NCAA FB

More aggressive defense sought at Oklahoma State

Share This Story

   
 

STILLWATER, Okla. (AP)

With a new man in charge, Oklahoma State's defense is taking on a new attitude.

All around practice this spring, there's one word that keeps popping up: Aggressive. No more giving up big plays and counting on turnovers to bail the defense out. It's time for a change.

''I just want to be more aggressive on defense and I don't necessarily mean blitzing,'' coach Mike Gundy said. ''But over the last couple years I haven't been happy with the way we approach the game on defense and the way that we defended the passing game. I didn't think that we did a good job pressuring the quarterback, so those are areas I feel like we need to be able to improve in.

''I think that we're more athletic now on defense than we ever have been, so we can challenge offenses more than what we have.''

Oklahoma State has been among the worst passing defenses in the nation over the past three years, ranking no better than 107th out of 120 Bowl Subdivision teams while giving up between 270 and 280 yards per game through the air. The Cowboys were still able to be one of the elite teams in the nation in 2010 and 2011, intercepting 43 passes and forcing opponents to keep up with its own offense.

But once the takeaways went away, Oklahoma State struggled to an 8-5 record and fell all the way to the Heart of Dallas Bowl last season.

After the bowl game, Gundy replaced defensive coordinator Bill Young - who'd directed a defense that created 108 takeaways, 17 more than any other team, from 2009 to 2011 - by promoting linebackers coach Glenn Spencer.

Right away, he tried to instill the more aggressive mindset among his defenders.

''That was the attitude of the first meeting we had and the first day in shorts. It's carried through,'' Spencer said. ''The expectations are high to challenge a lot of different situations and approach it with a more aggressive mentality. We're getting that out of them.''

Cornerback Justin Gilbert, an NFL prospect who had a disappointing 2012 season, said the Cowboys used to back off of quick hitch routes and allow receivers to catch the ball. He doesn't think that will be the case anymore, replacing some zone coverages with man-to-man.

''That allows us to press a lot more, and that's a part of my game that I like,'' Gilbert said.

The Cowboys will wrap up spring practice Saturday with a scrimmage at Boone Pickens Stadium. Next season starts with an Aug. 31 game against Mississippi State in Houston, the marquee nonconference game before another run through the pass-heavy Big 12 Conference.

As Gundy pointed out, part of the problem for the Cowboys' defense has been a run of NFL-bound quarterbacks in the league - including Robert Griffin III at Baylor and Ryan Tannehill at Texas A&M, top 10 picks in last year's draft, and West Virginia's Geno Smith, who could be the first quarterback taken in the draft next week.

''When you are competing against an NFL quarterback at this level, it makes it tough,'' Gundy said. ''They are that much better than everybody else. But just being more aggressive and attacking the quarterback and not allowing the receivers to make so many easy catches, that's really what I am looking for.''

Tagged: Oklahoma State, Oklahoma

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by

College Football Pick'em on FOX


NCAA FB Videos

Sumlin annoyed by media's Manziel questions Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Kevin Sumlin responds to questions about life after Johnny Football by toying wi...

AJ Pasquale's journey back to UCLA Posted: Jun 17, 2014
UCLA football ops intern AJ Pasquale describes his own personal journey after th...

Winston issued adult civil citation Posted: Apr 30, 2014
Get the latest news surrounding Jameis Winston's recent shoplifting fiasco.

Get Inside the Locker Room with Scout.com

More Than Sports on MSN

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Nike Florida Gators Gridiron 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - Royal Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Florida_Gators/browse/featuredproduct/759777/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_759000/ff_759777_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Florida Gators Gridiron 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - Royal Blue
    Nike Michigan State Spartans Football 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Michigan_State_Spartans/browse/featuredproduct/760171/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_760000/ff_760171_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Michigan State Spartans Football 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - White
    Nike USC Trojans Fight On My School T-Shirt - Cardinal http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_USC_Trojans/browse/featuredproduct/761373/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_761000/ff_761373_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike USC Trojans Fight On My School T-Shirt - Cardinal
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/829709/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_829000/ff_829709_xl.jpg&w=100 64.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Crimso..
    Nike LSU Tigers Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Purple http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_LSU_Tigers/browse/featuredproduct/829740/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_829000/ff_829740_xl.jpg&w=100 49.99 Nike LSU Tigers Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Purple
    Nike Oklahoma Sooners Legacy 91 Dri-FIT Adjustable Coaches Cap - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oklahoma_Sooners/browse/featuredproduct/830935/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_830000/ff_830935_xl.jpg&w=100 21.95 Nike Oklahoma Sooners Legacy 91 Dri-FIT Adjustable Coaches Cap - Crimson
    adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish Hot Sideline Jacket - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Notre_Dame_Fighting_Irish/browse/featuredproduct/861243/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_861000/ff_861243_xl.jpg&w=100 69.95 adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish Hot Sideline Jacket - Navy Blue
    adidas Nebraska Cornhuskers Sideline Hot Quarter Zip Jacket - Scarlet http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Nebraska_Cornhuskers/browse/featuredproduct/861247/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_861000/ff_861247_xl.jpg&w=100 69.95 adidas Nebraska Cornhuskers Sideline Hot Quarter Zip Jacket - Scarlet
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Players Locker Room Snapback Hat - Charcoal/Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/1087345/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1087000/ff_1087345_xl.jpg&w=100 29.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Players Locker Room Snapba..
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Ash http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/1093431/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1093000/ff_1093431_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Ash