Holgorsen, who went to Oklahoma State in January of this year, never signed a contract with the Cowboy administration, apparently never feeling a pressing need to do so. While unsigned deals have been an issue at West Virginia at times in the past, having a signed paper wasn't a issue for the unconventional Holgorsen, who reportedly likes nothing better than working on his offense, drawing up plays and dreaming up new ways to attack defenses with his available weapons. He'll continue to do that through the Alamo Bowl, in which he will coach and run Oklahoma State's offense as usual. That game is scheduled for Dec. 29 against Arizona in San Antonio.
While the contract issue is not a big item in and of itself, it does at least raise a question about the reported deal awaiting him at West Virginia totaling six years, including five as head coach after a year as offensive coordinator in 2011. That agreement could total as much as $10.5 million with incentives. Will signing a contract be a condition of completing the deal? For Holgorsen, it does not appear to be an issue either way. West Virginia officials were unavailable for comment.
According to several sources close to the Oklahoma State program, the 39-year old assistant is completely focused on the job of football coaching. He deals well with the media and those around him, taking the time to explain football concepts during interviews and sharing offensive thinking. He's casual in both mannerisms and dress, sometimes appearing in flip-flops and Tommy Bahama shirts. He doesn't hold out that his system is any sort of magic formula, but instead concentrates on putting his players into the best position to take advantage of their abilities.
Holgorsen is viewed as a passing guru, and his time at Texas Tech, Houston and Oklahoma State certainly justifies that opinion, but he has also been able to take advantage of good players in other positions. At Oklahoma State this year, he utilized star runner Kendall Hunter to the tune of 1,516 rushing yards and 16 scores, while also putting quarterback Brandon Weeden (4,037 passing yards) and receiver Justin Blackmon (1,665 yards) in the national spotlight. His passing offense, based on the one he assisted former head coach Mike Leach with at Texas Tech, is predicated on quarterbacks and receivers reading the defense at the snap and making the correct (and the same) adjustments to find openings in the coverage. If it works, it's nearly unstoppable, but it requires quick, consistent decision making ability that's finely tuned from both thrower and catcher. State's running game this year was set up off the ability to pass the ball, but at times the Cowboys were also able to line up and run the ball to secure wins in the late going.
Holgorsen's offense this past year also demonstrated a consistency which many Mountaineer fans have been hungering for. OSU scored 110, 158, 158 and 113 points in each of the four quarters of play this year, was held under 33 points just once – a 24-14 win over Kansas State.
Holgorsen will bring, or be responsible for hiring, multiple offensive staffers for the 2011 Mountaineers. While no official announcements have been made, it is expected that at least two, and likely three, current West Virginia offensive coaches will not return next season. At Oklahoma State, Holgorsen oversaw a staff that included an offensive line coach, a running backs coach, an inside receivers coach and a wide receivers coach. That division of duties shows the importance of wide receivers in his offense, and the amount of coaching required to ensure synchronization between that group and the quarterback.
Following are offensive statistics for Holgorsen's stints as an offensive coordinator.
DANA HOLGORSEN'S OFFENSES
|PASS YPG/ NCAA RANK||POINTS PG/
|2010||Okla. State||182.9 / 29||354.7 / 2||44.9 / 3|
|2009||Houston||129.6 / 83||433.7 / 1||42.2 / T1|
|2008||Houston||161.2 / 47||401.6 / 2||40.6 / 18|
|2007||Texas Tech||59.3 / 119||470.3 / 1||40.9 / 7|
|2006||Texas Tech||78.4 / 112||369.5 / 3||32.5 / 13|
|2005||Texas Tech||107.0/ 104||388.8 / 1||39.4 / 4|