Commentary

Dana Holgorsen's play-calling genius

The Oklahoma State OC has some resemblance to Bill Belichick as a playcaller

Originally Published: December 15, 2010
By KC Joyner | ESPN Insider
Dana HolgorsenAP Photo/Sue OgrockiDana Holgorsen is an unique offensive mind.

If there is one thing that genetic studies have shown over the years, it is that a small amount of changes between genomes can make a big difference in what those genes produce.

Researchers in 2005 showed this to be the case when they compared the DNA of a male common chimpanzee with a human genome and found the two species share 96 percent of their DNA. Despite the overwhelming similarities in genetic structure, humans and chimps are dissimilar enough that they don't even share the same taxonomic rank.

A similar analogy can be made when it comes to different types of offensive play calling -- slight changes to what are otherwise identical plays can end up making huge differences in how productive an offense is.

That may be exactly what the brain trust for the West Virginia Mountaineers is thinking as it considers adding Oklahoma State Cowboys offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen to the staff, with the idea of eventually turning the team over to him.

Holgorsen's offense posted terrific numbers this year (first in FBS in total yards per game, second in passing yards per game and third in scoring offense), but the game tape shows it wasn't just the superior physical talent of All-Big 12 first team quarterback Brandon Weeden and first team All-American wide receiver Justin Blackmon that led to these elite totals -- superior play-calling variation had a lot to do with it, as well. Remember: The Cowboys were picked by many to bring up the rear in the Big 12 South, and instead came within a Bedlam loss to the Oklahoma Sooners of playing Nebraska for the Big 12 championship.


For KC Joyner's full argument and a breakdown of how Oklahoma State's offense really worked, you need to be an ESPN Insider.