STILLWATER — Glenn Spencer leaned back on a cushy suite-level couch inside Boone Pickens Stadium.
But he didn’t look comfortable.
The Oklahoma State defensive coordinator squirmed and squinted as questions rolled his way during Monday’s media availability. These weren’t tough questions, mind you. Quite the opposite. These were questions about how well his defense had played against Florida State, how it went toe-to-toe with Jameis Winston and Co., how it didn’t back down from the defending national champions.
But finally, Spencer’d had enough.
Looking a little bewildered, he said, “I got off track because I keep thinking, ‘Everybody’s talking to me like we won the game.’ We lost the game. I’m getting all these questions like I would after we won a football game. And we didn’t. We didn’t do what we needed on our side of the ball to win.
But whether Spencer likes it or loathes it, that 37-31 loss to Florida State was a win for the OSU defense.
A win for Spencer, too.
His second season as a defensive coordinator is only one week old, and yet, Spencer has added a little more to his already impressive resume. A year after retooling the Cowboy defense and coming within a hair of a Big 12 championship, he took a defense with seven first-time starters up against a powerhouse and produced a masterful performance. Yes, his defense didn’t make quite enough stops to win the game. Sure, it gave up 30 points. But considering the opponent, the stage and the circumstance, there was way more good than bad.
Spencer just continues to impress.
Makes you wonder how much longer he wins over someone who needs to fill a big-time head-coaching job.
It really only seems like a matter of time before Spencer is leading a major-college program. He was a small-college head coach at West Georgia before making the move to major-college ball as an assistant. Over the past few years, he’s gotten a couple of looks from lower-level programs that needed head coaches.
Keep up what we’ve seen thus far, and the suitors are going to get better and better.
Spencer, though, insists he doesn’t deserve any credit.
“Oh, no, it’s not me,” he said Monday in one of his calmer moments Monday. “It’s (the players). It’s them wanting to play hard for each other.”
Spencer has helped instill that. One of his many mantras is “Play for the guy next to you.” He wants his players to play hard because they love the 10 other guys who are on the field and they don’t want to let them down.
That brotherhood, Spencer believes, makes the whole greater than the sum of the parts while motivating each player to play his best with his highest effort.
Spencer offered up a high-profile example from Saturday night. Cowboy fans remember Ofa Hautau going all out chasing Winston. The defensive lineman is 6-foot-2, 290 pounds. He is not fleet of foot. But he did not give up on trying to catch the Florida State quarterback.
On Sunday, Spencer showed that clip in the film room.
But after praising Hautau, he pointed out a couple other players who didn’t stay after it. They didn’t sell out. They didn’t give their all.
“There’s him,” Spencer said, pointing to Hautau, “and then, there’s you two. Just think if you would’ve wanted it.”
Maybe they wouldn’t have caught him, but really, who knows?
“Is this going to happen again?” Spencer asked.