STILLWATER — Oklahoma State's defense has made noticeable improvement during 14 spring practices. Today at 4 p.m., the defense takes its final exam.
"Our defense is playing better,” said coach Mike Gundy. "They understand the system. There's a cohesiveness. We have more depth. The mid-term players have made a difference and some young players have gotten better.” Today's Orange-White game could reveal just how much progress has been made. Most of the spring, the defense owned an advantage. The offense primarily ran vanilla plays, while the defense sometimes blitzed. That changes this afternoon. For once, the offense will play with a stacked deck. In last year's spring game, offensive coaches pulled out trick plays to win the game and own bragging rights in staff meetings. Defensive starters will be divided equally among the two teams. That should reveal just how much depth the defense has less than five months before the season opener. Regardless of today's outcome, there's obviously more talent on campus. That was evident last week when the defense dominated the last major scrimmage. "You know how I am,” said defensive coordinator Tim Beckman. "I'm not a stats guy unless the stats are bad (to use as motivation for players). We have a lot of areas we need to improve.” So what can Beckman promise orange-clad fans who might be seeing the revamped defense for the first time? "We're not going to show much,” Beckman said. "It starts with the basics, tackling, getting pressure and playing pass defense. I want them to play ball, run to the football, play with great effort and be good tacklers.”
Orange-White spring game •Kickoff: 4 p.m. today •Where: Boone Pickens Stadium •Admission: free. •Seating: Fans can sit in both the south and north stands or the lower 14 rows of the west end zone, but all fans must enter the south gates. North gates will be closed. Fans who purchased club level tickets can enter at 3 p.m. All other fans enter at 3:30 p.m. •Post-game concert: Country musician Keith Anderson will perform a concert in Gallagher-Iba Arena at 6:30 p.m. Doors will open at 6 p.m. Admission is free. •Radio: KXXY-FM 96.1 and XM Satellite radio (channel 242). The broadcast will start at 3 p.m.