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Glenn Spencer’s Focus on Negatives Is Rubbing off on His Players

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When it comes to motivation, my wife and I are inspired in very different ways. She needs encouragement and praise for what she’s doing correctly. I need somebody challenging what I’ve done wrong and where I’ve failed. I want somebody to focus on my failures lest I become too haughty in my successes. Maybe that’s a male/female thing, but it’s something that’s always fascinated me about coaching. How do you motivate 19-year-olds to be better than they were last week?

Glenn Spencer focuses on the negatives.

“You know I’m not big on throwing out praise because I see the negatives, but we function,” said Spencer. “We’ve had issues, but they’ve made a lot of big plays. We have contributors all over the place. Good defenses have a lot of people contribute. There are too many moving parts. We have to have all 11 as contributors. We can’t have too many weak chains.”

And it’s starting to rub off on his players. Look at this from Ashton Lampkin.

“I’m really more of a guy who’s looking for the negative more than the positive,” Lampkin told the O’Colly. “The positive’s gonna come when you’re working the negatives. I’d rather look at the negatives more than the positives.

“(Spencer’s) energy rubs off on us. He never wants us to like praise ourselves; we never really do that. He’s preached it so many times, now it’s like a natural trait of myself. I don’t even look at the positive things. I haven’t even looked at that last play of the last game (game-saving deflection versus West Virginia). I was looking at the time I got beat for the touchdown. I’m trying to see how that even happened.”

Bob Stoops’ philosophy has always been “treat them like kings when you lose and peasants when you win.” I think I subscribe to that as well. Spencer has clearly incorporated a culture that says “we demand perfection and nothing less.”

Lampkin saying “he’s preached it so many times, now it’s like a natural trait …” shows it’s not something that happens overnight. It’s like Evan Epstein talked about in our podcast last week about a culture of intensity on the offensive line.

These things take time to build, and when you couple that sort of attitude with really good talent on the defensive side of the ball, you get a team that is looking for its fourth 7-0 start ever on the back of one of the best defenses in the country.

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