What Happens When Two Teams Know Each Other?

Oklahoma State won big when Dana Holgorsen returned to Stillwater last year with his Mountaineers and a few other familiar faces like Joe DeForest, Jake Spavital, Robert Gillespie and Andrew McGee in tow. In his first start for the Cowboys, quarterback in Clint Chelf led the Cowboys to a 21-7 first quarter lead and a 31-17 halftime advantage before closing out a 55-34 win.

This time Oklahoma State comes in with a 3-0 record and off a bye week for their first trip to Morgantown. West Virginia is 2-2 with losses to OU 16-7 and last Saturday 37-0 to Maryland.

"It was good," said Oklahoma State defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer of the bye week. "We had some physical practices last week, and got a jump on West Virginia.

"Fundamentally, we had a good week. That's the time when you're able to work on some fundamental things like shedding blocks and tackling. Schematically, we were able to work on some things we want to do against West Virginia. It was a productive week."

Meanwhile, Holgorsen fell on his sword and threw only himself under the team bus following the 37-point loss.

"We know a lot about Oklahoma State as you well know," Holgorsen said on the Big 12 Conference coaches call. "They know a lot about us as far as what we are trying to get accomplished. I just have to do a better job and if I do a better job then the other guys will do a better job as well."

That's the big question, what happens when two teams and two coaching staffs know each other pretty well? Holgorsen gives his analysis starting off with a compliment and maybe even a reminder to himself.

"You can overthink it, but the one thing I think coach (Mike) Gundy does a good job of is not overthinking it," said Holgorsen. "You know they know us and we know them. Are they going to potentially pick a signal? Yes, but then so are we.

"Are we going to find some tips? Yes, that is probably going to happen and so will they. That happens every week in the Big 12. The biggest thing is I need to just get my kids out there and let 'em play."

"Knowing him, I'm sure he would say the same thing if you asked him but it all comes down to execution," said Spencer. "They're going to have some new wrinkles for us, but it still comes down to blocking, tackling and catching the ball.

"For us, it comes down to seeing routes, pattern reading, hitting our gaps and being fundamentally sound. Against anybody, one mistake can lead to a big play. It will be on the line for us every play. He has a great mind, and if we take something away, he will try to find another way to attack us. It's fun. I have a lot of respect for him and what they do offensively."

So do the Oklahoma State players. Current Cowboys quarterback J.W. Walsh was recruited by Holgorsen. He really isn't the exact match for the Holgorsen offense, but the current West Virginia coach loved him because he's a winner, and as Mike Gundy said Monday, Holgorsen didn't have to work hard to convince the staff on Walsh.

"The offense that we still run is the offense that he brought here and that's always kind of out there that is the offense that we run," said Walsh. "Even then, we've tweaked it a bunch and added our own nuances over the year."

Running back Jeremy Smith also believes Holgorsen is strong.

"Coach Holgorsen is a pretty good coach. I know he can pretty much overcome that," said Smith referring to the rough loss last Saturday. "West Virginia is a pretty good team and their defense is really nice. But you know this really isn't about them, it is about us and how we prepare and just go out there and take care of business."

Which takes us back to what happens when two teams that know each other so well play each other. We'll find out Saturday.

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