Oklahoma State football: Glenn Spencer assures Cowboys' defense isn't giving up
STILLWATER – Glenn Spencer knows what this looks like, this four-game losing streak that keeps stacking up bad stats and bad trends.
But he’s assuring, too, that the Cowboys are in it to the end.
To the end of games. And to the end of the season, no matter how many losses pile up, the latest a 28-7 setback to Texas that did major damage to their bowl hopes.
“I loved their eyes in the fourth quarter,” said the OSU defensive coordinator. “They’re not blaming anybody. They’re disappointed we didn’t stop them. They’re disappointed we’re not getting turnovers.
“We keep that going right here,” Spencer said while thumping at his heart with his fingers, “we’re going to be OK.”
That’s not a storyline that sits well with fans right now. Things don’t look OK, not in the Win-Loss column anyway.
The Boone Pickens Stadium crowd has grown accustomed to winning – and winning big.
Now the Cowboys are losing, big.
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“I don’t like losing, but I try not to harp on it,” said senior defensive tackle James Castleman. “I hate it. I hate it to the max. But once that game’s over, I can’t think about it anymore. I’ve got to move on for my brothers.”
Eventually, Saturday night, the Cowboys tried to rally and move on within the game.
After surrendering touchdown drives on the Longhorns’ first two possessions, the OSU defense bowed up, getting stops and providing push back, until a late scoring pass delivered a final dagger.
Those opening drives were most disturbing, because it’s a repeat tale.
“We continue to start slow,” Spencer said. “I know it’s the young guys, it’s the youth, and for whatever reason it takes them a while to get adjusted to the speed of the game and the looks and everything.
“They’ve got to realize, just go play. Because once we get settled down, we’re going toe-to-toe with them. You just can’t start off in a hole like that, it’s unfair to everybody. We’re not getting our job done there.
“When we settled in, they started getting after it. And we started knocking them back. But those first two drives…”
The Cowboys aren’t getting turnovers, either.
After making turnovers a defensive staple in recent years, OSU has claimed but nine this season and is still awaiting its first fumble recovery.
Spencer will keep asking for more turnovers. One or two or a few could turn a game and help put an end to this funk.
But, he insists, he can’t ask for more effort.
The Cowboys defense was on the field for 38:37 of the 60 minutes against Texas.
“They weren’t thinking of it like that, though,” Spencer said. “Fourth quarter, they went out there like their hair was on fire. I hear them say, ‘Hey, here’s another opportunity.’ Nobody’s shaking their heads, thinking, ‘Oh, we have to go out there again.’ We’ve got to find that positive.
“Gosh, I was proud of how they were fighting, battling, getting extra-point blocks in the fourth quarter. Getting some tackles for losses.
And upset – they’re so upset on the sideline. They want success so bad. It just rips your gut out that they can’t have it, because they’re fighting.”