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Holgorsen’s departure: Who’s next?

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Word out of Charleston, W.V., is that Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen has been hired by West Virginia.

He’ll be the offensive coordinator next season, then take over as head coach the following year. It’s a bit of a goofy deal, being brought in to take over for a guy who tied for the conference championship this season, but hey, I’ve heard of wackier things.

The bigger issue for folks in our neck of the woods is this — is anyone else in Stillwater going to follow Holgorsen out the door?

Holgorsen is apparently going to be able to hire three assistants at West Virginia, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a Cowboy assistant or two go with him. The most likely possibility is Joe DeForest. He was up for the Louisiana-Lafayette job, but even though he wouldn’t be getting a head coaching spot, he might go with the idea that he’d be Holgorsen’s right-hand man once he takes over as head coach. Also, these two are long-time buddies, so a DeForest-to-West-Virginia move wouldn’t be shocking.

While losing Holgorsen is a blow to OSU, losing DeForest won’t be great either. He has been quite a recruiter for the Cowboys, and as the special teams coordinator, he’s overseen the the OSU unit that’s been most consistent during the past decade.

Coaches are the only ones who could be moving on in the Holgorsen-to-West-Virginia fallout. Will Brandon Weeden come back now that Holgorsen is gone? What about Justin Blackmon?

Talking to Weeden last week, I didn’t think he sounded like a guy who was planning to leave early for the NFL Draft. I know his age might be a concern to some NFL teams, but frankly, I’m not sure it becomes any more of a concern in a year. Whether he’s 27 years old now or 28 years old then, it probably isn’t going to make a huge difference.

Blackmon is a different story. He’s a hot commodity now, and normally, I’d think his jump to the NFL would be sure. With the looming lockout, though, he has more reason to return to OSU than most players of his ilk would have.

But if either of these guys don’t like the direction that they see the offense heading, that might hasten their departure. Bring in an offensive coordinator who they can get behind, and I suspect it’s much more likely that both will be in Cowboy uniforms again next year. Who knows who that new offensive coordinator might be, though? Holgorsen set a high standard, so his replacement will have quite a bar to reach.

One domino has fallen in Stillwater.

I expect that it won’t be the last.

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Jenni Carlson

Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football... Read more ›