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Oklahoma State football: Cowboy defense doesn't live up to expectations

After the performance the defense turned in Saturday, OSU's best bet may again be to saddle up the offense and prepare to win some shootouts.
by John Helsley Published: September 9, 2012

Sure, two games is a small sample size, but what if the critics are right? Where does that leave this Cowboys D?

The OSU offense is hardly without blame from Saturday night, turning it over four times, including Lunt's first big learning moment: a back-foot heave that was turned into a backbreaking pick-6, just as the Cowboys held an opportunity to climb back into the lead.

But such missteps are expected of true freshmen quarterbacks.

We expect much more of a veteran defense billed as a budding big-time unit.

Yet this is no time for panic, despite the raging concerns one game can bring.

“It stings,” said linebacker Alex Elkins. “But it's the little things, not big things in general, but little things that can be easily fixed. I ain't too worried about it.

“We're going to be able to bounce back. This doesn't define our defense. It wasn't our best day and we're definitely going to come out looking for revenge on whoever's next.”

Maybe Bill Young's return from a health-related absence will provide some stability and answers that are needed. The Cowboys were also without key injured rotation guys in linebacker Lyndell Johnson and defensive end Tyler Johnson.

To their credit, OSU's defenders seemed not despondent, but determined following their laid egg.

“It's a good thing that it happened early for us,” Gilbert said. “I think we can learn a lot from this tape.”

Lessons that could have been learned from a legitimate season-opening opponent? That's a debate for another day.

But let's be clear, the spotlight is now fixed on the OSU defense, which faces many stiff challenges ahead.

“Tough night,” said co-defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer. “It's a tough pill to swallow. But we've got some great kids. We have a lot of high character kids. There's no doubt in my mind that they're going to respond.

“They'll have plenty of this film to look. And we have to get it right. And we have to get it right quick.”