One-on-One With Dana Holgorsen

Dana Holgorsen took numerous phone calls after Oklahoma State's 65-point, zero-turnover performance in a Week 1 victory against Washington State. After Week 2's five-turnover, 12-penalty nail-biter victory against Troy, the first-year offensive coordinator spent his Saturday night and Sunday morning a bit differently.

"I didn't talk to anybody this week, I've been busy watching film," Holgorsen said. "We've got some work to do."

Despite the Cowboys' mistake-riddled 41-38 victory, OSU amassed 522 yards of offense and averaged nearly five yards per carry and 12 yards per pass completion. Oklahoma State also avoided facing a single three-and-out on the night.

Holgorsen said he saw a lot of positives emerge from the win, but said the mistakes need to be addressed.

"Up and down, we moved the ball pretty well and we got better in specific things," Holgorsen said. "We found a few other guys to go with the ball. (Josh) Cooper played good and (Colton) Chelf played good.

"Tracy Moore made two huge third-down catches, so we're finding some other guys to throw the ball to and that was an area of emphasis. We didn't have any three-and-outs and that was an area of emphasis; the week before we had six, so that was something we wanted to do better at.

" … We played a better opponent and we have to be able to play smarter to eliminate turnovers and we don't want the penalties. It was a little different than the week before but there were still some positives in there."

Among the positives was the play of Josh Cooper. Cooper had eight receptions for 114 yards, one carry for 16 yards and a 66-yard punt return for a score to help establish a reliable option opposite Justin Blackmon in the receiving corps. Blackmon continued his torrid pace by hauling in 10 receptions for 132 yards and two scores.

One of the reasons for concern regarding the receivers has been the lack of depth. Cooper and Moore rose to the challenge on Saturday but Holgorsen said the unit has yet to establish itself.

"It's still a work in progress," he said. "We're happy with Justin, obviously, he's had two huge games. We're happy with Tracy making a couple huge third-down catches, that's big because all week we talked about converting on third downs. If you don't convert on third downs, you punt a bunch. He bailed us out.

"Cooper made some plays, he's a guy we're developing some confidence in. Like I said, we're gonna play eight (receivers). That's three; we're looking for five more to step up."

OSU ranks third nationally with 53 points per game, running back Kendall Hunter leads the nation in rushing touchowns with six and Blackmon leads the nation in receiving touchdowns with five after two games. Those are all stats Holgorsen is pleased to see but, other than Hunter and Blackmon, no other Cowboy has found the end zone on offense.

Holgorsen said other playmakers, particularly in the receiving corps, must establish themselves in order to achieve balance before opposing defenses are able to focus their efforts on the dynamic duo. But he said he is particularly focused on making sure Blackmon doesn't have to face extra attention from future foes.

"We want to be able to run the ball and we want to throw the ball but you can't just rely on one guy to make the plays because, sooner or later, they're going to double him so you need to make them cover the whole field," he said. "With four receivers out there, they can't just key on one guy but we have to have four guys we feel comfortable with for that to happen."

The four primary targets as of now appear to be Blackmon, Moore, Cooper and Colton Chelf. Holgorsen said he has been pleased with Chelf's development. The senior walkon had 51-yards receiving on two catches Saturday night.

"He's probably the second fastest guy we've got out there," Holgorsen said. "He doesn't look like much. We call him the elf because he looks like a little, evil elf guy out there. He's real small, fleet footed and runs faster than people think that he does. He's doing well, he fights hard and he competes and it was good to see him get a couple of balls; probably should have thrown it to him a couple more (times)."

Possibly easing the nerves of some Cowboy fans, Holgorsen's familiarity with Tulsa could result in a leap forward for the offense this weekend. Holgorsen has prepared for Tulsa each of the past two seasons while at Houston. His Cougar offense put up 70 points on the Golden Hurricane in 2008 and 46 in '09.

"I've watched them all morning. They are very similar to how they have been the last several years," he said. "… I'm pretty familiar with how they run their program and the type of defense that they run so we are going to keep watching film and come up with a plan and try to execute."


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