Where Would Oklahoma State Turn at Defensive Coordinator if Glenn Spencer Moves On?

Written by Steven Mandeville

As Glenn Spencer rounds out a clean decade on Oklahoma State’s campus, it feels hard to envision Mike Gundy parting ways with the longtime Cowboy assistant. The highs have been high — leading the way nationally at forcing turnovers and that incredible 2013 squad that finished fifth in the nation allowing 1.29 points per drive.

But as one of our more spirited commentor’s pointed out, settling for the status quo out of fear is a tough sell when your defense finished sixth in points scored against in league play and 58th in points per drive overall. It’s hard to reconcile the pitiful defensive performances of November with the stellar October.

So who knows what the future holds for Spencer. Again, just like we said with Mike Yurcich, we aren’t advocating for heads to roll. We’re only speculating on what would happen if they do. Heck Spencer could accept a head coaching gig somewhere. Positions are open at southern schools like Georgia Southern and South Alabama. Both could put him closer to his alma mater, Georgia Tech.

In going through this exercise, it’s important to remember that defensive coordinators don’t necessarily flock to jobs where they’ll be defending twice as many possessions as their peers. After engineering a masterful turnaround at Colorado, Jim Leavitt took over a million a year to go to Oregon and counter an uptempo attack.

So two things stick out as guideposts in this endeavor of considering a candidate:

1. An up and comer is more than likely a lottery ticket. Just because Iowa State found Matt Campbell doesn’t mean they didn’t have to go through Paul Rhoads and Gene Chizik first. There’s a significant risk this person won’t work out or be better than the status quo. It’s worth noting that if they do, they could be headed to higher paying assistant jobs or a mid-major head coaching role (not a deterrent necessarily but worth noting).

2. An established name could be expensive. Oklahoma was willing to pony up a million to keep Lincoln Riley, a top-shelf OC. Is Oklahoma State a program that can afford that? You pay for proven assets (unless they’re Josh Henson and they give you the hometown discount) and that has to be evaluated.

Let’s take a look at a few names that could make sense.

Paul Rhoads — DC at Arkansas

You may remember him as the Iowa State head coach pre-Matt Campbell, one who’s familiar with Big 12 offenses. He’s been successful in previous stops with Auburn and Pittsburgh as well.

Over his nine combined seasons as a defensive coordinator at Auburn (2008) and Pittsburgh (2000-07), Rhoads’ units ranked in the top 30 nationally in scoring defense six times and the top 12 for fewest yards three times. [ArkansasRazorback.com]

And lucky for folks with openings, he’s now on the market since Bret Bielema, the head coach at Arkansas, was let go. A clean-cut, pedigreed guy in his early 50s could be prime territory for the taking. Not a long move if he wants to head over on 412 from the Ozarks, the Cowboy faithful would be happy to have him.

Chad Glasgow — DC at TCU

Why would Chad leave TCU? Because he’s an OSU boy who played for the Pokes in the mid-90s. And Gary Patterson calls the plays defensively for the Frogs. Now, it’s a pretty sweet gig to sit under Patterson for 16 years, especially when you have such good job security.

He’s had some experience coordinating Texas Tech a few years back and hopefully, he learned from that struggle.

Glasgow spent 10 seasons as the TCU safeties coach, 2001-10. Then he was hired as defensive coordinator for Tommy Tuberville at Texas Tech. That didn’t go well – that never goes well for anyone. Tech had seven defensive coordinators in seven seasons, 2009-15.

So Glasgow returned to Fort Worth and has coached TCU safeties ever since. But Patterson named Glasgow co-defensive coordinator in 2015 and dropped the “co” a year later. [NewsOK]

It could be tough to talk him out of his current role but if you could swing a Josh Henson, that could be a hit. A little more on about how his time at TCU has been here.

Van Malone — DC at SMU

The name may ring a bell – Malone coached defensive backs at Oklahoma State from 2012 to 2014. His defenses have neared the bottom of the American Athletic over the past couple of years, but he’s a known commodity to Gundy, a trait he values. Coordinating a defense for the Pony Express scoring at a high rate – 19th in points per drive – would qualify as good, relevant experience. He was recently named the AFCA assistant coach of the year – props for that.

He did a spot-on job with the defensive backs and his recruiting ties throughout Texas would likely be helpful. The former Longhorn defensive back feels like the least appealing of the three but could be fiscally practical as well, although SMU coach Chad Morris’ exodus to Fayetteville could affect this possibility.

Off The Radar Hires

First the “Yurcich-types”, improbable names to throw out there: Arkansas State’s Joe Cauthen — second in the Sun Belt in scoring defense, UMass’ Ed Pinkham — did really well leading Western Michigan’s defenses in the MAC and allowing less than 300 yards in league play

And “throw money at him just in case” types

Randy Shannon — The Florida defensive coordinator was just hired by UCF.

