To be fair, the Oklahoma State Cowboys’ defense last season was not the greatest we’ve ever witnessed. The Pokes’ allowed a whopping 92 points collectively in their final two regular season losses to the Baylor Bears and Oklahoma Sooners. Cowboy fans were fuming nation-wide.
The Big 12 has high-powered offenses, but an elite team such as Oklahoma State should never allow over 1,200 yards over the course of two games regardless of who the opponent may be. The Pokes’ offense can only make up for their defenses’ mistakes so many times before the other side of the scoreboard starts running away from them.
Bill Young did a fantastic job during his tenure transforming the Cowboys’ defense into a turnover machine, however, as we saw last year, when turnovers are not produced a vast amount of yards are allowed. His approach was to give opponents a lot of space, then try to force turnovers. If no turnover could be produced, get a stop as soon as possible. Opponents started to catch on and were able to slowly move their way down the field with short passes underneath against the Cowboys last season.
Glenn Spencer is replacing Bill Young as defensive coordinator this season, and Spencer’s approach is more intense. While he won’t completely change from the methods Bill Young used, he will enhance them by being less conservative and bringing some attitude to the defense. We didn’t see the same fire in the defense last season as we did in 2011-12, the spark just wasn’t there, Spencer is here to bring that passion back.
With a more reliable defense, less pressure will be on quarterbacks Wes Lunt, J.W. Walsh and Clint Chelf. This will prove to be a huge positive as they all have stepped their game up. Defense wins games, and the better the defense, the better the team is as a whole.