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Holgorsen’s departure different than Wilson’s

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When I blogged yesterday about the folks who could potentially follow Dana Holgorsen out the door at Oklahoma State, I received a few comments hearkening back to the departure of another offensive coordinator.

This comment from Caleb sums up those comments: “Where was all of this type of talk when Wilson left OU?”

The short answer: this situation is totally different than that one.

The long answer?

When Kevin Wilson left Oklahoma last week to become the head coach at Indiana, no doubt it left a hole. He’s been the Sooners’ offensive coordinator since 2006. Replacing someone who’s been there that long is no easy task.

But he’s been there long enough to share his system with the other coaches. They’ve had a chance to see it work. They’ve had the opportunity to immerse themselves in it. Josh Heupel and Jay Norvell, who’ve been tapped since as the new co-offensive coordinators, have been around this offense that has won multiple Big 12 championship long enough to pick it up and go with it.

That isn’t the case at OSU. Holgorsen, who is reportedly heading to West Virginia, has only been on campus one season. While the Cowboys obviously have his playbook and his scheme, the other assistants haven’t really had the chance to crawl inside this offense, internalize it and made it their own.

Now, before all you Cowboy fans get up in arms and remind me that OSU won games before Holgorsen got there, I realize that. But what I’m saying is that if OSU wants to continue to run the same type of offense, it might not be as easy as one of the current assistants just picking up Holgorsen’s playbook. The Cowboys might have to go out and hire someone who has run a similar offense.

How Mike Gundy addresses the hiring of his next offensive coordinator could be key to keeping his top two players next season. Justin Blackmon and Brandon Weeden will likely weigh who the offensive coordinator is when considering whether to leave school early for the NFL Draft.

When I blogged as much yesterday, some folks asked why there wasn’t a similar question asked about Landry Jones and Ryan Broyles when Wilson left OU.

(By the way, I’m banning any OSU fans from complaining about interjecting OU into this discussion. Questions about the Sooner comparison came from Cowboy fans.) 

If I’d have thought Broyles’ or Jones’ futures at OU were tied in any way to Wilson, I’d have written as much. But frankly, I don’t think either of those guys will be high enough draft choices to leave regardless of who’s coaching at OU. Broyles may go, but if he does, it won’t be because he sees a big change coming in the Sooner offense. That goes back to what I said before about Wilson leaving behind his system.

The situation is completely different at OSU.

Blackmon, for starters, is so dang good that’ll he’ll have to give the draft more serious consideration than any other player in the state. In doing that, he’ll have to consider who is coaching him. And obviously, Weeden’s age is a factor, so he’ll likely give the draft some thought. Like Blackmon, he’ll have to consider who is coaching him in that evaluation.

Different situations led to my different opinions.

Here’s one last thing: Just because I think Holgorsen leaving for West Virginia could lead to other departures at OSU doesn’t mean I believe the Cowboys are doomed. Quite the opposite is true.

The Cowboys went out and got Holgorsen last year. That was an amazing hire.

There’s no reason to think they won’t make another great hire now.

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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 ›