Kerry Coombs — A way off-the-radar idea as he’s the Ohio State co-defensive coordinator. He could be the DC in waiting for when Greg Schiano takes another head coaching gig, but why not engage?

  • Mullet Power

    my god….. come on
    “hey listen, we’re not calling for heads to roll or anything”…..

    listen – Glen Spencer may be the nicest human being alive. i don’t know – but I wish him well. i hope all his freaking dreams come true and blah blah blah… just not at OSU as the defensive coordinator. It isn’t working.

    Bill Young’s defense bent AND broke.
    Glen spencer has had a few pretty-good units – but not for a few years. 2013 was an entire graduating class ago. It isn’t working. This team cannot get off the field defensively on 3rd down. This defense only forced OU to punt TWICE in a game.
    “but they gave the offense a chance to win it in the end”. no they didn’t. They allowed OU to drive down the entire field and then an errant mayfield pass hit Whitener in the chest. This defense is SOFT BUTTER.

    I am emphatically calling for heads to roll. just one head really. it’s time for change.

    • kspokesfan

      So you think Spencer should go?

      • Chris Baker

        Is there a reason to keep him? If you only knew about what our defense has done on the field under Spencer, would there even be a single person arguing he shouldn’t go. Everyone loves him, and that’s why he’s getting a pass for not getting it done. We cut Bill Young loose and he’s a grad. It’s just time.

    • casemac0000

      Great post! He blows bad and Gundy needs to grab his nutsack and make a CEO decision and make a change.

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  • GeoPoke

    Any other ideas out there? Is there a running list of OSU guys currently coaching or do we already have them all? Also, what about guys on teams not doing so well and looking for a new gig? Thoughts?

    • SCPokes

      I know I’ll catch a ton of shade for this list, but who cares. Gene Chizik, Phil Parker, Mike Riley, Nick Holt. Glasgow would be my pick first, these are just some names nobody is mentioning.

      • KWC

        Les Miles

        • Les Miles

          You got the right idea!!

        • TeaTown Cowboy

          I HOPE that is sarcasm….since Miles is an offensive coach. 😀

          • KWC

            That maybe true, but his offense was not great at LSU. However, his defenses were usually pretty good.

    • Sonny

      Any warm body that can watch film of Gary Patterson’s defenses and apply the same schemes. That’s who I want. They should also understand that hitting is part of football and therefore must be done in practice in order to improve. I’ve already volunteered that my 12 yr old daughter would do it for $50k and we can save the program a bundle. Anyone else got kids available as co-coordinators? There is a lot of film to watch, afterall.

      • Sean Flanagan

        If they put the game film in youtube format, then my son is all over it. He would watch all day on his tablet if we let him. You might have to mix in some Dude Perfect or Pokemon clips to keep him interested, but he is your man.

  • SCPokes

    Bring Glasgow home!

  • Saucy Takes

    Woah Woah Woah moves on who wants him.

  • Matt Cox

    This blog is always mentioning about how great it was to bring Henson back, but very little is written about the job he’s actually doing. I know it’s the OC and the DC that get the bulk of the press, and rightly so, but you do manage to drop Henson’s name into quite a few posts without making any true statement about the guy.

  • Darth

    Chad Lunsford is the new Head Coach at Georgia Southern. He served as the interim and was promoted to the full time gig after going 2-4 to close out the season.

  • Buckaroo

    Steve please… just say it. You want a new defensive coach that likes to tackle and loves the idea of 3rd down stops. Todd Grantham from Miss St – take a shot. I bet he knows where to find a few DTs laying around that can know the slap / bull rush/ swim move dance. He needs to find about 5 linebackers with a seedy past but nothing too serious….but serious enough. Then 3 lanky dudes that look like Russel Westbrook playing corner and 3 more lanky dudes that know MMA playing safety. Problems solved. No more Glenn Spencer and he can go drink his Ensure quietly in a cabin somewhere with a good pot of stew of the stove while he whittles.

    • TeaTown Cowboy

      Grantham would be great and should’ve gotten the Miss State HC job IMO.

  • Jawbreaker

    Expensive: John Chavis, DC, Texas A&M,

  • Poke Joke

    If Spencer were to go, I wouldn’t mind keeping Clements as DL coach. I think he’s done a pretty good job recruiting and developing some guys there. I don’t know that it would work to promote him to DC. Hasn’t really worked out promoting Spencer when Young was let go.

    • davids

      Absolutely!! I think Joe Bob has done a really good job as DL coach and want him to stay!! Maybe a DC promotion? Don’t know but want him on our staff!

