Sunday Rewind: Defense Capable Of Leading Way

Leading to the start of the season, I found myself thinking more and more with certainty that the defense was going to play the heavy this season for Oklahoma State. I was thoroughly impressed in fall camp with the way the veterans on the defensive line, linebacker Ryan Simmons and cornerback Kevin Peterson were ushering in the less experienced starters and even some of the freshmen.


I said more and more on the radio and wrote here that I thought the defense would lead this team, at least early in the season. That leadership has been evident. Quite frankly, you heard it from very few other individuals that cover this team in the media.

Until the defense performed like it did in the opener with Florida State the reporters on the Oklahoma State beat were predicting sporadic results at best for the Cowboys defense. Not here. Here you received a fairly accurate projection of how the defense would and has performed.

They did it again against Iowa State. The offense was sluggish early and turned the ball over. The defense did give up a few explosive plays, actually only one of 20 yards or more in the first half, a 52-yard reception on a broken play. They only allowed two field goals until the offense and special teams kicked into gear and the game was more secure.

Even with two starters (corner Ashton Lampkin and safety Larry Stephens) sitting out the game the defense never flinched. The schematics are sound, and the leadership both in coaching and on the field with those veteran players is excellent.

The game with Iowa State also allowed for a more pedestrian effort for the defense in number of plays especially after the Texas Tech game and with what will be ahead with offenses like TCU, West Virginia, and Baylor that will try to run 100 plays.

"Our snaps were great. Our ones were definitely in the high 50s or low 60s, so that helped us out," defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer explained. "That's because they slowed it down, and our offense had a couple of nice drives too. We responded great after sudden changes.

"The field position was really bad a lot during the first half, and then the boys came up big. I was proud of them for that. That really kept it close and bought time until our offense started moving it and scoring. We had one drive that I was really disappointed in, and we'll look at the tape on that. Besides that, it was a tremendous effort."

Yes it was, and I predict the defense will continue to more than carry its share of the load and when necessary will carry more than its share. My predictions with this defense has been pretty darn good.



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