Pat Kinnison

Oklahoma State defensive coordinator concerned with Texas quarterback Jerrod Heard

Oklahoma State defensive coordinator concerned with Texas quarterback Jerrod Heard

STILLWATER -- On Saturday after Oklahoma State's 69-14 win over UTSA Glenn Spencer was the target interview of many members of the media that regularly cover the Cowboys. I think there was a real curiosity on whether Spencer would be gushing over his defense's effort where they forced six of the seven turnovers the Cowboys came up with in the game.

The Cowboys forced fumble by corner Miketavius Jones on a blitz that linebacker Devante Averette scooped and scored with and then a helmet-popped fumble caused by Jordan Sterns that led to a quick two-play drive by the offense for a 14-0 lead before it seemed like the echo of the National Anthem was over. The Oklahoma State defenders did allow 346 yards of total offense and 176 yards rushing. The Roadrunners also converted 7-of-17 third-down tries, too many for Spencer. He let his defenders crow a little on Saturday, but today it was back to the "Hunger Games" for Spencer.

"I think they're playing really hard," Spencer started. "We made a lot of mistakes. This game last week was probably the worst game we had technically, so we have a lot to look at, but we're playing hard and playing for each other."

Hunger is the key because Spencer, who rarely likes what he sees when studying opposing offensive tape and usually talks of the gut wrenching three hours he has ahead of him on Saturday worrying about stopping the latest offensive adversary, sees the unveiling of Texas run/pass quarterback Jerrod Heard.

Heard in two weeks of starting duty has climbed to eighth in the Big 12 in rushing with 82.3 yards a game, most on zone read keepers and scrambles after he sees his first read covered. Now, he can throw too. Heard has completed 25-of-39 passing for 494 yards with two touchdowns and one interception thrown.

"What's scary about this situation is that you could have it all right, you could have that extra guy, but it's always tough to have that extra guy," Spencer said of trying to even the numbers against an offense where the quarterback will carry the ball. "If you're trying to have an extra guy for the quarterback, than you're giving up something else. There are no guarantees that you can make a play, which is scary. The guy can beat you at any time. He could make you look foolish."

Heard is getting better each Saturday and you can see where he gets a little more of the offense each week. You also see a new play caller in former OU assistant Jay Norvell, who is finding what Heard is comfortable doing. It really showed up in the second half against California.

"Of course he's more comfortable, just by reps and competition," Spencer responded. "There's some things he does really well. He's going to get better at reading coverages every week."

Last week Oklahoma State saw some of the concepts as UTSA ran a good number of zone and zone read plays. They had success with some of them, so did the Cowboy defenders get any good out of that even if Heard is much faster and more athletic than Blake Bogenschutz or Dalton Sturm, the two Roadrunner quarterbacks. Spencer seems to think that his defense will learn so much more about the run/pass quarterback and how to stop him on Saturday in Austin.

"Yeah, you learn a lot because it's a tremendous test," the Pokes defensive coordinator said. "You're going against a guy that broke the record for most yardage in a game. He did better than Young and McCoy ever did. It's a tremendous challenge, we got our hands full. Guys are going to be excited to play against him, but they also know that their hands are full."

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