West Virginia's Holgorsen taking on the offense he built

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- Dana Holgorsen's fingerprints will be all over Oklahoma State's offense Saturday when West Virginia travels to Stillwater, Okla., trying to turn the season around.

Holgorsen spent a year as offensive coordinator for the Cowboys before coming to West Virginia for the same position with the caveat that he would eventually be head coach.

He installed the offense at Oklahoma State that he runs at West Virginia, and has found watching game tape this week to be a little eerie.

"It's like we're looking in a mirror because of what they do offensively, what they do defensively," said Holgorsen at his weekly news conference. "As many of you know, there's a lot of crossover [on the staff]. There's a lot of familiarity. We know a lot about their players and their schemes. There's not many secrets that exist in today's [day and age]."

Oklahoma State has the nation's No. 2 ranked total offense, No. 3 ranked passing offense and No. 8 ranked scoring offense.

Compare that to the Mountaineers No. 19 ranked total offense, No. 5 ranked passing offense and No. 9 ranked scoring offense.

Holgorsen had NFL first-round pick Brandon Weeden to work with at quarterback while at Oklahoma State.

The Cowboys have had injury problems at the position this year and coach Mike Gundy said this week it's unclear who will start on Saturday -- Wes Lunt or backup Clint Chelf.

Regardless who it is, Holgorsen expects to see a very familiar offense.

"It hasn't changed much at all. There's some specific things that they do better than we do. It's the same offense," he said. "If you look at it very closely, it's called the same and a lot of the routes are the same. There's always going to be tweaks here and tweaks there, an added formation, or a different run play or a different pass play out of a different set."

As for changing signals?

"We do it every week anyway," said Holgorsen. "I've watched a couple of TV copies here, and I can call out about 90 percent of their plays. So I'd assume that's something that is on their mind as well as it is on our mind. We have to be careful what we do from both an offensive standpoint and a defensive standpoint."

Co-defensive coordinator Joe DeForest also came from Oklahoma State. He spent 11 years on the staff, his most significant as special teams coordinator, and was known as a strong recruiter.

"Makes me more motivated," DeForest said. "Don't want to say this game means more to me than any other game but it's heightened for a lot of reasons. I was there for 11 years, have a lot of friends and family and my daughter goes to school there.

"I want to go out play well, win, come back."

Quarterbacks coach Jake Spavital was a graduate assistant there in 2010.

Gundy said he doesn't expect the homecoming to affect things drastically.

"Once you get into a game, it's not much different than any other game," he said. "They are much more familiar with us than we are with them. They've been here. We only know them; we don't know their players. Once the game gets going, in most cases you actually forget who's on the other side."

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Jenn Menendez: jmenendez@post-gazette.com and Twitter @JennMenendez.


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