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Glenn Spencer on Defensive Struggles: ‘We All Own It’



Questions about Oklahoma State’s defense still loom after the 44-31 loss to TCU in its Big 12 opener. And those same questions will be raised again as the Cowboys head south to Lubbock to face another team with offensive firepower, albeit a completely different look.

TCU beat Oklahoma State by running the ball for 238 yards and barely throwing it farther than 10 yards down the field. Oklahoma State beat Oklahoma State with several head-scratching penalties as well as overall bad execution and allowing the Frogs to convert 58 percent of their third downs.

Glenn Spencer talked about the entire defense — staff and players — sharing a part of the blame.

“We all got a piece of it and we all own it,” said Spencer. “So a lot to learn from. The highs aren’t high enough in what we do and the lows are way too low. So, we as coaches and me specifically gotta say ‘hey, we all own this and we’re all gonna get a chance next week to make it make it a lot better.'”

The Cowboys will need to be better to slow down a high-powered Tech offense that will challenge them vertically unlike any they’ve faced this year. Mike Gundy was asked about that challenge during his weekly press conference.

“The concepts are similar and they’re form-fitting them around who’s the trigger guy, in my opinion,” Gundy said. “Their quarterback throws it really well. Patrick Mahomes was special in his ability to throw it deep really well, and so they could be building it around what their quarterbacks are capable of. But you have to remember that those packages and schemes that they run are based on defense, structure and safety level.”

That “trigger guy” is senior quarterback Nic Shimonek who spent the two previous years backing up an NFL first-rounder in Patrick Mahomes. In Shimonek you get a pocket passer with an arm who has completed 73.6 percent of his passes and is averaging over 400 yards in the air.

Shimonek’s targets consist of a bevy of seniors all complimenting junior wideout Keke Coutee who leads all Power 5 receivers averaging 148.7 yards per game.

But the Cowboys’ biggest issue on defense has been getting off the field on third downs, especially against mobile quarterbacks. TCU’s Kenny Hill and Tulsa’s Chad President were able to converte a combined 60 percent of their team’s third downs against the Cowboys.

Shimonek is not such a threat, but he and Tech’s passing game will be the best equipped to pick on the spot where OSU is most inexperienced, its secondary. OSU has defended 130 passing attempts in four games this season. Tech’s offense has attempted the same number of passes (130) in just three games.

But Tech isn’t going to let the Cowboys off the hook in the ground game either. Senior running back Justin Stockton toted the rock 10 times for 102 yards during the Red Raiders’ win over Houston. Junior Tre King added nine carries for 98 yards. The dynamic 1-2 punch lit up Houston for 10.5 yards per carry and gave Tech its first 200-yard rushing game in two years.

The Cowboys head to Lubbock for a Saturday night game that many tabbed as a potential probable shootout before last weekend’s unfavorable result. Now that its defense has been exposed a bit, there is even less room for error for Oklahoma State.

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