Holgorsen, Sooners Have A History

STILLWATER – While there was an obvious air of anticipation and excitement at OSU's pre-Bedlam media day among coaches and players, Dana Holgorsen seemed to be on edge Monday. It wasn't an edge that emitted nervousness; it was more along the lines of annoyance at the thought that his offense was still being viewed as fallible.

Questioned about the history of Oklahomas ability to stop Holgorsen's high-octane offense when he was at Texas Tech, Holgorsen responded with a level of defiance OSU fans should hope to see from the Cowboys come 7 p.m. on Saturday.

"So you're saying OU has gotten the best of Texas Tech? Is that what youre saying?" Holgorsen said with a chill that can't be effectively portrayed in print.

After the question was altered and attempted a second time, Holgorsen stayed cold in his line of responses.

"Tech's offense? Yea, I haven't been there the last few years. I don't know exactly what they've done," he said.

While the Cowboys wizard-like offensive coordinator may be a few years removed from playing the Sooners, his past against OU wasn't much different than OSU's. In fact, it was the exact same.

In Holgorsen's years under Mike Leach at Texas Tech, the duo went 2-6 against the Sooners and averaged just 20 points per game from 2000 to 2007.

While Holgorsen's top-ranked offense has left little reason to have doubts, he did explain part of the reason the Sooners can cause confusion for a fast-paced offense.

He said OU shifts its defensive alignments around prior to the snap as well as anyone.

"They do do that, they do a great job of that," Holgorsen said. "They usually come up with some sort of indicator from the offense that triggers it. Against Baylor, it was whenever the quarterback lifted his foot. They held (their stance) and then when the quarterback lifted his foot up, they were changing.

"They're extremely well coached. They do a good job of disguising things and switching right at the last minute."

That sounds similar to what fans have come to expect from Holgorsen's offense. One thing Holgorsen has at his disposal this time against the Sooners is a viable running game spearheaded by senior running back Kendall Hunter, which gives his attack an added dimension against elite defenses.

"He is the backbone of what we do. Justin Blackmon and Brandon Weeden are emerging, but Kendall Hunter has been the consistent force of what has happened around here for three or four years now," Holgorsen said.

"He is the guy that people look to for consistency and how to be a college football player. I have a lot of respect for him. He can do a lot."

He can do a lot, and Holgorsen acknowledged, so can his offense now that it's clicking on all cylinders as other playmakers have stepped up to join the party heading into potentially the biggest game in OSU football history. And the Cowboys have played consistent football in all three facets of the game since losing to Nebraska on Oct. 23.

"It is something that I have been saying all year with this team, we are just finding ways to play together," he said. "When one side isn't doing so great, the other side picks up the slack. When you have a team that plays well on all three sides of the ball, and knows how to play together, you usually get a good result."

And that trend of good results has set up a Bedlam matchup that will be in the national spotlight. If OSU wins, it advances to its first Big 12 title game.

But as Holgorsen and the rest of the Cowboys have maintained all season, they aren't looking ahead. The focus is on the rival Sooners.

"You have to treat them all the same. There isn't going to be anything different from the coaches and players perspective this week," he said.

"That is just the way you've got to do it. At the end of the season you look back and you will think about some of the things that were fine and some of the things that were bad, but during an actual game week you get into a routine and do everything the same way."

And that way has worked out for Holgorsen and the Pokes pretty well so far.

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