    • Chris Baker

      Exactly. I wouldn’t written my post if I had read this first. The list of DCs we should try to hire if Glen “leaves” starts and ends with Joe Bob. If he says no for some reason, this is a fantastic list and a great article. I just don’t know how they got through this and didn’t name Joe Bob or didn’t explain they were only speaking about people they would bring in. This list is pretty spot on if they had disclaimered it by saying only out of house.

    • Jawbreaker

      No one knows if Joe Bob can call a defense in a game because he hasn’t done it before. And only those in the defensive coaching room would have an indication of whether he might be good at it. That being said he played and coached for some good DC’s at KSU and I think its a natural progression within the program to give him a shot.

  • Darth

    Isn’t Brian VanGorder already on staff as an “analyst” ? Seems like that would have potential.
    Also whomever it is would need to do what it took to keep Clements on board as the DLine coach. He’s had a 1st team all conference player for 5 seasons now (Barnett, Ogbah, Ogbah, Taylor, and Osborne).

    • POISON66

      My brother is a huge Notre Dame fan and said Van Gorder was the worst DC he’d ever seen. He was thrilled to see him fired. No thanks.

      • Marshmo

        Well then, it’s settled.

  • SingingCowboy

    We hired an OC who diagrammed plays with Legos characters, and that worked “pretty” well. I guess it would only be fitting to find a DC who uses Weebles. A “wobble, but don’t fall down” defense has to be at least as successful as the “bend, but not break” defenses of Young and Spencer. Add a “Super Toe” special teams coach, and it will be just like Christmas.

    • CowboyinMO

      “Super Toe” — excellent reference.

  • Forever 14

    Doug Gottlieb! Bring Doug Home!!

  • John P Stover

    Mike reed secondary coach at Clemson. He has only had Clemson in the top 10 in interception every year he has been there.

  • Forever 14

    No more D2 or D3 guys. Someone who has at least seen D1-level competition, who can adjust to adjustments.

  • WN

    Let me make sure I have this clear. Steven actually said hiring a new coach could be risky because he could leave for more money after a year or two?

    Oh my, we certainly don’t want to disrupt the continuity of our DC that we’ve been “blessed” with and hire a coach that someone else might actually want.

    • Doug Gottlieb

      Maybe it’s time to think outside the box.

  • Stumped

    About Spencer’s 2013 defense. Who recruited those guys, coached those guys, had those those guys primed to have that 2013 season only one off year after a near national championship run, only to get stabbed in the back by someone he trusted?

  • Chris Baker

    From everything I’ve ever read about Glen Spencer he is a prince among men, one of the best and most genuine people you may ever meet. I love that we’ve had a guy like that around our young men. HOWEVER, we as a fan base have lambasted Mike Y. while he called plays for the best offense in college football and we’ve given Glen a pass for leading the 72nd best defense in the nation. We can point to specific offensive play calls that were somewhere between head scratching and totally stupid. For some reason we don’t point to the defense for the MANY, MANY yards and points they gave up. And for this year and last year, it’s no longer about depth or talent, we have some depth and we have some talent, at least as much of both as programs that are putting a WAAAAAAAAY better defensive product on the field each week. There was a time when Glen was on the rumor mill for HC positions, not anymore. It’s a good problem to have when everyone wants your coaches, it is just a problem when no one wants one of your coordinators. The difference between playing in the camping world bowl and being in the CFP is 100% on the defense. There’s simply no graphic or stat or film out there that makes that not true, we have a championship level offense, and we’re playing in the camping bowl because we have a JUCO level defense.

    • Guest

      This x 1000!!!

  • Chris Baker

    Joe Bob Clements doesn’t make the list after what he’s done to our DL both in recruiting and on the field play. I honestly don’t know how you make this list and write this article without starting with Joe Bob. If Spencer leaves make no mistake, the job will go to Joe Bob.

  • Gundy Forever

    Rob Ryan (mic drop)

    • Mullet Power

      people will scoff at this but his OSU defenses in the late 90’s were pretty good and highly ranked

  • Garth Still

    I’m put a name out their not on the list Jimmy Lake DB coach for Washington. Washington always has a good D& it 2nd a promotion for him

  • Rocky Dean


    • POISON66

      What, the defensive play?

  • TeaTown Cowboy

    “Jim Leavitt took over a million a year to go to Oregon and counter an uptempo attack.” — When did the Pac-12 get filled with a bunch of uptempo spread offenses? Only maybe 4 or 5 teams run that.

    Joe Bob wouldn’t run a more aggressive, unpredictable defensive scheme? I would look at the staffs at Big 10 schools like Michigan State, Wisconsin and UM.

  • Jawbreaker

    This guy:

    If he can get a defense to #15 working for Mike Leach…