Defense Gets The Bragging Rights

STILLWATER - School starts on Monday and the Oklahoma State Cowboys will go back to a regular routine as they begin working on preparations for opening opponent Savannah State when they get back to practice on Tuesday. Saturday afternoon in Boone Pickens Stadium it was the camp closing scrimmage and it had a different tone than the scrimmage one week ago.

Last week, the offense, new starting quarterback Wes Lunt and a group of receivers that was an almost equal mix of veterans and newcomers had a party at the expense of the projected strong and veteran OSU defense. Saturday was more defensive oriented.

"Our scrimmage was very clean," said head coach Mike Gundy. "Guys had good attitudes and played hard. The defense ran to the ball and was much more competitive than it was a week ago.

"Offensively, we went through our second scrimmage without any holding calls. I thought that was pretty good in a 100-play scrimmage. We had a few procedure calls – one in a two-minute situation. I thought the kicking game was good. Overall, I thought it was a really clean scrimmage and I thought the guys had a nice finish to camp."

When you've been around covering college football and one program like Oklahoma State long enough you come to know the pattern. Unless one side of the ball is just overwelmingly more talented, more experienced, or both then after one scrimmage favors one side of the ball then the chances are very high the other side will respond in the next go round.

It was not surprising that more drives stalled with defensive stops, good plays made by the defense that is loaded with talent, and depth on the defensive line and at linebacker.

Co-defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer said they played three linebackers at each position with the first two units and a lot of the special units, which was one of the big differences in the defense from last week to this week.

"Today we weren't worth a darn, so it doesn't feel real good today," said offensive coordinator Todd Monken. "We've got good players. Wes (Lunt) is a good player. We have good players up front. We have good skill guys.

"Like I said, we aren't as deep as we are and we're pretty thin, but we'll be just fine. What we can't do is what we did today, turnovers, missed assignments, poor decisions by the quarterbacks, poor calls by me. I'm knee deep in that.

"What they decided to do was they weren't going to sit back in quarters and let us throw it over their head. I did a poor job, first of all, because they were blitzing more and playing zero. The more we didn't handle it, the more they did it. They played more Tampa and they fire-zoned us. They weren't going to let us throw the ball down the field and that was smart," added Monken.

The head coach recognized the intensity from the defense from the very start of the scrimmage that was moved up from 6 p.m. to 4 p.m. to take advantage of as warm a conditions as possible.

"The defense started out much faster," said Gundy. "Last week, they started slowly and the snowball got going downhill and they never could do anything about it. Today, they started faster and played well. They forced a couple turnovers and got the momentum on their side. The offense came back and made some plays. I thought it was a really good scrimmage for both sides."

Defensive coordinator Bill Young agreed with something else that Moken said. Monken said the offense also took advantage of some young cornerbacks playing a lot in the scrimmage last week. Young agreed and said the biggest difference in the defense from last Saturday to this Saturday was a veteran defender.

"The biggest thing is we were able to get Brodrick Brown back," said Young of the All-American and All-Big 12 cornerback held out last Saturday with a minor injury, mainly a precaution. "We've got some healthier guys out there in the secondary, which helps a ton. We had some young guys that let the receivers get behind them and we weren't getting nearly the pressure. We got just a tiny bit better pressure but a lot better coverage."

"We gave them a lot of deep balls last scrimmage and I think we improved a lot in the secondary," said free safety Daytawion Lowe. "That is what we do out here is we compete. Last week they (offense) had the bragging rights and we were trying to get them back. We had a whole other week and we had some new defenses in there and we did some disguising too."

"The defense got after us a little bit, but I still thought we looked good and we ran the ball good," said wide receiver Charlie Moore. "There were some catches made, but I also had a drop that I need to get some extra practice on. It seems this is how it works, one side comes back on the other. We never go into it thinking like that."

Among the big plays were some good catches by Isaiah Anderson and Brandon Sheperd. Lowe said that Zack Craig had an interception and the defense also forced several fumbles. The kicking game also had a thorough going over with each unit getting work in the scrimmage.

Fall camp is now over. Sunday is a day the team will get a lifting session in and some meetings to review the scrimmage. There is no practice Sunday, and Monday is a complete day off with the start of classes. Practice resumes on Tuesday.

There is a press conference with Gundy, coordinators, and players on Thursday that will serve for the preview of the opener 10 eight days later with Savannah State. Next Saturday is the mock game in uniforms and the scripted rehearsal that includes virtually every scenario that could come up on game day.

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