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WVU football: Turnover hasn't slowed Oklahoma State

DALLAS - West Virginia Coach Dana Holgorsen is one of five offensive coordinators to work at Oklahoma State since the start of the 2007 season. The Cowboys have ranked Nos. 7, 70, 6, 3, 3, and 4 nationally in total offense in part because of the quality of the coaches, but mostly because of the continuity of the offense.

Gundy has not hired coordinators to do their own thing, but to do his own thing for the benefit of their players.

"We have approximately 35 or 45 players or so that have played for our offense each year and when we've lost a coordinator to become a head coach, I felt like it was an advantage to continue to run the offense and keep our terminology," Gundy said Monday at the annual Big 12 football media days.

"So we would bring in one new coach, or two coaches, and they would learn our system instead of 35 or 40 players trying to learn new terminology or a new system from the outside."

It's worked wonderfully for both sides. Holgorsen, Larry Fedora (Southern Miss before North Carolina) and Todd Monken (Southern Miss) left for head coaching jobs. The Cowboys have won 56 games, mostly with their offense, and one Big 12 title and Fiesta Bowl in those six years.

Last week, the media named Oklahoma State the favorite for the 2013 season, one that will see new offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich transition from Division II Shippensburg.

"It's never perfect, but by bringing a coach in and having him adjust to Oklahoma State, we've had success," Gundy said. "We'll continue to move in that direction."

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Kansas Coach Charlie Weis commended the media for putting his team in last place in the 10-team poll.

"If I were you, I'd pick us in the same spot," said Weis, who was 1-11 in 2012, his first season with Kansas. "We've given you no evidence or no reason to be picked anywhere other than that."

The Jayhawks were competitive a few times and were pummeled a few times in conference play last season, but they've also lost 21 straight league games. While some coaches might shy away from that, Weis uses it to his advantage when he's recruiting.

"There's no one that wants to not play," Weis said. "I said, 'Have you looked at that pile of crap out there?  Have you taken a look at that? So if you don't think you can play here, where do you think you can play?' It's a pretty simple approach. And that's not a sales pitch. That's practical. 'You've seen it, right?  Unfortunately, so have I.' "

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Part of WVU's indoctrination to the Big 12 last season was getting to know the new stadiums and environments. Nowhere was that more problematic than at Texas Tech, where Holgorsen coached for eight seasons. The Mountaineers lost 49-14 and quarterback Geno Smith was singled out by Holgorsen for the difficulty he had throwing with and into the wind.

Former Red Raiders quarterback Kliff Kingsbury is the league's only new coach, but one adjustment he won't have to make is with regard to the wind at his home games. He's well aware of the adversity it can provide, which means it can be to his team's advantage.

"It's more just an attitude," said Kingsbury, who passed for more than 12,400 yards and 95 touchdowns at Texas Tech. "You practice in it each and every day and you get used to it. It can psych other teams out. They come to town and it's blowing 50 m.p.h. and they don't think they can throw it.  

"We do it each and every day. It's more just throwing a tight spiral. Arm strength helps, but if you can keep your ball tight in the wind and be accurate in those circumstances, then you'll be all right."

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When the media released its preseason all-conference team last week, it named TCU's Casey Pachall its quarterback. Pachall is 15-2 as a starter and has size and skill that project to the NFL, but he was also suspended for the final nine games last season after a DUI arrest and a subsequent treatment for substance abuse.

Pachall, who led the nation in passer efficiency in 2011 and was No. 4 in a 4-0 start last season, was welcomed back to the team in January and practiced with the Horned Frogs in the spring. He did not represent the team here.

"He asked me when he came (back) 'Coach, can I just be a student? Can I be a football player?' So what I've done is I've left him alone," Coach Gary Patterson said. "I asked him before media days. I asked him, 'Now do you want to go?' And his whole thing is, 'I just want to be a student. I want to be a football player.'

"So I'm letting him do his thing, keeping the pressure off of him. I think having a two-quarterback situation that we feel like we have now that can go win ball games in the Big 12 is a positive as far as the pressure and hype going forward."

Yes, two quarterbacks. Despite Pachall's nomination, which may just be a side effect of having so many unknown quarterbacks in the league, Patterson is considering the idea of using backup Trevone Boykin if he doesn't win the still unrewarded starting job.

"If it is Casey as the starter, you have a Trevone that really can beat you with his legs," Patterson said. "How do you do that? He really developed. He had an unbelievable spring, to be honest with you, which bodes well for us - because he's only going to be a sophomore for us - in the future after this season.

"Going into a ball game, if he's going to play some, you can't just say that your (defensive) game plan is all about a guy that's a thrower and he hands it off and he does a great job checking and has a strong arm. I think you have to get ready for both of them."

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West Virginia, which was picked eighth in the preseason poll and along with Kansas didn't have a player named to the all-conference team, has its media day today, along with Texas, Oklahoma, Baylor and Iowa State. The Mountaineers, who were represented Monday by mascot Jon Kimble and cheerleader Krysta Kemp, will have Holgorsen, defensive end Will Clarke, left tackle Quinton Spain and safety Karl Joseph in attendance.

Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at or 304-319-1142. His blog is at


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