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Glenn Spencer on Young Corners: ‘It’s a Great Storyline’



Among the biggest question marks for Oklahoma State heading into spring was the cornerback position and its depth. The 2016 secondary that ranked 98th in passing defense (fifth in the Big 12) and tied for 72nd in given-up long passing plays (also fifth in the league), lost a four-year starter in Ashton Lampkin and another senior cover man in Lenzy Pipkins.

Then Mike Gundy addressed the media. He explained that the spring rosters the school handed out did not include a typo. Senior cornerback Ramon Richards would be moving to safety and the Cowboys had zero starts at the cornerback position.

OSU is looking at its best shot at a Big 12 title — and possibly more — in the foreseeable future and is depending on little to no experience at a position where rookies get exposed.

The news that Clemson transfer Adrian Baker would suit up in a different shade of orange didn’t do much to quell concerns either. Even if he’s a stud, he can’t guard two sides of the field. But defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer, the last man to falsely inflate the Cowboy defense, doesn’t appear too worried. He even mentioned that the move of Ramon Richards to safety allowed them to get the “best 11” on the field.

“Between the A.J.s (Green), the Madres (Harper) and the Rodarius’ (Williams),” Spencer said “there’s three young guys that have ability. But that doesn’t mean anything unless they perform and execute and play with the right temperament.”

But Spencer was sure to temper any enthusiasm.

“They’ve just got to be exact,” Spencer said of this young corners. “They’re young. They got to hang on every word that Coach Duffie teaches them and they got to apply it. So, we’ll see. It’s a great storyline, isn’t it? We’ll see what happens. They’ll be tested that opener. I know that. But they’ll be tested Sunday night too.”

That test has already begun as the Cowboys checked in for fall camp on Sunday. Spencer talked about the what he’d seen in practice already from his young cover men — and how going up against elite receivers like James Washington helps get them ready for the other high-powered offenses they’ll face this fall.

“Yeah, I mean they’ve made some nice plays,” said Spencer. “They’ve made some great plays and then there’s some plays that they’re in phase and did everything you taught them to do and 26 jumps up there and gets it from them. That is James’ number, isn’t it? 28? You knew who I was talking about. But that’s only going to make them better, right?”

Spencer is a treasure!

During Big 12 Media Days, senior linebacker Chad Whitener mentioned A.J. Green and Rodarius Williams as his two corners to keep an eye on this fall and he shares his coach’s sentiment on the stiff competition.

“Those (cornerbacks) can play,” he said. “They had a really good spring. All through metabolics and 7-on-7, all summer they’ve had really good reps at everything, especially going against our receiving corps.

“They’re one of the best if not the best receiving corps in the nation, so these guys are ready to go for us this next year.”

These younger defensive backs all fit what Oklahoma State has been looking for in its secondary as of late. Not one is under 6-foot tall. All are rangy and athletic. The same mold that incoming freshman, 6-1 Lamarcus Morton, will fit after his likely redshirt year.

What gives Spencer confidence aside from these measureables?

“They’re competitive. They’ve got pride,” said Spencer. “The good thing is, none of those guys think they’ve arrived. So you’ve got a chance. Those guys know they’ve got to take advantage of every day.”

“Coach Spencer will not put guys out there who are not ready to go,” said Whitener “So, that’s really where the confidence, I feel, stems from.”

Confidence is great and I hope it ends up warranted but like Spencer said, all that matters is how they perform when the lights come on. And they come on in less than a month.

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