STILLWATER – Spring games are a zero-sum game. A big play produced is a big play allowed. A takeaway also means a turnover.
Except in a few select locales. Like Boone Pickens Stadium. See the defense shine in an OSU spring game, and that's a good thing for Cowboy football in general. A very good thing.
The Orange beat the White 17-7 Saturday in a 130-play scrimmage dominated by, yep, defense. Talk about man biting dog.
“I enjoyed it,” Mike Gundy said. “I know the crowd here is not used to it. But I'm really excited about the play we're getting on defense.
“If we want to consistently compete for a championship, we have to play better on defense. So I'm excited.”
Defense dominated for both teams. The run game was stuffed. All three quarterbacks – Clint Chelf, J.W. Walsh, Wes Lunt – struggled to find a rhythm.
Cornerback Justin Gilbert had two interceptions. Defensive end Jimmy Bean had two of the game's 10 sacks.
Only two offensive touchdowns were scored, and one was bogus – the Orange team was allowed to keep possession despite Tracy Moore's obvious fumble in White territory, and Chelf threw a TD pass four plays later.
“For the most part, it was a good day,” said linebacker Caleb Lavey, who returned an interception 52 yards for a touchdown with 1:06 left in the game.
“We're trying to be more aggressive. We were able to shut down the running game last year. Now we're working on shutting down both.”
Call it an early endorsement of Gundy's decision to switch coordinators. Gundy elevated Glenn Spencer and jettisoned Bill Young, primarily, Gundy said, to create more aggression in pass coverage.
OSU offensive players were the first victims. Some appreciated it, some did not.
“Sometimes our defense gets our (offensive) script,” said junior guard Daniel Koenig.
But tailback Jeremy Smith was more encouraged than dismayed. “They stepped up a whole new level today,” Smith said. “They showed out today. Just to see how far they've come was a big stride.”