Share “Oklahoma State football: Cowboys' 'fun'...”

Oklahoma State football: Cowboys' 'fun' defensive package up and running

BY GINA MIZELL, Staff Writer, gmizell@opubco.com Modified: September 20, 2013 at 4:00 pm •  Published: September 19, 2013
Advertisement

photo - OSU defenders stand on third down during a college football game between the Oklahoma State University Cowboys (OSU) and the Lamar University Cardinals at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Okla., Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman
OSU defenders stand on third down during a college football game between the Oklahoma State University Cowboys (OSU) and the Lamar University Cardinals at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Okla., Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman

Spencer is quick to point out that the fun package is nothing revolutionary. It's been used periodically throughout his personal coaching journey, including at OSU. NFL teams like the Green Bay Packers, Pittsburgh Steelers and New England Patriots have used packages that look similar because every player is standing up, though those looks use fewer defensive linemen and more linebackers and defensive backs than OSU's package.

OSU's current version of the fun package was first installed in the spring and then used more extensively during fall camp. And at first, it was difficult for some of the defensive linemen to take their hand off the turf.

“Come on, get up,” safety Zack Craig remembers needing to tell those teammates. “Get in a two-point stance. Come on, have some fun with it.”

But now, it's become a legitimate option for the Cowboy defense, particularly on third down.

It first debuted in the opener on Mississippi State's first drive, causing Bulldog quarterback Tyler Russell to call a timeout. The Cowboys have used it at least once in every game so far, showing different combinations of linemen, linebackers and defensive backs rushing the quarterback or dropping into zone coverage. Even Barnett, who hovers around 300 pounds, has occasionally traded battling in the trenches for playing the pass out of the package.

One word for it all?

Fun, of course.

“When they call the fun package,” Johnson said, “and they say that we're gonna stand up and kind of give a different look, we all kind of looked around like, ‘Wow, this is fun.'”