COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Down 20-3 on the road in one of the rougher environments in the Big 12, the Oklahoma State defense rolled into the locker room at halftime to find Glenn Spencer waiting.
What a lift.
Not just emotionally, but strategically, Cowboys players and coaches said Spencer played a critical role in the defensive side to OSU's stirring Kyle Field comeback. And what a comeback for Spencer, too, who endured a devastating week with the loss of his wife, Angela Spencer, and a funeral back home in Georgia on Thursday.
“Glenn Spencer had everything on the board when we got in there, all the adjustments we needed to make,” said Bill Young, who shares defensive coordinator duties with Spencer. “We talked about it a little bit as coaches, rolled the board in there to the players and went over every detail. They took the coaching and responded.”
The pair work together throughout a game, with Spencer the eyes in the sky, surveying things from the press box, communicating what he sees to Young on the sideline.
For Young, there was comfort in having Spencer on the other end of the headset. And as for the game plan, Spencer caught up on the fly.
“We coached him up,” Young said. “We don't change a whole lot week to week. He could anticipate a little bit what we were doing. We had a few new wrinkles and he adjusted on the run.”
Then he orchestrated the adjustments.
“That's big,” said Cowboys cornerback Justin Gilbert, “for him to go through what he went through this week, to come on the road and stay in tune with us…”
The adjustments? Nothing complicated, which may come as shocking considering the massive change in direction.
In the first half, the Aggies averaged 7.5 yards per snap in piling up 301 yards. They did it rushing (147) and passing (154). And they did it seemingly with ease.
“We just made some mistakes,” Young said. “We didn't carry out assignments. We missed tackles. We had some misalignments. We had some busts. In pass coverage, we didn't lock down on certain things. It was an across-the-board thing.”