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Glenn Spencer: OSU’s Defensive Snafus Correctable



There wasn’t a lot to grumble about following Oklahoma State’s 59-24 win over Tulsa Thursday night. The Cowboys came out fast and in sync offensively and its defense pretty much controlled a decent-to-good rushing attack.

But there were the two turnovers — a needless strip sack of Mason Rudolph and a perplexing run-back punt returns that ended in six points for the bad guys. And then there was the missed 33-yard field goal by Matt Ammendola.

But Gundy saved the best (or worst) for last.

“Our defense needs to do a better job on third and 20,” Gundy said during his postgame presser. “I don’t know what it was, I don’t have the stats, but they had to have been 80 percent at third and 10 or more. They worked hard to get them at third and long and to stay on the field.”

The number was actually 62.5 percent. Oklahoma State’s defense got the Golden Hurricane into third down with at least 10 yards to go, eight times. Tulsa converted five of the last six.

Gundy wasn’t ready to point blame at any particular part of the defense right after the game.

“It’s everybody,” Gundy said. “They were 16-of-26 (on third downs), and I’m willing to bet more than eight of them were third and 10 or more, which is generally a conversion rate of about 18 percent. Without being able to spit it out right now, I’m going to guess it was everybody. That’s something we’ve got to get better at.

“You’ve worked too hard to get to that point. Everybody is fired up for third and 15, and we’ve got to get off the field.”

Glenn Spencer was asked about his group’s inability to get off the field in those long third-down situations.

“We have to find answers,” Spencer said. “We have to get more disciplined in our pass rush lanes, all that’s correctable. Nothing schematically really hurt us at all. But it was just the effectiveness of their quarterback running the ball and losing contain a couple of times. (We) had a lot of tremendous stops out there though.”

Two of those plays, as Spencer pointed out, were the result of some over-aggressive pass rushing and a QB with enough wheels to make OSU pay. Here’s a look at the first time Chad President was able to take advantage.

OSU is in a three-down set with Star linebacker Calvin Bundage up to blitz.

As we see the play develop, linebacker Kevin Henry (No. 33) is drawn to right by the motioning back. When Trey Carter (No. 99) gets double-teamed and moved to the blitz side. The B gap is now a huge running lane for President and he has enough speed to get the first down.

President is able to take advantage of the empty space vacated by Henry shadowing the tailback and it’s chain-moving time.

Two of these long third-down conversions were QB runs like this and illustrate what Spencer meant by being more disciplined in pass-rushing lanes. Without a complete stud like Emmanuel Ogbah, you can’t gamble as much — or depend on double teams on your edge rushers.

It was a great play call by Montgomery and an experienced offensive line held its own. But OSU will face several teams with more athletic QBs and better offensive lines (Kansas State and Oklahoma come to mind).

This was the first game of the season and the defense played pretty well, but this will provide plenty of film-room curriculum for Spencer and his staff and will be something the Cowboys try to improve on moving forward.

“It was enough to get in that next day and get all those warm fuzzy feelings out of the way and correct them and realize we’re pretty average when we make fundamental errors like that,” said Spencer.

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