Holgorsen: Randle Adds Extra Dimension

STILLWATER - The emergence of Joseph Randle couldn't have come at a better time for Oklahoma State. Dana Holgorsen, the Cowboys' first-year offensive coordinator, has been wary of his offense's reliance on Justin Blackmon and Kendall Hunter, who have combined for 22 of the offense's touchdowns this season.

The Cowboys' other playmakers have been inconsistent thus far but Randle's breakout performance in OSU's 34-17 victory against Texas Tech has given Holgorsen plenty of optimism heading into Saturday's homecoming showdown with No. 14 Nebraska.

"We've said it from the beginning that we've been looking for some other guys, no matter what position," Holgorsen said. "We found him as probably our third guy. It doesn't matter what position, it's all about getting the ball in their hands and there's many different ways to get the ball in his hands."

And the more Randle has had the ball in his hands, the more he's proven he deserves it there. The freshman running back had 17 carries for 95 yards with a touchdown and also chipped in three receptions for 44 yards in the Pokes first win in Lubbock since 1944.

And his numbers, as well as his confidence, seem to be improving on a weekly basis. And Holgorsen said he sees no reason to lessen the load anytime soon.

"He's developed into a guy that we're going to rely on," Holgorsen said. "He's gotten better each week. His confidence has risen each week. He's practiced well and the more confidence he gets, the more comfortable he gets, the more he's going to touch the ball."

Randle has shown he can not only spell Hunter, he can add an additional weapon to Holgoren's prolific attack.

And that added element in the OSU backfield couldn't be more helpful as the Pokes prepare to face the Huskers' No. 1 pass defense, which Holgorsen said is as good as he's ever seen in the Big 12.

"They're impressive. In all my years of coaching, especially my last 10, being familiar with the Big 12, they're probably the most athletic back seven I've seen from linebackers and safeties and corners, without question, the most athletic group of seven guys collectively that I've seen," Holgorsen said.

"They're obviously good. They're well coached. They're athletic. They're tough up front. It'll be a big challenge."

But Holgorsen said he won't let that change the way he or his players approach this weekend's game. For Holgorsen, it's business as usual as the Pokes will line up against the nation's top pass defense with an offense that ranks No. 2 nationally in scoring, No. 2 total offense and No. 3 in passing.

But even with the success, he's not letting it get to his head and the same goes for his players.

"Every week is different. You have to treat them all the same," he said. "You can't sit there and think about where you're at. You worry about what you need to improve on, not what you've done well. You need to use success to gain confidence and build confidence, but you've still got to look for new ways to get better. Just treat each week the same and line up and do your best."

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