with this team and what it was able to accomplish. He seemingly has a desire to finish the job and get OSU a bowl win before heading off to the country roads of Morgantown.

"If I didn't like where I was and what had happened this year I wouldn't be here right now," he said. "I would be moving on what my next opportunity is. But due to the fact that I care about all these guys on offense and we've had success … it's pretty important to everybody to get to an 11th win. I mean, I've never won 11 before. And these guys haven't and the school hasn't, either. So because the mesh has been so good and it's been so enjoyable it's been a fun week."

Blackmon, who replaced past OSU great and current Dallas Cowboy Dez Bryant, admits that Holgorsen has had a big impact on him this season.

"I've grown a lot," Blackmon said. "A lot of things he's taught us throughout this year, some people it would take years for some people to learn. But he came in and told us what we needed to do, what he wanted us to do and was real straight-forward if we weren't doing it. And I think that's why we were so successful this year."

While Holgorsen is about to take off for a new journey, his year in Stillwater will likely resonate in Orange Country for years to come.


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