Cowboy Defense Cooks Up Changes At Half

Oklahoma State's defense makes adjustments in second half to hold Texas to six points as the Cowboys rally to win 49-31.

After Oklahoma State jumped out to a 14-0 lead to start the game with Texas on Saturday the thud that could be heard for the rest of the first half was the duo of D'Onta Foreman and Chris Warren III slamming through the bodies of the Oklahoma State defenders.

Oklahoma State led at halftime 37-25 but Texas had amassed 390 yards, 205 of those yards on the ground and Foreman had 65 yards on 10 carries and Warren had 106 yards, also on 10 carries. The OSU defenders looked worn out and a little beaten.

However, it was that famous halftime classroom on the far right side of the Cowboys locker room known as Glenn Spencer's halftime class of adjustments. This time Spencer was coming armed with more information having seen the Texas rushing success from a perch upstairs in the Oklahoma State coach's booth.

"The defense made a great adjustment at halftime on the counter and the power play," said head coach Mike Gundy, who had suggested the move for Spencer after last week's big play expo against Baylor in Waco.

"It's a lot more calm," Spencer said of being upstairs. "There are advantages and disadvantages to both and an argument for either. Last week with so much going with personnel, coach said let's get you up there and see if you can see better, and you can. You can see things better. I have to have confidence in my guys on the sideline though, for the emotional part. They have to keep the juice up."

Part of seeing was being able to get downstairs at halftime. Spencer, safeties coach Dan Hammerschmidt, who has been up and stayed up with Spencer in the booth, defensive line coach Joe Bob Clements, corners coach Tim Duffie and the coach that moved from upstairs to down in graduate assistant and former Cowboy safety Andre Sexton drew up the changes. 

"You know, some of it was adjustments, but a lot of it was cleaning up," Spencer said. "We tackled too high a couple of times, they didn't come back on a pipe route once and I had a bust from a safety on that. We had to shore up some things. Good job on them for their game plan. I had to get an extra hat over there. Besides that, the kids didn't get knocked off the ball quite as much in the second half. We asked them to fill spots. Their big backs are going to break a lot of tackles this year." 

"We made a couple of adjustments inside on the one power play they pulled, and then they had a counter where they were pulling two guys. We made a small adjustment. We got out of our gap. We needed to push all the way on the one long run, but other than that we were in pretty good shape. We were a half guy short in the running game trying to defend the throw," added Gundy from his perspective of the changes.

"When that happens against linemen that can block and running backs that are big and strong and can bounce off the tackles, you kind of take the good with the bad. We did make an adjustment on their down blocking scheme at halftime. It worked. They're going to score and they're going to move the ball some with the style of offense they're in and the type of players they have. They're going to have the ability to move and score, so you've got to do the same. You've got to match them blow for blow."

Spencer really stressed to his players as the halftime ended, "stop the run and we will win the game. You have to stop the run."

Then Spencer went back up to his perch in the press box and saw his defense put the adjustments and his strong urging to good use by limits Texas to 124 yards the second half, a much more manageable number that allowed the Cowboys to not only match Texas blow for blow, but blow by them for good. The defense even set up a key touchdown with a Jordan Sterns interception and return down to the 1-yard line. 

So is Spencer going to keep his seat in the coach's booth?

"If I had to guess, we're 1-­0 right now, so yes," siad the veteran defensive coordinator. "Coach is right, it was his idea because a couple times last week I was bumping into people and it was chaotic. But you give up something for more advantages." 

GoPokes Top Stories